What Do You Use a Hand Planer For?

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Hand planers can be regarded as the greatest invention in the woodwork industry. They have for long been an indispensable tool in every carpenter’s toolbox.

Historically, any carpenter worth his name would never lack a hand planer. It always had to be an arm-stretch away. Now, even with the advancement in technology, hand planers still retain their high seat in the woodwork kingdom.

If you are a newbie to woodwork, you might be wondering what makes a hand planer a unique tool in the wood-making community.

​Also, what can you use it for? Well, this article will show you the multiple ways that you can use a plane.​Even if you are an experienced carpenter, there’s something you can learn about the use of hand planer, which you may never have known before.

Are you ready to get to the workshop and make that piece of woodwork you have been designing for years? Then let’s dive right to it.

Uses of a Hand Planer

Reduce the Size of Wood

This is arguably the most common use of wood planer apart from making the surface smooth. If you want to reduce the size of your wood to a specific measurement, then a hand planer is the right tool to use. However, not every planer will accomplish the task of reducing the size of the wood because we have a variety of them. You need to have a jack or scrub plane.

A jack plane usually measures up to 14 inches or approximately 360 mm long. It is efficient in roughing out timber and it is very accurate when it comes to flattening.

On the other hand, a scrub plane measures approximately 9 inches or 230mm long, and is appropriate in removing huge chunks of wood quickly. It is usually equipped with an iron plus a convex cutting edge, is narrower, and has a more massive mouth-opening for easy ejection of large chips.

Overall, hand planers are the perfect tool to use if you want to flatten or reduce the thickness of a piece of wood. Further, the tool makes it easy for smoothing the rough areas of timber.

To Level Surface and Edges of Wood

The next most important and frequent use of hand planer is to level and smooth the surface and the wood. If you are looking for a hand planer, you can either choose a manual one, which is appropriate for small woodworks, or pick a power planer which is suitable for huge jobs because it is fast and lets you accomplish your tasks quickly.

If your door or window get stuck or fail to close smoothly, you can reach out for a hand planer to smoothen the door edges. This will make your door close and open smoothly and effortlessly. You will thank me later for this hack.

If you ask the majority of people, they will tell you that a hand planer’s only function is to level and make smooth the wood. However, there is more to this tool. Read on.


A chamfer is a bevelled edge connecting two surfaces. If you are doing woodwork, chamfering is essential because it allows you to eliminate the sharp edges and burrs, therefore, making your product safe to handle.

If you are creating furniture for areas with high traffic – and mostly children – you want a product without sharp edges for safety reasons. Hand planer allows you to achieve this factor comfortably. This is not only good for your household products, but for your business as well.


Hand planer can be used to trim, straighten, and square the edges of doors and windows so that they can fit and join well. However, not every hand planer will be fit enough to do this task, you need a planer that is approximately 22 inches or longer.

Furthermore, a hand planer can also be used for tapering. Taper cutting wood is essential if you want to make table legs. While there are other ways you can use to tapper and clean your joints such as jointers and routers, hand plane remains an excellent option to tapper and clean your cuts.

To Decorate Edges and Strips

If you want to get creative with your woodwork, then hand planer can come into aid. You can use this tool to cut narrow channels and make a variety of shape on the surface and the edges of the wood. You can use hand planer to imprint decorative shapes on your wood.

With the right skill and creativity, there is no limit to the design you can come up with in terms of the shape and pattern of decoration. However, you need to practice in order to master the right way to push the planer and the right way to hold it.

Prepare the Wood for Finish

Finally, hand planer can be used to prepare your wood for polish. This tool can make smooth the wood surfaces in preparation for the application of a finish.

You should use a smoothing planer which usually measures approximately 10 inches or 250 mm long. Besides, there are other hand planers such as polishing plane used by the Japanese, and capable of giving you a smooth surface, therefore, making it easy to apply your polish.

While the smoothening of wood surface may seem straightforward, the speed at which you move the planer and the depth setting of the planer determines how smooth the surface will be. Therefore, pay attention to how you handle and balance your machine.


A hand planer is a tool capable to help you accomplish a variety of tasks in your woodwork enterprise. However, you need to identify your needs before the commitment to buy one. You should know what your requirement is and how you intend to use it once you buy. In this article, we have open for you the vast possibilities which you can use your machine. Therefore, go ahead and make the most of this remarkable piece of tool.

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