Hand planers

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Blog entry by Vjer posted 07-12-2011 06:12 AM 1426 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I need some input. I have recent.y come into some nice 1” thick planks of pecan, which are up to 24” wide and 60” long. I don’t any way of finishing them. I was concidering one of the 3-1/2” wide electric hand planers. Any one ever try to smooth a plank with one of these? I am trying to see if I can find someone with a belt sander type thickness planer. I live close to the Houston, Tx area and I am willing to drive. any info would be of great help. Thanks…Vic

-- My mind is like brilliant flash and then it's gone.

8 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3518 days

#1 posted 07-12-2011 06:25 AM

You probably want to find someone with a Jointer and a planer…. Jointers are used to flatten stock. Planers make the wood a specific thickness and the opposing side parallel.

Regular handplanes would also be a good choice if you have a bench and a way to sharpen the planes…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Gary's profile


8965 posts in 2853 days

#2 posted 07-12-2011 02:09 PM

Consider using your router

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View joeysjunk's profile


26 posts in 2236 days

#3 posted 07-12-2011 02:29 PM

The electric “door planer” does not work for this. Don’t ask me how I know ;)

-- Joey

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2075 days

#4 posted 07-12-2011 03:20 PM

And jack and a jointer plane would get this job done in a hurry. The powerplaners work but can leave some nasty gouges here and there.

I would either spend the money on the handtools or farm the work out to someone who has the gear.

I would check with the colleges in your area to see if one has a wood-shop they might have the heavy equipment to get this done.

If you go the hand-tool route, let me know and I can walk you through what you need.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2418 days

#5 posted 07-12-2011 03:39 PM

I foolishly purchased one of the power planers. It is fast but it is not really any easier than doing it by hand plane.

Even if you are power tool fanatic, flattening a board by hand is a useful skill. It is quite easy to get a tabletop or such that will be beyond the size of tools you have on hand to flatten.

The first time I made a bench top I:

Loaded all the lumber up.
Drove to a place that had a big jointer and planer.
Unloaded the wood.
Helped feed it through the machines (Multiple passes. It was pretty rough).
Loaded it back in the car.
Unloaded it at home.
Moved it back to my workshop.

In comparison, when I flattened it up by hand, it took about 20 minutes with the scrub plane and another 20 minutes with the jointer to flatten the top. This was not constant planing. I would do a pass and rest. No hurry.

Hand tools can be surprisingly effective and fast at times.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 2657 days

#6 posted 07-12-2011 04:14 PM

A router sled is the quickest to build and use. It also does the best job of roughing out a plank. I’ve tried all those other methods. A power planer was the worst. It’s too easy to go to fast and make the board even less usable. At least it was for me. Just search through the projects and you’ll find several router sled designs. Good luck with your project! I’ll be looking for the projects you make with your wide boards.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2417 days

#7 posted 07-13-2011 02:08 AM

How much work do these boards need ? Photo would be nice.
I think you are asking for someone that has a “Drum Sander”. They work well but are very slow, you can only take a small amount off with each pass. An electric hand plane will ALSO work, take very thin shavings at a time. An large jointer hand plane will also work, once again take small shavings and more passes. If you have talent you could use a 25 grit circular sand discl, then 80grit, then 120. Most people make the mistake and try to remove to much material at one time, make several passes instead of one large one that causes tearout. Keep us posted how this turns out.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2110 days

#8 posted 07-13-2011 03:26 AM

I recently borrowed a hand held power planer to flatten a work bench top. It was a relic and felt really dull. I practiced on some scrap then flattened the bench top. It worked surprisingly well. I think the key is to take VERY light passes

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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