Handheld Planers

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Forum topic by Lakey posted 04-01-2008 02:16 PM 7236 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Lakey's profile


97 posts in 3768 days

04-01-2008 02:16 PM

Howdy Gang,

Do any of you have experience with handheld planers? This may be a stupid question, but can they be used to joint the face of a board prior to going through a stationary planer?



-- "No Board Left Behind"

8 replies so far

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 3861 days

#1 posted 04-01-2008 03:12 PM

I have the Ryobi plug in and it is pretty good. The only thing I’ll caution you on is that they will eat a lot of wood really quick. Even on the lowest setting (which is technically ‘0’) it will eat through a board fast.

I’ve also tinkered with the display model of the Bosch one at HD. It feels real good in your hand, however (if I remember right) the forward handle is also the setting nob so you have to be careful with it.

Technique is everything when you are using one. In addition to keeping it at the lowest setting, make sure you put pressure on the front when you are first touching the board and then move that to the back as you complete you pass. Also, make sure you score the end of the board on both sides to avoid tear out. When tear out happens, it happens big…

~Danny Boy

-- He said wood...

View jcees's profile


1058 posts in 3794 days

#2 posted 04-01-2008 03:17 PM

First, do you know how to get a board F-L-A-T? I don’t mean to be pedantic, but are you familiar with winding sticks? The process of flattening a board? Is the board you’re wanting to flatten extra wide or otherwise unwieldy?

I guess what I’m getting at is that a hand held power planer will do the job and THEN SOME! In other words, this is not a tool with which you finesse anything and tearout can be a rabid problem. Mine has a helical cutter so that’s not a problem but most power planers have flat blades set square to the work and are heck on anything other than straight grain.

I’ve had much more luck processing a less than flat board easily with winding sticks and a combination of three hand planes—a #40 scrub, a #5 jack and then a #7 jointer. It takes only a little time and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you can do the work WITHOUT electricity. The only caveat is you do need to know how to tune a hand plane and keep the blade sharp. I process all of my face wood thus—winding sticks and hand planes THEN I flip it over and run it through a 15” planer. Done and DONE.

Hope this helps. Good luck.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View WoodRivWW's profile


32 posts in 3706 days

#3 posted 04-01-2008 04:13 PM

I agree with J.C.’s post. If you have a large, thick board with serious wind, you could probably knock down the high spots with a hand planer. It would save you some sweat before you brought in the hand planes. I have a Craftsman that I use mainly for planing the edges of old doors I’ve picked up that I’m resizing to fit in my old house renovation. Hand planes on this kind of grunt work would be pretty labor intensive.

-- Hailey, ID

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3756 days

#4 posted 04-01-2008 04:52 PM

I agree with JC. I only have a #4 smoothing, and a #5 jack plane, but it does not take a great deal of time to prep flatten a board for a trip through your planer. Unfortunately, most of the hand planes on the market today require a fair amount of work and “tuning” before you can use them. The exceptions are the planes made by Lie-Nielson (USA) and Clifton (UK). These planes are more expensive, but are ready to go out of the box.

I use waterstones and a Veritas MK II honing gauge to sharpen my plane irons and chisels.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3740 days

#5 posted 04-01-2008 05:09 PM

Lakey, if you know the basics of flattening a board, the hand held planers will work fine. I like the Bosch 1594. I haven’t bought one for myself yet, but have tried it. I’m still using hand planes too. The power one will just use less muscle. If you have the room, build yourself a jig for flattening one side and running it through your planer. GaryK posted a good design.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3817 days

#6 posted 04-01-2008 05:11 PM

These really don’t have enough bed length to do more than planing door edges. They are essentially a power version of a block plane. I have tried using it to flatten stock wider than my jointer could handle but essentially it just gouged the wood.

To be honest with you I would not recommend trying to edge or face joint a board with an electric hand planer. You will have better luck with a set of hand planes.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Lakey's profile


97 posts in 3768 days

#7 posted 04-01-2008 06:30 PM

Thanks, everyone. I do indeed know how to flatten boards with hand tools – your responses definitely answered my question – appreciate it.


-- "No Board Left Behind"

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3984 days

#8 posted 04-01-2008 09:21 PM

They would be good for taking off the high spots to get is close for machine planing.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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