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Buying Guides Guides Miscellaneous Planer

Best Wood Planers in 2019

Wood planers, also known as thickness planers, are handy tools for shaving down materials to the proper size needed for construction furniture. With a wood planer in your shop, you can ensure that both sides of your material are completely parallel to each other. Both professional craftsmen and simple DIY-hobbyists can find value in having a wood planer available since it can make quick work of shaving down numerous boards into a uniform thickness.

WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer

WEN 6550

In this article, we’re going to briefly discuss the important specs and features of a high-quality wood planer. We’ll also give you our picks of the best five wood planers available today.

What to Look for in a Wood Planer

When researching the best wood planer, there are several features and specs to take into careful consideration.

Feed Speed

The feed speed determines how much time it takes for the wood planer to smoothen the surface of the material fed into the machine. The best wood planers should generate two different cutting speeds: one quick speed for initial dimensioning and another slower speed for a smoother finish.

PORTER-CABLE PC305TP 12

PORTER-CABLE PC305TP


Knives

There are several types of knives used in a wood planer. They can be straight, segmented, or spiral-shaped. They can also either be disposable or sharpened. They each have their own uses and pros, so make sure you find a model that utilizes the type(s) of knives you need for your thicknessing tasks.

Cutter head Speed (CPI)

The cutter head speed, measured in cuts-per-inch (CPI), indicate how many cuts are made on the surface of the material per inch that is fed into the machine. The higher the cutter head speed, the smoother and more prepared the board will be for further processing. In addition, a quicker cutter head speed generally means an increase in feed speed, though it’s always better to prioritize cutter head speed over feed speed.

DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer

DEWALT DW734

What Does a Wood Planer Do?

Chip Ejection Port

Like most woodworking power tools, wood planers produce a heck of a lot of debris that could potentially burst into flames when left resting under an overheated machine. One of the most effective ways of eliminating this risk is by getting rid of wood chips, shavings, and dust straight from the source. Make sure your wood planer comes with a chip ejection port which is compatible with your shop vac or dust collector.

Portability

Unless you’re a serious furniture builder who makes a living off of building high-quality furniture in an efficient manner, then you’re most likely in the market for a portable bench-top wood planer. In that case, find a model that’s easy to carry but can be mounted on your workbench without needing a huge amount of clearance in the outfeed.

DEWALT DW735X Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package

DEWALT DW735X

Material Support

Although portable bench-top planers are considerably more compact than industrial planers, this doesn’t mean that they can’t support large boards. Some of the best wood planers can support materials of up to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. To help support super-long boards, you may need the help of infeed and outfeed tables.

Top 5 Wood Planers

Now that we understand the basics of what makes a good wood planer, the only thing left to do is decide which model to get. As you already know, the market is saturated with wood planers, both good and bad. To help you with your purchase decision, we’ve compiled a list of our picks for the best five wood planers available on the market right now.

5 DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer

Our first pick is one of DEWALT’s most famed wood planers: the DeWalt DW735. Its 15-amp motor is able to deliver cuts of up to 1/8-inch thick in boards of up to 6 inches tall, 12-1/2 inches wide, and 19-3/4 inches in length. It also comes with two cutter head speeds – the first for dimensioning that delivers 96 CPI and a higher gear for finishing at 179 CPI.

DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735

The DW735 comes with a three-blade setup for superior finishes. The blades are disposable but are marketed to last for at least 30% longer than traditional disposable straight blades. This is a portable 80-pound unit that can be mounted to your workbench if needed.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DW735 on Amazon >>>

4 PORTER-CABLE PC305TP 12″ Thickness Planer

PORTER-CABLE is another popular power tools manufacturer that produces some of the best wood planers. In our opinion, their best workbench model is the PC305TP. This planer packs a 15-amp motor that delivers 96 CPI for the initial smoothening and 179 CPI for super-fine finishes.

PORTER-CABLE PC305TP 12

PORTER-CABLE PC305TP

This machine comes with the standard dual-blades setup. You can utilize both sides of each blade before needing to purchase and install replacements. The machine can support boards of up to 12.5 inches wide, 6 inches tall, and more than 3 feet long. However, you need to take extra care when setting up the infeed, and outfeed tables since even the slightest wiggle can render several inches from the front and tail ends of your boards utterly useless (snipe).

Check how much you can save, buying the PORTER-CABLE PC305TP on Amazon >>>

3 DEWALT DW735X Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package

The third-place spot goes to the DW735X from DEWALT. Honestly speaking, DEWALT’s DW735 is so good that it deserves two spots on our list. The only true difference between the DW735 and DW735X is that the latter comes with infeed and outfeed tables which can support materials of up to 6 inches tall, 13 inches wide, and 33-1/2 inches long.

DEWALT DW735X Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package

DEWALT DW735X

In every other respect (motor, cutting depth, cutter head speed), the two are completely identical. Because the DW735X comes with two aluminum tables for supporting longer material, the overall weight of the unit will increase to 95 pounds. If you’re going to get the DW735, do yourself a favor and pay a little more for the X version since buying the feed tables separately will cost you more than getting them in a single package.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DW735X on Amazon >>>

2 DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer

It’s no surprise that DEWALT makes a third appearance on our list due to their expert craftsmanship and design of their products. The DEWALT DW734 is similar to the previous DEWALT models, but it doesn’t come with a second cutter head speed for extremely fine finishing. Instead, you get a single gear (96 CPI) for both dimensioning and finishing your material.

DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer

DEWALT DW734

It comes with both infeed and outfeed tables that support material of up to 33-1/2 inches long, 12-1/2 inches wide, and 6 inches tall. Another unique feature is the four-column carriage lock that virtually eliminates the risk of snipe.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DW734 on Amazon >>>

1 WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer

The final product on our pick for the best five wood planers is the 6550 from WEN. This amazing machine features a 15-amp motor that produces 96 CPI and 176 CPI for dimensioning and finishing, respectively. It can support material up to 6 inches tall and 12-1/2 inches wide. The foldable infeed and outfeed tables are made of solid granite, meaning that their shape won’t warp over time, ensuring high-quality finishes as long as the machine is functional.

WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer

WEN 6550

It has a dual-blade setup, and the blades can be reversed to give you twice as much use out of each blade. Adjusting the depth of each cut is simple to do with the help of the rubber handle. A full rotation of the handle adjusts the height of the blade by 1/16 of an inch, and it has a maximum cutting depth of 3/32 of an inch.

Check how much you can save, buying the WEN 6550 on Amazon >>>

Conclusion

Both DIY-hobbyists and professional woodworkers can find value in a wood planer. Wood planers are a must-have tool to have in the workshop if you regularly need to adjust the thickness of multiple large boards. Instead of using a hand sander or a table sander to adjust the thickness of your board – a process which is both time-consuming and inaccurate – feed your boards through the machine and watch as the blades shave fractions of an inch off the top for a clean finish.

DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735

There are several factors to consider when looking at wood planer models. The most important features are feed speed, number and shape of the blades, cutter head speed, chip ejection port, weight and portability, and material support. Bench-top wood planers are limited in cutting capacity compared to industrial-grade machines used in professional woodworking factories, but for the common man or professional furniture builder, a portable bench-top wood planer will do just fine.

WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer

WEN 6550

In this article, we’ve provided you with our picks of the best five wood planers you can buy today. Three of the five best models are made by DEWALT, which is no surprise since DEWALT basically dominates the power tools industry. However, the best-performing model is the WEN 6550. What sets this machine apart from the rest is that the infeed and outfeed tables are made with solid granite that won’t warp over time and perform extremely well in preventing snipe.

Wood Planer Buying Guide Infographic



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A-Check Miscellaneous Planer

9 Best Planers for Pallet/Barn/Reclaimed Wood

There’s no feeling as satisfying as saying goodbye to expensive pieces of lumber purchased from retailers. With the right tools in your workshop, you can reuse old pieces of lumber you’ve inherited from your grandpa and ditch the pre-pampered stuff they sell with outrageous, marked-up prices. Of course, you’ll need a planer before you can get rid of those bloodsucking corporate stooges taking you for every penny you’re worth.

Sorry about that. The point we’re trying to get across is that you can prep your own wood if you have a planer. A planer, also known as a thicknesser, shaves thin layers of wood off the top of a board. The result is parallel sides – perfect and ready for further processing.


Types of Planers

There are two main types of planers to choose from. There are large, floor models that huge companies use to flatten thousands of feet of board per day. Now, unless you plan on running your own milling business, this may not be the type of planer you’re looking for. It can cost thousands of dollars and require hundreds more in utilities to operate monthly.

Then there are small, benchtop models that fit in great in garage workshops. They don’t have the same planing capacity as floor models have, but for regular small-scale carpentry projects, a benchtop planer will pay for itself.

Planer vs. Jointer – What’s the difference?

This is perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions regarding planers. Both tools are used in the milling process to flatten the surfaces of wooden boards, so how exactly do they differ?

A planer has a downward-facing, multi-knife cutterhead that removes thin layers of material from a board. Before running your workpiece through the planer, it needs to have one of its surfaces jointed or flattened completely. The cutterhead cuts the opposite side, making it perfectly parallel, so if the board is bent, the planer will replicate the bend.

A jointer is used to flatten one side of the board. This tool removes bends and twists using an upward-facing cutterhead which the board is passed over. It also makes sharp corners and prepares the board for planing.

A jointer’s job can be replaced by a handheld planer. It’s tedious and time-consuming, but it’s possible, whereas making parallel sides without a planer is a lot more challenging. For this reason, many would argue that a planer is a much better tool to invest in if when choosing between the two.

Planer Buying Guide

A quick look-see on the interwebs and you’ll find hundreds of different benchtop planers to choose from. You could close your eyes, play eenie-meenie, purchase any random model and hope for the best, or you can read our guides on how to pick up the best planer for your next project.

However, the “best” planer depends on what you plan on doing. In this article, we’ll split the buying guide into three based on three distinct planing tasks – working with pallets, working with barnwood, and reclaiming rough, old wood.

Best Planer for Pallet Wood

Pallets are flat transport structures that keep the transported objects stable as they’re lifted by a forklift. Businesses also use pallets to ship out their products if they require extra protection for the road, so if you’re a woodworking enthusiast, pallets are basically free raw materials.

But not all pallets are made the same. Take a look at the pallet’s grains and feel for its weight; you’ll find that some pallets are sturdier and considerably heavier than others. In this brief guide, we’ll help you find the right planer so you can use pallet wood to create beautiful pieces for your living room.

Motor Power

The wood used to create pallets is not a consistent type of wood. Some are made of hardwood (trees that shed leaves during autumn) while others are constructed from softwood (trees that stay green all year long). The right motor for dealing with pallets really depends on what sort of wood it’s made out of.

If you’re fortunate enough to be shipped softwood pallets when purchasing stuff online, then your planer doesn’t need to come equipped with the beefiest motor in terms of amperage. However, for hardwoods, even a powerful 15-amp model may prove to be insufficient in planing the pallet’s entire surface evenly.

Width and Height Capacity

There’s no way you’re ever going to fit a full-sized pallet through a planer. Good thing these pallets can be deconstructed by pulling out nails and other adhesives. Most benchtop planers are designed to fit boards as thick as 6 inches and as wide as around 15 inches. This should be more than enough to pass single pallets boards through. If you’re dealing with larger pallets, feel free to cut them down to size using a circular saw or table saw.

Cutterhead

The cutterhead is the component that does the cutting (if that wasn’t already obvious). A planer’s cutterhead can come with two or more blades. Generally speaking, more blades is better since it allows the cutterhead to deliver more cuts per second, giving the board an ultra-smooth finish.

Additionally, you may want to also check out what sort of knives the cutterhead uses. There are high-speed steel knives that are inexpensive and great for softwoods, and then there are helical knives that last quite a long time and are ideal for hardwoods.

Furthermore, knives can either be re-sharpened to extend their life or reversible and disposable. For planing pallets, we’d recommend getting cheap, reversible HSS blades. That is unless you plan on using your planer for other projects and tougher woods.

Best Planer for Barn Wood

Barn wood is exactly what it sounds like. It’s wood taken from old, dilapidated barns that are restored and put to good use. Barn wood isn’t known for being the most appealing or preferred type of wood for building furniture, but after sending it through a planer, you’ll soon realize that the old shed/barn you have in the back is furniture just waiting to be built. In this guide, we’ll go over what sort of things to look for in barn wood planer.

Things to know about Barn Wood

Barn wood, similar to pallet wood, is not a single type of wood. The boards can come from any type of tree depending on whether the barn was made by a professional or is just a makeshift place to keep small livestock. Before running any boards from a deconstructed barn through a planer, make sure that there aren’t any nails or other hard objects stuck in the wood since they could potentially destroy the planer’s knives. It’s a good idea to run a rough brush across the surface of the board to release any dirt or pebbles that may be lodged in existing cracks. After all, nature’s elements do crazy things to wooden buildings.

Motor Power

Barn wood is typically made up of hardwood. For as long as your old barn has stood, the wood has slowly become weaker in structure. So for the most part, you won’t need a super-powerful planer to get the job done. A simple 10- to 12-amp model will do well, but we’d still recommend going larger if you’d like a more versatile benchtop planer for your shop.

Depth Adjustment

One of the most important parts of a planer is the depth adjustment system. The depth adjustment system moves the cutterhead up and down to remove more or less material per pass. Typically, depth adjustment systems move the cutterhead at 1/16-inch increments.

Just so you know, you never want to go beyond 1/16 of an inch per pass when planing old barn wood. Not only do you risk burning the planer’s motor, but you also increase the risk of destroying barn wood due to its weaker structure.

Cutterhead

Like planing pallets, smoothing the face of a barn wood is best done with a three-knife cutterhead. More knives translate into more cuts packed in a 60-second time frame, leaving a smoother finish. You’ll definitely want more knives when working with old, rotting barn wood as they will treat the wood much more delicately than a two-knife cutterhead.

Best Planer for Reclaimed Wood

For those of you who have inherited piles and piles of lumber from your grandparents but aren’t sure what to do with it, fret not; there are planers designed to bring even the oldest, mildewy-est pieces of wood out of the grave an into furniture.

Things to know about Reclaimed Wood

Even though barn wood is technically reclaimed lumber, this section will speak of reclaimed lumber in a more general sense. Reclaimed wood can be any type of wood that has served its purpose as furniture or building in the past, so they’re bound to have marks of wear and tear.

After being exposed to sun, rain, and snow, reclaimed wood is most likely going to deteriorate much more rapidly than new lumber. Even boards reclaimed from furniture lose their structural integrity after numerous cleaning sessions with chemicals.

Treat reclaimed lumber with care. Run it over a jointer a few times to get rid of twists and bends before sending it through a planer.

Motor Power

It’s not completely necessary to have the largest available motor to plane reclaimed wood, but it would be great if the boards you’re restoring come from ancient hardwood. A planer with a 10- to 15-amp motor would be more than enough to shave thin layers off of deteriorating wood.

Three-Knife Cutterhead

When bringing life back to reclaimed wood, a planer with a three-knife cutterhead is ideal. With each turn of the cutterhead, it’ll deliver three quick cuts for a much smoother finish compared to dual-knife setups.

Snipe Control

Benchtop planers all have one thing in common: producing snipe. Snipe is the removal of a sliver of too much material on the head and tail ends of stock. Basically, the finished product needs to have both ends removed in order for the board’s two main faces to be perfectly parallel. Reclaimed wood isn’t exactly something that you need to be careful with prepping since, let’s be honest, the stuff comes cheap.

Support Tables

The support tables are those found on the front and back end of the planer. They support the board as it passes beneath the cutterhead. Longer support tables are required to reduce the risk of long boards. Some planers come with infeed-outfeed tables that exceed 30 inches, while others don’t have them at all (sold separately). Check the planer to see whether it comes with detachable or collapsible supporting tables.

Final Remarks

A planer is one of the handiest tools you could ever own. They’re a mandatory investment if you plan on using old, weathered pieces of lumber for rustic furniture. You can get reclaimed lumber from dilapidated barns or sheds, from lumber mills, and even from your grandparents’ or parents’ garage.

In this article, we’ve mainly talked about how benchtop planers are the must-have type of planer. Floor models are great, but their investment cost is astronomical and won’t make sense unless you want to open your own commercial milling business.

This guide split up different planers for different types of reclaimed wood. We’ve talked about how pallet wood, the stuff you get from when companies ship large appliances to your home, is quite unpredictable in terms of wood type is used.

Like pallet wood, barn wood is not a consistent species of wood. Dilapidated barns may be made of expensive hardwood or lumber taken from the nearest forest. For old, worn barn wood, the planer needs to be delicate enough not to disintegrate the weakened structure of the board, but also sufficiently powerful to cut shallow cuts.

Reclaimed wood is a general term that can include pallet and barn wood. A planer for bringing life back to reclaimed wood can be anything that has a three-knife cutter head, at least a 10-amp motor, and reduces snipe as much as possible. Finding such a benchtop planer is not going to be difficult.



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Miscellaneous Planer

Delta Power Tools 22-590 Portable Planer Review

If you plan on taking your woodworking to the next level, then you need to ditch the pre-pampered boards from large retailers and mill your own lumber. You can purchase boards from lumber mills at a fraction of the cost – all you need to do is give them a thorough jointing and planing and you’ll be good to go. This, of course, means you’ll need a high-quality thickness planer to get the job done.

Delta Power Tools 22-590 Portable Planer Review

From the seemingly infinite number of thickness planers out there on the market, finding the right one can be a challenge. We pride ourselves in being able to distinguish the good from the bad, which leads to the question: is the Delta Power Tools 22-590 Portable Planer worth the investment?


Motor Power

Thickness planers need to come with powerful motors to dimension all types of wood. The more powerful the motor, the more versatile the thickness planer is since it can be used to shave layers off of soft and hardwoods alike. This DPT tool comes with a hefty 15-amp motor which delivers up to 10,000 RPM. This is the largest motor available in planers while still retaining its portability.

Delta Power Tools 22-590 Portable Planer

Cutterhead

The electric motor drives the cutterhead to deliver a high number of cuts per inch. Planer cutterheads can come with either two or three knives, and more knives translate into cleaner finishes. This planer model comes with a 3-knife cutterhead for maximum cutting efficiency – up to 30,000 cuts per minute. However, the board’s isn’t even across the entire surface, requiring more than three passes to get the surface to the desired smoothness. This, unfortunately, means having to remove more material than previously planned.

Feed Rate and Cuts per Inch

The feed rate is the speed at which the planer’s rollers move the board from the infeed table to the outfeed table. This model only has one speed – 26 feet per minute – and the 3-knife cutterhead delivers around 96 cuts per minute. The surprising thing is that these specs match those of higher quality, more expensive planers, but produce considerably worse finishes.

Maximum Board Width and Thickness

As a portable planer, it’s not realistic to expect it to be able to swallow humongous pieces of rough lumber, but rather sizable boards should be able to pass through it without too much pre-dimensioning. The 22-590 can plane boards 6 inches tall and up to 13 inches wide. Nothing too amazing here since this is the average capacity for most portable planers.

Delta Power Tools 22-590 Planer

Infeed-Outfeed Tables Support

The length of the infeed and outfeed tables determines the maximum length of a board that can pass comfortably under the planer’s cutterhead. Longer tables are preferred since they can support longer boards, but it would mean having to detach and reattach them when transporting the unit. This planer’s tables can support boards as long as 10 inches which, when compared to other portable planers, is actually quite short.

Snipe Control

Snipe is the unintended removal of too much material on both the front and tail ends of the board. Even the best portable planers have this problem since the infeed and outfeed rollers do not grasp the board simultaneously as it passes under the cutterhead. After passing numerous boards under this tool, we and many others found that it manages/reduces snipe extremely well. This is actually quite a shock since it requires several passes to produce smooth surfaces.

Depth Gauge

It’s important that you adjust the height of the cutterhead before passing wooden pieces through the planer. If it’s set too far deep into the board, it’ll overwork the motor, dull the knives quicker, and leave deep scratches on your material. The cutting depth can be set to anywhere between 1/8 and 1-1/4 inches deep, though we recommend staying within the 1/8 to ¼-inch range for the best, yet slightly jagged, results. The gauge’s locking mechanism works like a charm to produce repeated cuts across all of your workpieces.

Dust Port

As your boards pass beneath the cutterhead, the knives will quickly remove thin layers of the material, producing copious amounts of dust, chips, and shavings. To help cope with debris, Delta Power Tools has included a 4-inch dust port in this model. Most of the debris will fall in the direction of the dust port where your shop vac or dust extractor can suction it up easily. You’ll still find quite a bit of dust near the base of the planer, but it’s not so much that you’ll curse internally as you sweep it all up.

Delta Power Tools 22-590

Portability

As a portable planer, it needs to travel well and not weigh you down as you load and unload it from your vehicle. The 22-590, with its infeed and outfeed tables attached, weighs roughly 76 pounds – not too far off from the industry average. Needless to say, it travels well, and the durable casing is able to withstand bumps along the way.

Problems with the Drive Belt

One problem that numerous customers have complained about (not us though) is that the drive belt and pulley system isn’t perfectly in place straight out of the box. This can lead to burning through the drive belt quicker than normal. Fortunately, replacement drive belts are inexpensive, so if you do end up tearing through the first, you can get a second without spending too much. Furthermore, the misplacement of the pulley and/or drive belt can be fixed quickly by removing two stainless steel screws and wiggling the motor in place.

Verdict

So after testing out the Delta Power Tools 22-590 Portable Planer for a while, here are our findings. First, there are plenty of better brand-name portable planers out there on the market. Second, this tool reduces snipe to mere millimeters but does a pretty poor job and producing smooth surfaces.

And thirdly, the 10-inch board support makes the 22-590 suitable for smaller projects so it probably won’t deserve a spot in a professional workshop. We were actually quite saddened so many unacceptable faults in this tool since it is produced by a reputable manufacturer.

Overall, this tool would probably work well in smaller woodshops but it’s not something that you would brag to your friends about.

Delta Power Tools 22-590 Portable Planer Review



Categories
Miscellaneous Planer

WEN 6552T Thickness Planer Review

One of the most beneficial tools you could ever have in your woodshop is a planer. But perhaps you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars or the floor space in your shop to dedicate to a single tool. Instead of getting a full-sized planer, consider investing in a benchtop model – a compact model that sits on a workbench or on the floor for easy dimensioning. Granted, they have limited capacities, but it just means you’re not spending more on what you don’t need.

WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer Review

Of the numerous benchtop planers available on the market, theirs is one model that stands out from the rest – The WEN 6552T. If there’s one thing you need to know about WEN power tools, it’s their surprisingly great quality at super-affordable prices. So what makes the WEN 6552T so awesome in the minds of all its customersThat’s what we’re going to find out in this article.


Powerful 15-Amp Motor

First of all, we notice that this WEN planer comes equipped with a 15-amp motor. This is the largest motor available in benchtop planers. The motor will spin the cutter head at a rate of 10,000 RPM with enough power to shave thin layers off of any type of lumber.

Now, even though it features a large 15-amp motor, we found that this tool does not do that well in all hardwoods. Perhaps professional workers who work regularly with hardwood may need to search for another planer elsewhere.

WEN 6552T

Triple-Knife Cutterhead for Maximum Cutting Efficiency

Three knives are better than two, at least in benchtop planers. The more knives the cutter head has, the more cuts it’ll produce per rotation. The 10,000-RPM cutterhead combined with the tripe-knife setup lets this WEN machine deliver up to 25,500 cuts per minute.

Easy-to-use and Accurate Depth Gauge

Planers are designed to remove thin layers off your work material with each pass under the cutterhead. With the WEN, you can adjust the height of the cutterhead from between 0 and 3/32 of an inch. Locking the depth gauge is easy to do so you can make repeated cuts across numerous boards without any additional tampering with the depth gauge’s handle.

Feed Rate (fpm) and Cuts per Inch (CPI)

Feed rate is the speed at which the planer’s rollers move your material from the front, under the cutterhead, and out the back end. The feed rate also determines how many cuts the planer will deliver for every inch of the board’s surface. This WEN planer has a feed rate of 26 fpm (feet per minute) and delivers up to 96 CPI.

WEN 6552T 13 in. 15 Amp 3-Blade Benchtop Corded Thickness Planer

Dust Port with Fan

Since planers produce chips and dust by the tons, it’s a good idea to find a model that has a working dust port. Many bench planers’ ports are designed in such a way that it waits for falling debris to gather near the port. Not the 6552T from WEN. This tool features a fan-assisted dust port that suctions a majority of the produced dust and chips into the port. Simply connect your shop vac or dust extractor to the 2-, 2-1/2-, or 4-inch dust port, and you can maintain a clean workspace while you dimension hundreds of feet of wood.

13-inch Width Capacity

Remember how we spoke of benchtop planer’s limited capacity compared to full-sized modelsThe WEN can swallow up boards as wide as 13 inches and as thick as 6 inches. Granted, this is far from what a floor model can do, but as a compact machine, this is more than enough to pass most of your boards through. If you’re dealing with larger boards, simply tear them down to size with a table saw, or circular saw before passing it under the WEN 6552T’s cutterhead.

Foldable Support Tables for Easy Transport and Storage

The WEN 6552T comes with both an infeed table and an outfeed table that attached to the central worktable found beneath the cutterhead. Unlike many portable planers out there, this unit doesn’t require you to screw and unscrew the tables on. Instead, when it comes time to transport the 6552T or put it in storage, simply lift the tables up. It saves space and makes cleanup a breeze.

WEN 6552T Thickness Planer

Supports 22-1/2-inch-long Boards

The infeed and outfeed tables’ main role is to support longer pieces of boards that pass under the cutterhead. Without these tables, you’re most likely left working with shorted pieces up to 10 inches or so. With these tables in place, you can pass boards as long as 22-1/2 inches comfortable and with a reduced risk of snipe. These tables are not the longest and don’t offer the most support, but this is partly due to the fact that these are foldable tables and not ones you need to attach every time you need them.

Sturdy Construction

One of the more amazing things about the 6552T is its sturdy design. Made almost entirely of cast iron, this unit will not dent or warp in shape as you transport it from job site to job site. Plus, it’s a compact unit that won’t take up too much space in your truck.

Reliable Rollers for Snipe Control

Another great thing that we found in this tool is that it handles snipe extremely well. Most of the time, our boards are perfect, and in the times that it does produce snipe, it’s only about 3 millimeters max. The infeed and outfeed rollers grasp the board, keeping it in place, ensuring that your boards will be affected by only a minimal amount of snipe.

Verdict

Basically, this is a nice benchtop planer for hobbyists, but even professionals can get a ton of value from this tool if they don’t work regularly with hardwood. It has the capacity (13 inches wide, 6 inches thick, and 22-1/2 inches long) to get a ton of work done. The somewhat stubbiness of the tables can be tolerated since they fold up rather than detach from the base. If you’re looking for an inexpensive benchtop planer to for simple dimensioning tasks, the WEN 6552T is definitely the tool to get.

WEN 6552T Thickness Planer Review

Check how much you can save, buying the WEN 6552T Thickness Planer on Amazon >>>



Categories
A-Check Miscellaneous Planer

WEN 6552 15 Amp Benchtop Thickness Planer Review

A thickness planer is an excellent tool to have in your workshop. Even if you purchase pre-pampered lumber from a retailer, there’s no guarantee that the faces are going to be exactly parallel to one another. This is where your own thickness planer comes in; its cutter heads will dig deep to ensure that your boards are well-prepared for further processing and assembly.

In today’s article, we’d like to check out the 6552 from WEN – a thickness planer that seems to be doing well in the market. Reviews have been mixed regarding this Chinese-made thicknesser, but the majority of the customers have nothing but good things to say. Let’s take a closer look at the 6552.


Motor

For the most part, larger motors are preferable in thickness planers since they have to perform one of the most demanding jobs, namely chopping off thin layers off the top of boards. This tool comes with a 15-amp motor which is quite large for a benchtop planer.

3-Knife Setup

The 6552’s cutter head is fitted with three blades for maximum cutting efficiency. In general, more blades mean a smoother surface, so we’re glad that this tool comes with more blades than the average planer.

Cutterhead Speed

The combination of the 15-amp motor and the 3-knife cutterhead really makes this tool stand out. It generates enough power and speed for the cutter head to deliver up to 25,500 cuts per minute. For those of you who don’t know, more cuts packed per minute translates into a smoother finish.

Board Capacity

Benchtop planers have a limited infeed capacity. This is mainly due to its compact size and portability. However, this doesn’t mean that benchtop planers can’t be used for large boards. For instance, the 6552 can swallow and spit outboards as large as 6 inches thick and 13 inches wide.

Reversible Blades

Thicknessers can use either reusable blades or reversible blades. Reusable blades are those that can be re-sharpened after becoming dull. The sharpening process can be tedious if you don’t have the right tools.

Reversible blades are blades with sharp edges on both sides. After one side becomes dull, you flip the blade over and get as much use out of this side as the previous side. The 6552 uses disposable, reversible blades that have quite a lot lifespan, depending on how often you use the tool and the toughness of your boards.

Support Tables

The 6552 comes with infeed and outfeed tables that support boards up to 24 inches in length. The height of each table can be adjusted to help in producing the desired angle. However, we found that adjusting the tables just causes trouble and long snipe marks. It’s best to leave the tables flush with the central support under the cutterhead.

When it’s time to put the tool away or prepare it for transport, the support tables can flip up. This saves room and makes it more manageable to lift. This is pretty handy if you need to transport the unit from job site to job site. This is much better than having to screw the tables on and off.

Depth Adjustment

It’s important that you only shave off a thin layer from the top of your workpiece at a time. Otherwise you’ll overwork the motor and dull the blades of a thicknesser quicker. The 6552 has a turning handle to adjust the cutting depth. Each 90° turn moves the blade 1/64 of an inch up or down. It has a maximum cutting capacity of 3/32 of an inch deep.

Dust Port

Thicknessers are notorious for producing tons of sawdust and chips. This is why it’s so important to find a thicknesser with a working dust port. The 6552 comes with a 2-inch port and 4-inch adapter which connects to a dust extractor or shop vac for optimal dust management. It is also assisted by a fan to help suction up and blow the dust through the port, collection most if not all of the dust produced.

Double Rollers

If you’ve used a thicknesser before, then you already know how much trouble having to carry your stock from the outfeed end back to the infeed end for a second pass can be. It’s actually more annoying than anything else. The 6552 has a double roller system which allows you to push the stock back through the machine after finishing the pass. It does nothing to help the tool’s performance, but it is a handy feature that shaves seconds off of your workload.

Verdict

So let’s get some things out in the open. The WEN 6552 is not the best thickness planer available on the market, but at its price category, it really is something to behold. The 3-knife setup produces up to 25,500 cuts per minute which is mighty impressive, and it can swallow boards as wide as 13 inches, as thick as 6 inches, and as long as 24 inches (without additional supports) to boot. It’s a pretty neat tool in our book and definitely worth the investment.



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Miscellaneous Planer

DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer Review

A planer or thickensser is an essential tool in prepping your own lumber. Anybody who has ever purchased from a retailer will know that lumber is extremely expensive despite literally growing on (or from) trees. With a planer, you can dimension old, rough wood into usable pieces to create beautiful pieces of art. Think of a planer as an investment since you can literally save thousands of dollars by restoring old wood over time.

DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer Review

The DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer is one of the most popular portable planers on the market. This portable planer can dimension almost any sized board you can think of without a hitch. In this article, we’ll go over the various features and specs in the DW734 and determine whether it really does live up to the hype.


Motor Power and Speed

You’ll find most portable planers to come with 12-amp motors, but the DW734 bumps it up three notches by sporting a beefy 15-amp one. The question you really need to ask yourself is “Do I really need this much power?” Stronger motors are designed to cut through harder materials, so if you work regularly with hardwood, then yes, you do indeed need a larger motor for the job.

However, just because this tool has a larger motor than many other benchtop planers doesn’t make it fit every type of hardwood. When dealing with oak or hard maple, the board will most likely end up with a rough, jagged face. Additionally, it takes several more passes for this tool to get boards to the desired smoothness – roughly 15 passes compared to others that only require four or five max.

DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer

Width and Thickness

This machine accepts boards as wide as 12-1/2 inches and as thick as 6 inches. Planing store-bought pieces of lumber is no problem with the DW734 since they’re considerably thinner than a foot long and roughly 1-1/2 inches thick. This tool is great for restoring old pieces of wood that you may have laying around or inherited from a grandparent due to its tremendous planing capacity.

Three-Knife Cutterhead and Depth of Cut

Generally speaking, the more knives that can be inserted into the cutterhead, the better the planer will be at resurfacing material. The DW734 comes with a three-knife cutterhead that smoothens the surface to near perfection. The knives are disposable, so there’s absolutely no point trying to sharpen them. However, they are reversible so you can get twice as much work out of a single blade.

Long Support Tables and 4-Column Carriage Lock

The length of the infeed and outfeed tables plays a direct role in how long of a board can fit into the machine. The DW734 comes with massive tables that provide 33-1/2 inches of support.

One problem with planers is snipe – an unintended excessively deeper cut on the head and tail ends of a board. This tool has a 4-column carriage lock which reduces (not eliminates) the amount of snipe by keeping the material stable while it passes beneath the cutterhead. This system combined with the long tables really does a wonderful job at keeping snipe to the very edges of your board, though we recommend either attaching a sacrificial piece of scrap wood to both ends or simply chopping off the sniped parts.

DEWALT DW734 Planer

Dust Collection

A planer without a good dust management system is something you should never think of getting. Planers produce a heck of a lot of sawdust and chips, and if the planer is operated on the floor, the resulting debris could become a slipping hazard. With the DW734, this isn’t something you need to worry about. The built-in system pushes dust away from the cutterhead toward the dust port where you can connect a shop vac.

Portability

One of the best things about the DW734 is that it’s lightweight and portable. Including the infeed and outfeed tables, the unit weighs roughly 81 pounds. It also hardly takes up any space so loading it onto your truck or mounting it to a workbench won’t be too much trouble. Furthermore, the tables can fold in and out, further saving space for storage and transport.

DEWALT DW734

Verdict

In conclusion, the DW734 is a pretty good planer. The best thing about this tool is its snipe protection which limits how much of the board needs to be cut off. If you’re milling rough lumber, this translates into saving a huge amount of money in the long run.

However, the DeWalt DW734 is far from perfect. The first thing customers need to be aware of is the power of the motor which works beautifully on softwood and certain hardwood. Another thing is the number of times your material needs to pass under the cutterheads to produce a smooth finish. In every other regard – dust management, portability, and cutting capacity – this tool is an absolute beast.

DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer Review



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Miscellaneous Planer

Hand Planer vs Bench Planer

A planer is one of the most important tools to use in woodworking. If you need to dimension a board by reducing its thickness, a planer is the only tool to consider. Without one of these, you might be left attempting to perform a dangerous cut on a vertically standing board with a jig saw, or band saw.

There are several types of planers, including hand planers and bench planers. One of the most important considerations to make when choosing between the two is price over convenience, the former being inexpensive but a pain to use, and the latter being quick and easy but costly. In this article, we’re going to discuss what these two types of planers are and how they’re used.

Overview of Hand Planers

A hand planer is a handheld tool that’s driven by manual force. It’s used to shave extremely thin layers of material off the surface of your board to reduce the thickness down to the desired size.

Hand planers have been around for quite some time, and many old-school carpenters and hobbyist woodworkers swear by this tool. We guess the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is something that these people truly believe in.


Downsides of a Hand Planer

One of the most significant downsides of using a hand planer is the amount of energy you need to exert to shave even a centimeter off the top of your board. Using this tool requires a balance between downward and sideways pressure to shave the right amount with each pass. Press too hard, and you’ll end up with more material removed than you planned. Slide too hard, and you might end up digging into your board at an angle.

If you’re a pro woodworker, then you know how important it can be to stick to a tight schedule. Unfortunately, if your project calls for reducing the thickness of a board and you only have a hand planer, you’re more than likely going to miss the deadline by a few centuries. Manually planing a board can take a lot of time. If you want one of these in your shop, we recommend using it for light-duty planing only (small boards or small-scale planing).

How to Use a Hand Planer

Here are the steps needed to begin smoothing the surfaces of your boards with a hand planer.

1. Sharpen the Blade

The blade needs to be as sharp as a razor in order to effective shave thin layers off your workpiece. Hold the blade at 30° when running it across a piece of sandpaper.

2. Adjust the Angle of the Blade

After the blade is sharpened, place it back on the hand planer and turn the adjustment wheel. The more acute the angle, the finer the shavings will be. If the angle is too steep, it’ll end up tearing your board.

3. Run the Planer Across the Surface of the Board

Begin by placing the tool on one of the edges of the board. Apply pressure by holding onto the knob with one hand and the handle with the other. Push forward and across the board until you’ve reached a point that doesn’t need to be thinned out. Use a straight edge or a high-precision vernier caliper to measure how thick the board is.

Overview of Bench Planers

A bench planer – a.k.a. benchtop planer, thicknesser, or thickness planer – is a power tool that pros and contract workers rely on to reduce the thickness of large boards. It comes with one or multiple cutter heads which go up and down on a passing board to remove less than a fraction of an inch at a time. A good bench planer is extremely accurate and produces very little snipe, something that is common in all power planers.

Downsides of a Bench Planer

The largest downside of a bench planer is that it produces snipe. Snipe is when a board’s head and tail ends have slightly more material removed from it than the center of the board. This is because the rollers shift the position of the board slightly upward, causing the cutter head to remove a bit more from the ends.

There are two ways to eliminate the risk of snipe. The first is by placing sacrificial boards on both the head and tail ends of the board. Snipe will be left on the spare boards, and your workpiece will be smoothened out perfectly. The second method is by manually tilting the board downward using your hand before the board meets the cutterheads. This method requires a bit of experience to get it right every time.

Another downside is that a bench planer doesn’t make the board perfectly flat. We mean that if one side of the board is curved, then the planer will produce a similar curve on the other side. The workpiece needs to be flattened using a jointer or even a hand planer beforehand.

How to Use a Bench Planer

Using a bench planer is simple as long as you follow these quick and easy steps.

1. Sharpen/Replace the Cutterheads

Some cutterheads can be resharpened and reused, whereas other models require that you purchase fresh blades. Whichever model you get, make sure that the cutter heads are in perfect working order and ready to chop lumber.

2. Adjust the Depth of the Cut

A bench planer is supposed to cut only a fraction of an inch per pass. If you attempt to set the depth to one inch, you could end up reducing the life of your blades or even cause the machine’s motor to overheat and die a premature death. With every turn of the depth adjustment knob/lever, you should pass the board through the machine twice to get the best results.

3. Feed the Board through the Bench Planer

After the blades are deemed sharp and the board is completely flat, you can now push the board through the machine to receive a-choppin’. Whether you want to add sacrificial boards to the ends or tilt it slightly as it enters and exits the machine is up to you. We recommend leaving the board slightly longer than you need; that way you can just saw off the sniped ends.

Which is the Better Option?

The only thing left to decide now is whether manual labor beats hiring machines. We feel that a bench planer is the better tool to get if you have the funds for it. If not, then prepare to do a ton of repetitive work for hours on end on a single board. The hand planer has no depth adjustment system to prevent the blade from cutting more than you’d like. If you end up tearing the wood because the blade is too steep or because you’ve lost focus while planing (DANGEROUS!), then all your work will be for naught.



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Guides Info Guides Planer

What is Planer Snipe: Explanation Guide

A thickness planer is a worthy investment if you need to reclaim old lumber or dimension boards for a project. It beats painstakingly using a hand planer every time if you need to alter the thickness of long, hardwood boards. However, most thickness planer models have one thing in common: producing snipe.

What is Planer Snipe

What is snipe?

Snipe is a deeper cut made onto the leading and trailing ends of a board when fed through a thickness planer. It is much more common and more severe on the leading end. Snipe can be quite detrimental to your project, especially if you need the entire surface of the board cut to a certain thickness. If one or both ends of the board have slightly more material cut out, you’re basically left with an unusable piece of scrap board that’ll probably find life in another job.

What causes snipe?

Running a board through a thickness planer will almost always guarantee at least one sniped end. However, don’t think that the manufacturers are all in it together to piss you off or are in cahoots with lumber retailers in order to increase their sales volume. In fact, lumber producers are probably also victims of snipe from time to time.

Although there are several reasons why your board can end up with sniped ends, the main cause is the feed rollers. As you feed a board through a thickness planer and under the cutter head, the rollers will latch onto the board, pushing and pulling the board completely through the machine.

dewalt planer snipe

If you’re not careful, the board will enter the machine at a very, VERY slight angle, causing the leading end of the board to lift very slightly before meeting the second roller. When this happens, it pushes upward toward the cutter head instead of directly beneath it. The result: more material chopped off at the leading end of the board, i.e., snipe.

The reason why the entire board isn’t cut at a depth of the sniped end is that as the second roller catches the leading end of the board, the board becomes balanced, allowing the cutterhead to cut at the right depth. As the board passes and is released from the first roller, your problems begin anew with the trailing end.

Another cause of sniped ends when passing a board through your thickness planer is that the infeed and outfeed tables aren’t set flush with the work surface. As the board passes through, it’ll either drop or climb in order to pass through the machine before dropping or climbing again as it meets the outfeed table. This is an extremely rare cause of snipe, though it’s something worth noticing, especially in models with detachable/folding infeed and outfeed tables.

ridgid planer snipe

So what can I do to stop sniped edges?

If you’re ready to invest in a large, industrial thickness planer with multiple infeed and outfeed rollers and 10-foot long tables, your snipe problems will be over. However, for the average hobbyist or even small-scale commercial worker, this just isn’t feasible. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to prevent or reduce snipe.

Checking the flatness of the board

What you can do is pay attention to the flatness of the board. You’ll need to run the board over a jointer several times to get the surface as flat as possible. If flattened perfectly, the board should sit flush with the thickness planer’s table, preventing or at least reducing the amount of snipe.

planer problems solutions

Using a sacrificial piece of wood

What many people do to prevent producing sniped edges on their project pieces is by attaching a piece of scrap wood several inches long to both ends of the board. You can use screws (BE CAREFUL! Make sure that the screws are deeper in the wood than the thickness planer’s cutting depth) or glue to attach the sacrificial board. As the board enters the thickness planer, all the snipe will be on the scrap wood and not on your precious board. It’s an extra step in the furniture-building process, but it’s necessary in order to guarantee snipe-free results.

Fighting leverage with leverage

If you don’t have the feel of the degree and length of snipe, you shouldn’t do this step. Instead, we recommend sticking to using a scrap block of wood to take the hit.

snipe free planer

The lift of the board is what causes the leading end to run right into the cutterhead. You need to add negative leverage against the board in order to ensure that it sits flush with the table while it passes under the cutterhead. As the board reaches the second roller, move to the outfeed side of the machine and repeat the leveraging process as the board releases from the infeed roller and exits the machine.

This is easier said than done, especially if you don’t quite get the hang of lifting the trailing end of the board ever-so-slightly to prevent the leading end from lifting into the cutterhead. Practice makes perfect so try a few runs with an unused board.

thickness planer

What about “locking” the cutterhead?

Marketing reps might try and trick you into purchasing a lock in order to keep the thickness planer’s cutterhead fixed at the correct depth to prevent snipe from occurring. First of all, this is all just noise; they’re assuming that the cutterhead, if not locked by using an external system, will go bouncing all over the place, intentionally causing sniped ends on your board. We have yet to find a thickness planer model with gyrating cutterheads, so a height lock makes absolutely no sense.

Final Remarks

Almost every thickness planer model will produce snipe; there’s really no way around it unless you get the super-mega-industrial thickness planer that’ll set you back tens of thousands of dollars. Instead, there are three things you can do to reduce the degree of sniped edges: ensuring perfect flatness of your board by passing it over a jointer multiple times, attaching scrap blocks of wood to the leading and trailing ends of your board to absorb the snipe, and slightly leveraging your board to prevent it from running directly into the cutter. Don’t fall for external cutterhead height locks for your thickness planer since they don’t make sense.

how to adjust your planer to eliminate sniping


Categories
Joiner Miscellaneous Planer

Jointer vs Planer: What’s the Difference?

One of the most commonly asked questions by people looking to get in the furniture-building game is what the differences are between jointers and planers. This is understandable since they both are used in preparing boards by cutting away bits of the board at a time. In this article, we’re going to discuss in depth what truly sets them apart and why they’re both great investments.

What is an electric planer used for?

What is a jointer?

A jointer is a machine that flattens boards and straightens the edges. Operators need to run the surfaces of a board over the machine’s cutterhead to get the edge and face as flat as possible. It removes material at a preset depth in order to get one side, and one edge of the board flattened completely. However, making the surface flat doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ready to be processed further, but the woodworker needs to pay close attention to the natural shape of the board (cupping) to get the board’s surface as flush against the jointer’s work surface as possible.

What is a planer?

A planer, also known as a thicknesser or thickness planer, is a machine that modifies the dimensions of the board. It does this by removing material at a predetermined thickness in order to make the cut-side parallel to the other side. However, if your board is naturally bowed, running it through a planer will reduce the thickness but will do nothing to fix the bow. The only way to ensure flawless parallelism is by running one side of the board over a jointer first, especially if the board is naturally curved or twisted.

What's the difference between a jointer and planer?

Why get either?

Once way professional woodworkers cut costs in their projects is by reclaiming old lumber or milling their own. This means chopping down trees or purchasing bulk rough lumber from lumber yards and processing them in their workshop. Compared to getting beautifully prepared boards at a retailer, you can save a considerable amount of money while increasing your profit margins. However, in order to do this, you’re going to need to invest in both a jointer and a planer.

You might be asking about whether you should get a jointer or a planer first for your garage workshop. This is also a commonly asked questioned, and the answer isn’t quite simple. It ultimately depends on your needs.

Can you use a jointer as a planer?

If you’re picking up bulk 2x4s at a retailer, then you might need a planer. A planer will help adjust the thickness of the board to suit your project. You don’t have to worry about rough edges and uneven surfaces since they’ve already been run over a jointer and planed before being put on display.

Another scenario would be milling your own lumber. It’s a lot easier to flatten a board by hand by shaving away the twists and turns of a board than it is to hand-plane the entire board to the desired thickness. In this case, we’d say that you do the flattening manually then feed the board through a planer.

Jointer and planer: cooperation in milling wood

The way a jointer is used in the milling process is by running one surface and one edge of the board over a jointer’s cutterhead. The best results from using a jointer come from passing the board multiple times over the blade; two or three times should do. Next, the operator needs to see whether the board is flat and free of shape defects.

You might be wondering what to do with the other side of the board and the other edges. Well, this is where a planer comes in. You need to place the board flat-surface down on the belt and rollers of a planer. The downward-facing cutterhead of the planer will chip away at the board.

Can you use a planer as a jointer?

This process reduces the thickness of the board but also makes the newly cut side parallel to the already-flattened surface from the jointer. Like a jointer, the best results come from feeding the board multiple times through the planer. You need to adjust the height of the cutterhead with each pass to get the board closer and closer to the desired thickness with each pass.

After it’s all said and done, you should have a perfectly usable board, ready for your next project. If there are any problems with the board such as uneven edges or bumps, then the board may need to pass over a jointer or be fed through a planer once or twice more.

Planer-Jointer Combo Tools

The planer or jointer debate has been one that has been debated since the beginning of time, or at least when the two tools became accessible by the public. In certain scenarios, you might need a jointer like where parallelism isn’t that important (parts of furniture hidden from eyesight like the bottom of cabinets or bed frames). In other cases, you’ll need a planer to dimension your stock.

Why is it called a jointer?

If you’re still unsure whether to prioritize one over the other, we recommend you take a look at planer-jointer combos. This is a versatile tool for people who need both functions but can’t invest in both machines for whatever reason. A planer-jointer tool is great for those with limited space or who are just looking for a one-thing-does-all type of machine.

However, a combo tool such as this doesn’t come without a few drawbacks. One of the most considerable cons of a planer-jointer is the amount of time it takes to switch it from jointer mode to planer mode and vice versa. If time isn’t a factor in your line of work, then we say go for it. If you’re looking to reduce your downtime, a jointer-planer isn’t the way to go.

Final Remarks

The question of how a jointer differs from a planer is one that has been repeatedly asked and will continue to be asked in the future. A jointer tears away the material of your board in order to make it sit flat. If there are twists or curls, a jointer will sort it right out. A planer will make one side of the board parallel to the other. If your board is naturally curled and hasn’t been flattened, either by hand or by passing over a jointer, then the planer will replicate the curve on the cut-side.

What does a jointer?


Categories
Miscellaneous Planer

Best Thickness Planers

Squaring and straightening wooden boards is essential for creating perfectly fitting furniture and fixtures. Doing this by hand can be overwhelming, especially if you plan on restoring old, hole-ridden boards back to their former glory. Instead, if you’re serious about your craft, consider investing in a thickness planer.

DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735X

Thickness planers are designed to shave thin layers off of a board with each pass the board makes under the cutterhead. This helps in ensuring a uniform thickness and that both sides of the board are parallel to each other.


Thickness Planer Buying Guide

As you can already guess, there are hundreds of different thickness planer models to choose from. In this article, we’ll provide you with a brief guide on what to look for in a thickness planer.

DEWALT DW735 Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735 Thickness Planer

Motor Power

The most important factor to consider when searching for a thickness planer is the motor. Since the number of cuts per minute and the cutting depth is determined by how powerful the motor is, you’ll want a model that features a beefy motor. We recommend only considering models that can deliver at least 8,000 RPM. Anything else and you might actually cause the motor to burn out, especially when working with hardwoods like mahogany and oak.

WEN 6550 Thickness Planer

WEN 6550 Thickness Planer

Type of Cutterhead

In general, there are two types of cutterheads available in thickness planers: helical and straight knives. Helical cutter heads often perform better in terms of smoothing and prevent snipe (unwanted tapered ends on a board), whereas straight knives are the cheaper option that are made of high-speed steel. Furthermore, thickness planers can come with a dual- or a tri-knife setup, the latter being the more efficient choice. Although straight knives are reusable and cheaper, this doesn’t mean that they perform badly. In fact, some of the best thickness planers come with straight knives.

Capacity

Capacity refers to how big a board can pass under the cutterheads of a thickness planer. Serious woodworkers need something with a larger capacity – at least around 11 inches wide and 6 inches thick. We wouldn’t recommend getting any model with a smaller capacity than that, especially if you plan on running large boards through the machine.

Makita 2012NB Thickness Planer

Makita 2012NB

Depth Adjustment Precision

Before passing a board through a thickness planer, you first need to adjust the height of the cutterheads to ensure that you’re cutting thin layers off the surface. For this reason, it’s of the utmost importance that you find a thickness planer model where you can easily adjust the height. This will allow you to trim your board to the precise dimensions for your project.

Dust Collection

Finally, when it comes to working in a woodshop, safety should always be your first priority. When it comes to thickness planers, this means eliminating as much wood dust and shavings – potential fire hazards – as possible. Find a thickness planer that has a large enough chute that can connect to your workshop’s dust collection system. In addition, some thickness planers even have fan-assisted ejection ports. This means the unit will blow out as much dust and chips as possible with leaving very little residue inside of the machine.

DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer

Top 5 Thickness Planers

Now that we know the fundamentals of what makes a good thickness planer, it’s time to take a stroll through the Internet and find the right model for us. This can be more challenging than you’d expect, especially with the hundreds upon hundreds of various models with different specs, capacities, and features. To help you in choosing the best model, we’ve compiled a list of the best five thickness planers available today.

5 WEN 6552 Thickness Planer

Something that may come as a shock to some people is that the Chinese-made 6552 from WEN is actually one of the best-performing thickness planers available. The maximum capacity that this machine can handle is boards of 13 inches wide and 6 inches thick. It features a powerful 15.0-amp motor that generates up to 25,500 cuts per minute.

WEN 6552 Thickness Planer

The quick rollers allow for boards to pass under the cutterheads at a rate of 26 feet per minute. You can adjust how deep to cut from between 0 and 3/32 of an inch. One common problem is that the 6552 can easily cause snipe despite it coming with sizable infeed and outfeed tables. So, perhaps consider investing in a better model if you plan on working with expensive woods.

Check how much you can save, buying the WEN 6552 Thickness Planer on Amazon >>>

WEN 6550 vs 6552: Planer Comparison

4 DEWALT DW735 Thickness Planer

DEWALT has made a name for itself by manufacturing some of the best woodworking tools. The DW735 features a 3-knife cutterhead with reversible and reusable HSS blades. The 15.0-amp motor delivers up to 10,000 cuts per minute.

DEWALT DW735 Thickness Planer

One unique feature of the DW735 is that users can select between two different speeds: a high 179 cuts per inch speed for quicker dimensioning and a low 96 cuts per inch speed for smoothing and finishing. Boards as large as 13 inches wide and 6 inches thick can pass under the cutterhead, and users can set the cutting depth by a maximum of 1/8 inches.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DW735 Thickness Planer on Amazon >>>

DEWALT DW735X vs DW735 vs DW734: Planer Comparison

3 Makita 2012NB Thickness Planer

Makita is another household name in the power tools industry. One of their more amazing thickness planers – the 2012NB – is truly something to behold. First of all, it has a board-cutting capacity of up to 12 inches wide and 6-3/32 inches thick.

Makita 2012NB Thickness Planer

Its 15.0-amp motor generates up to 17,000 cuts per minute with a feed rate of up to 28 feet per minute. One amazing feature of the 2012NB is that the blades of the cutterhead are easily removable for re-sharpening and reattaching, reducing the risk of accidentally slicing your fingers. It only has a one-speed setting of 179 cuts per inch, but even at such a high cutting speed, we find that this tool works great for both dimensioning and final smoothing of boards.

Check how much you can save, buying the Makita 2012NB Thickness Planer on Amazon >>>

2 WEN 6550 Thickness Planer

WEN makes a second appearance on our list of the five best thickness planers with their critically acclaimed 6550. At first glance, it might appear that there are no immediate differences between this model and the 6552.

WEN 6550 Thickness Planer

After all, it also features a 15.0-amp motor and has a depth adjustment of between 0 and 3/32 of an inch. Some minor differences include the 6550’s smaller cutting capacity – 12.5 inches wide by 6 inches thick – and slower cutting speed – 18,800 cuts per minute. What really sets this model apart from the 6552 and every other thickness planer on this list is the infeed and outfeed tables which are made of pure granite.

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1 DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer

Finally, DEWALT-lovers will be glad to know that we picked the DW735X as the first-place thickness planer. The one true question that most people will ask is what makes the X-version different from the DW735In all honesty, there’s only one major differentiating feature, namely the infeed and outfeed tables that come with the tool.

DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer

When you purchase the DeWalt DW735, you have to purchase the tables separately, but the X-model comes with them included in the box. With this kit, you get 13-inch long infeed and outfeed tables which increase support of boards of up to 26 inches to the 19-3/4-inch long base. The tables are what will help significantly reduce snipe and precious dollars on wooden boards.

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DEWALT DW735X vs WEN 6550 vs Makita 2012NB: Thickness Planer Comparison

Final Remarks

Basically, any woodworker – professional or otherwise – can benefit from thickness/wood planers, especially if they build long or tall furniture pieces and wooden fixtures. The main function of a thickness planer is to help dimension and square boards in preparation for further processing. If you’re fortunate enough to live within traveling distance of a lumberyard that sells old, blemished-covered boards at a discount, then a thickness planer can help restore their natural beauty.

WEN 6552 Thickness Planer

WEN 6552 Thickness Planer

Our brief buying guide talks about the main features to pay attention to when purchasing a thickness planers. These features include how powerful the motor is and how quickly the knives cut, what type of knives fit into the cutterhead, the largest-size board that can be fed into the machine, how precise you can make the depth-cutting adjustments, and how effective the dust chute is at expelling copious amounts of wood dust, chips, and shavings.

We’ve also provided you with our picks for the five best thickness planers out there on the market. Of the three different manufacturers who made an appearance on our list – WEN, Makita, and DEWALT – we find that DEWALT’s DW735X is the best of the best thickness planer for amateur woodworkers and professional craftsmen. Sure, you can choose the table-less DW735 if you work exclusively on small boards of up to 19-3/4 inches long, but anything bigger than that and you’ll need the tables for support.

DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer

Best Wood Planer: Buying Guide