What is a Hand Planer Used For?

Traditional hand planers are great tools for minor sanding and smoothing jobs, though they are extremely time- and energy-consuming. The better option would be to use a power planer that can provide more than 10,000 cuts per minute to complete smoothing jobs much quicker. However, power planers aren’t just designed for sanding and smoothing, but they also have a wide range of different applications.

What is a Hand Planer Used For?

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This article will focus on several different uses of a power planer. In the end, it depends on what your power planer model is designed to do since many models don’t come with a complete range of features for performing every task.


Power planers use multiple blades – either reusable high-speed steel blades or reversible carbide-tipped blades – to make thousands of shallow cuts along a wooden surface. Power planers are designed to help with sanding jobs, though they are admittedly not the perfect tool for sanding long, thick boards since there’s a risk of applying uneven pressure along the entire surface of the lumber. For minor, localized sanding jobs, a power planer is a more efficient tool compared to thicknessers or belt sanders.

electric hand planer


We all have grandpas that have used hand planers in their garages or workshops to smooth out the surfaces of boards. With a power planer, you need to glide the sander across the surface of a board, and the high-speed cutting will smooth it out in no time. This is especially handy for prepping your boards for painting.


Many power planer models come with the ability to dig chamfers in wood. Chamfering your board lets you place glass panels or thin wooden boards perpendicular to the chamfer. Make sure that you purchase a planer with chamfering capabilities if your projects require it. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending more on idle potential.

how to use a hand plane

Restoring Lumber

If your lumber is littered with bug holes or knots, then you’ll want to employ a power planer to get rid of those nasty blemishes. However, a hand planer shouldn’t be your tool of choice when digging out deeply ingrained faults in your wood since it’s designed to remove only thin layers of wood with every pass, usually between 0 and 1/8 of an inch thick.


Next time you find your chair or coffee table wobbling, you won’t need to take out your hacksaw to shorten their legs. Instead, pull out your power planer and run it over the bottom of your chair’s legs to remove the thin layer little by little.

WEN 6530 vs PORTER-CABLE PC60THP: Hand Planer Comparison


Cabinets may require several boards to be cut in such a way that the ends are tapered slightly to fit in flush with a connecting board. Simply take a hand planer and make several passes over one end of the board until you reach the desired thickness. Be sure that you adjust the cutting depth appropriatelyy to not go beyond what your project requires.

how does a hand plane work

Emergency Repairs

Too much rain can increase the moisture in the air, leading to creaking doors and cabinets. To solve the problem, you can run the planer along the hingeless side of your door. The hand planer is especially helpful in this situation since you’d have to unhinge the door before running it through a jointer.

Final Thicknessing

Imagine spending hours and hours connecting boards of your cabinet to find that some of them aren’t flush with one another. Taking the entire cabinet apart would not only be heart-wrenching, but it would also take too much time and effort to do.

Instead of dismantling the cabinet so you can run the boards through a thicknesser or jointer, just use a hand planer over the offending spot until you reach your desired thickness and smoothness. In addition, this also preps the boards for final painting.

how to use an electric hand planer

Final Remarks

Essentially, hand planers are versatile tools that have almost limitless applications. They’re used in constructing furniture, adding final touches to construction projects, and even reclaiming old, decaying lumber for future projects. However, they are not a perfect alternative to joiners and wood thicknesses since they have a limited cutting width, usually around 3-1/4 inches.

It would be silly to run a hand planer over large boards in the hopes of digging out deeply ingrained knots as it would also be a ridiculous idea to detach a door from its hinge just to run one side through a jointer. A hand planer can be used in certain situations, but not all (at least not efficiently).

wooden hand planes

Best Hand Planer: Buying Guide

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