How to Plane Wood Without a Planer

The wood obtained from tree trunks is entirely different from the one at furniture shops. Behind all the lustre and smoothness lurk great efforts. To hide the rough surface of timber a planer is required.

A planer is an expensive tool frequently required at a woodshop. It is used to plane wood by trimming the excess surface. Also, it is used to maintain a consistent thickness of the board by removing the unequal surfaces.

Planning is an essential step in wood finishing. It enhances the appearance of your rough lumber which in turn attracts the viewer. It is vital in furniture making, as the finishing represents 5-30% of manufacturing costs.

But what if you don’t have a planer? While the planer is integral in providing efficiency with little effort, there are several other options as well. With some additional effort, you can certainly utilize existing tools for levelling wood.

If you are curious to know the answer of “How can I plane wood with the available options?”. Then this article will lead you to the right guide.

4 Ways to Plane Wood Without a Planer

Getting a smooth surface of the timber is essential for furniture-making as well as for other wooden projects. Without a planer or jointer, the work might be tedious, but it will surely get you the perfect surface.

1. Using a Sandpaper

Planing wood with sandpaper is probably the oldest method. It can be quite efficient for large wood pieces. However, for compact crafts, we suggest you skip this option.

You will need: A coercive sandpaper and a small wooden box

Step 1: Wrap the Sandpaper

Take a small wooden box and wrap the sandpaper around it. This will help you to have a proper grip while sanding. Also, a firm grip can assist more strength.

Step 2: Start Grinding

Repeatedly rub your sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain with force. The procedure might be time-consuming but it will can be a good alternative of planer.

A hand-held sander can also be a good option. Although aggressive force on sander may result in plate damage. Gently Pressing the sanding plate against wood would simply do the task.

Precautions: Breathing in the sawdust can lead to health injuries. Wear a face or a nose mask to prevent dust.

Fandeli Assorted Grit Sandpaper


Usage: Wood & Furniture Finishing, Metal Sanding, Automotive Polishing
Sanding: Dry & Wet
Size: 9 x 3.6 Inches
Includes:  Assorted Grains: 120 (3 pcs), 220 (3 pcs), 280 (3 pcs), 360 (3 pcs), 400 (3 pcs), 800 (3 pcs), 1000 (3 pcs), 1200 (3 pcs), 1500 (4 pcs), 2000 (4 pcs), 2500 (4 pcs) – 36 pcs
Perks: Waterproof, Anti-Slip Properties, Quick Sanding, Long Service Life

Check Price

2. Table Saw

You can use a table saw to trim down your wood of approximately 6 inches or more. The process is less time consuming than grinding with sandpaper for long.

You will need: A table saw with a riving blade, a jig, an engineering square (optional)

Step 1: Construct a Jig

You will be in need to construct a jig for preventing the board from rocking during the pass. This step can be time exhausting but once done, the next steps won’t take much of your time.

Step 2: Adjust the Blade

For a flawless and perfectly levelled surface, the angle of the blade should be straight 90°. You can adjust the angle by an engineering square.

Step 3: Start Planing

With both angle and board set, you are all ready to start the job. Start pushing the board back and forth against the blade of the saw. Continue pulling until you get the desired surface.

For beginners, it is better to practice first on some old wood. An error due to inconsistent movement of the board may result in burn marks.

Precautions: This technique exposes you to sharp blades on the tabletop. If you are new to this or you don’t feel safe, we recommend you to go for sandpaper.

Rockwell BladeRunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw


Dimensions: 16.1 x 17.5 x 8.3 Inches
Power Source: Corded Electric
Weight: 17 Pounds
Miter Cuts: 0-60°
Perks: Sets up in Seconds, Cuts Like a Full-Size, on-Board Accessory Storage, Safety Switch

Check Price

3. Drum Sander

A drum sander is a large sander used for wood finishing. However, the tool can also be used for shaving off wood layers from an unlevelled surface.

The method is quite slow. If you want to do an arduous task then the method may be ineffective.

You will need: a drum sander and a jig (optional)

Step 1: Prepare the Jig

Construct a jig that will support the drum sander. This will complete your task early by keeping the sander compact.

Step 2: Choose the Right Sandpaper

Your sandpaper will operate based on the grit of sandpaper you have put in. Select the sandpaper according to the desired task. The lower the grit of sandpaper, the more abrasive your sander will run.

Step 3: Start Sanding

Based on your choice of sandpaper, you can both finish and level the wood. Select the height of wood for first feed by adjusting the machine. Set the machine to the fit of the wood and start sanding.

Precautions: Wear safety gloves while sanding as both the sander and the wood after a run can be quite hot. Also, the machine runs at a high pace, start consciously and avoid any loose clothes or objects.

JET JWDS-1632 Drum Sander With Stand


Dimensions: 39 x 22.5 x 25 Inches
Power Source: Corded Electric
Grit Type: Coarse
Material: Aluminum Die Casting and Steel
Perks: Warranty, Separate Feed and Drum Motors, Compact, Sandsmart Control

Check Price

4. Router

The router can be used in a similar manner as a table saw.

You will need: A router, a jig and a sandpaper

Step 1: Set up the Jig

Just like a table saw, you will need to construct a jig. The jig is simply a rigid frame of plywood. The centre of the jig must be spacious enough to fix the router base. This will assist stability when you start planing.

Step 2: Start Planing in the Grain Direction

Position the board and start pushing it against the router. This will start planing the face of the wood. Once done, flip the board and start trimming the other side.

Step 3: Finishing

This procedure might not give your wood an extra smooth surface. For perfect finishing, you will require sandpaper. After sanding, your wood is ready to craft.

Precautions: Preventive measures must be taken to avoid sawdust.

Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router


Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 6 Inches
Power Source: Corded Electric
Weight: 3.9 Pounds
Horsepower: 1.25
Includes: 1/4″ Collet, Straight Guide, Spanner Wrench x 2
Perks: Electronic Speed Control, Fixed Base, 10,000 to 30,000 RPM, Warranty

Check Price


Undoubtedly, planers are the best you could have to get a smooth surface. However, with a little more effort, you can always find a second option. The above-mentioned hacks, though time-consuming, will lead you to helpful substitutes.

DEWALT Thickness Planer


Dimensions: 24 x 22 x 19 Inches
Power Source: Corded Electric
Weight: 90 Pounds
Includes: DW735 DEWALT 13-Inch Thickness Two-Speed Planer With Three-Knife Cutterhead, Dust-Hose Adapter, and Dust-Ejection Chute
Perks:Powerful 15 Amp Motor, Reversible & Disposable Knives, Large Capacity, Accurate Depth Adjustment, Dust Management

Check Price

Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap