Not everyone is rich enough to buy a jointer. But no one in their right mind would skip on an opportunity to get their hands on a wide board. However, making sure they are flat is a tough job with basic tools. However, it is possible to use a power hand planer on wide boards to flatten them out.
Power tools have really made life so much more convenient for us humans. What would have taken days to finish now just takes hours thanks to these tools. You can cut large pieces of wood within seconds with a bandsaw. You can drill holes into the wood with a power drill with ease.
What Is an Electric Hand Planer and how Is it Different from a Normal One?
An electric hand planer makes it an easy job to flatten out wood. It does so within seconds and does not require extra muscle power like with traditional hand planers. However, a manual one gives a super fine finish that you cannot get on an electric one.
But the difference is negligible unless you really want the finest craftsmanship. Besides, you can always straighten out a flat board with an electric hand planer first. Then afterwards, you can give it that really fine smoothness with a hand planer.
Not only that but with a bevel in the front shoe or blade, you can also smooth out corners. The bevel can be used to adjust the angle at which you want to smoothen out the corners.
Why Use Wide Boards in the First Place?
So a wide board is usually used to make a single piece tabletop. When a tabletop is made out of one single piece of wood, it has such a beautiful look. But flattening it does make it a challenge for some people. And if they do not have the technique or the resources, they end up splitting the board to flatten it.
They join it afterwards, but it does take away the beautiful charm of a single piece tabletop. There are many reasons why you would not want to split a board to flatten and smoothen it out. With an electric hand planner though, you can flatten wide boards with ease.
Step by Step Guide on How to Use a Power Hand Planer on Wide Boards
There are actually quite a few methods on how to use an electric hand planer on wide boards. We will opt out of the ones that require you to cut the boards. Because that is easy to figure out for most people.
The most effective method requires winding sticks, a smooth and flat surface on which you will put the wide board. You will also need a marker for marking places that need to be straightened. Lastly, you will need your electric hand planer.
First up you will need to place your wide board on a flat surface. This will help you figure out whether there are any twists on the board. If the board does not lay flat on a flat surface, then that means it has a twist on that side.
Place winding sticks throughout the board to see if they are parallel when you view them from a distance. If the winding sticks are not parallel at any point, you can see them imbalanced. One more way to check step by step is to use the winding stick and sliding it forward.
The place which is not flat will lift the stick higher than the other parts of the surface.
Mark all the surfaces you find uneven as you check it out on winding sticks. Mark the whole area that you will need to flatten out with a planer later.
Use the electric hand planer on the marked areas. But always keep checking as you are using the planer. This will ensure that you are not making the surface uneven on the other side. Keep using the winding sticks after you are done using the planer on an even surface.
Once you are done flattening the whole surface, use the winding sticks one more time to give it a thorough check to the whole board.
This method works for boards that are too wide or big for the jointer or a static electric planer.
Things to be Consider While Using an Electric Hand Planer
- Safety First: When you are doing any kind of work in a workshop, safety is the first priority. Nothing is more important than your own life. Always wear safety goggles, work gloves when working with blades and masks to keep sawdust out of your respiratory system.
- Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Working with any electrical tool requires patience to master. If you are new to using any tools, just take it slow and steady. You do not have to finish up a project within a day. Take your time to master the tools you need for the job.
- Clean up Your Tools Often: If you really want your tools to last longer, always clean them up before putting them back. This makes sure nothing is stuck in the tool that will hinder its performance later. If their performance is being hindered due to an exterior element, their life is shortened.
- Maintenance is important: Always give your tools some love to extend their life. Maintenance is like food and water for the machine. Repairs would be what medicine is for humans. Do not let the tool’s health worsen so much that it needs repair. Give it maintenance so it has a long life.