Power Planer Tips
by Lieutenant Harris
Power planer tips; Planing with power Be sure to strictly follow the alignment procedures that are outlined in the manual that comes with the tool. The horizontal plane of the rear shoe must be tangent to the cutting circle. The fence, when one is used, must be at a right angle to the shoe at the zero setting. If these relationships are not provided for correctly, and maintained, you'll get bevels instead of square cuts, and will probably create gouges in the work edge. The secret to good work is controlled, uniform pressure down on the tool throughout the pass. Use both hands; one on the main handle of the tool, the other up front. Start cuts by placing the front shoe on the work and applying downward pressure with the hand that's up front.
As the cutter engages, apply downward pressure equally with both hands. This can change toward the end of the cut. You can relieve the left-hand pressure and exert more with the right hand. The idea is to keep the tool on an even keel. It's also a good idea to let up a bit on feed-speed as you near the end of the cut to minimize chipping and feathering that can occur as the cutter leaves the work. Chipping and feathering will occur to a greater degree when planing across end grain and when working on plywood. Two methods you can use to completely eliminate these negative possibilities are shown in.
Clamp a scrap piece to the end of the work so it instead of the work will take the abuse, or do the planing on a piece that is slightly oversize, and then saw its end off. You're more likely to get a lot of splintering at the end of the cut when planing across end grain on lumber, but here too, a scrap block clamped to the work as shown in will provide a solution.