Anybody who have some interest on woodworking must heard the name of power and hand planer.
If you have a question in your mind what is the difference between power planer or electric planer vs hand planer, this article is for you.
Before saying anything here are some suggestions for people who are in a hurry.
In simple words we can say that a planer which runs by some external power source like electricity or battery is called a power planer. There can be many types of power planer like power hand planer, thickness planer, benchtop planer etc.
And the hand planer that runs without any external source of power i.e by manually is called manual hand planer.
Electric Planer vs Hand Planer
Find any wood shop in the country today, and it’s a safe bet that you’ll find a hand planer there among the tools used by the woodworker. There’s no denying the usefulness of a hand planer. A hand planer can do a lot of things, depending on the type of hand planer you use.
A hand planer is a tool that you use with your hands. Often, they’re also manually powered, as you need to push on the tool to shave the wood to their desired shape.
But nowadays you can opt for power planer models instead. These offer their own set of advantages. Unlike power bench tools, these power planers are also handheld.
They’re just powered by electricity, either through an electrical cord or with rechargeable batteries. They can then turn the blades to spin at a rate of up to 20,000 rpm.
Uses of Hand Planers
You can use it to reduce the pieces of wood to the size you want, if you have a jack or scrub plane. If you have a fore or jointer plane, then you can use it to make sure that the surfaces and the edges of the wood boards are perfectly level.
Some planers like hand block planers can be used for chamfering. This means you’re planing the corner off the wood to give it a beveled edge. There are also specialty hand planes that cut and smooth internal and external shapes. Others cut narrow channels or decorative shapes along strips and edges.
There are compass planers that trim and smooth curved pieces of wood. Then you have the smoother planers, which is often the last planer you use. These smoothers give the final polish for a piece of wood to get it ready for the finish.
Uses of Power Planers
The uses of power planers are pretty much similar to what you can do with hand planers. You can use one to shave low-lying spots in joists of floors and plane post corners. You can also use a power planer for taper-cutting filler boards so cabinets can fit tightly against the walls.
If you have a door that won’t close smoothly, you can use the power planer for the door edge so that it will close more easily and smoothly. You can also remove the wood from the back of your door casings.
Other uses include chamfering handrails and posts, and leveling framing and edge-smoothing lumber.
Advantages of Electric Planers over Hand Planer
One of the most significant advantages of power planers is that you have a depth-adjustment gauge. This gauge lets you pick any of the thickness settings that best suits your needs.
You can set it so that you can take off ⅛ of an inch from the wood to let you work very quickly. But then you can also set the gauge to take off 1/64 of an inch, like you would with a belt sander.
With the power available for the power planers, you can pretty much go through even tough grains of wood. You won’t have to strain yourself like you would with a hand planer when you encounter a tough wood surface. You can shave off the wood as easily as you please.
Accessories and Features
Some of the best power planers also offer certain features and accessories that make them a pleasure to use. If you’re working with a corded power planer, you’re better off with a cord that’s longer than 6 feet so the cord doesn’t hang up on your piece of wood.
You can opt for a cordless model, which should have batteries that can let you finish a task before you need to recharge.
Chip deflectors are nice, since it can direct waste instead of just letting the shaving fly about every which way. You also want adjustable fences that let you work accurately on pieces like door edges, wood trim and boards.
These power planers also have metal sole plates, but avoid the stamped metal plates if you can. Instead, go with the cast metal sole plates as they’re less likely to warp and therefore more durable.
Which One Should You Get?
There’s no doubt that the main problem with power planes is that they’re generally more expensive than hand planes.
However, the prices can fluctuate depending on the amp power, the quality of the build, the width of the blade, and whether you have extra accessories like a carrying case.
Nowadays, though, prices aren’t as high as you might think. You can find good light duty power planes that can handle most of your tasks for a 2-digit price tag.
You’ll have to pay a bit more for a contractor-grade power plane, but it may be money well spent as these models are more rugged and their depth gauges are more accurate and easier to set.
Still, there’s no denying the undying appeal of hand planers. It’s just more satisfying to use.
Besides, sometimes you can find a problem with a certain piece of wood and you can whip out a small planer and fix the problem pronto with the hand planer.
It’s all up to you whether you go with a Electric planer or a hand planer. But who says you can’t have both in your wood shop?