Gen an Idea of What Makes Planer Thicknessers So Useful

Possibly the greatest thing about carpentry is that it’s a skill that can be put to use either personally or professionally. The tools and techniques that worksite chippies use to frame and roof homes are the exact same ones that backyard woodworkers use to build their own doors and cabinets.

Professionals and hobbyists alike share a common perspective on timber, though. Every project has to begin with the smoothest, and most even-thickness wood stock available, and the way it comes off the wholesaler’s shelf isn’t likely to be anywhere near where it needs to be. Sanding and planning are necessary, but using two separate tools to consistently turn out identically-sized stock isn’t easy. Even the most skilled woodworker with a hand planer, loads of sandpaper, and sage-like patience would be challenged to get furniture-quality results by hand.

There’s one tool though that performs both processes in seconds and produces matching results every time. It’s the right tool to ensure that every project starts with mirror-image wood stock, and contrary to what many woodworkers still think, they’re not budget breakers at home or on the job site.

Thicknessers Produce Results

DeWalt planer thicknesser

If you’re an avid woodworker, then you already know that no two pieces of timber are ever purchased with the exact same thickness. Wholesale milling and drying practices generally mean that woodworkers have to do their own sanding and planing whenever they need perfectly identical results. That’s where investing in your own planer thicknesser, either for work or home, is going to give you the advantage when it comes to turning rough, wholesale timber into precisely sized stock.

Planer thicknessers aren’t the heavy-weight, capital-sized woodworking devices they once were. Heavy-duty, professional-quality, planer thicknessers now come in compact, benchtop-sized varieties that deliver all the high-speed cutting power that floor-mounted devices do. With the capacity to accept board widths of 317mm and thicknesses up to 152mm, these portable units can accomplish anything that larger, high-dollar thicknessers can, including:

  • Parallel surfacing for perfect face matching your boards;
  • Incremental board stock reductions to your predetermined size; and,
  • Smoothing rough wood stock to a near-mirror finish.

With your own thicknesser, you can work all of your wood stock down at your own convenience, and do away with the added costs that a wholesaler might charge to do the work for you. And you’ll be surprised by how much more productive you are, and how much more accurate your final products are going to be.

Planer Thicknessers is a Portable

Portable DeWalt planer thicknesser

The most distinctive benefit that today’s benchtop planer thicknessers have over previous generations is that they’re not the oversized behemoths that they once were. Even with most models downsizing into the 35kg – 50kg range, they’re still far from being the lightest tools in a woodworker’s arsenal, but their small footprints and low profiles enable them to pack king-sized performance into a package that’s perfectly portable.

The incredible size advantage they have over stationary planer thicknessers makes them ideal for:

  • Garages and small workshops;
  • Mobile or vehicle-borne workstations; and,
  • Rolling workbench setups at job sites.

Regardless of where they’re used, thicknessers should always be fastened to a solid surface as a safety precaution due to vibration. However, as long as their infeed and outfeed tables are aligned, they can be operated from anywhere that they can receive power.

The Power Behind Planer Thicknessers

Working with DeWalt planer thicknesser

Mobile planer thicknessers aren’t shy about their cutting power. A 220V -240V thicknesser with a 1500W – 1800W motor can ordinarily spin at up to 10,000RPM. That’s not as fast as a 14,000RPM standalone planer or orbital sander, but it’s more than enough to allow a thicknesser’s HSS steel twin- or triple-blade configurations to comfortably produce up to 18,000 cuts per minute. What this all translates to on the business end is:

  • A 4m – 8m per minute feed rate on any type of board stock;
  • No deep cutting (sniping) at the beginning or end of a feed; and,
  • 2-speed feed gearboxes that extend blade life up to 30% longer.

Modern, mobile planer thicknessers are the ideal compromise for individual woodworkers and small and medium-sized enterprises who expect professional results but don’t have the need for shop-sized equipment. A fully adjustable benchtop thicknesser satisfies all their hard or soft wood planing needs, wherever they are.

Adjustments for Pro or Personal Use

Mobile thicknessers give you the same accurate range of cutting adjustments that stationary thicknessers do, except in a much smaller space. Crank handles provide convenient height adjustments, while cutting head-locking carriages ensures that there aren’t any deviations once a run has been set up.

Together with simplified in-feeding and out-feeding, even for long pieces of wood stock, there’s almost no manual input or intervention required, all while producing a higher-quality surface finish. And for the quickest, most precise adjustments possible, thicknessers also typically feature:

  • ·   A graduated height adjustment pointer gauge;
  • A depth of cut indication, to a maximum of 3mm of material removal per pass; and,
  • A final thickness stop that can be set as low as 5mm.

You can even buy planer thicknesser accessories that’ll allow you to connect the device to a dust collector. It’s a simple attachment, but you’ll be amazed by how long the life of your cutting blades can be lengthened by keeping them free from accumulated dust and wood shavings.

The final word

There’s no question about it: the time and effort you put into planing and sanding your rough timber to perfection is going to be reflected in how every project turns out. It’s still time and effort, however, that could be directed toward other facets of that, or other projects.

Purchasing your own planer thicknesser is just as advantageous as having a mitre, or table saw in your workshop toolkit. It’s a tool that not only lets you work faster and easier, it allows you to create an unlimited number of pieces that are all precisely the same. They not expensive, and depending on the type of woodworking you’re doing, they can elevate your finishing quality to a level that you wouldn’t have imagined was possible.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.