Can an electric hand planer square wood? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Can an electric hand planer square wood?

Hi,

I've recently got into traditional woodworking, mostly because power tools are not a good idea in an apartment however I really dislike using a hand plane.

I'm considering buying a Bosch 12V planer and I'd like to know if it could also be used with some sort of attachment to square wood, like a shooting board is used with a hand plane (I'd have to sell my hand plane in order to be able to afford the electric one).

Thanks.
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post #2 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 05:52 AM
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Pretty messy for an apartment.
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post #3 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 06:17 AM
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I would stick with the hand plane. Too easy to make a big mistake with the electric.


What kind of projects do you work on.



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post #4 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 07:34 AM
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Short answer is ... NO

A powered hand plane is very noisy! It won't sit well with your neighbors in an apartment. It has a different noise than a circular saw, but is still pretty noisy. Do not sell your hand plane! Maybe your hand plane needs sharpening so it will perform better? Check out Paul Sellers or others on You Tube.

It has no attachment that I know of to assure one side is square/90 degrees to another. All the flattening and squaring is done by eye and then checked with a combination square Even this monster made for flattening large timbers won't do that:.
https://timberframehq.com/makita-kp312/


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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #5 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 08:54 AM
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Learn to sharpen your existing plane. It's not difficult to do (unless you fall into the trap of believing it's difficult.

Plus the noise in an apartment wouldn't be acceptable.

As to your questions as to an electric hand-planer can provided straight edge, of course it can.

Here's a video by Eric Sorensen. He's an excellent woodworker with bright ideas using fairly inexpensive tools. He's also a very good teacher.

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post #6 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 09:19 AM
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Other than the noise a hand held plane could be used to square wood. It just depends on the skill of the operator. Like it takes a lot of practice to square wood with a hand plane likewise the motorized plane would take as much or more to get the feel of holding it right.
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post #7 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 11:20 AM
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When I first started building furniture I used a powered hand planer for squaring my wood. The video in @sgcz75b post above might help, but I just added a piece of Baltic Birch plywood to the metal fence of my planer to make it's surface larger. Check the fence squareness to the bed of the planer often, because the adjustment is easily knocked off 90 degrees easily. You had better have very tolerant neighbors, because this tool is very noisy. maybe using it only at mid day and for very short periods would be acceptable. They throw chips and saw dust everywhere, so plan on cleaning the whole room after each use. Apartment life is tough for a woodworker, and most resort to total hand tool use to keep the peace with their neighbors.

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post #8 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 08:32 PM
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Welcome to traditional woodworking...!!!

Hi Yonathan,

I am very pleased to read that your trying to do traditional woodworking...!!!...

I actually make a living with these skill sets. I can try to help where I can and/or expand on some of the good advise you have received thus far...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
...I've recently got into traditional woodworking, mostly because power tools are not a good idea in an apartment however I really dislike using a hand plane...
The first challenge I caught from your post was the comment about..."a hand plane"...!!!...

There really is no traditional way to effectively flatten and/or square wood with "a hand plane."......in the general context of the craft...

Just starting out many years ago, I had at least 6 different planes to do such work. This is a common inventory for any traditional tool box give or take one or two planes. That is true whether we are speaking of European, Middle Eastern or Asian modalities of the craft...

So, you need a sharp plane, (and a good means and way to keep them that way.) You will also need more than one plan as well. Then your task will get not only much easier...it will actually be fun...assuming you actually like woodworking in the tradtional context...LOL... It's o.k. if you learn you don't...At least you tried and probably learned a lot along the way...before moving on to other methods and/or ways of working wood...

A basic set (generically speaking) of "American" woodworking planes will include the following 6 planes:

Scrub

Jack

Fore

Jointer

Smoothing

Block

This list can be condensed down...(*if one must)...and has the skills. Or, it can be expanded to make your work easier...It all depends on the style of woodworking you wish to get into traditionally...

I can get by with just 3 of them for a lot of work...or...only one of them and different blades and bevels...but that comes with experience and understanding the tool, the wood, and what one wish's to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
...I'd like to know if it could also be used with some sort of attachment to square wood, like a shooting board is used with a hand plane (I'd have to sell my hand plane in order to be able to afford the electric one).
Short answer...YES!!!

They are extremely noisy...!!!!...in a huge way!!!

I could not emphasize that enough, and can't imagine too many apartment complex neighbors that could even beging to stand the noise even with the best sound suppression system...So be warned and good luck with that...!?

I won't even comment on the "mess" they make...that goes without saying really...?

The other issue is the can "bit you" really badly...!!!

I have a rather "funny looking" end to my middle finger on the left hand because of a disagreement between a wood knot, and electric planner. My poor finger got between them in the fight...I LOST!!! So now I look part "tree frog!"...LOL......You've been warned!

I do strongly recommend the "jointer attachment" no matter the model if you really want to go this route. They work, and fit well into "mobile shops" and/or "on site work" if one really needs (or thinks they need?) a jointer. Otherwise its done by hand most of the time...even with power planning. As others have posted...hand or electron power...one must learn the individual tools capabilities...

As to size...get what you can afford and works for you...So try a few out and see what you like?

I own and/or operate everything thus far shared in your post size was...(i.e. 3.5", 7", 12") and the stationary is 24". The "day to day" hand power planer is the large Makita that Woodnthings referenced. That is what does the "meat and potatoes" of smoothing of timbers and large wood materials...such as...last week it smoothed (not by me) all the tapered rafters for a house project.

Power planers have there place for sure, yet...?...even with these rafters they all got sanded down with 120 grit to remove tool marks and "age them" a bit before putting on a traditional oil finish. This was again, all done by hand (muscle and/or electron), and some of them (where visible) will be hit with a really sharp hand plane again before completely done...

I can expand on any of these methods if it serves your needs?

I think knowing more about your goals for woodworking in your apartment and in general would allow us on the forum to be of more help to you?

Good Luck,

j

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Last edited by Jay C. White Cloud; 04-07-2019 at 08:37 PM.
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post #9 of 31 Old 04-07-2019, 11:33 PM
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Never liked the electric ones, it's worth it to learn on using a normal plane. Great tools ones you learn how to use them properly


-T
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post #10 of 31 Old 04-08-2019, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, so many comments, much appreciated.

So here’s my problem with my “restored” Stanley No 4: basically I’m able to get it to do one of 4 things:

1. Shave just with the left side of the blade
2. ... just the right side
3. Shave nothing
4. Get stuck in the wood and chip it, forcing me to take a huge amount of material everywhere else on the piece to level it once again (and that won’t go smoothly either).

I’ve already seen videos and also visited a guy who offered his help, he said I got the blade well sharpened but he thought I should clean and oil the frog because he wasn’t able to push it forward enough, so I fixed that but still the problems persist.
I have played with all the adjustments and I’m just clueless by now as to what to do.

Another issue is that the sides are absolutely not square to the bottom plate, so I have to change the blade orientation when switching between “normal” and “shooting board” modes. And of course, every single time that entails readjusting the blade for a good few minutes until I *think* it’s good, but it actually isn’t.
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post #11 of 31 Old 04-08-2019, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
Wow, so many comments, much appreciated.

So here’s my problem with my “restored” Stanley No 4: basically I’m able to get it to do one of 4 things:

1. Shave just with the left side of the blade
2. ... just the right side
3. Shave nothing
4. Get stuck in the wood and chip it, forcing me to take a huge amount of material everywhere else on the piece to level it once again (and that won’t go smoothly either).

I’ve already seen videos and also visited a guy who offered his help, he said I got the blade well sharpened but he thought I should clean and oil the frog because he wasn’t able to push it forward enough, so I fixed that but still the problems persist.
I have played with all the adjustments and I’m just clueless by now as to what to do.

Another issue is that the sides are absolutely not square to the bottom plate, so I have to change the blade orientation when switching between “normal” and “shooting board” modes. And of course, every single time that entails readjusting the blade for a good few minutes until I *think* it’s good, but it actually isn’t.
I think probably your problem might be you don't have the plane sharpened good enough. I'm sure you know there is a lever under the blade you can adjust to plane more off the left or right side. You just have to find the center spot. Beyond that though it's a matter of practice to hold the plane square with the wood. It's not hard at all to lean the plane one direction or another making the cut out of square.

Shaving nothing just means the blade isn't extended enough and going from shaving nothing to getting stuck suggests to me the blade is dull.
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post #12 of 31 Old 04-08-2019, 08:45 AM
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You may want a "scub" plane blade ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
Wow, so many comments, much appreciated.

So here’s my problem with my “restored” Stanley No 4: basically I’m able to get it to do one of 4 things:

1. Shave just with the left side of the blade
2. ... just the right side
3. Shave nothing
4. Get stuck in the wood and chip it, forcing me to take a huge amount of material everywhere else on the piece to level it once again (and that won’t go smoothly either).

I’ve already seen videos and also visited a guy who offered his help, he said I got the blade well sharpened but he thought I should clean and oil the frog because he wasn’t able to push it forward enough, so I fixed that but still the problems persist.
I have played with all the adjustments and I’m just clueless by now as to what to do.

Another issue is that the sides are absolutely not square to the bottom plate, so I have to change the blade orientation when switching between “normal” and “shooting board” modes. And of course, every single time that entails readjusting the blade for a good few minutes until I *think* it’s good, but it actually isn’t.

Tighten up the frog first of all so it maintains the blade position. Also flatten the bottom edge so it gets a good contact with the chip breaker and ultimately the blade.
Then consider getting a spare blade and "converting: it to a scrub plane.


https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...blade&_sacat=0



This should solve all the mechanical issue with the plane. The rest is up to you and with practice you will get better.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 04-08-2019 at 08:49 AM.
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post #13 of 31 Old 04-08-2019, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
...So here’s my problem...
Hi Yonathan,

Well, from my perspective reading all your challenges with this plane...I would suggest your "problem" is that plane is either going to need a lot of work to get operational...or...it needs to be retired permanently...

I can't say for sure because I'm not holding it in my hands. Without that its pointless speculation at best.

What I can share at this point:

I can tell it needs to be squared...or...forget using it for "shooting" at all...Plus, that isn't really the kind of plane to use for "good shooting."

If your friend you took it to said you, "... got the blade well sharpened..." I will have to take them at that, and only assume they know all about planes and using them. However (???) if they do then they should be able to fix this for you, or help you fix it...or...tell you that its "no good" anymore without lots of work...

I would also strongly suggest (from your description) that it needs to be stripped down to the "frog" and the frog itself fully restored and trued.

This then leads to the condition of the throat and what shape it is in in relationship to the frog and the blade during use...further leading to whether the "lateral adjustment lever" is operational at all or malfunctioning during use?

None of that even gets into the condition of the blade, what bevel angle it has, what your trying to plane with it, etc...

At this point, I am fairly certain that plane you have needs either a lot of work, or replacement, and I would also suggest you may be expecting it to do too many things...especially with your current "planing skill sets."

Let me know if I can expand on anything?

Good Luck,

j

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post #14 of 31 Old 04-09-2019, 03:10 PM
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Traditional hand planes are nice to use, yet an electric planer is very useful.

I have the Ridgid R8481B cordless model. Inside the shop and outside with framing, deck building, and outside furniture making it's almost a necessity.

When not in use I keep it on a tall pole outside my workshop to scare the purists away. It works great for that as well.

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post #15 of 31 Old 04-09-2019, 11:58 PM
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My first hand plane was frustrating to use, so I gave up on it for 35 years. It was a “smoother” that I bought from ace hardware in the 70’s for $19.95 at one of the lowest points in hand plane manufacturing.

It was long before YouTube and good books on hand planes so I had no idea what I was doing wrong, and how to fix it.

Well, 35 years later and a few modern hand planes bought, tuned and used, I pulled the old Ace hand plane out and tried to use it again. It’s still a piece of junk and will not work under any circumstance. The frog was ground incorrectly and making the plane work would require more machining than the plane is worth.

Sometimes you just end up buying junk that can’t be made to work. My suggestion is to have someone with hand plane experience see if they can tune it up. Don’t beat yourself up because you can’t get it to work, might not be under your control.


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post #16 of 31 Old 04-10-2019, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
Wow, so many comments, much appreciated.

So here’s my problem with my “restored” Stanley No 4: basically I’m able to get it to do one of 4 things:

1. Shave just with the left side of the blade
2. ... just the right side
3. Shave nothing
4. Get stuck in the wood and chip it, forcing me to take a huge amount of material everywhere else on the piece to level it once again (and that won’t go smoothly either).

I’ve already seen videos and also visited a guy who offered his help, he said I got the blade well sharpened but he thought I should clean and oil the frog because he wasn’t able to push it forward enough, so I fixed that but still the problems persist.
I have played with all the adjustments and I’m just clueless by now as to what to do.

Another issue is that the sides are absolutely not square to the bottom plate, so I have to change the blade orientation when switching between “normal” and “shooting board” modes. And of course, every single time that entails readjusting the blade for a good few minutes until I *think* it’s good, but it actually isn’t.
Yonathan,
Most difficulties with hand planes come from how you sharpen, and how often. You have not indicated your sharpening sequence which would be helpful.

When tuning your plane, it must include the chip breaker, so the fit between the chip breaker and the iron is a good fit with no light between the two. The chip breaker set very close to the cutting edge of the iron.

The sole of the plane needs to be flat from the toe to the heel, and especially the area just ahead of the mouth opening. When flattening on a known flat surface using sandpaper... the frog should be installed to stiffen the sole to help prevent flexing.

The frog should be installed so the iron does not contact the rear of the mouth opening in the sole as it passes through the mouth of the sole.

Answers to your questions:

#1 & 2...Iron not sharpened square...correct with lateral adjustment lever, or re sharpen to square.

#1 & 2...When passing over the wood, the sole of the plane registers on the high points (undulations/waves) of the wood, and when you advance the iron it will only contact the tips of the waves...shaving them off until the tips are removed...until you get a full width shaving. To help you set the lateral adjustment...Check the shaving by passing the plane over a test board using the right half of the plane...then the left half, the shavings produced should be of equal thickness and the sound tone will also be the same. Use the lateral adjustment lever to correct.

#3...I suspect sharpness is probably the cause here. The flat side of an iron is often overlooked. It must be honed flat to remove the scratch marks that can be seen with a 10x magnifying glass. Do this on a flat surface using wet sandpaper (2000 grit or finer) polishing about 1" of the iron from side to side. If this is not done...the existing scratch marks will never allow the cutting edge to be sharpened properly.

Sharpen the bevel angle to 25 degrees, using progressively finer and finer abrasives to about 8000 grit or finer if you can. A burr can be felt on the flat side as you progress through the various grits. The burr can be removed by additional polishing on the flat side as before (just to remove the burr).

To take the iron to another level...Use a leather strop with green polishing wax applied to it. Secure the strop to the bench (side ways), and drag the iron (bevel edge down) against the strop with heavy downward pressure for 25 to 50 strokes to polish it. When using a strop make sure you drag the iron in only the direction so the cutting edge does not cut into the leather.

#4...Tear out is most prevalent when planning against the grain. Observe the side edge of the board and look at the grain of the wood. The grain rises to the surface in a direction...this is the usual direction that you should plane the board to prevent tear out.

Although this is the solution most of the time it is not the only reason. Other reasons are (in order): Iron not sharp enough, Chip breaker too far from cutting edge, and mouth opening too open.

In conclusion I suggest you look up "Paul Sellers" on YouTube...He has many videos on the subject of hand planes and sharpening that can definitely help you overcome this problem. Hope this helps you and others. Gary.
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post #17 of 31 Old 04-10-2019, 12:21 PM
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Yonathan, I forgot to mention...about the depth adjustment wheel. There is a certain amount of lash (slop) between the wheel and the yoke. When adjusting the wheel...you want to remove the lash first then make the adjustment...then remove the lash by turning the wheel clockwise against the yoke to hold it's pressure against the blade. I hope this makes sense.

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post #18 of 31 Old 04-12-2019, 02:22 AM
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Yonathan, 3 things not yet covered:

A) A #4 smoother is shorter than the threshold for "general” use. It is a smoother, not a flattener, and being as short as it is, it is happier smoothing slightly curved surfaces and working small workpieces and in tight quarters. A jack plane is the recognized workhorse.

B) Power tools exist because they do hard work and are generally faster than hand tools. This is especially true of the power plane: It will seriously f*ck up your project and do that faster than you’ll think is possible — the pace of the hand plane is far more controlled and it is an inherently more controllable tool.

C) You can upgrade the plane’s bit/blade to a nice thick modern version and get much better performance from it.

Good luck!

Bradley
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post #19 of 31 Old 04-12-2019, 09:55 AM
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I finally watched the How to Video ....

How to make a "edge jointer" from a powered hand plane. This guy used every tool in his shop to make the world's shortest bed jointer ...except his jointer. He now has a "jointer" that will square an edge on a board that is 12" or less, something that could also be done on his table saw. I'm not impressed .......

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #20 of 31 Old 04-12-2019, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
How to make a "edge jointer" from a powered hand plane. This guy used every tool in his shop to make the world's shortest bed jointer ...except his jointer. He now has a "jointer" that will square an edge on a board that is 12" or less, something that could also be done on his table saw. I'm not impressed .......
Turn Your Hand Planer into a Jointer for Only $10 - YouTube

The OP asked if an electric hand planer could square wood. It can.


I'm impressed by this guy's ingenuity, and that it works.

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