Tool review Benchtop Planers

All the craftsmen know that it is necessary to plan the planing plane along the fibers, and so that the direction of the exit of the fibers from the tree coincides with the working stroke of the tool, otherwise (if to act “against the wool”) nothing good will turn out. But there are species of wood in which the fibers are so intertwined that it is impossible to observe this simple rule. And if you consider that under the beauty of the cut of wood just the “floridity” of fibers is meant, then we can say that the more beautiful the wood, the worse it is. Good examples are maple or walnut.

Another life situation – when you need to remove thick shavings, and power tools for any reason is not applicable.

The third case, when longitudinal planing is unrealizable, is the alignment of very wide (two or three times wider than the base of the plane) warped boards.

Tool review Benchtop Planers

In all three variants, the tactic of planing at an angle helps out. We will give advice on how to plan correctly with a hand-operated planer and uncover some tricks of the process.


Let’s start with an example with a thick chip. When planing, the force applied by the joiner to the plane is spent on several processes:

  • separation of wood fibers,
  • bending of separated fibers (chips),
  • overcoming the friction force of the tool sole against the surface.

As for the third point, here the effort depends on the polishing of the sole. But when planing at an angle, the cut fibers of the tree will be immediately broken off, and not bent, so the required effort should be reduced, which will allow the same carpenter to remove the thicker shavings, if necessary, less tired. The weakened effort of splitting the fibers with a planer knife also reduces the susceptibility of the wood to the chips.

It is also important that the effective cutting angle will decrease to a much smaller angle than that under which the iron wire is ground. The physics here are simple. If a piece of iron runs along a straight line, then its angle along the normal to the cutting axis will be equal to the angle of inclination of the upper plane or chamfer. If you imagine a triangle, whose base is the surface of the wood, and the hypotenuse is the chamfer of the planer, then with the oblique incidence of the gland on the tree, this hypotenuse is lengthened, and the angle at the apex increases

For the case with the “florid” structure of the tree, it should be added to the above that, when planing at an angle, the fibers do not chip or bend upward, but rather are cut off and wrapped sideways, which is clearly visible in the shape of the chips. And since the cutting takes place instead of chipping, the “wrapping force” is less than the force required to pull out the fibers, and the planed surface is flat, without “tears”.

An example with a warped wide board is also easy to analyze. If the width of the board is less than two-thirds the length of the bottom of the plane, then, at an angle, it is easy to remove the projections along the edges or the hump in the center, and when the board becomes flat, align it completely.