Woodworking Essentials: Thickness Planers


A Better Way to Work: Part 6
By Marc Adams
Pages: 51-56

From the August 2008 issue #170
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When I started woodworking, owning a planer was just a dream. They were big, expensive and power-hungry machines that were not well suited for the small shop or hobbyist market. At the time I knew very few people who owned one. Today, thanks to the import market, planers have become affordable machines. Nearly every small woodworking shop has one and today even contractors can tote lightweight portable planers to the job site. I often poll my students to ask how many people own planers, and nearly 100 percent raise their hands.

The planer is the most unassuming machine in the shop. Simply set the depth of cut and the machine does all the rest. It is the only machine in the family of common stationary power machines that is automatic – it does all the work. All you have to do is put the wood in and let the machine take over. The cutterhead and all other moving parts are well guarded, there is plenty of control surface for safe operation and the machine limitations are well defined. So what would be the reason to discuss safety of such a simple and unpretentious machine? I believe that if an accident were to occur on a planer, it quite possibly would be the worst accident that can happen on any woodworking machine in the shop. Think of it: The planer pulls the wood into the cutterhead with unforgiving power. Imagine if it were your clothing or – heaven forbid – your hand. It would quickly become disastrous.

Online Extra

To download a PDF presentation that shows the evolution of the Wayne Anderson Smoother, click here.


From the August 2008 issue #170
Buy this issue now