15 Different Types of Planers & Their Uses (with Pictures)
If you enjoy working with wood, you’re eventually going to come across a job that requires you to shape it by using a planer. In those instances, you’ll probably be rounding sharp corners or flattening warped wood you want to use for boards. There are several tools (electrical and manual) you can use, and knowing the strengths of each one will help you find the one best suited to your needs.
First, we will discuss the types of manual planers, then we will examine the different types of electric planers. Next, we will discuss the type of jointers, and finally, we will review the types of metal planers.
The 5 Types of Manual Planers
There’s no school like old school, and these tools are a throwback to a simpler time when people worked with their hands. An advantage of manual planers is that you can take your work nice and slow. They can deliver the best precision, making your end product look like a true work of art.
1. Hand planer
This is a basic, no-nonsense planer. You can adjust the depth of its cut and use both hands to shape wood with strong, controlled planing. The current design has remained unchanged since the 19th century.
2. Two-handed planer
As a twist on the basic hand planer, the two-handed planer has handles on each side for a lighter, more controlled planing action. It’s perfect for shaping corners with quick, delicate motions, but its blade is also adjustable in case you need to cut a little deeper.
3. Combination rasp planer
The action on the combination rasp planer is less like a traditional planer and more like a cheese grater. It’s also more versatile than a traditional wood planer, allowing the user to also shape and whittle down other materials like fiberglass and soft aluminum.
The flat plane bottom-edged wood hand planer is ideal for smaller projects and detailed work. It will allow you to shave off crating materials just a little at a time. An upshot is that this model is compact and doesn’t hide the surfaces you’ve worked on. It’s also the cheapest planer we found.
5. Hand scraper
A traditional planer uses a pushing action to remove wood, but the hand scraper, used to repair hardwood floors, uses a pulling action. It’s similar to a planer in that it helps you even out rough spots on a surface. So, if a planer’s pushing action isn’t what you need, this is an option.
The 4 Types of Electric Planers
Manual planers can wear you out when you have to plane several boards, and they move slowly across the wood. An electric planer is a great alternative—it works quickly, and most are adjustable so that you get cuts to just the right depth.
6. Handheld Planer
The spinning blade of the handled electric planer replaces the static blade in the manual planer, and with a contoured handle, it provides precise control. The blade of the handheld electric planer works quickly, even if you set it for a shallow grind, so you’ll want to keep an eye on it to prevent drifting.
7. Bench Planer
It’s called a bench planer because, while it’s too big to hold in your hand, it’s small enough to put on top of a workbench. It’s the first electric planer big enough to handle large pieces of lumber, which means it’s not well-suited to doing small, detailed work.
8. Molding Planer
Designed for molding but capable of handling similarly sized pieces of wood for other projects, the molding planer sits on the floor of your workshop. It is designed primarily for professionals or dedicated amateurs.
9. Stationary Planer
Serious jobs demand serious equipment, and the stationary planer is a heavy-duty machine. It’s expensive and designed for professionals with a lot of work and a big budget. If you need anything bigger, you’ll have to visit a factory with industrial-grade planers.
The 4 Types of Jointers
Most people consider planers and jointers to be different because, while planers cut from the top, jointers cut from the bottom. Once you thoroughly review your next project, you might decide that a bottom-cutting tool is required, so we’ll go through the types of jointers. One word of caution: Use push blocks—pieces of wood to push your stock—for safety.
10. Closed stand
This jointer planes from below with a spinning blade. The difference between this one and the other stand jointer below is that the stand is enclosed. This makes it more stable when you use smaller wood pieces, especially lumber.
11. Open stand
The open stand on this jointer makes it best for longer pieces of wood that might cause a closed stand to destabilize and possibly tip over. However, the angle of its legs prevents you from attaching it to a standalone table.
12. Benchtop jointers
The benchtop jointer is small enough that you can store it, pull it out, and put it on a workbench when you need it. It’s not very well-suited to big jobs. One thing you can do, however, is build a standalone table to accommodate larger pieces of wood.
13. Electric hand jointers
As the smallest of the jointers, the electric hand jointer is only suited to make planks for crafts like jewelry boxes. It’s also small enough that push blocks might be overly burdensome, but you can wear a pair of leather gloves for protection.
The 2 Types of Metal Planers
Some planers can be used to trim up light metal strips. There are dedicated metal planers, but they’re industrial-grade machinery and not intended for amateurs or even professionals who have to trim metal.
14. Double housing
Since it’s long and open on both sides for pushing through large pieces of metal, this planer is mostly intended to handle smaller jobs. It also occupies a smaller space. It’s still bigger than many of the wood planers, including the stationary electric model.
15. Open side
One side is open because it is intended to be installed next to a wall. This design allows it to handle bigger pieces of metal. Of all the planers and jointers we’ve looked at, this is the biggest and capable of handling the most demanding work. It’s also priced well beyond the budget of anyone but a factory owner.
From the simple wood planer to the massive open-side metal planer, shaping tools have evolved considerably. Hand tools like the wood planer are ideal for detailed work on smaller pieces and are more affordable than electric models. However, if you need to plane several large pieces, the electric planers and jointers are more practical. Whichever planers you use, be sure to work protective gear to avoid injuries.
You might also be interested in:
- 9 DIY Corner Workbench Plans You Can Build Today
- 19 Different Types of Hand Planes & Their Uses (with Pictures)
- Drum Sander vs Planer – Which is Best for Your Needs?
- 10 Best Benchtop Planers – Reviews & Top Picks