Understanding the Basics
A planer thicknesser, also known as a jointer planer or a combination planer, is a woodworking machine designed to perform two essential tasks: planning and thicknessing. It combines the functionalities of a surface planer and a thickness planer in a single unit, offering a convenient and efficient solution for woodworkers.
The Purpose of a Planer Thicknesser
The primary purpose of a planer thicknesser is to prepare rough, uneven, or irregularly shaped wood stock for further woodworking operations. It helps in achieving flat and uniform surfaces, as well as precise thicknesses, ensuring that the wood is ready for joinery, assembly, or finishing.
A planer thicknesser is commonly used in furniture making, cabinetry, flooring, and other woodworking applications where accurate dimensions and smooth surfaces are crucial.
How Does a Planer Thicknesser Work?
A planer thicknesser consists of several key components and mechanisms that work together to achieve its planning and thicknessing functions. Let’s take a closer look at these components:
Infeed Table: This is where the wood stock is initially fed into the machine. The infeed table is adjustable, allowing you to control the depth of cut and the desired thickness.
Cutterhead: The cutterhead contains multiple sharp blades or knives arranged in a cylindrical configuration. It rotates at high speeds and removes material from the wood as it passes through.
Outfeed Table: Once the wood stock has been planned, it moves onto the outfeed table. This table is also adjustable, ensuring that the thickness of the stock is consistent throughout the entire process.
The Planning Process Explained
The planning process begins when the wood stock is fed into the machine through the infeed table. As the stock moves forward, the rotating cutter head makes contact with the surface, removing a thin layer of material.
The infeed and outfeed tables provide support and ensure that the stock remains flat and level throughout the process. By adjusting the height of the infeed and outfeed tables, you can control the amount of material removed and achieve the desired thickness.
Once the stock has passed through the cutterhead, it exits the machine on the outfeed table, now planned and ready for further woodworking operations.
Advantages of Using a Planer Thicknesser
- Precision and Accuracy
One of the significant advantages of using a planer thicknesser is the precision and accuracy it offers. By utilising a single machine for both planning and thicknessing, you can achieve consistent results with minimal effort. This ensures that your wood stock is of the desired thickness and has a smooth, even surface.
- Consistent Thickness
The primary function of a thicknesser planer is to ensure a uniform thickness across the entire length of the wood. This consistency is essential when working on projects that require precise measurements.
- Surface Smoothness
As the thicknesser planer shaves off layers of wood, it creates a smooth and even surface. This allows for a better finish and reduces the need for extensive sanding.
- Dimensional Accuracy
With a thicknesser planer, you can easily achieve the desired thickness for your woodworking projects, ensuring accurate results.
- Time and Effort Savings
Using a planer thicknesser can save you significant time and effort compared to using separate machines for planning and thicknessing. With a combination planer, you eliminate the need for additional setup and adjustments, streamlining your workflow and improving efficiency.
- Versatility and Customisation
Planer thicknessers are versatile tools that can handle various woodworking tasks. Whether you need to dimension rough lumber, create uniform boards, or smooth out uneven surfaces, a planer thicknesser provides the flexibility to meet your specific needs. You can adjust the settings to achieve different thicknesses and surface finishes, giving you greater control and customisation options.
What is the difference between a thicknesser planer and a surface planer?
When it comes to woodworking, the terms “thicknesser planer” and “surface planer” are often used interchangeably, but they are not synonymous. Let’s examine the specific characteristics of each machine to understand their differences.
A thicknesser planer, also known as a thickness planer or a thicknesser, is a woodworking tool used to reduce the thickness of a wooden board or plank consistently. It is primarily employed for dimensioning lumber, ensuring uniform thickness throughout the material. By feeding the wood through rotating blades, a thicknesser planer shaves off layers, creating a smooth and uniform surface.
On the other hand, a surface planer, also referred to as a jointer or a planer, is designed to flatten the faces of rough lumber, removing any irregularities, and creating parallel surfaces. Unlike a thicknesser planer, a surface planer does not alter the thickness of the wood but focuses on achieving a flat and even surface. It is particularly useful for preparing wood before joining multiple pieces together or when working with warped or uneven boards.