Tool of the Week: Planer

Pictured at left and below is one of our Tool Library members, Brian, using our portable Dewalt planer to smooth out a board.  This particular board is going to be a wedding gift to his sister.  As you can see in this image below, this particular board has a natural heart shape in the wood that will be the highlight of this table.

A thickness planer is a tool that evens out pieces of wood, so that the whole board is the same thickness.  A planer is often used in conjunction with a jointer, as a planer usually requires that at least one side of the board be perfectly flat.  More on jointers in another post.  A planer works by using cutting knives to shave off excess wood on the board as the board is slid through the machine.

The West Seattle Tool Library currently has two portable planers available for checkout.  However, if you only have a quick project and don’t feel up to lugging a heavy planer home, you are welcome to use one of the planers in the workshop, as Brian did.  Most of our tools can be used in our workshop for quick projects, saving you a return trip to bring back that tool.

As with most power tools, when using a planer it is recommended that you wear eye protection and remove any loose clothing or loose jewelry.  As well, ear protection is highly recommended.  Planers can be loud.  While Brian was using the planer in the workshop, all of us in the general area had to put on ear protection because it was so loud.  It is also recommended that users not plane any board less than twelve inches in length as a shorter board could lead to damage to the user and or the planer.

The West Seattle Tool Library has a collection of over 1,500 tools currently available, is free to use and run primarily on user donations. Our entire inventory is available online. For more information on becoming a member, please visit our website.  If you are interested in volunteering at the Tool Library, please contact us at:

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