How to Use a Hand Planer to Flatten a Board

Are you looking to maximize your DIY woodworking project potential? An essential tool for flatting and smoothing a board is the hand planer. It will help save time, ensure precise results with minimal waste, and give you more control over the finished product. With so many products on the market it can be difficult to know which one is best for your project needs. 

How to Use a Hand Planer to Flatten a Board

In this article we’ll explain how to use a hand planer to flatten a board! If you’re looking to make quick work of flattening a board, a hand planer can be an invaluable tool for any woodworker or hobbyist. With its sharp blades and easy portability, it can save time and energy compared to sanding by hand. 

We’ll discuss the steps involved, from selecting the right type of planer to adjusting the depth of cut as well as helpful tips along the way. Using just some basic woodworking knowledge, we will explore how effective and straightforward it is to use a handheld plane when working on different types of materials.

Why May You Want to Use a Hand Planer to Flatten a Board?

1. To Flatten the Face of a Board to a Smooth Even Finish

One of the most common uses of a hand planer is to flatten the face of a board. This is especially important when making furniture or building projects that involve joining boards together. Flattening the board will ensure a smooth and even surface, allowing for tight-fitting joints and better overall results.

Hand Planer is to Flatten the Face

2. To Remove Excess Material from a Board

Using a hand planer to remove excess material from a board can be helpful when dealing with wood that is warped or uneven. By removing extra material, you can bring the boards back into ideal proportions and create a level surface for your project.

3. To Create Angles and Profiles

Another useful way to use a hand planer is to create angles and profiles on a board. This can be especially helpful when making furniture or cabinetry, as it allows you to create unique shapes and design elements.

How to Use a Hand Planer to Flatten a Board in 6 Easy Steps

Step 1: Secure the Board to a Flat and Stable Surface

The very first step is to ensure that the board is secured tightly and firmly to a flat, stable surface. If necessary, use clamps or wedges to secure the board in place.

Step 2: Set the Hand Planer’s Depth

Once the board is securely in place, adjust the depth of your hand planer’s blade so that it is just barely skimming the top of the board’s surface. This will also help ensure minimal wood removal.

Adjust the Depth of Your Hand Planer’s Blade

Step 3: Set the Cutting Angle

Set the blade of your hand planer at a slight angle with respect to the board’s surface. This will give you greater control over the flattening process and help you achieve a consistent, even finish.

Step 4: Make Cuts Along The Length Of The Board

Start at one end of the board and make a series of passes along its length, moving from side to side. Make sure you’re applying an even amount of pressure on each pass so as to achieve consistent results.

Step 5: Flip The Board Over And Repeat

Once you have finished making cuts along both sides of the board, flip it over and repeat the process on the other side. Again, make sure you’re applying even pressure to both sides of the board as you move from one end to the other.

Step 6: Check The Results

Once you have finished making passes along both sides of the board, check your work. If necessary, you can make additional passes with the hand planer until you achieve the desired level of flatness.

Finally, clean up any shavings or dust that may have accumulated during your work using a damp cloth. Following these steps will help ensure that you achieve a consistent level of flatness with your board when using a hand planer.

Some Additional Tips to Use a Hand Planer to Flatten a Board

1. Use the Planer to Remove Only a Small Amount of Material at a Time

One of the most important tips when using a hand planer to flatten a board is to remove only a small amount of material at a time. This helps reduce the risk of creating gouges in the wood as well as ensuring you don’t end up with an uneven surface.

Creating Gouges in the Wood

2. Make Sure You Have Firm and Even Pressure on the Planer as You Go

Maintaining even and firm pressure on the planer is important for ensuring a uniform surface. If you are not applying enough pressure, this could cause the planer to skip over spots or create an uneven surface. Applying too much pressure can lead to gouging.

3. Make Use of Scrap Wood When Working

When using a hand planer to flatten a board, it is important to make use of scrap wood. This will help protect the surface below and ensure that any excess material is not transferred into your project piece. It also helps reduce accidental gouging.

4. Regularly Check Your Progress

Another key tip when using a hand planer to flatten a board is to regularly check your progress. This will help you identify any uneven spots that need further attention and also allow you to make any necessary adjustments as you go.

5. Clean the Blades Regularly

It is important to clean the blades of your planer after each use as this will help maintain its sharpness, reduce the risk of rust, and guarantee smooth cutting. Keeping your blades clean will also help you achieve a more even surface when flattening boards.

Following these tips can help ensure that you get the desired result you are looking for when using a hand planer to flatten a board. 

Be sure to take all necessary safety precautions when using power tools and always remember to wear protective gear.  With the right knowledge and practice, you will be able to achieve excellent results with your hand planer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Precautions Should I Take Before Using a Hand Planer?

Before using a hand planer, make sure to wear safety goggles and protective gloves. Check the blades of the planer for any signs of damage and ensure they are sharp before use. Additionally, it is important to unplug the machine when not in use or if you need to change the blades.

Check the Blades of the Planer

What Kind of Wood is Best for a Hand Planer?

The best type of wood to use when flattening a board with a hand planer is softwood such as pine or redwood. These types of woods are softer, making it easier for the blades to remove material without too much strain on the machine. Hardwoods such as oak may require a more powerful commercial-grade planer.

How Deep Should I Set the Blades?

The depth of the blades should be set so that they only remove a few millimeters of material in each pass. This will help to prevent overworking the machine and damaging the blades or board. Additionally, it is important to make multiple shallow passes until the desired result is achieved.

What Is the Right Angle for Using a Hand Planer?

When using a hand planer, it is important to maintain an angle of around 30 degrees between the blade and the board surface. This will ensure that even and uniform results are achieved. A steeper angle may cause gouging or uneven surfaces. Additionally, the board should be pushed slowly and evenly against the blade to prevent kickback.

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Hand Planer?

The best way to clean a hand planer is with compressed air or a soft brush. This will ensure that any dust or debris is removed from the blades and other components without causing any damage. Additionally, it is important to lubricate the blades with oil after each use. This will help to keep them sharp and reduce wear and tear. Finally, it is important to inspect the planer regularly for any signs of damage or wear and should be replaced if necessary.


Now you know how to use a hand planer to flatten a board! In conclusion, flattening a board with a hand planer requires a good bit of preparation and precision. The most essential part is understanding how to use the planes, as this is one of the most complex tools in the carpentry trade.

Planning beforehand and setting yourself up for success will be key in achieving a good result. If done right, you can create beautiful crafts with your hand planer. You just have to have patience, practice, and dedication – anything worth doing takes time! Trust your skills and take on new projects: you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.

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Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

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