Hand planers come in a couple of varieties, electric and hand and they really serve 2 different functions. Hand planes have been around in one form or another for a centuries and are used in many areas of woodworking. Electric hand planes are a somewhat recent addition having been around for the past 30 or so years.
One of the issues with electrical hand planers is their short length and the amount of wood they can plane down in very little time. The short length, like any plane, does not allow for a huge amount of control in terms of making a board straight and flat, and if the blade is set to a low depth, a person can sometimes do more damage than good when working with fine tolerances.
When using the electric hand planer that are a few things to watch out for …
1 – Always set the planer to take of small amounts of wood, just a skim at a time.
2 – Make sure you have clear path to plane and that there are not bumps or notches that will prevent a smooth transition from end to end. If there are, skim these off first
3 – Do NOT expect your electric hand planer to make your boards flat and straight. They will pretty much follow the contour of the wood so you will need to manually skim off parts to try and make it flat.
4 – As you begin planing move pressure on the tool toward the back part of the plane and let the blade do the cutting
5 – The electric hand planer is NOT a substitute for a jointer or even a stationary thickness planer.
Electric hand planers are great little tools in the right conditions and can save time and effort when used correctly. Make sure that you never lay any plane flat on it’s blade, even if the blade is fully retracted, best to lay planes on their side or mount them so the base is angles away. Just a good habit to get into.