Even an amateur carpenter should understand the importance of a planer for woodworking. The benefits that a surface planer brings to a workshop are immeasurable.
If you have ever purchased lumber, you understand how lucky you are to handle a straight, flat board of even thickness. Most of the time lumber has some sort of “flaw,” especially if you buy it from a discount home improvement store. The perfect pieces have a higher price tag while the ok pieces are more affordable.
The “ok” pieces are fine for rough carpentry like framing but are less than desirable for fine woodworking and building baby furniture. Wood with an uneven surface may be rough to the baby’s touch and will turn out unequal staining. Boards that are not straight will produce ugly joins and awkward angles. Unless your wood is even, it will be wobbly, less sturdy, and potentially dangerous to your child.
All of these problems warrant having a planer for woodworking. You can choose to use a large hand plane to shave thin strips off your wood, but this method is hard work, time-consuming, and is truly only effective in the hands of an experienced craftsman. A more modern method is to use an electric power planer with rollers to move your stock across several sharp blades spinning at high speed. The effect is the same—a thin layer of wood is removed with each pass, and you can repeat the process to produce your desired result.
Specialized planes you may use while building baby furniture include:
- A jointer plane for jointing and the final flattening of boards.
- A spokeshave for smoothing curved surfaces.
- A shoulder plane for cleaning up tenons because the cutter goes all the way to the edge of the plane.
- A chisel plane for removing wood up to a perpendicular surface, like the bottom inside of a box.
- A circular plane for smoothing concave or convex curves, such as on crib spindles, highchair arms, and changing table legs.
As you can see, this simple tool is a staple for almost any project. When you use a planer for woodworking and building baby furniture, you are enhancing the beauty, functionality, and durability of whatever you create.