Any beginning woodworker will quickly learn the importance of a woodworking planer. These handy tools are an essential part of any well-stocked workshop.
As I’m sure you already know, lumber rarely comes without some sort of flaw. This is especially true when the lumber comes from a home improvement store, since most lumberyards keep the premium (higher priced) stock for themselves. The boards you choose may be affordable, but they will rarely be straight, flat, and of even thickness.
If you were framing a house, a smooth, even piece of lumber would be less of a big deal. For fine woodworking and building baby cribs, however, these “perfect” qualities are desirable. The last thing you would want is to construct a baby crib that is rough and splintery, blotchy from knots and uneven staining, has uneven and ugly joins, or is even potentially dangerous due to wobbly wood.
The solution to all of these problems is a woodworking planer. At the most basic level, you can choose between a hand plane or a power planer. A hand plane requires some manual labor and “oomph” to shave thin strips from your wood. It can take a lot of time and may not produce the results you want unless you’re an expert. The high-tech method is to use an electric woodworking planer. This power planer has rollers to move your stock across several sharp blades spinning at high speed. Whether you use a hand plane or a power planer, the effect is the same—a thin layer of wood is removed with each pass. Repeat the process until the wood looks and feels the way you want it to.
Specialized planes you may use while building baby cribs include:
- A circular plane for smoothing concave or convex curves, such as on crib spindles, rails, or legs.
- A shoulder plane for cleaning up tenons that join two pieces of wood.
- A jointer plane for jointing and the final flattening of boards.
- A spokeshave for smoothing curved surfaces.
- A chisel plane for removing wood up to a perpendicular surface, like the bottom inside of a storage drawer.
The woodworking planer is not just for building baby cribs; it can be used for any woodworking project. This simple tool adds beauty, functionality, and durability to whatever you create.