What Can I Use Instead of a Planer?

Published on: June 9, 2022
Written by Eric Devin / Fact-checked by David Rowan

If you’re into woodworking, you’ve probably heard of a planer. A wood planer, in case you didn’t know, is a tool used to guarantee that a plank is of uniform thickness from one side to the other, as well as that both sides are completely flat. It’s all about preparing the wood for usage. With that in mind, what other tools can you use in place of a wood planer?

what can i use instead of a planer

All of the woodworking machines may be fairly large, and they can also be extremely expensive. However, there are alternative methods for planning wood that do not require the use of a planer. Sure, they’ll take a little more time and work, but it’s doable. Let’s see if we can plane wood without using a planer.

Without a Planer, How Do You Flatten Aboard?

The basic reality is that you can certainly plane wood without using a planer. Electric wood planers, after all, have only been around for a short time. People initially planned pieces of wood even before electricity was invented, and even when power tools are utilized, there are several options.

Sure, some tools aren’t meant for planning, but that doesn’t imply they can’t be used for planning. There are a few conventional wood planning choices as well as several power instruments that will do the job. With that in mind, designing a large number of pieces of wood using any of the approaches we’ll discuss will take considerable time, not to say reproducing outcomes over a large number of pieces of wood will be difficult.

There’s also the reality that using a planer is the quickest and easiest method to get it done, and there’s only so much you can do if you plan manually and with other heavy machinery. To put it another way, if you’re planning extremely thick boards, particularly if you’ll be removing a lot of material, and you’ll be working with a lot of them, it’s probably best to just get a good benchtop planer.

Is a Planer Really Necessary?

The truth is, even if you don’t have a planer, you may plane wood in various ways. If you ever need to plan a lot of products on a constant schedule, though, you should invest in a planner.

A thickness planer is useful for three things that other instruments aren’t:

  • It aligns the board’s second face with the other face;
  • It makes rough material smooth; and
  • It thins material to the precise thickness you want.

If you’re serious about woodworking, a thick planer is well worth the investment.

Is It Possible to Use a Sander in Place of a Planer?

If you’ve ever used a sander, it’s easy to mistake it for a thickness planer. After all, both machines are capable of removing wood from the surface. Sanders, on the other hand, are refining tools, as well as using one to remove layers of wood may be costly and time-consuming.

Sanders is sluggish in comparison to planers, removing just a little quantity of wood with each pass. Multiple passes often result in extreme heat accumulation, resulting in burned sandpaper, blown fuses, and wood damage.

Because you’re continuously changing worn-out sandpaper, sanders may be costly to operate. So, when you think of a sander, keep in mind that it’s mostly a piece of finishing equipment for fine woodworking.

Is It Possible to Create Furniture Without Using a Planer?

You don’t need a planer to construct simple furniture. Quite a few individuals do. You may either use edges plywood, as you mentioned or dimensioned timber in the desired widths. When you need an average thickness or have to attach two or more boards edgewise, difficulties arise. Another typical issue is warping. Finding dimensioned timber in the species you desire can be difficult and expensive at times.

Hand planes may be used to joint and thickness planes. Many people do this, however, I find it laborious as compared to utilizing power tools accompanied by plane dressing.

Without a Planer, How Do You Plan Wood?

What happens if you need to thin wood but don’t have access to a planer? No issue; you have additional tools at your disposal that may successfully plane the wood to get the desired results.

Plane Wood the Router

A router may not appear to be a decent alternative for a planer, but it may perform a fine job provided the wood is securely secured. A wood router, in essence, is a sort of planer that removes layers of wood to make certain designs. In this example, all you’re doing is extending the pattern to cover the full top layer of the wood. To use a router to flatten wood, you’ll need to create a router sled or jig.

To keep the board firmly attached to the platform, use a jig or clamps to fasten the wood. Make sure the board is in a position where you can easily push the router all the way across. Working towards the direction of the grains will get the finest results.

The process may go surprisingly quickly after the board is secure and the router is adjusted to the proper depth. When compared to a planer or table saw, even the best outcome with the router will not be as smooth. So, if you want a high-quality finish, be prepared to use a sander to smooth off the surface.

Make Use of a Drum Sander

Sanders is often used to provide wood with a beautiful polish rather than to thin it out much. If you’re a little tolerant and have lots of time, either a drum or a belt sander may accomplish the job. The advantage of utilizing a drum sander is that you may have a lot of control over the thinning process. You also don’t need to learn any new skills or operate the drum sander in a unique manner than usual.

However, compared to utilizing a regular planer or other cutting-tool-based approaches, this will take longer to complete. It is advised that you make a jig to keep the particles for consistent results. This will enable you to sand it uniformly with the drum sander and achieve the desired results.

Sanding with Belt Sander

A belt sander functions similarly to a drum sander. It is suggested that you use a broad belt to cover a bigger area and speed up the process. You won’t need any new techniques or tools to complete the task, just like with the drum sander. It’s the same as regular sanding, only it’ll take longer depending on how much material you want to remove off the board.

A jig, similar to the drum sander, should be built or used to keep the board in position. This will ensure a more consistent outcome.

Table Saw 

Yes, a table saw can be used to plane wood. In reality, a table saw is an excellent tool for cutting long, narrow pieces of wood. However, you must make one or two changes to get the desired effects.

To begin, make a jig to retain the board in the correct place. Next, make sure the saw blade is at a precise 90-degree angle using an engineering square. An engineering square is an excellent tool for ensuring that the blade is properly positioned.

Finally, if you’ve never cut wood with a table saw before, you must start with some scrap pieces. The solution is to move the wood in a steady, careful manner so that the blade does not heat the material enough to leave burn scars.

Vertical Band Saw 

The band saw is indeed a versatile instrument that may be used for ripping, cutting profiles, and even reducing thickness. Band saws have become popular and trusted equipment for many woodworkers due to their flexibility.

If the board isn’t too wide, you can use a vertical band saw with a fence to slice through the thickness. The band saw is ideal for resawing wood as well. To obtain a straight cut, make sure you’re using a broad blade.

Make Use of a Jointer

The ideal instrument for flattening the face of wood boards is a jointer. Now, I recognize that if you don’t have a wood planer, your odds of having a jointer are limited.

If you have accessibility to a jointer, you may use it to cut the thickness down. However, keep in mind that the jointer can only flatten the thickness, not make it parallel.

Manual Sanding

If you don’t have any of this equipment, you can still get the job done using good old sandpaper. Sandpaper is affordable and will do the job, resulting in a smooth surface. Hand sanding wood, on the other hand, can take a long time, so be prepared to put in some physical work to thin the wood.

Start with a piece of heavy sandpaper with a grit of at least 150. To save time, as much content as feasible will be removed. When sanding, use smooth, equal strokes across the wood. After you’ve removed the required quantity of material, use finer grit sandpaper to smooth it out even more.

Of course, if you’ve had a sanding instrument, you can cut down on the time and work required to flatten the wood. Use a sturdy jig to fix the wood to the platform, just like you would with any other tool. Making a jig to carry different pieces of material so any errors are minimized is one of the finest investments you can make.

Are There Any Manual Alternatives to a Planer?

Yes, there are manual alternatives to a planer such as a hand plane, a drawknife, or a spokeshave. A hand plane works by pushing a sharp blade through the wood to create a smooth surface. A drawknife is used to shave away wood, and a spokeshave is used to shape and smooth wood.

Are There Any Cheaper Alternatives to a Planer?

Yes, you can use a portable hand plane or a belt sander. These tools are typically much less expensive than a planer and can be used to quickly and easily plane wood surfaces.

Final Verdict

I believe you’ve appreciated our look at the many ways to plane wood instead of using a planer. The majority of people rely on having accessibility to some kind of power tool. There are other manual choices if you don’t have these.

A jack planer will suffice, and it has been used for centuries. If time is your only constraint, sandpaper and a scrap of wood will suffice. We wish you all the best of luck in your next woodwork job, regardless of whatever choice you pick.

Featured image credit: Amazon.com

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About This Writer

author eric devin

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

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