Planing Wood

4 Sep 2014
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United Kingdom

I am looking at getting an electric planer as I have quite a but of wood which needs planing. I am looking around for them so any recommendations would be good however I am also looking at potentially planing curves. I don't think a normal electric planer will do this and I cant think of any way of doing this. I presume I could cut the curve with a jigsaw with a clean cut blade and then plane the top and bottom of the wood to smooth it and hand sand / hand plane the curve if needed. Or is there a specific setting on electric planers to do curves or is it a separate tool all together?


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band saw and sander sounds more like what you need
maybe a draw hook or spoke shave
what exactly are you making
I'll echo big-all's question, what are you making?
There are many ways to achieve curves in wood. An electric planer isn't the right tool for curves.
I am looking at getting an electric planer as I have quite a but of wood which needs planing. I am looking around for them so any recommendations would be good
What sizes of timber are we talking about here? Also single sided or thicknessed (dimensioned)? If the later than you need to start looking at a static machine called a planer/thicknesser

however I am also looking at potentially planing curves. I don't think a normal electric planer will do this and I cant think of any way of doing this
As stated above, cut the curve with either a bow saw or a bandsaw - jisaws are only really any good on thin materials up to an inch or possibly two:

Above: Gramercy 12in bow saw

The problem with bow saws is that nobody makes them any longer in the UK (the last UK firm was Marples) which leaves only tools like the Gramercy above (although it is possible to purchase a kit and make your own) The Gramercy blades are excellent quality, but to use then in an older-type British bowsaw takes some modification of the tool. The alternative would be something like an ECE German turning saw:

Above: ECE German turning saw

To plane a curve the hand tool required is called a compass plane, although once again you'd probably have to buy a secondhand one as there is only one European firm left making them, Kunz in Germany, although at 259 Euros they are hardly a steal. The only other alternative is a tool made by Anant in India - but the less said about their quality, the better. :rolleyes:

If the items are narrower, say up to 1-1/2in, the curve could be worked using a round sole spokeshave such as a Stanley #151R, but they will only work narrow pieces (i.e. narrower than the blade)

An electric planer isn't the right tool for curves.
Not always the case. Curves can be planed with a power planer, but it does require a very specialised power planer made by Virutex to do this:

Above: Virutex CE96H compass sole power planer

Apart from that the other way open would be to use a router, template and trimmer bit (for widths up to 2in) or a router and home made jig for wider/long pieces. Is there any reason why your curved shape couldn't be copy routed from 1 to 2in wide stock and then glue laminated to make a wider piece?

TBH without knowing what you are trying to achieve it is impossible to make a specifc recommendation. Also budget, qualtity, accuracy required come into this because most of the specialised tools I refer to above aren't cheap
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I have a Record Compass plane. I think it fair to say that they are an acquired taste which I never did acquire despite perseverance!
I wondered if anyone made an electric curve planer. I used to make slatted stool tops with three pieces of curved wood in short batches. Bandsaw followed by a (crude but effective!) router jig, followed by bobbin or inverted belt sander. Short runs so didn't need anything more complicated.
Just to add that I prefer the old wooden type spokeshaves to the modern iron ones.
Thanks for all the updates guys I am looking at making a cage for animals out of wood so some of the shelves will be curved and the thickness of the wood will be arund 18 - 25mm. I will be planing the shelves which can be curved and some existing shelves as well.

I have found this and the reviews look very good for it and it seems like a good tool:

What are peoples thoughts on this?

Regarding the curves I am not foreseeing many of them just a couple of them but obviously I don't want them to remain a small danger to the animals feet when gripping the edges with their feet. This is why I want to plane the edges and the curves. So a band saw would do this which would give the same finish as a planed surface?


For external curves an orbital sander, after the band or jig sawing, would get you a smooth enough finish.
For internal curves, it's by hand or a bobbin sander, really.
John :)
18-21mm tends to be planed /dressed timber not needing other than smoothing cut edges
24-27 tends to be rough sawn which is easier to use a belt sander
you will not get smooth flat timber with a hand planer you can come very close with experience :D

on your task a jigsaw and decent blades will do a good job

if the timber is second hand do not use a planer

is it new or second hand timber ??
Thanks for the responses.

It will be new timber I have a green Bosch jigsaw with some clean for wood blades so that should be alright and a bit of a sand down if needed by the sounds of it as they will just be external curves.

Some of the wood I will be planing is currently in the cage and has become a little warped so bent slightly in the middle so I was going to plane that so its a straight piece again before putting it back in as well as part of the project.

What are peoples thoughts on the planer above it seems to have good reviews does anyone have any comments or experience with it?


reviews can be misleading
they are vetted bad ones edited out good ones edited with sections removed they will often leave one or two bad ish reviews to make them more believable
and remember they ask for reviews when the goods are fairly new rather than 2 years down the road

wed searches like "trouble with stanley electric plane" or "faulty stanley electric planer" may bring up any problems
Thanks I eventually got a titan planer from Screwfix it had good reviews and I couldn't find anything bad on the internet and it is doing the job easily and producing good results every time so far!
excellent glad its working
thanks for letting us know how you got on

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