4 Essential Wood-Planer Maintenance Tips


 planer bed waxing

If you’ve got a thickness planer (aka a wood planer) in your home woodworking shop, then there are four things you need to do to keep it running well. If you want to maintain top-notch performance from your wood planer and solve problems that might come up with the machine, you’ve come to the right place.

Wood Planer Problem #1: Boards sticks while it’s being planed

This is a problem of lubrication, so to speak. The first thing you need to do – and it applies to all thickness planters on the market – is to regularly apply paste wax to the bed of your planer. The bed is that part of the machine that the wood slides on. If you don't keep the bed waxed, your lumber is going to stick in the machine and it won't feed through properly.

As for wax,  I use an old can of Johnson's Paste Wax. I bought it in the late '70s (yes it’s 40+ years old), and there's still plenty of wax in the can. I figure I’ll get five, maybe 10 more years out of it. Any kind of floor paste wax will do the job. Unplug the planer, raise the cutterhead to expose as much of the bed as possible, remove any sawdust from the bed, then rub a little wax on it. Apply it with a circular motion. You don't have to be fancy, just as long as you get complete coverage. Let it dry for a few minutes and then lightly buff the wax off with a clean rag. It's amazing how long this wax treatment will keep lumber sliding smoothly while you plane it. Watch this video on exactly how to apply wax to your wood planer where it’ll make a difference.

chipped planer blade

Wood Planer Problem #2: Planed wood has raised ridges

The cause of this problem is a nick in the blades, most often caused by hitting a hard knot. You can’t always avoid this problem, but you can fix it rather easily. With the machine unplugged, remove the top of your planer to gain access to the cutter head.  If your blades are still fairly sharp and leaving smooth wood behind (except for that raised ridge), there’s an easy fix. By sliding individual blades side-to-side relative to each other you’ll get rid of the ridge. If the nick in one blade doesn’t align with the nick in other blades, no ridge will appear.

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