When you’re planing a board to thickness, there’s a little more involved than simply shoving the board through your planer. To get the best possible result, in regards to board stability, you should follow a specific sequence of events.
What we’re after
We have a couple of goals when we’re planing wood. One, of course, is to get the board smooth. Another is to make sure that the board has uniform thickness throughout. The planer will also guarantee that both faces of the board are parallel to each other. While all that stuff is happening, we should take a simple step to help the board stay flat after the work with the planer is done.
What we’re avoiding
Sometimes, when wood is dried, the moisture content near the surface can be slightly different than the moisture content at the core. If, when you’re planing, you remove all or most of the material from one face, you can end up with a board that’s prone to cupping. It’s very easy to reduce the likelihood that this will happen.
To keep your material as stable as possible when you’re planing the surface make sure you’re removing equal amounts of material from both faces. This is simple to do. Make a pass with one face up, reset the head of your planer, flip the board, make another pass, repeat. This approach, removing equal amounts from both faces and working toward the core, will go a long way toward helping your material stay flat. While you’re doing the work make sure you’re using the planer safely by checking out our planer safety tips.
Keeping your boards as flat as possible is sure to make your upcoming woodworking projects a lot easier to do.