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How To Use a Machine Planer for Pine Cabinets

by Greg Keefer

Hand planing is the traditional way to get the best results while smoothing pine cabinets prior to the finish work. But, machine planing is just as effective, if you follow a few simple rules of the road. Remember, just because your cabinets are inexpensive doesn't mean they can't look their best and add beauty and value to your home.

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How to Machine Plane Your Cabinets

  • Safety first: Make sure all guards are intact and properly mounted on the sander before turning it on. The revolving cutting head is a formidable piece of equipment that can do a lot of damage to fingers and arms. Don't try guiding the planer by putting your hand out in front of the cut.
  • Shallow cuts are the rule: Use shallow cuts to ensure an even cut, and hold the planer with both hands, by the handles, for stability.
  • Cutting direction: Cut across the grain on twisted boards and wood surfaces. Finish with long cuts along the grain.
  • Use a jointer properly: The jointer is an accessory that allows you to plane a square or angled edge or a smooth surface. As a general practice, a jointer works best for longer pieces of wood in 11- to 12-inch lengths and up.
  • Wood thickness: Keep fingers away from the intake rollers when planing your wood to thickness. When planing thin wood, use a base board. A thickness planer is a helpful part of the machine planing process, if your wood isn't the right depth.

Shave a big job or project down to size with a machine planer. You lose the hands-on feel of the wood you get with a hand planer, but the job is done quickly and efficiently. Keep safety in mind, and use the equipment properly for a beautiful set of pine cabinets that make both you and your cabinets look good.



About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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