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How to Use a Hand Plane on Your Custom Kitchen Cabinets

by Greg Keefer

When installing custom cabinets in your kitchen, you may run into a cabinet door or wall that's too thick or needs to be planed down. A hand planer is a challenging tool, but, if you're patient, hand planing can take your piece of wood to the exact proportions you need.

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Here are a few tips for using a hand plane:

Securing the Board

Clamp the board you're planing to something solid that won't slide, as you apply pressure and movement. Sitting or kneeling on the board is awkward. So, think ahead, and find a solid surface on which you can clamp the board. For best results, use a work bench or table that lets you comfortably control the pressure you apply.

Thinning a Board

Many boards are cupped, and you'll need to plane off some of the convex side of the board to create a flat surface. Keep the plane flat and work on the highest section of board, as you work your way down. Broaden the worked surface as you go. Press down on the front handle as you begin the stroke, and press down on the rear knob as you complete it. Use a marking gauge to mark the desired thickness.

Surfacing the Board Face

Use the same technique for thinning the board when smoothing it. Be careful to avoid tearing the wood grain as you go. Angle the plane in all directions. On difficult sections of the door or face board, plane at a right angle to the grain.

Your custom kitchen cabinets will only look as good as the surfaces. In the hands of a skillful user, the hand plane is a time-tested tool can create beautifully crafted cabinets.


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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