Mastering the Art of Wood Planer Maintenance

Becoming a great handyman is like becoming a great actor: You need the skills, the talent, and a lot of practice. To master the art of maintaining a wood planer, you should consider it as mastering the art of acting where practice and a lot of patience are needed.


Wood planers make home improvement projects look like they were completed by a professional. They were made to smoothen, trim, and level wooden boards so that they have the same thickness. Planers make your boards ready for any project.

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DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer

  1. Inspect the planer table

It should be flat with a long straightedge. Evaluate the width and length of the table and even assess it diagonally. If the planer table has low spots or is warped in any way, call your manufacturer for assistance.

  1. Reduce snipe correctly

You can do so by setting the outfeed and infeed extension tables in a way that the outer ends are 1/6” inch (around the thickness of a penny) higher than your planer table.

  1. Keep the planer table clean

Use mineral spirits to clean your planer table. After which, apply a coat of paste wax using a soft cloth so that the boards can smoothly glide across as the feed rollers pull them.

  1. Keep the area clean

If possible, use a dust-collection tool. You may also opt for an air compressor to blow away the debris from the rollers, cutterhead, and table surface. Do this after every use to avoid dimpled wood surfaces and feed rollers which slip.

  1. Examine the motor brushes.

Every 100 hours, check the motor brushes for wear on the carbon faces. You’ll know they need to be changed when the carbon is less than ¼” long. Think of it as evaluating your acting skills and replacing lousy acting habits with good ones.

  1. Clean the guide posts and head elevation screws

Use compressed air to steer clear of the dust and chips. If needed, use a quality brass-bristle brush then lubricate the threads and posts using dry paraffin wax.

  1. Clean the sprockets and drive chain

Are they covered in chips and dust? It only means one thing: They’re screaming for some cleaning. Use compressed air or a brass-bristle brush again to clean them. Avoid removing lubricant or grease from exposed gears.

  1. Keep the knives clean

For your wood planer to run smoothly, make sure you get rid of the pitch and dust from the blades using mineral spirits. You should also use a brass-bristle brush (or a clean rag). You must perform this maintenance tip after planing wood with tar, high sap, or oil content like teak or pine. Be extra cautious when doing this tip or else you might cut your own fingers on the knife edges.

  1. Sharpen or replace knives when dull

planer-knivesDon’t keep using dull knives because they could pull chunks from the surface or tear the wood. Sharpen them as soon as you spot the first sign of dulling. It’s just like sharpening your acting skills by attending seminars or workshops after a few exposures. However, don’t bother sharpening a double-edged, disposable planer knife. Replace the knives if they can no longer be sharpened. This is the very reason why you need to have a spare set of knives available anytime.