If you’re a beginner to woodworking, then it may be a good idea to understand the different types of planers out there. Simply speaking, a planer is a tool that cuts the surface of the wood very thinly from the top part of the wood, unlike a jointer that cuts from the bottom. A handheld planer can shape, smoothen and cut different types of wood. A benchtop or a stationary planer, on the other hand, is used to equalize the thickness of a flat piece of wood. In short, all planers are essentially thicknessers.
Types of Planers
Manual Hand Planer
This is a hand plane which is mainly driven by your hand. This is done by running the planer over the wood. A manual planer comprises a hand plane and a blade. The different types of manual hand planers are block planers, smooth planers and jack planers. Amongst all the wood planning tools, hand planes are the lightest and also the smallest. You can use a manual hand planer for shaping, straightening or smoothing wood.
Power Hand Planer
This is basically either an electric hand planer which has a cord or it is a battery-operated cordless planer. Since a power hand planer works on electric power, it saves a lot of effort and time when compared to manual planing. Also, power hand planers allow you to surface cut various types of woods that cannot be planed using a hand plane. Power hand planes can be curve-based or straight-based and they work with high-speed or carbide blade cutting system.
Usually, straight-based power hand planers are used by professionals such as carpenters, manufacturers of log cabins, timber framers, homeowners etc., while curve-based power hand planers are used by timber framers, builders or log homes, etc. for creating arcs and arches in timber, etc.
Benchtop planers are machines that are placed on a benchtop and are used to plane boards of wood of varying lengths and widths. Benchtop planers are usually lighter and more compact when compared to stationary planers. A regular benchtop planer comprises a 6” cutter head, a fence and tables on both sides.
Benchtop planers are operated by feeding the board through the rollers and cutter head. The board goes in through the infeed table and comes out from the outfeed table after being cut. Benchtop planers are usually used to thickness square, flat pieces of wood and they can usually thickness wood that is around 4 ft long and 6” wide.
Stationary planers are larger, heavier and more costly versions of benchtop planers and can plane boards of wood of varying lengths and widths. They have their own base on which they stand and do not require a bench. Stationary planers have wider cutting heads compared to benchtop planers and their tables are much longer too. These planers are used for thicknessing all kinds of wood of all lengths, widths and many feet of wood very fast. Stationary planers are suitable for large workshops and if you require a powerful planer to thickness wood very quickly with a high-quality finish.
In-Depth Reviews of Porter-Cable Planers
|Image||Porter-Cable Planer Reviews||Type||Amazon Price|
|PC60THP 6-Amp Hand Planer||Budget Electric Hand Planer||Check Price|
|PC305TP Double-Edged Quick-Change Benchtop Planer||DIY Benchtop Planer||Check Price|
|PC160JT Variable Speed Bench Jointer||Performance Bench Jointer||Check Price|
Porter-Cable PC60THP 6-Amp Hand Planer – The Best Budget Electric Hand Planer
If you’re looking for an inexpensive and beginner level electric hand planer, then the Porter-Cable PC60THP Hand Planer is a great model that you could consider. This “budget” planer is equipped with a 6-amp motor which allows you to do some tough planning for all your finishing jobs and it also lets you get a more precise cut depth of 5/64-inches, so you shave thin layers with greater precision. The model also offers 10 depth stops for greater versatility.
The build of the Porter-Cable PC60THP Hand Planer is very sleek and offers a premium look and feel and the aluminum shoe offers excellent maneuverability. The unit is equipped with a dual dust port that prevents clogging by eliminating the wood chips efficiently. This helps to increase the life of the machine.
The hand planer includes 2 blades and you can either make use of carbide, HSS or high-speed steel blades. The planer features 3 chamfering grooves that let you create edgings more easily. The planer also lets you create rabbets with a cut depth of 0.47 inch on every pass and it does not shave off plenty of material. This allows you to have control over the rabbet depth as required and makes the planer suitable for finer and detailed work. The Porter-Cable hand planer is ideal for shortening joists and doors, planning wooden planks, profiling and chamfering the edges and corners of hardwoods.
Overall, the Porter-Cable PC60THP Hand Planer is an excellent tool for professional work and it offers versatility, performance and is an excellent value-for-money buy. So, if you are a hobbyist or a professional woodworker and you’re on the lookout for a high-quality, but affordably priced hand planer, then the Porter-Cable PC60THP Hand Planer is an excellent option.
Features of the Porter-Cable PC60THP Hand Planer
- Heavy-duty 6-amp motor produces speed of 16500 RPM
- Dual-side dust bags
- 3 chamfering grooves
- Over-mold depth knob for adjusting cutting depth
- 11.5” aluminum shoe for better finish and control
- Comes with a handy carry bag
- Comes with a 3-year limited manufacturer repair or replacement warranty
Porter-Cable PC305TP Double-Edged Quick-Change Benchtop Planer – The Best DIY Benchtop Planer
This bench planer from Porter-Cable is an affordable model which is packed with features. The Porter-Cable PC305TP Benchtop Planer is equipped with a powerful and tough 15-amp motor that is capable of removing the toughest of woods. The cutter head of the benchtop planer can produce speeds of up to 8,000 RPM that can deliver 16,000 cuts/minute.
The benchtop planer is also equipped with a sprocket head feeder, Poly-V belt cutter head drive and a sturdy gearbox which ensure maximum transfer of power. The benchtop planer has double-edged knives that are made of carbon steel and they can be reversed, which increases their life and this also ensures smooth operation. The cutter made of steel, two knives, ball bearings that are head-mounted ensures efficient operation of the planer and its long life.
The planer is extremely lightweight and has handles, which makes it very easy and convenient to carry the unit around. Overall, the Porter-Cable PC305TP Benchtop Planer is an excellent tool for hobbyists and home projects.
Features of the Porter-Cable PC305TP Benchtop Planer
- Powerful 15-amp motor
- Double-edged reversible carbon steel knives
- Cutter elevation on 4 ground columns
- Poly-V cutter head drive
- Cutter made of solid steel, ball bearing mounted on head
Porter-Cable PC160JT Variable Speed Bench Jointer – The Best Performance Bench Jointer
The sturdy and strong Porter-Cable PC160JT Bench Jointer is a great machine ideal for small edge jointing jobs. The jointer is extremely easy to operate and you can get a better and a smoother cut by making adjustments to the fence. The dual cutting head also ensures efficient operation and superior cutting of the Porter-Cable PC160JT Bench Jointer. The product is very durable and is suited for long-term use.
The Porter-Cable PC160JT Bench Jointer is equipped with a 10-amp motor with variable speed that enables you to cut material of any hardness and any size. The jointer has many adjustments, such as the variable speed adjustments that allow you to select how slow or fast you want to work. The easy replacements also let you complete your jobs in no time.
The bench jointer comes with an extra-large table that allows you to work and place your material comfortably. The Porter-Cable PC160JT Bench Jointer is very affordable and considering its price, this jointer is a great high-quality product offering excellent performance to have in your home workshop.
Features of the Porter-Cable PC160JT Bench Jointer
- 10-amp, 1.4 HP motor with variable speed
- Size: 35 lbs
- 19.75” (l) 4.25” (w) aluminum fence with center-mounting
- 2 knife cutter heads (speed 6,000-11000 RPM)
- Cutting Speed: 12,000-22,000 cuts per minute
- Inbuilt cutter head lock for easy blade replacement
- Extra-large 30-inch table
- Comes with 3-year limited warranty
So, if you’re looking for a planer for your wood cutting and thicknessing requirements at home or your worksite, then it may be worth considering the Porter-Cable planers, as they have different models that can definitely suit your specific needs.