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Surface planer (surfacer)

Surface planer

Used in the initial preparation of wood, producing flat faces and square edges. Problems can occur when fingers get dragged between the fence and guard and contact the cutters. There are four cutters, held in place horizontally with eight allen screws. Cutter height is adjusted with a gauge. The guard should be adjusted to less than 10mm but care is required not to have the guard too close to the workpiece as non-uniform sizes can cause jamming. To allow for this this some bridge guards are therefore spring loaded.

Fence with small gap
Fence adjusted to expose only a small section of the cutter block
Tunnel guards
Tunnel guards fitted around the cutter block
Feeding against the fence
Feeding a workpiece against the fence towards the tunnel guards

Other dangers are using too small a piece of wood, with kickback causing fingers to contact cutters. Push blocks must be used and consider use of other options such as use of sander if less than 300mm. Guarding must also be adequate, note illegal “boomerang” guard that fails to adequately cover cutters.

Using a push block
Using a push block to feed a small workpiece over the cutter block
Boomerang guard
Illegal ‘boomerang' guard that fails to adequately cover all of the cutter block

Information sheets

Safe use of hand fed planing machine - WIS 17

Updated 2020-10-20