Hand planer, buzzer.

hand planer
Hand planer- My small Makita that I use one handed for fitting doors etc.

Hand planers come in a few sizes, from small ones able to be used one handed,power tools, to heavy duty special purpose ones with cuts to 300mm wide

I have never seen one, but Makita make a planer with a curved base fir fitting curved sections of logs etc.

I have a small one with an 80mm cut width that is 290mm long, it has a 580 watt motor. weighs in at 2.5 Kilo. It does 15,000 RPM. No wonder they call them buzzers. It is used mainly for fitting doors.

My other one has the same width cutters, but it is 380mm long. It has more power with a 850 watt motor. It is a fair bit heavier too at 3.5 kilo. It cuts slightly deeper rebates.


  • Electric planers or buzzers are again nearly always used with TCT edged cutters. Every modern plane comes with tools for changing the blades.
  • The tungsten blades last so much longer between sharpening, particularly with the structural hardwood timbers that I use a lot.
  • When they do get dull it's a send away job to sharpen them.
  • With the HSS (high speed steel) blades you can usually sharpen them yourself a couple of times on a standard oil stone. When they are razor sharp they beat a TCT blade hands down for finish.
  • Available are small jigs that hold two blades at once for sharpening on an ordinary oil stone.
  • Also available are double-edged solid tungsten-carbide mini blades that are a throw away job when dull. If you have a lot of planer work to do they will be economical.
  • All hand planers usually come with a square fence-guide. Some also have a 45deg bevel guide.
  • Again most of them come with a chip collector bag.
  • Quite a few manufacturers provide jigs for setting the height of the blades. Here's the way I do it.
  • Available also are tables that allow the hand planer to be set upside down and used as a bench planer.

Using a hand planer

When using a buzzer set the knob on the front for the depth of cut, and use it as a grip for your left hand. (I'm a right hander) My right hand controls the machine. firmly keeping that rear table on the freshly cut surface.

When you finish the cut, don't put the buzzer down flat on the bench. Use a bit of scrap to rest the front on, so there is a gap under the blade.
Make this a habit. You don't want anything touching the blade or lodging in there by accident. This way you don't have to wait for it to stop spinning either.
This is a general rule for just about all edged tools, but with a buzzer the last thing you want is a screw or something like it wedged in the blades when you fire up.

I don't use these buzzers for rebating, my router is a lot more versatile for that sort of work. So as a result I don't use the fence at all. The only time I would use it is if I was planing the edges of a lot of plywood.

Plywood is hard on planer blades, what with the end grain and the glue, so I set the fence to do the cuts at one side of the blade and when it gets dull, I move it a bit to work with a sharper section of blade. I move across the full width of the blade in stages until it is uniformly dull and ready for a sharpen.

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