I first used a hand-held power planer when I was learning how to build wooden boats. The job required a lot of planing, which was faster and easier with a power tool than by hand. Later, when I went back to doing carpentry, one of the first new tools I bought was a 3 1/4-inch power planer. It saved time and muscle power whenever I had to plane doors or scribe cabinets and casings to the wall. It was also handy for straightening bowed joists and studs before installing the drywall.

Power planers are a lot like the jointers found in woodworking shops. Both tools can be used with or without fences and have cutter heads that are mounted between an infeed and an outfeed bed. On a power planer, the beds are referred to as shoes or bases. The blades are fastened to the head and spin on a horizontal axis.

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