Q: I take light cuts with my portable power planer. However, when I send a piece of lumber through the planer, it often comes to a stop and I must push it through. When the board comes out, it has black marks on its surface. What’s wrong with my planer? Lou Verda, Granville, IL A: It’s time to change your blades. Dull blades can significantly slow a planer’s feed rate and, if especially dull, can actually cause friction burns. You also should clean the rollers, and clean and wax the table. Quick tip: Taking a lot of shallow cuts accelerates wear, so take heavier cuts. A portable planer with sharp knives can remove at least 1/16 in. per pass on all but the hardest and widest boards. Planer feed rate is affected by three components: The knives, rollers, and bed work together to feed wood through. A problem with any of the three can slow the feed rate.
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