Planers and window-making technology
- Planers for precision and top-quality surfaces
- How planing machines work
- Window-making machines for consistent quality
- Types of window-making and wood planer machines
- Surfacing planers
- Thicknessing planers
- Combination planers
- Chamfering planers
- Window-making machines
- What to be aware of when buying planers?
- Manufacturers of planers and window-making machines
Planers for precision and top-quality surfaces
Planing is a process whereby the outer layers of a solid material are gradually worn down or chipped away to create a new surface or a workpiece with the highest level of precision and dimensional accuracy. Planers enable tolerances that are exact down to a tenth of a millimetre. Only core wood materials can be planed. Boards, beams and solid wood, at best still glued wood constructions, can be machined with a planing machine.
Chipboard and similar materials, however, are unsuitable for planer machines, but seeing as these materials are generally produced to the size required from the outset, this is hardly an inconvenience.
How planing machines work
The wood planer is one of the oldest tools in the field of woodworking. It primarily consists of a wide blade which is guided along the grain of a given piece of wood.
The most common types of hand-held planers to be found feature a rigid blade. Electric wood planers, on the other hand, operate using a rotating planing roller that is fitted with at least two blades and can rapidly plane off excess surface material until the workpiece has attained the desired shape.
Planing achieves three things: first, it takes off the outer layers of a roughly-sawn workpiece down to the nearest tenth of a millimetre. Second, it straightens out the surface and balances out minor radii and arcs. And finally, planing creates a smooth surface entirely free of splinters and chips. This means the workpiece is thoroughly prepared for further processes, such as coating or veneering.
Mills are the next step on from planers and both variants are used in close conjunction in woodworking processes.
Window-making machines for consistent quality
Window-making poses many challenges to any woodworker. Nowadays, windows must meet a range of strict requirements concerning precision and heat insulation. Wood is ideal in window-making since it features outstanding static properties and provides acceptable levels of heat insulation. However, wooden windows, of course, feature a number of other materials, not least the glass, rubber seals, metal fittings and lock mechanisms (as well as the frame that holds them all together). It must be ensured that the frame does not experience any major shape distortion after assembly otherwise the window will immediately lose a great deal of its functionality: it will no longer close properly, will let in cold air, or will always be getting stuck.
The wood chosen should thus be suitable and capable of being machined very precisely. The woodworking industry has developed a range window-making machines which are, to some extent, related to wood planer machines, but are based on different design principles.
Types of window-making and wood planer machines
In addition to frame presses, edge presses, and sawing/milling machines, the following types of equipment have been developed for windows and planing:
- Surfacing planers
- Thicknessing planers
- Combination planers
- Window construction machines
- Chamfering planers
These surafce planers are stationary machines with a wide planing table. They are designed with simplicity in mind: they primarily comprise a steel table in the middle of which is a rotating planing roller arranged cross-wise. The workpiece is pushed across the table while the rolling planer does its job by removing a consistent layer of wood from the surface.
The blade roller in a surfacing planer can be adjusted as needed, which means that it can be moved down towards the work table to a defined height and then brought back. Creating a wooden workpiece with a specific thickness requires use of this setting.
Thicknessing machines are the next step in the development of surfacing planers. If the workpiece has already been sufficiently smoothed and parallelised on the surfacing planer, it can be machined to the tenth of a millimetre on the thicknesser.
Thicknessing planers feature a base frame which contains the work table and integrated thicknessing blade. The thicknessing machine enables adjustments to be made to the whole work table instead of just the rolling planer. The frame and planing table together are used to determine the thickness of the entire workpiece.
Combination planers, or combined surfacing/thicknessing planers, can work on all sides of a workpiece using parallelisation and smoothing techniques to remove outer layers until the workpiece has reached the desired thickness. Combination devices are very popular as they are space-saving and work very efficiently.
Chamfering is comparable to ‘vertical planing’. Instead of a horizontal planing roller, chamfering machines use a vertical cutting roller. However, it is not freely movable as in a table mill. The chamfering machine uses a continuous stop onto which the workpiece can be securely attached.
The advantage of a chamfering machine is that the cutting roller is interchangeable, which makes it possible to create radial or layered chamfers within the workpiece edge.
The best way of joining heavy wooden beams is to use a mortise and tenon joint. These are precisely manufactured joints used in pre-prepared blind- and through holes. The machines used to create tenon joints are called tenoners and they primarily consist of a chamfering planer and a small circular saw. The cross-sections of tenon joints are relatively small, which means that tenoners are equally compact devices.
A window-making machine is a special form of chamfering machine and planer which works on profiled wood. It smooths, polishes, cuts, mills and places grooves in this wood and then mitre cuts it to the desired length. Window-making machines require a range of processing stations to achieve these tasks, but once equipped, slats of wood can be machined on all sides in just one work cycle.
The machines are intended for large series and can thus maintain consistent precision across many workpieces. Once processed on a window-making machine, the window is mounted to the bracket device and firmly attached together in the frame press.
What to be aware of when buying planers?
There is hardly a more robust and rigid machine in the field of woodworking than the wood planer. Its simple design and heavy-duty construction means that even very old machines of this type can still be put to good use.
The major weak-point is the motor, which requires occasional overhauling and parts replacement. Height guidance can also wear out over time, as can the planing roller bearings, but replacements are usually easy to source. Apart from these aspects, second-hand planing machines are a safe bet, especially if the buyer is prepared to disassemble, clean and overhaul them.
Finding suitable planers for sale from the second-hand market is thus an easy task for carpenters, joineries and interior furnishers/decorators. Those looking for a planer for sale will find a wide selection of technically simple machines that are affordable – even those bearing badges from major brands.
Of course, when it comes to the more complex variants, such as electric planers for sale, maintenance work becomes more demanding: a window-making machine capable of multi-side machining in a single work cycle will require more maintenance than a hand-held planer. Nevertheless, used window machines from brand-name manufacturers have traditionally been made to exacting standards and the high quality of these machines is still apparent many years down the line.
Manufacturers of planers and window-making machines
Popular manufacturers of planers and window-making machines include:
Planing machines as well as window construction technology from these manufacturers can always be recommended in the used state. The machines convince by high-quality materials and components which allow a long running time. In addition, most of them also come with an extensive after-sale service, so there will always be available a contact with your used planer if the machine should fail or needs to be technically upgraded.
High-quality used planing & windowing machines from these and other manufacturers are often found in our numerous industrial auctions. However, the product offer is very dynamic, so it is worth looking also at our used machinery marketplace to avoid missing an interesting offer.