Handheld planers are very useful if you have the need. Apparently, I’ve never had the need. Till now, that is.
I’ve owned two planers for years. Actually, three – I had another that I gave to my dad 20 years ago. I know how to use a planer and even wrote an article on them once, for which I had to test several models and put them through their paces. But I’ve never, even once, used a planer because I had a task that required one.
For the kinds of jobs they do, I’ve never needed more than a hand plane and so the two I own – one cordless, the other corded – pretty much sit on the shelf. But yesterday I was upgrading a storage area in our home and was hanging 4x8 sheets of wallboard to enclose the framing and noticed that one of the studs was badly twisted.
That’s really an understatement, as that stud looked more like a propeller than a 2x4. The twist was so bad that a 4x8 sheet wouldn’t sit flat against it: The high edges of the twisted stud stuck out easily 1/4" to 3/8" beyond the rest of the framing. To level that stud to make a nice, flat contact with the wallboard I started leveling with a hand plane. But planing vertically is difficult for me, and it was clear I’d need to remove a lot of stock to true up the surface of that 2x4.
So, I grabbed one of those planers, blew off the dust and went to town on that stud. In about two minutes I had a nice, flat surface and could get back to hanging wallboard. It’s amazing that I could go so long without ever using one, but now that I have, I think I might find other jobs for these wonderful little power tools.