Handheld Planers

My level of woodworking seriousness is: I build, maybe, one sizeable thing each year and tinker in between ...when I'm not shooting aliens and saving the galaxy on THIS machine.
So far in my hobby "career", I've been lucky or wise-choiced enough to work on projects for which I could easily obtain the correct thickness of stock. So I don't own a power planer. But I've been thinking one might be handy, if not entirely cost-justifiable for the little use I expect. But maybe I expect wrongly?
Anyway I was thinking of getting a handheld electric planer. Someting cheap, like Harbor Freight. 3-3/4" wide cutting seems that it would do for most of the boards I deform. But if I have to do the occasionally wider one, would there be trouble keeping a consistent thickness across it? Am I just setting myself up for major disappointment and drooling envy for the eventual $400+ "real" machine down the road?
Might I ask what you guys advise, who've been around and/or do this professionally?
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snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

I think you'd do better with a router with a large mortising or dado clean out bit and sort of a "shooting box"...a way of supporting the board horizontally between two upright boards, run the router back & forth, to and fro along the two uprights. That will get you a consistent thickness regardlees of board lenght or width. http://www.eagleamerica.com/product/v116-1105
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dadiOH
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Of the two choices, I would certainly agree with dadiOH. (Not just in attire... poodle skirts, bobbie socks, saddle oxfords, and Vitalis.. <VBG> )
Controlling one of those things can be a trick. I don't think they were ever intended to be used as a "thickness planer", but only used on thinner stock.
A good sharp power hand planer can run material faster than an 80g belt in a 3X21 sander. Man can those things dig....
If you want to use the tool properly (and more safely), don't use any more of that blade width than necessary.
As another thought, don't think those units will 90 degree edge your stock,either. Might be OK for smaller pieces, but they will follow the curve of your board quite nicely, scooping out the valleys and maintaining any arcs when edging.
Better tools to spend your "fun" money on.
Robert
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In article

I use one only when I've got between 1 and 3mm to remove from the edge of of a piece of timber, leaving enough for a finish with a hand plane - 22" jointer usually.
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Hand held planer may be OK to shave a door to fit better, but it is probably going to do damage if you try to thickness a board.
If you can't justify the better planers, perhaps the Ryobi at $229 is suitable for occasional use. http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xr5/R-100375976/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
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On Feb 27, 9:14am, snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

Having a thickness planer allows you to process your own boards from rough lumber (if you have a source for that), to resaw + flatten thin boards with confidence (like for under-1/2 inch sides for small drawers), and to make a cupped/warped board perfectly flat right before a critical assembly step.
The upfront purchase price is only part of the cost; shaving collection and sharpening are going to be ongoing issues.
For me, it makes slightly more sense to have a few hand planes and to learn to use them. My lumberyard has S3S hardwood lumber, not rough.
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On Sat, 27 Feb 2010 17:14:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

Don't ever believe a hand-held planer is a good substitute for a surface planer. A few hardware lumber dealers will plane your stock for a small fee, maybe your best choice at this point. Small pieces are not too difficult to do by hand, patience and a little skill required.
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snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

You expect wrongly?
An electric hand held planer is no substitute for a surface planer.
After trimming doors to fit, it uses go down hill quickly.
IMHO, a surface planer is a basic tool along with a table saw complete with dado set and a router as workshop basics.
Add some sandpaper and you can build a lot of things.
Lew
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On Feb 27, 12:14pm, snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

Bandsaw a couple of jack planes. Set one plane to cut fine, the other as a scrub, with a crowned iron and a wide set mouth. By time I finish with my fine-set #5, I have a glass smooth surface, flatter than any planer can spit out.
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