8 Wood Planer Projects for Beginners to Advanced (Step-by-Step)

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray

Are you a newbie carpenter, DIYer, woodworking enthusiast, or a skilled expert that would love to take up a challenge—by building a few unique wood planer projects?

Then, you’re in the right place.

In this article, I’ll comprehensively discuss eight projects you can run efficiently with a wood planer, whether you’re a newbie, DIYer, or advanced-skilled woodworker.

I’ll also be highlighting the tools you need to handle each of the projects. And I’d make things even easier by showing you every step you need to take to actualize the woodworking projects.

So, are you ready to learn?

Let’s get to it!

Table of Contents

Build a Checkers and Chess Board (Beginner/Intermediate)

wooden chess board

If you’re a newbie or DIYer who wants to try new projects, the checker’s board is a great place to start. Plus, you’d need a few hours to complete this project.

Step 1 – Gather Your Rough Lumber and Plan

A checker or chess board typically has eight rows and eight columns, making 64 squares on the board.

So, the rule of thumb is to draw a sketch and write notes on building the chess or checkers board.

As for the wood material, you can use mahogany, oak, maple, etc.

Step 2 – Mill and Cut the Wood Into Your desired Shape

Most times, you’d likely be dealing with rough lumber. But if you’re working with already milled and cut woods from the market, you can skip this section and move to the next.

First, use your wood planer to create clean edges for your workpiece. Afterward, use a jointer to clean the face of each board. The final result of this is a clean and flat surface.

The rule of thumb is to get four boards with the same color, while the other four should be a contrast. In other words, four can be dark brown, and the remaining four—light brown.

Step 3 – Glue the 8 Workpieces Together

Now, you have eight equal strips. Arrange them in an alternating pattern, which is light brown, dark brown, etc.

After organizing the strips in the correct pattern, number the strips. Glue the eight strips together and clamp them to dry for 2 to 6 hours, depending on the glue you use.

Step 4 – Plane Wooden Strips

Now, the strips are dry and glued together. Next, it’s time to use your hand plane or belt sander to smoothen and flatten each side—for an even look. While you’re at it, ensure to scrape the excess dried glue on the board surface with your planer.

Step 5 – Slice Strips the Second Time and Arrange Perpendicularly

Now, you’ve finished planing the wooden strips to have an even look and feel. Then, you can slice the strips once again into eight strips—measured at 2” each.

Afterward, arrange the nicely cut strips—perpendicular to each other. Finally, you can use a table saw to cut off the squared-off edges.

Step 6 – Glue the Perpendicular Strips Together

Once again, you get the chance to glue the strips together, but this time in a perpendicular order. Then, you can glue each strip accordingly and evenly. Then, make use of your clamps—like earlier.

Allow the strips to hold together for at least 2 – 6 hours before touching it.

Step 7 – Plane the Board Again

Once the glue is dry, you can unclamp the board and plane it again. That way, you will have a smoother and flatter (surface and edge)—after scraping the dry glue sediments.

Step 8 – Create the Border

Do you remember the additional 3/8” wood pieces we kept aside when ripping the boards? It’s time to use them to create a border for your chess/checker board.

You can glue and miter each border to the edges of the board—fastened with clamps.

Step 9 – Give It a Finishing Touch

To give the checkers or chess board a remarkable finishing touch, you can round the edges of the board.

Afterward, you can use the “mineral spirit” trick that helps to clean any stubborn glue stains on the board. Then, you can apply any top-notch wood finish, like Waterlox—to give your chess/checker board an elegant look and feel.

How to Make a Shoe Rack (Beginner)

wooden shoe rack

Step 1 – Create Your Shoe Rack Design on Paper

The first step to take is determining the height of the shoe rack you intend to build. Next, you can choose the size base of where you intend to place it and the number of shoes you want to hang on it.

Step 2 – Cut and Arrange the Plywood for the Shelves

Cut the 4 x 8 wooden board into three 30“ pieces and rip them into four pieces of 11-1/2“ wide boards. In total, you should have 12 shelves from the full sheet.

Next, we arrange the shelves at a 15-degree angle to avoid the shoe from sliding down.

Afterward, arrange the wooden strips and use nails and wood glue to attach the shelf to the bottom piece.

Step 3 – Level and Smoothen the Plywood with a Hand Plane

After nailing and adding glue, the next thing is to use a block plane to create some chamfer at the front trim wooden board. So, you can trim the wood corners to provide a 30 -degree angle, which will give your workpiece a better-finished look.

Step 4 – Attach Side Supports

You can precisely slice out two side supports at 64“ and 68“. Then, cut out spacers at 8“ long. It depends, you can change the size—if you like.

Before attaching side supports, the rule of thumb is to set a stop block on your miter saw, which would help you cut all the pieces with the exact dimensions and align with the shelves.

After creating the first piece, you can use it as a template to build the other three workpieces. Next, use the jigsaw to cut. Then, the hand plane will help to smoothen and flatten the cut surfaces.

Step 5 – Assemble All the Parts

Now, it’s time to put everything together. So, attach the feet first with glue and drive a few brad nails into the pieces. Afterward, staple and clamp the feet at each side.

Next, smear some glue on each groove of one side and join the shelves in place—while ensuring that the front maintains the same position for each shelf.

So, repeat the exact process for the vertical support of the other side.

Build an A-Frame Tool Box (Beginner)

wooden tool box

An A-Frame toolbox is an excellent way to carry tools around—if you love an open-top design.

This project is another beginner-level project you can complete in a few hours. All you need to do is to use the correct dimensions and tools. Thankfully, I’ve listed all the materials you need to get this project up and running.

Step 1 – Find Clean Boards

Before kicking off with this project, look out for clean and good boards. You can take the time to select boards that don’t have large knots—boards with smaller knots are better.

Step 2 – Pick a Specific Size for Your Tool Box

Decide on the exact measurement you want for your tool box—based on the type of tools you intend to put in it. The rule of thumb is to check the size of the longest tool you want to place in the box. Then, add an extra four “ (two “ on each side) to give more space for the tools.

Step 3 – Select Only Square Lumber

It’s usually challenging to find lumber with square ends. But I advise that you go out of your way to get them if you want to enjoy a smooth construction. If you’re finding it hard to get these square-end boards, you can use a T-square to mark a new line from the end of the lumber and slice it off at an inch.

Step 4 – Measure and Slice Your Workpieces Appropriately

It’s vital to get your dimensions right before you cut—if you want a properly sized tool box. So, in this case, you can make your interior dimensions 36”—since you’ll be capping the sides and bottom part of the box with the end workpieces.

Step 5 – Design and Cut the Boards

To design and slice your end pieces, you need to measure 6-1/4” from the bottom part of a single unit—estimated at 1 x 10. Then, mark that exact spot at the bottom of the boards.

With your combination square, you can measure and mark 11” at the centerline of the board’s bottom to discover its midpoint. Then, cut and trace it out.

Repeat the whole process—to get the second board. You can also use the first board as a template.

Step 6 – Join both Boards Together

Combine both 3/4” thick boards to the bottom piece and ensure you’re screwing into the center of the base.

Then, measure and mark 3/8“—with a combination square. Afterward, draw a line to join all the screw marks together—passing through the bottom of the sideboard.

Finally, repeat the process for the second piece.

Step 7 – Attach the Side Pieces to the Mix

Now, it’s time to join the side pieces to the bottom board and endpieces. And you can do that easily by trimming the sidepieces to fit the dimensions between one endpiece and the other.

Step 8 – Fix the Dowel

After joining the side pieces to the bottom and end pieces, attach the dowel into the drilled circles. Plus, you should aim for the bottom board square with the end pieces. So, mark the dowel on the outer part—where you’ll cut it.

Then, countersink and drill a hole on top of each side piece. Afterward, screw the dowel and end piece together—after applying glue.

Step 9 – Fasten Bottom Board to the Side Pieces

After attaching the dowel, clip the bottom board to both sidepieces. You can achieve this by drilling and countersinking a hole at every 6“.

Step 10 – Plane the Edges

With a block plane, you can trim the edges to give your tool box a more aesthetic and smoother look.

Step 11 – Add Finishing

At this stage, you can use 120-grit sandpaper to hand sand your wooden toolbox’s outer surfaces. You can apply wood plugs or wood putty to hide screw holes to make your work even cleaner.

Also, you can add any decent oil finish to give the tool box some color.

Wooden Picture Holders (Beginner)

wooden picture holder

This project is pretty basic. So, you’d not need so much woodworking skill to accomplish it.

The materials required are: 

  • spray paint + tape
  • wooden cubes
  • small pegs
  • very strong hardware glue

Step 1 – Gather and Prepare Your Cubes

If you’re not going to be creating your cubes from scratch, you can go to the local woodworking store to buy nicely planed cubes for this project. However, I recommend you still sand or plane the cubes to get smoother surfaces and edges

Step 2 – Get Creative

After planing the wood, begin to paint it. You can even tape off your line to get crisp lines. Afterward, allow the paint to dry.

Step 3 – Glue Clips to Cubes

Lastly, apply glue to the back of the cubes and clothes pegs before joining them together. Now, you’re ready to add your pictures to the pegs, attached to the back of the cubes.

Build Stackable Sawhorses (Intermediate) 

building stackable sawhorse

Sturdy sawhorses are a must for every workshop—as they are conveniently stacked for transportation and easy storage.

You can build this indispensable tool from a few 2 x 4s. A stackable horse is a good cutting and drilling station for painting a door or holding lumber. Plus, it can double as a worktable when you top it with plywood.

This tool is popular on construction sites and you can fasten it easily with nails and screws.

Step 1- Cut the Crossbeams and Legs

Your crossbeam should be 42” so you can cut your 7-foot 4 x 4 into two equal halves. The legs, on the other hand, measure about 30” so you need to cut your 2 x 4 into three sections. With this, you should have a total of 8 legs.

Also, you’ll have an extra piece of 2 x 4 lumber. You can cut the spare piece into squares and save the miters for the next step.

Step 2 – Add Bevels into the Legs

Cutting bevels into the legs could be tricky. But, it’s important to note that each leg has a 20 degrees bevel at the top and bottom. So, you can use a miter saw to get the angled cuts. Or use a circular saw and carpenter square—to help guide the cuts.

Step 3 – Cut Your Dadoes into the Crossbeams

Each of your cross beams have four 3.5” wide dadoes. Therefore, you can cut 2.5” from the crossbeam end and 1” deep. To get this depth, you have to set your circular saw at 1”and make the first two precision cuts on either side of the dado with a guide.

Step 4 – Glue the Legs to the Cross Beams

Position the upper part of the legs with the top of the crossbeam. Then, use your four 2-1/2” screws with some wood glue to create a solid connection with the legs. Ensure that you allow the glue to dry. Plus, you can use nails if you like.

Create a Wooden Door Mat (Beginner)

wooden door mat

To build a DIY wooden door mat, you’ll need the following:

  • Two 1 * 4 cedar boards
  • Miter box
  • Table Saw
  • Hammer and nails
  • Glue
  • Hand plane

Step 1 – Cut the Boards to Size

Use the table saw to cut 1*4s into two halves. 

Step 2 – Measure and Cut Your Frame

Next, cut a piece of the wood for your frame, somewhere around 13/16 inches. Afterward, measure and mark the length of your frame. Then, use a miter box to cut 45 degrees on each side of the frame.

Step 3 – Glue and Nail the Frames to the Boards

Slice the boards at 45 degrees angle, then place the angle piece adjacent to each other. Next, cut another 45 degrees angle and then place it inside the glued and nailed frame. Then, repeat the process till you fill the frame with 45 degree board strips.

Build a Small Garden Bridge (Advanced)

small wood garden bridge

If you think it’s charming to have a small wooden bridge in your garden to help you step over uneven slopes or accent a water feature—this project is worth considering.

And the fun part is that it’s easy to create—as long as you follow the instructions below for a sturdy, arched garden bridge with handrails you can stain or paint with any color you like.

Step 1 – Get the First Support Board and Draw Arches

Get one of the boards (2 x 12) and prepare to sketch pencil guides for the arch shapes at the top and bottom. The simple trick to getting a perfect and even archway is to drive a guide nail on each end of the board.

Step 2 – Cut and Plane the Stringers

The best and easiest way to cut the upper arch from the first stringer board is by using a circular saw. And you should use a series of short straight cuts. When it comes to the lower arch, use a jigsaw. 

Step 3 – Cut and Drill the Planks

Get your 2 x 6s and cut it into 36” planks. Put your stringer boards parallel to the ground and measure 32” between them. Do this for the top and bottom—to permit 2” plank overhang.

Step 4 – Attach Your Handrails and Posts

It’s time to cut your 4 x 4 posts into four 32” lengths and paint them. When they dry, remove the second or third planks from both ends to put in the post. Put the rail post on the outer stringer boards one at a time. In the process, maintain a clean right angle to the ground with the help of a T-square.

Lastly, add your handrails—to blend with the planks of the bridge. Use two wood screws to secure the handrails to the posts on both sides.

Project 8 – Build A Serving Tray (Beginner)

wooden serving tray

To build a serving tray, you’ll need a wooden board, handles, nails, and paint/wax (optionally).

Step 1 – Join Boards together

You can place two short vertical boards side-by-side on your working table. Next, line up longer boards on the two short boards, this time horizontally.

Step 2 – Nail Short Boards and Long Boards Together

Ensure to properly align the long boards to short boards and nail them accordingly at each edge

Step 3 – Finish

After nailing the boards together, you can select which finish you’d love to apply, wax, paint or stain, whatever works for you.

Then, install the handles at both ends. If you desire, you could embellish to give more aesthetics.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it: eight wood planer projects you can build from beginner to advanced level.

I’ve taken the time to list every essential step required to build the projects comprehensively. Plus, I listed the tools you need to run these woodworking projects.

All you need to do now is choose a project that best suits your level and work experience.

I’d love to hear from you;

Which of the projects are you eager to start immediately? Are there other projects you wish to see?

Please, drop your suggestions and questions in the comment section! 

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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