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When I do a bit of DIY around my home, or even if I'm asked to do a bit of DIY work for a friend or family member, I like to have the right tools to do what ever job is at hand. So over the years I have collected several types of tools for all different types of jobs, with most tools I have bought being very useful indeed, although I have bought some that have fell apart the first time I've used them, with one or two falling apart as I got them out of the box.
Anyway, one particular brand of tools that I am very impressed with, having used several of this companies tools, and other items, is a brand that is easily recognisable by the tools colours, those colours being yellow and black, with the brand on them being the very well known DeWalt brand.
So over the years I have tried to replace my 'older' tools, most with well known brands such as Black and Decker, Bosch and others, with the yellow and black colours of DeWalt, with one of those replaced tools being the DW 680 K, Electric Plane.
Let's take a look at it first then..?
To be honest, when I first took this out of the box I searched through the packaging because when I looked at the plane I thought there must be pieces of it still in the box as it didn't quite look complete. But once I'd gone through the packaging, finding nothing but the destruction manual and the 'allen' key (or Hex-key), I realised that this plane was simply a square shape machine with no frills and certainly no gimmicks.
To me it looks a little like a funny shaped iron, maybe something you'd have been using if you were living in the 1940's, only the big clue that it's not an iron form the 40's is the fact that, firstly, it made of a yellow and black plastic material and not wrought iron, and the fact that if you tried to iron with this then you'd seriously damage the clothes you intended to flatten.
It is mains powered with 600 watts of power, giving around 15000 rpm, which is plenty enough for most household planing jobs, so this is probably all the power you need
It's not to big either, being about 290mm long and 82mm wide, weighing in at around 3kg which may sound a bit heavy but as it spends most of its time on top of a surface your arms doesn't have to take to much strain.
The handle is right at the top of the plane, with the black trigger on the underside of the front of the handle where it can be squeezed easily with your finger. Then there's a small button on the side of the trigger housing which, when press whilst the trigger is squeezed, lock the trigger in to the on position and keep the plane going without you having to keep the trigger pressed in.
On the front, above the main block of body, the is a little black knob which can be turned so that you can get the exact depth for the blade of the plane to sink to.
Right on the front, and also on the rear, there are little butterfly nuts which help lock what they call the 'rabbet fence' in position. This is a guide device so that the plane can be locked into the exact length setting so that you can plane a perfect line.
On the side there is a black casing which is where the motor and gears are housed and should not be of much concern to you as this can take care of itself, so there's no need to undo the few screws to see what's in there.
On the other side of this black casing there is a 'chip discharge chute' which, as the name suggests, is where the wood chip that comes off the wood you're planing comes off and is ejected through.
Then there's the 'shoe' which is the flat piece on the underside of the plane. This is where the blade 'sticks' out, depending on how much you have set it to.
At the other end to the blade there is the 'parking foot' which is easily pulled out when you have to place the planes foot down onto a flat surface. This little piece then manages to lift the back of the plane off the surface and protects the blade when it is sticking out of the foot.
The 'shoe' itself has a three grooves on it which are all designed so that this can easily make perfect chamfers on the edges of wood without splintering the wood at is goes. Again, this is trial and error to perfect this technique but once conquered it's remarkable how easier this plane is to use on corner than other 'smooth shoe' planes.
It has a maximum planing depth of around 2mm at a time which means is can 'shave' about 2mm off the wood in one go, which is deep enough to get the wood shaved without 'hacking' the wood to bits.
How do I use it then..?
If you've ever used a plane before, even a hand plane, then you'll have a rough idea how this electric plane works. But for those that have never used a plane then I'll simply say that this plane works by being placed onto the wood you want to 'shave', then push the machine forwards as the blade 'chomps' away at the wood below.
I say gently as this plane has the power to 'shave' the wood without you having to press too hard on the machine itself and as the blade does what it does it also helps you 'glide' the machine across the wood itself.
Changing the blade, when and if you have to, is as simple as unscrewing the little bolts, taking off a guard and taking out the blade, then you reverse the process with a new blade. Simple as that really.
I mentioned something called a 'rabbet' fence, which I though I'd tell you a little more about. This fence allows you to cut what is called a 'rabbet cut', which is technically a rebate in the end or side of a piece of wood. This is ideal for such this things as joints or even the little 'indents' on picture frames where the back board goes into.
Using the 'Rabbet' fence' can be a bit tricky at first but after a few practice strokes, and maybe a few errors too, you'll soon be flying away. Although I do suggest that you take a fraction off at a time rather than trying to take it all off at once.
This is a without doubt a fine addition to my tool box, (which is getting bigger every single day), and now that I've used this one I can certainly say that out of all the planes I've used, both hand and electrical, this one is possibly the best of the bunch.
Not just because it's made from a company that take pride in what they make, creating tools for both the tradesman and the budding DIYer, but because it offers more than just a flat plane that smoothes out that piece of wood as its foot is designed to create the perfect chamfer as well, in three different depths, which is more than most planes offer.
Not only that it is so simple to use and If I need to smooth out a piece of wood, or even a door that is way to big to close and would take months to sand down, then this is the little beast that I tend to get out as it does a crackingly smooth job in what seems like seconds.
It isn't shaped like a modern tool so there's no really technical bits to make life more complicated than it should be, so using it is as simple as, well, as squeezing a trigger. It's just a matter of setting the blade to the required height, via the chunky knob on the end, placing the machine onto the wood you're working on, then squeezing the trigger.
It can be loud, especially when it is 'chomping' at the wood beneath the flat shoe, so it's best not to use this late at night, or in such places as libraries and museums when there's people there who may take offence.
And it does vibrate a bit as the blade takes off the shavings of wood your working on, but not enough to cause any distress to my hands, although after it stops I can still feel my hands tingling for a few seconds, (which isn't that bad).
All you have to remember is that when you're planing a piece of wood then just take off a bit at a time, you're talking less than millimetres at a time, as this will give you a better finish rather than trying to speed the job up and hacking off a couple of millimetres in one go. If you dig in too deep then the finish will be as rough as a bulls behind after a curry.
What do I have to pay for this plane then..? I hear you ask.
This yellow and black wood smoothing device is on the market for around the £150, which may sound a bit on the high side but if you do a fair amount of planing then you'll soon find that it's money worth spending.
In all, this is a cracking addition to anyone's tool box as it is simple to operate and simple to control, creating results that are as smooth as a freshly polished glass table.
© Blissman70 2012
"Lightweight and perfectly balanced, ideal for single-handed use in awkward places / Supplied with carry case and reversible TCT blades / Features: 600W; 3 Chamfer Grooves; Right Chip Ejection; Lock-On Switch; Parallel Fence; Park Rest; Soft Start; Dust Extraction Facility / Specifications: Planing width 82mm / Planing depth 0-2.5mm / Rebating depth 12mm / Weight 3.2kg / 110V version includes plug."