Planer questions...


i’ve just started shaping and only have a few days experience with my clark-modified hitachi planer. i have a few questions regarding the Hitachi planer itself and planing techniques in general:

  1. the depth adjustment knob on the hitachi seems stiff, stiff enough where it would seem difficult to make depth adjustments on the fly (jim phillips makes this look soooo easy in his video!). is it possible to adjust/loosen the knob so that it is easier to turn and adjust to personal preference? i assume if i loosen it too much, it will affect my ability to make constant-depth cuts…no?

  2. so far, i have just been pushing the planer horizontally along, without regard to downward/upward pressure on the planer using my hands. i’ve been seeing ridges/steps in my planer passes and was wondering if i should be adjusting the amount of pressure exerted on the foam to avoid these results, or should i just trust the weight of the planer to do its thing?

  3. how about distribution of weight with regard to the forward or rear of the planer? should weight be centered over blades or toward one end?


There is no need to press down on the tool, it will NOT make it cut any better or deeper.

The shear weight of the tool alone is sufficient and for the adjustment seeming tight, is the machine brand new or is it a used one ?

The machine gets a fine layer of foam dust inside of the vertical tube that the adjustment mechinism is housed in and makes for harder movement.

It is really hard to clean, as it requires the removal of the pin from the knob shaft and however they are originally installed is beyond my skill.

Once removed by twisting back and forth, it must be reinserted with an adhesive to stay inplace.

Below it is a snap ring, that is no snap to remove, I bought an entire set of snap ring removal tools just for this reason.

After this it all comes right out and can be cleaned and lubed with a light oil, reassembly is the process in reverse.


thanks for the reply, and great work on the video!

yes, my planer is brand new. the adjustment knob was stiff from the moment i took it out of the box. maybe this will loosen up after some use?? till then, i’m not sure i’ll be able to make any on-the-fly adjustments (still an advanced technique for me anyways).

thanks for the input regarding pressure/weight. i’ll keep this in mind when i’m tempted to experiment unnecessarily.



This is very helpful. I’m just about to buy one of those planes. If one has to strip it down as you describe is light oil better than a dry lubricant? Does the dust stick to the oil / grease?

What Jim said and…

I’ve gone through a slew of Hitachi’s since Clark first started doing them.

All of them come out of the box a little stiff, but they loosen up with use.

Some remove the foam pad in the shoe to help, but I think that’s already

done(?) on the pro model. If it stays stiff you might want to disassemble

and lubricate or otherwise loosen it up but I doubt that will be necessary.

As you kinda said, at this stage you’re not going to be doing fade cuts

anyway. I haven’t seen Jim’s video ( I was lucky enough to work w/him

and learn firsthand) but I’ll bet he covers some of the subtleties of when

you put pressure on which end, etc. There was a thread on here a couple

of weeks ago about running the planer on an angle that you should look at

also. Have fun getting to know your planer, it’s the best tool you’ve got!


There was a thread on here a couple

of weeks ago about running the planer on an angle that you should look at


; )

Hey- Jim is talking about the older version of the Clark modified planers. They are a major pain in the ass to work on. But, If yours is one of the newer ones, it should have an aluminum ring around the base of the handle that is tightend by an allen screw- something like that at least. A couple of guys at the shop have them, and they are able to adjust them, I believe it is on of the “Updated” features of the tool. If you haven’t figured it out by tomorrow, I can check it out for you. Btw, if you got a manual with the planer, check it. -Carl


last week my planer was stolen from my shaping room. my landlady felt terrible about it and offered to help me out with a new one, so i ordered another clark-foam hitachi planer which i just got in the mail.

the first thing i did was check the ‘tightness’ of the depth adjustment knob. to my surprise, the knob is MUCH easier to turn than the original one that i’d complained about. the turning action is smooth and easy enough that i can turn it just using my fingers as opposed to having to use my whole hand/arm to twist it as with my other (stolen) planer.

guess this is a blessing in disguise…albeit an expensive one.

btw, thanks for everyone’s input…