How to Plane a Crooked Board

by Steven French
A hand planer can help you straighten a crooked board.

A hand planer can help you straighten a crooked board.

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Woodworking and carpentry generally require wood that is straight, with squared edges. If you have a crooked board, you will likely need to plane it so that the edges are square and its dimensions are consistent. Planing a crooked board requires a little more time and patience than planing a straight board, but with the right tools, you can make almost any crooked board straight, although it will lose some of its width in the process.

Items you will need

  • Hand plane
  • Long level
  • Pencil
Step 1

Place the board in a vise or clamp it to a workbench so that you can plane along the crooked edge, working with the wood grain. Planing against the grain will cause the wood to tear and splinter, giving it a rough edge.

Step 2

Place the long level against the board and note the areas that stick out, making the board crooked. Make a straight line with a pencil to guide you as you plane the board.

Step 3

Set the hand planer flat against the edge of the board and push it in the direction of the wood grain, using long strokes. Adjust the blade so that the shavings are very thin, but not sawdust.

Step 4

Work your way along the board, using shorter strokes as you get to the most crooked area. Work the high area until the edge aligns with the straight line you penciled onto the board. Test the board with the long level, and make short planing strokes in any high areas until the board is straight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check your work often to make sure you are not removing too much of the board.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images