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Metal-cutting machine tool in which the workpiece is firmly attached to a horizontal table that moves back and forth under a single-point cutting tool. The tool-holding device is mounted on a crossrail so that the tool can be moved across the table in small sideward movements. Since the cutting tool can be moved at almost any angle, a wide variety of grooves and surfaces can be generated. Mechanical planers, or surfacers, are also used to smooth wood to an even thickness. Planers perform the same operations as shapers but can machine workpieces up to 50 ft (15 m) long.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on planer, visit Britannica.com.