How To Clean Thickness Planer Rollers? Follow 6 Quick Steps

Do your thickness planer rollers aren’t working fine? They are slipping over the wooden surface and not getting a solid grip. Am I right? I would say they need cleaning because the dust or debris sticks on the rollers due to their excessive use, making it hard to pass the wooden piece. So, I will help you to put dust and debris out from the rollers safely and also guide you about avoiding using different chemicals that can damage the rubber rollers.

What are Thickness Planer Rollers?

Rollers in the thickness planers function to move forward the wood board. It helps to provide a smooth wood surface and protects from uneven cuts. There are two types of rollers in the planer; one is in feed roller, and the other is an outfeed roller. Infeed feed roller is located on the front side that helps to move the wood board inside that pass through cutting blades. Similarly, the outfeed roller helps push out the wood.

Most thickness planers have rollers made of rubber; that’s why they strongly hold the wood piece and don’t let it move from the position. If the planer doesn’t have rollers, we have to push the wood inside manually, which may have the chance of getting snipes. So, the rollers are much helpful in getting a smooth wood top.

With time, when you continue using the thickness planer without proper maintenance, it gets dust, tiny wood debris, and other residues. Especially rollers get affected by it, and we will fail to get the desired wood finish. So, to clean the rollers, you can follow the steps here.

6 Easy Steps to Clean the Rollers

Whether you are a Dewalt, Porter Cable, or any other brand’s thickness planer user, the following steps will help to clean all the dirt from rollers without damaging the rubber.

  • Estimated Time: 15 Minutes

Step 1: Be a safety-first guy

You should always follow the safety measures before maintaining the thickness planer. Wear safety gloves to protect your hands from getting in contact with blades. For cleaning dust, if you are using an air compressor, then wearing goggles will be safer; it will help to save your eyes from dirt.

Wear Gloves And Goggles

Step 2: Unplug the power switch

You first have to cut the electric connection by unplugging the power wire of the thickness planer from the wall socket. It adds extra safety while cleaning the rollers and safeguards you from severe damage.

Unplug The Power Cord

Step 3: Use Sandpaper

Debris gummed on the rollers can be easily removed using sandpaper. Sandpaper is easily available in the tool’s shop, and you can also order online. Take a piece of sandpaper in your hands and start buffing the rollers. Don’t rub too hard; it may damage the rubber. Move the roller to change the direction and clean the remaining part. If the roller gets stuck and doesn’t move, put your hands out from the planers and plug in the electric switch. Turn on the thickness planer, and when the roller changes its direction, quickly plug out the switch and remove dirt from the roller. This way, you can safely clean all the debris from the roller.

Use A Sandpaper

Step 4: Try cleaning eraser stick

Folks who use thickness planers continuously for planing woods will need regular maintenance of their machine. We can use sandpaper to wipe out all the dirt from rollers; if you don’t want to buy sandpaper, again and again, use a cleaning eraser stick. It is easy to hold in your hands and clean the rubber-coated rollers quickly and safely.

Step 5: Use alcohol to wipeout the dust

Using alcohol is the best option to clean the rubber rollers. It won’t harm the rubber and clean the rollers perfectly. Take a cloth, put some alcohol on it, and start rubbing the surface of the roller. You will see the dust and debris start to disappear from the rollers. Again, move the roller to clean its remaining section. Similarly, clean the outfeed roller by rubbing it with a cloth gently.

Clean With Alcohol

Step 6: Try mineral spirits

Most thickness planer manufacturers recommend using mineral spirits for cleaning the rollers, especially DEWALT. You can also use Naphtha solvent to make the rollers dust free. Take a dry cloth and put mineral spirit or naphtha solvent on it. Keep in mind that you have unplugged the power switch. Begin the cleaning by rubbing the roller surface. Keep rotating the rollers until all the debris is kicked out from them. The rollers will look new, and now you can plane the rough lumber without any issue.

Mineral Sprit

Things to Avoid While Cleaning Rollers

We cannot use any solvent or chemical for cleaning planer rollers until the tool manufacturer recommends it. You cannot use unknown chemicals or liquids on the rollers because it may damage the rubber. Some user says using mineral spirits can cause the rubber to swell; here, we are not dipping the whole rollers into the spirit, we are just taking some amount, so it’s safe. You have to follow the simple formula; if there is a chemical or solvent in your garage that has mentioned, “Don’t use it on rubber, so strictly avoid it” That’s it!

Still, if you are hesitating to use mineral spirits, try on a small section first. Clean the small roller area and see if there is any bad impact. I’m sure there will be no damage because I’ve gone through multiple manuals of different thickness planer manufacturers. They nowhere mentioned that avoid using mineral spirits.

Another thing you should care about while cleaning roller with cloth: don’t use cloth when the planer is ON, and rollers are running. The cloth will get caught on the roller and wrap over it; you may face more damage. So, always turn off the machine before the cleaning work.

Last Words

Thickness planers regularly maintained and cleaned well will run for long years. The rollers are a core part of the planer; if they don’t function properly, you won’t get the smooth lumber surface. I hope now you can easily clean your rollers and continue doing your projects without any breaks. I will highly appreciate it if you find this guide helpful and share it with your woodworking community. If you have any questions, ask below.


Can we apply WD-40 on thickness planer rollers?

There is no issue in applying WD-40 on the rollers because its manufacturers have said that it is rubber friendly. But, I think it is a lubricant that will work best for the base of the thickness planer. If you use WD-40 on the rollers, don’t let it on the surface for a long time because it may slowly dissolve the rubber. Quickly remove the debris and dry the surface.

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Jason Alford

Hi! I am Jason Alford, a passionate woodworker. I’ve worked with wood all my life, from a young boy to an adult. I love working on different projects that involve wood. I like to make furniture and cabinets out of different types of wood. I love working with the best tools for the job, especially hand planers, thickness planers, and jointers are my favorite ones.

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