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Yes, we know that drill press bearings aren’t designed for sideways loads, but that doesn’t seem to stop companies from designing gizmos like the Wagner Safe-T-Planer.¬†This rotary planer chucks into any drill press with a 1/2″ chuck to shave off up to 3/8″ in one pass.

The 3-1/8″ diameter planer can make passes up to 2-3/4″ wide. The three shielded high-speed steel cutters spinning at 3,000 to 6,000RPM supposedly don’t grab the work piece or kick back, which is probably the origin of the Safe-T in the name. You can use it to surface plane, cut tenons, rabbets, raised panels, and tapers — though we’re guessing you have to tilt the table to do the last two.

Although the Safe-T-Planer is sold by Grizzly, WoodCraft, and a handful of other retailers, the manufacturer is unclear. Trying to track down them down led us to a trademark filed by Aurthur Gilmore of G & W Tools. It’s possible the “W” stands for Wagner, but that’s where the trail ends.

You can get the Safe-T-Planer shipped with a special grinding wheel and a 12-page manual for $58.

Safe-T-Planer [Grizzly]
Safe-T-Planer [WoodCraft]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


12 Responses to Turn Your Drill Press Into a Planer

  1. Jim German says:

    According to Woodcraft its made by:

    G&W Tool, Inc.
    PO Box 691464
    Tulsa, OK 74169

    Although its undoubtly made overseas somewhere.

  2. Jax says:

    I can’t see a problem with this side loading on bearings if the drill press is beefy enough, and you dont force hardwoods through it at great strain.

  3. Daz says:

    I used one of these to plane down a piece of mahogany for the neck of my first electric guitar build. It worked fantastically. I used it again later in the build to create a sanding block with a concave radius for sanding the inlays on the fret board. I haven’t seen any variance with the run out on my drill press as a result of use.

  4. @Jim German:

    Where did you find the information from Woodcraft? I found the info doing a trademark search, but it’d be nice to have another trick up my sleeve for hunting down product manufacturers

  5. DW says:

    Bearing stress is one thing but the main danger with a side load on a drill press is that the taper holding the chuck in a drill press most often doesn’t have anything other than the fit of the taper to hold it in, unlike a milling machine that has a drawbar…

  6. Coligny says:

    I once… repeat ONCE… used my drill press with a router bit…
    And nearly killed myself… (but really bend me thumb)


    I’ll gladly pass this one… even if I have to sing in the metro for years to put muney aside for a real planner…

  7. Bill says:

    Frank Ford, the guy that does Frets.com, swears by this thing. He has a fairly extensive review at the site.

  8. Scott says:

    The Wagner Safe-T-Planer was invented by Lawrence Wagner back in the mid-50’s. At one point Wagner offered two version; one for the drill press, and the other for the radial arm saw. The difference was the drill press version has a fixed drive spindle, which the RAS version has a hew-recess in the bottom and a threaded spindle which can be mounted in either a drill chuck or spun onto the RAS saw arbor. A similar tool was made in the 1940’s, but it used three small cutters which left a corrugated finish. Shopsmith sold an excellent knock-off of the Wagner after selling the original for years. I can’t recall the brand, but it had a beautiful red anodized aluminum body, which made it stand-out against the drill press table, and each of the cutters were reversible with a second cutting edge.

  9. Mark says:

    This thing is NOT DANGEROUS, due to it’s design. It will NOT catch and throw the workpiece like someone implied. Also, it is designed to work on a drill press and, unless you modify it in some detrimental and complicated way, will not damage the press. They have been used extensively by luthiers who often need to precisely thickness plane small pieces of wood that would be impractical in a full size planer. A peghead overlay, for instance, is 3-4″ by 4-6″ and a bunch of the exotic wood that they like to use don’t come in convenient bigger pieces, so, if you want to use some woods, like snakewood or burls, get used to working with wood that would be considered scap bin pieces in a typical woodshop, but that you may have paid 20-70 bucks for if considered at a board foot price. Short answer: These things work and work well. NO FEAR NEEDED.

  10. Jim says:

    Mark is 100% correct. Used correctly and with normal precautions on a decent drill press, this thing will amaze you. We used it for years in a high school wood shop. With proper setup, it can safely make raised panels and is a great way to ‘plane’ smaller pieces.

  11. David Niels says:

    do you sell replacement cutters for the safety planer?

    • Den says:

      David… I have not been able to find replacement cutters. I had to buy a used Safety Planer I found on eBay to use as spare parts. Good luck.

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