Here are a few cool videos where I am planing down rough cut maple to make wooden blocks for our Etsy shop. The wood is purchased from a local mill as rough lumber and requires additional work to create a finished product. The wood is much less expensive compared to purchasing dimensional wood from a hardware store, however require a lot more work. Planing is an essential step to smoothing the lumber and thinning it down to a common size. Typical rough cut lumber is measured in 'quarters', as in quarters of an inch. so 4/4 lumber is 1" thick. 5/4 lumber is 1-1/4" thick and so on. Because this is rough cut lumber the thickness is not exact. It can be off by 1/8" or more. That is where the planer comes into use. Typically you need to purchase the next thicker material from the size you want, and plane the boards to size. For our products all of the materials are a finished size of 3/4" thick, so we start with 4/4 rough cut lumber. Having a heavy duty planer helps speed the process along.
The planer shown is a an older Bellsaw at a friends shop. This machine can easily take a 1/8" - 1/4" cut without hesitation. A good machine to get material thinned down quickly!