Jointer or Planer first? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Question Jointer or Planer first?

First off, yes I did Google this question first, only to find that the resulting answers were highly subjective, though very insightful. Yet I, being the hard-headed person that I am, still could reach no decision.

On one of the links, I read that if I have a power hand planer (which I do), then the choice would be to get the thickness planer.

I also read that the planer is most useful to woodworkers who use rough-cut stock, which I do not. I use store-bought, dimensioned lumber from the places that sell wood that looks so curved, twisted or otherwise distorted as if it would be most suited to building a wooden boat hull!

When I design my projects, as basic and/or plain as they are, I design them with the dimensions of the stuff I buy in mind, i.e. 2x4, 2x6, etc (understanding the true dimensions that the lumber I buy is actually milled to).

So the most utility I would get from either of these tools is to get as much of the bend, cup, twist, etc. out of store-bought lumber that I can. Will one of those tools be more appropriate for me in this effort?

I would gratefully appreciate any and all feedback on this conundrum of mine. I do have a good table saw and router, if that helps.

-- Shane
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 10:31 AM
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Since you don't work with rough lumber there is no question the jointer is more important. I worked for decades including starting my own woodworking business before purchasing a planer.

When selecting a jointer try to get one with as long a table as you can. Woodworking machinery generally lasts a lifetime and to buy one that is little you will eventually be shopping for a larger one. The longer the table the easier it will be to straighten wood six and eight feet long. The wider the cut is nice but you generally don't run the face of wood unless you have rough or warped wood you are trying to flatten before running it through a planer.
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 10:56 AM
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Would using a jointing jig on a table saw in these situations be enough?

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post #4 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 11:21 AM
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I am guessing you are going to read a repeat of what you already know on here, each of us has a preference, usually one that fits our personal situation, me I would get a jointer first. In reality you need both so it is a bit of a chicken and egg situation.
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 11:27 AM
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Planer first.

I have a planer, but get by without a jointer. I have had jointers in the past, so I know what they are and how they are used. Here is some of my thinking:

* There are other ways to joint edges. A well-aligned table saw with a sharp blade and a jointer sled can work well. You can make a shooting board and use hand planes. There are lots of options.

* You can use the planer to flatten boards. It isn't as straightforward as using a jointer. You may need to build a sled for more extreme cases, and may also require supports from underneath to avoid "springing" the board.

* The planer makes parallel sides. You can use it to adjust the thickness of boards, or match the thickness of an existing board. You get perfectly formed boards with parallel tops and bottoms with a planer. You can thin stock with a jointer, and keep the top and bottom parallel if you're careful, but it isn't automatic.

* The planer handles wider boards. Jointers are much more limited in the width of boards they handle. With a planer you can flatten glued panels or sub-panels.

Before you jump out and buy anything, don't rule out a drum sander, too. A good drum sander is more expensive than a typical lunch box planer, but can do things that a planer can't, such as processing thin stock. Drum sanders also have their limitations.
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Planer first.

I have a planer, but get by without a jointer. I have had jointers in the past, so I know what they are and how they are used. Here is some of my thinking:

* There are other ways to joint edges. A well-aligned table saw with a sharp blade and a jointer sled can work well. You can make a shooting board and use hand planes. There are lots of options.

* You can use the planer to flatten boards. It isn't as straightforward as using a jointer. You may need to build a sled for more extreme cases, and may also require supports from underneath to avoid "springing" the board.

* The planer makes parallel sides. You can use it to adjust the thickness of boards, or match the thickness of an existing board. You get perfectly formed boards with parallel tops and bottoms with a planer. You can thin stock with a jointer, and keep the top and bottom parallel if you're careful, but it isn't automatic.

* The planer handles wider boards. Jointers are much more limited in the width of boards they handle. With a planer you can flatten glued panels or sub-panels.

Before you jump out and buy anything, don't rule out a drum sander, too. A good drum sander is more expensive than a typical lunch box planer, but can do things that a planer can't, such as processing thin stock. Drum sanders also have their limitations.
I have a jet 12" combo joiner \ planer I love. Even if you don't use rough lumber a planner comes in handy. Tom

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post #7 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Could... I will research that also. Thanks!

-- Shane
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 01:20 PM
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I have rarely ever used my joiner and I mean very rarely.
I can get a perfect glue joint just from my table saw and a good blade. I have made hundreds of table tops with no problem.
However, even though I had good planers, I always bought my hardwoods S3S (Surfaced 3 sides). That means that the hardwood supplier was paid to plain both sides and and straight line rip one edge. I used my planer to lightly plane the surfaces after glue-ups and make the tops ready for light sanding and finishing. My last planer was a 24" planer and so many table tops went through it.

So the next question would be, why did I pay the hardwood supplier for S3S? Simple, I was running a woodworking business and it was more expensive to pay my employees to plane surfaces that my supplier. Actually, it was more expensive for me to plane my own wood than my supplier because I put an hourly rate on myself.

OK, now back to you. If you cant budget yourself for a wide planer, Even a 13" one will work. For table tops, you can plane smaller sections at atime and have less work to do do with a hand plane and/or belt sander.

If you do opt for a joiner instead, make sure that you get at least 8" wide blade. and a loooooong tabe. Otherwise, you are throwing your money away unless you only do small projects.

Anyway, just something to think about.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Denison, Tx
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post #9 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigshane View Post
First off, yes I did Google this question first, only to find that the resulting answers were highly subjective, though very insightful. Yet I, being the hard-headed person that I am, still could reach no decision.

On one of the links, I read that if I have a power hand planer (which I do), then the choice would be to get the thickness planer.

I also read that the planer is most useful to woodworkers who use rough-cut stock, which I do not. I use store-bought, dimensioned lumber from the places that sell wood that looks so curved, twisted or otherwise distorted as if it would be most suited to building a wooden boat hull!

When I design my projects, as basic and/or plain as they are, I design them with the dimensions of the stuff I buy in mind, i.e. 2x4, 2x6, etc (understanding the true dimensions that the lumber I buy is actually milled to).

So the most utility I would get from either of these tools is to get as much of the bend, cup, twist, etc. out of store-bought lumber that I can. Will one of those tools be more appropriate for me in this effort?

I would gratefully appreciate any and all feedback on this conundrum of mine. I do have a good table saw and router, if that helps.

Rather than make decisions of jointers and planners, the first think I would do is find another supplier. I would never buy wood that fits your description. And I have never had to buy wood that bad.


Therefore, I went 20 years (or more as I am not sure of time frame) without ever needing a planner. I had a jointer from the beginning and used it a lot.


George
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post #10 of 15 Old 06-19-2019, 09:56 PM
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They are "companion" machines ....

They work in conjunction with one another and are used primarily for rough sawn lumber. However, unless you can get straight, flat and square store bought stock, you will need a jointer first! WHY? It's a safety issue, because the table saw requires straight, flat and square edged stock on the table and against the fence.

WHY? When you rip a board down it's length the edge against the fence can't be curved OR you will cut a similar curve on the edge. A jointer OR a straight line rip jig will fix that issue.
What about straight and flat? If the board should twist during the rip, it will bind the blade stalling the saw OR worse yet, kickback at the operator. A jointer is the ONLY machine that can make a flat surface ... easily. Yes, a jig can be constructed for using a planer to make the top edge flat, BUT it's a PITA to use and setup. I know I've done it.

So, if you can buy straight, flat and sqaure edged stock, go for it. If you jave to pay a shop or mill to get it, then you have to weigh the cost benefits of getting a jointer first, then the "thickness" planer. The thickness planer, it's proper name, is the only machine that can make a uniform thickness board ... easily. Thicker stock can be planed down easily into thinner stock OR resawn boards off the mill or bandsaw can be planed down to "project appropriate" thicknesses.


Introducing a good resaw bandsaw will open up all sorts of new and great possibilities when combined with a jointer and thickness planer. Ask me how I know......
I haven't purchased store bought hardwood in years for my projects since I had Oak and Maple trees milled into rough sawn lumber right on my land years ago. I realize that many woodworkers don't have that advantage and must go to a mill or decent lumber yard for their hardwoods, even Pine and Spruce. I will get Poplar from the box stores when it suits the project.



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #11 of 15 Old 06-20-2019, 08:02 PM
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Good discussion. I now have both jointer and planer. Wish I'd gotten the 8 inch though. To me, the problem really arises when you want to build something really nice and use good hardwood to do it. If you arrive at the HD early on the day they restock, you might possibly find one or two boards you could call straight and flat, if you define that loosely. Those are bad odds. And if you buy the 3/4 inch pre-cut stock, planing it will produce a much thinner board, and you'll have to make sure that all boards you use are the exact same thickness.



Getting one straight edge is pretty easy if you make a jointing jig for your table saw. Or you could use a number 6 or 7 jointer hand plane (Looooooong). Get a Freud Glue Line blade.



But let's get serious, even if you joint one edge, you are eventually going to want to use thicker materials and plane it down, and that means using a planer. Yes, you can make a jig to feed a somewhat warped or twisted piece of lumber to plane one side flat. You use wedges to support the workpiece on the jig so you can get a flat side. Once you have that, you can surface the other side and get down to the same thickness on all other pieces.


So over thick stock of good quality, relatively flat to begin with, is very likely to be in your woodworking future. And if that's the case, I think a planer is first, with a piggy bank dedicated to buying an 8 inch jointer in the future. Thing about a jointer is that you flatten one edge, then use that edge against the jointer's fence, and voila, the beginning of a beautiful piece of wood.



That's my POV anyhow.
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post #12 of 15 Old 06-27-2019, 07:27 PM
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There are plenty of ways to get straight joints and correct bends and warps that use hand tools and table saw and will actually help your skill level but a planner is a must so you can stop using just standard lumber. I have been woodworking for around 25 years including framing, trim, cabinets and furniture and I only bought a joiner 5 years ago. Its a great 8" by 96" that I love but until then I made plenty of beautiful things. The first shop tool I bought was a 10" grizzly table saw then a 20" grizzly planner for a fraction of the cost of other brands that is still a major tool in my shop. You should look into a selection of hand planes and learn to sharpen too. I use water stones but you can look into those options later. I have 3 goto planes that will let you flatten and joint anything and they all came from yard sales and antique stores for under $40 each. Good luck and cant wait to see some of your work.

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post #13 of 15 Old 06-27-2019, 11:20 PM
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I like hand tools but my failing heart does not thus I use almost all power tools. Over the years I've upgraded my tools to much higher quality tools. Originally I had a sperate 13" planner and 6" joiner. Last year I got a good deal on a Hammer (Felder) A3-31 planner joiner it is SUPER. A few years ago I got a super deal on a Festool TS55 with some extras. I cannot say enough good about it. I have a big DeWalt table saw and if I replace it it will be either a Sawstop or Laguna Table Saws with the super fast stop similar to the Sawstop. My workbench was made from a lam beam that was leftover from a house build. In the past, I picked up a LOT of wood from a lumber yard that threw away anything that was twisted or not up to their desired quality. I would first join it and then plane it the desired thickness.
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post #14 of 15 Old 06-27-2019, 11:51 PM
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It all depends you need a straight flat edge for reference or one side of a board flat to run in your planer to flatten and smooth a board. Having bought a planer first I wish I bought the jointer 1st but now I got both.

Marlin
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post #15 of 15 Old 06-28-2019, 04:41 PM
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So much depends on what you intend to make and what you can get for material. My own story goes something like: I was mostly making small items (lack of tools!) I bought a very used 12" planer because there was a crude mill near by where I could get cheap wood. (You get what you pay for!) Then I bought a new PM 6" jointer, poor quality. Was never happy with it. Sold it and bought a used 8" PM jointer, nice machine. I would never buy anything narrower with the experience I now have. (I also bought and rebuilt a Crescent 16" jointer which I still have.) If you buy old iron be aware that cast iron can move. You may need to pay to have it Blanchard ground.
If you have a decent 10" table saw you can get a perfectly good glue edge using a sled. Note that because of the way straight line rip blades are made, they require a decent amount of power. I had a 3hp UniSaw but it didn't like to use a SL rip blade, under powered! You can feed slower but with hardwoods that will likely result in burns. You can also make a decent SL sled cut with other blades, maybe not as nice but OK.
Even though you can face a board with a planer by shimming it on a carrier board I sure wouldn't want to have to do it very often. You might be ahead to use your power plane and winding sticks. Also the small light duty planers are so under powered that trying to take off much in a pass is hopeless &/or really slow.
Pick projects that fit your tools and only slightly exceed your skill level.
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