Jointer and Tongue and Groove, I have no idea!

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Blog entry by Col posted 03-29-2009 05:51 AM 13687 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK, I have announced that I am new to this, so here goes. What would be the best jointer to purchase for a beginner woodworker? Should I just buy a planer? What would be the best/easiest way to make tongue and groove joints? Using a fixed router or a table saw and the Dado blades? I would have to buy either one, but which one first? If you suggest the router, how? If you suggest the table saw, how?

Should I quit now while I am behind?


-- KipS

12 comments so far

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3404 days

#1 posted 03-29-2009 06:16 AM

Don,t quit! A router table with a matching TandG set is a simple way to do it and not expensive.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4062 days

#2 posted 03-29-2009 06:16 AM

Should you buy a jointer or a planer?

Yes, you should. Buy both. The main tools that get used in my shop constantly are the table saw, jointer, planer, chop saw, router, and sanders. That goes for my work in the shop or the field.

There certainly is more than one way to create a tongue and groove joint, but I would suggest using a router and the tongue and groove set.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3356 days

#3 posted 03-29-2009 06:17 AM

Many ways to go….
So, I suggest to start with the #1 tool in your priority list…......You’ll get more out of a table saw than the other tools you mention.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View LesB's profile


1673 posts in 3405 days

#4 posted 03-29-2009 06:52 AM

I agree with Moai and I think the jointer should be near the bottom of the tools you listed. The router needs to be used in a table for tongue and groove. A Porter Cable 890 series router would be a good start for that. You can do T & G on a table saw. There are even “shaper” or molding head blades that mount on a table saw for making T & G plus other moldings and shapes if the router is out of your budget for now.
Using dimensioned lumber you seldom need to use a jointer. I get great straight edges using my table saw with a well aligned blade and fence.
If you intend to stick with wood working buy quality tools (well known brand names) and ALWAYS think SAFETY when you use them. Best “safe” table saw is the Saw Stop saw. Next I would go with PowerMatic and working down the list Delta. The 220v cabinet saws are the best but contractor saws are a good start.

Of course there are the “real” craftsman who do it all with hand tools.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3784 days

#5 posted 03-29-2009 01:57 PM

Kip, if you have to make a choice then I would vote for the planer over the jointer but as Todd said you need them both. You can edge joint lumber w/o a jointer using a table saw or router but to get a flat face you a jointer is the tool of choice.

It is possible to flatten a board with a planer using a sled. A search will give you several posts on this idea. As on option, until you get one, you can buy surfaced lumber. You will pay a nominal fee for this service but it is well worth it to get flat lumber to work with.

As far as making tongue and groove joints I use my table saw and dado combination since I am more comfortable doing it this way as opposed to a router table. In my opinion this is a better option for a beginning woodworker.

As far as tools go my signature line speaks volumes about my personal philosophy about buying tools. I firmly believe that “it is better to cry once when you buy a tool rather than the 1000s of times that you use it”. Buy the most tool your budget will allow is some sound advice that a friend of mine once gave me when I was just getting into woodworking. The times that I have failed to do this I have usually come to regret the decision later.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View gizmodyne's profile


1776 posts in 4052 days

#6 posted 03-29-2009 03:57 PM

As far as T&G, I have done them several ways. It is much faster to use a table saw and a dado stack. Set up a feather board and your blade at near center. Run the board edge down and then flip end for end and run with the opposite face against the fence. This will ensure a centered groove.

For the tongue: two quick options. Dado set and a rabbet on both faces or my favorite: Don’t make tongues. Make splines, a strip of wood that fits into each groove. Then you just put grooves on both pieces.

If your purpose is to make little frame and panels with the router set then go for a little set. But it can be done on the table saw too.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3723 days

#7 posted 03-29-2009 04:04 PM

I agree with Moai and others who suggest the table saw and dado. A router would do just fine for individual furniture type projects but would not be at all suitable for running hour after hour doing tongue and groove for flooring or walls in a house. My brother and I will have a walls and flooring project this Spring and we will use a shaper.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3391 days

#8 posted 03-29-2009 04:59 PM

Yes, there are hand tools that come into play but…

I can not imagine taking on any woodworking task without a table saw at my disposal. Routers, shapers, jointers and surface planers just don’t do the job without a table saw.

What next….depends on the project which has not been clearly defined. TandG sort of hints at a flooring job. Flooring without a table saw or chop saw? Not me!

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View Col's profile


6 posts in 3312 days

#9 posted 03-30-2009 05:46 AM

I should have mentioned my project. Sorry about that! I will be making Board and Batten Shutters for the house. Probably the standard length and width. (15” x 72”) Looking at using 1” x 6” x 12’ treated pine for the stock. Thought this would be a good simple project to begin with.

Next I will be looking a building an artist easel for my daughter. Found a neat plan on the internet. Thinking of Oak for that, but I haven’t checked locally on purchasing that. That project will use 2” x 4” s and some 1” x 6”s. Looks fun.

-- KipS

View LesB's profile


1673 posts in 3405 days

#10 posted 03-30-2009 08:47 PM

You shouldn’t have any problem finding oak for that easel. Demensioned lumber should be readily available in 8/4 and 5/4 and 13/16 thickness. You can rip the width needed on a table saw. In general there are two types of oak available; Red Oak which has a redish color and the wood pores are frequent and open. For an easel there would be no reason to fill the pores with wood grain filler. The “white” oak has few open pores and is lighter in color. It has a smoother appearance than red oak. Price should range from $3.50 to $5.00 per board foot depending on quality, thickness, width, flat or quarter sawn. There are other variables such as planed or rough surfaces, surfaced on three sides S3S, so discuss it with the supplier in your area. It is usually cheaper at a hard wood retailer than from the big box Home Depot type places. They tend to stock only selected fully planed hardwoods.

-- Les B, Oregon

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3950 days

#11 posted 03-30-2009 09:38 PM

You could got to Sears and get a molding head cutter here

With these bits

And make T&G all day long.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3611 days

#12 posted 03-30-2009 10:30 PM

I’d add another vote for the table saw- especially since you’re starting out, and this would be one of the main tools to have for everything you’d want to do.

you mentioned working with treated pine? make sure you have good dust control on that saw for these cuts, and wear a GOOD filter mask on when working with this crap – this is cancerous! and it sounds like you’ll be making plenty of saw dust out of it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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