Making Rough Lumber straight without a Jointer

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Forum topic by SkiTique posted 03-03-2016 01:56 PM 927 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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45 posts in 893 days

03-03-2016 01:56 PM

I am making another countertop out of hickory planks. I am using rough sawn lumber, I have a surface planer and have already ran the boards through it. My current issue is that I do not own a jointer or edge planer. I have heard of people making a guide or sled for a table saw, have any of you tried this? What about a straight edge clamp and a circular saw? Can I stand the boards on edge and run they through my surface planer?

I would be interested to hear how others have trued the edges without a jointer.

FYI: Using 8/4 hickory, width varies from 6.5-8”, 9-11ft in length, finished product will be 8’x4’.


11 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile


2965 posts in 1508 days

#1 posted 03-03-2016 02:14 PM

1. Straight edge guide + #7 or 8 jointer plane.

2. Router with pattern bit with straight edge.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View ChrisK's profile


1973 posts in 3108 days

#2 posted 03-03-2016 02:19 PM

The sled and table saw work. You need to make sure that everything is square and plumb. The router and straight edge work as well. Do one side with router then rip to size to square the opposite side. Use a good rip blade and you should be good to go.

-- Chris K

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3402 days

#3 posted 03-03-2016 02:19 PM

It’s hard to ensure an edge that’s 90° to the board face by standing the boards on edge and running them through a planer unless one edge is already squared for the palner to reference to.

Without a jointer, one effective workaround is to use a planer sled to imitate a reference face, so the planer will actually flatten the opposite fence (as opposed to just smoothing and transferring any deviations along the face) ....then you can use that flat face as a reference point to give a true 90° edge that’s uniform along the entire length of the board….whether by a circ saw and straight edge, TS sled, or router. Without a true flat reference face, the supposed 90° will have random deviations from 90° that could effect how tight the joint is.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View JayT's profile


5679 posts in 2238 days

#4 posted 03-03-2016 02:23 PM

I use a hand plane. Others have other solutions, but not having used them, I can’t comment on effectiveness.

Once you have one edge straight and square, there’s no issue running 8/4 through your planer on edge.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Waldo88's profile


188 posts in 1323 days

#5 posted 03-03-2016 03:25 PM

For thinner stock, a straight bit in a router table can be used as a jointer. Set the infeed fence to take a very shallow cut and outfeed fence exactly at the blade.

Probably wouldn’t work for 8/4 stock though unless you have a very long straight bit.

View bonesbr549's profile


1558 posts in 3094 days

#6 posted 03-03-2016 04:32 PM

1. Straight edge guide + #7 or 8 jointer plane.

2. Router with pattern bit with straight edge.

- rwe2156

I spent many a year with a scrub plane, and then #7 jointer plane. I also use a set of winding sticks.

I can highly reccomend Rob Cosmons rough to ready DVD he gives you great tips and It served me well. At least till i got my 12” jointer and now use power tools.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2473 days

#7 posted 03-03-2016 05:24 PM

Make your router think it's a jointer

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2840 days

#8 posted 03-03-2016 07:24 PM

Hire a cabinet shop to mill them S2S. Then you can plane them perfectly to dimension. There’s no shame in getting a little help. Next week I’m taking a bunch of panels to a shop that has a ridiculous 50” combination planer / drum sander. An hour of their time usually runs about $50.

I don’t like the planer sled idea myself. Too many chances for the board to shift slightly and be milled unevenly.

The straight line rip jig on the TS works great, but again I only use it with lumber that has been face jointed.

In general, yes you can edge mill lumber with a planer. However if the reference surface isn’t jointed, it really won’t make it perfectly straight.

Honestly, hire this one out. If you find yourself needing a jointer from time to time, maybe you can buy one down the road.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View HokieKen's profile


5273 posts in 1165 days

#9 posted 03-03-2016 07:41 PM

I use a sled for my TS routinely to do this. But, as Willie pointed out, you do have to have a flat face to do it safely. You said you ran the boards through your surface planer. Did you flatten one face first? I use a sled for my planer to face joint boards. Running a twisted board through the planer just gives you a twisted board with uniform thickness.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View SkiTique's profile


45 posts in 893 days

#10 posted 03-04-2016 12:26 PM

Thanks for the input guys, I do have a shop near by that would be able to do this for me. Looks like I will just need to pick up jointer in the near future.

View BobAnderton's profile


263 posts in 2817 days

#11 posted 03-04-2016 02:10 PM

This countertop project is an excellent excuse to pick up your first 6” jointer off craigslist for $200-$250. Once you have one you’ll never be willing to not have one again.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

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