shop upgrade decision/question

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Forum topic by jaydub posted 11-06-2010 07:47 PM 1185 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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63 posts in 2535 days

11-06-2010 07:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer planer

Hi LJ’s,
First off, I definitely started this post yesterday, and was pretty sure I actually posted it, but I can’t find it anywhere – so I’m hoping I’m not doubling up… Anyway…

I’ve been thinking about an upgrade for my shop, and have a bunch of HD gift cards laying around. For a long time I thought a jointer should be my next purchase. Just about all the walnut/cherry/birch/cedar that I’ve worked with lately has been surfaced, but edges aren’t always dead straight, of course. Hence, the jointer idea. Rigid’s 6” model was $429 at my local location. Then dropped to $389 a few months back. Looked like a good deal on a model that I’ve seen reviewed pretty well.

Then I got a nice load of salvaged 100-year old true 2”x6” spruce / fir studs. Probably 200 linear feet of really nice stuff. They obviously need surfacing if I’m going to use them for furniture projects. I started thinking about the DeWalt 734 planer. $399 at HD, but marked down to $349 recently. I have a Grizzly bandsaw with a nice Timberwolf resaw blade that I’d like to use to bring those studs down to usable thicknesses, so the planer is a must for surfacing there.

So I stopped in to HD yesterday just for a peek, and the jointer is down to $303! Seems like a steal.

The question is, which should I go for? I think the biggest question is which can do a better job at the other’s primary function. I understand there are capacity issues for each, but can a planer do a better job at jointing than a a jointer can at planing? I also happen to teach, so I have access to the school’s shop with a monster PowerMatic planer (and a jointer for that matter) if the need arises.

That’s my quandary. I hope there’s some advice out there – I’m guessing there is.

Thanks, all.


-- happiness is a sharp plane iron

12 replies so far

View Chris's profile


27 posts in 2270 days

#1 posted 11-06-2010 08:58 PM

I would say go with the jointer. Next to the table saw one of the most valuable tools in the shop. I’m not so sure about the Ridgid though. You may want to look at Grizzly, or check Craigs list. In my area you can get a very nice Delta for around $300 or less if you’re patient.

-- Chris, Hubertus, WI

View RalphBarker's profile


80 posts in 2190 days

#2 posted 11-06-2010 09:20 PM

Although the functions seem to overlap by quite a bit, they really don’t. Use the jointer to flatten one face, and to square the edges to that face. Then, use the planer to make the other face parallel, or to thickness the board to the dimension you want. The feed rollers on the planer will squoosh the board flat to the bottom face, so if that’s cupped, the top side will be, too, once out from under the pressure of the feed rollers.

In theory, you can build a sled to support the board, so the planer can be made to do part of the jointer’s work, but that’s a little “iffy” in practice. Similarly, you can use the jointer to thickness. But, doing so requires perfect alignment and proper technique, or you’ll end up with a wedge-shaped board.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3243 days

#3 posted 11-06-2010 11:34 PM

JW, the ideal solution would be to get both but if I were faced with your situation I would get the planer first. There are alternative techniques to face and edge jointing- sled, router table, table saw. But, as Ralph pointed out, it is extremely difficult to dimension rough wood with a jointer. In reality it is the only tool (unless you want to go with a hand plane) that will dimension lumber. In my shop the most used tools are my table saw, planer and jointer. I would be hard pressed to handle rough lumber if I did not have all three.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3639 days

#4 posted 11-06-2010 11:59 PM

I would definitely go with the planer.

I faced the same question a while back, and I asked myself this question:

How many times have I said to myself, “Gee, I really wish I had a planer right now” and how many times have I said “Boy, I wish I had a jointer right now”. It was no contest… I got the planer and have never regretted it. I still don’t have a jointer, and I don’t find myself missing it very often.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View 2007rusty's profile


35 posts in 3248 days

#5 posted 11-07-2010 03:18 AM

Jaydub, Most shops have the joiner first, This question was asked of Norm Abrahm and Tom Silva. Both agreed to get the joiner first. I had mine for 25 years before I ever bought a planer. A word of advice. A good joiner is expensive. A good used will always be better than a lesser quality. Ridged has good tools and warrenties but they are no match for Delta. Look around, save afew more dollars and get the quality. You will use this tool for many years and vast projects

-- I know all about hard work. It's that R & R I need to learn

View randi's profile


43 posts in 2241 days

#6 posted 11-07-2010 03:36 AM

Personally I would go with the jointer first. then get a planer/drum or knife.

But in your case, maybe you can joint and square up three faces of your stock at school, and then take it home and thickness plane it in your new planer? Or joint two faces square then table saw at home and plane.

Most of my stocks sees the jointer first, then the table saw sometimes, then the planer.

I also have a drum thickness planer that my father had used quite a bit, I’ve never cared for it much, too much dust but it does work well.

-- "A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila." ~Mitch Ratcliffe

View dannymac's profile


144 posts in 2437 days

#7 posted 11-07-2010 03:52 AM

I’ll just say this. I’ve had my delta jointer for about 12 years now and it still works great. my planer’s about a week old

-- dannymac

View 8iowa's profile


1540 posts in 3182 days

#8 posted 11-07-2010 10:49 PM

Since you have access to a 15” planer, I would go with the highest quality jointer you can afford. A 6” jointer is all you need to edge joint and glue boards. You’ll find it handy to have the jointer close-by when gluing up your boards.

I don’t take a whole lot of stock in using a jointer to “flatten” a board. Using a hand plane and winding sticks I can quickly remove twist and prep a board for the planer. Unless you are a professional / industrial / production type woodworker, having an 8”, 10”, or even a wider jointer is not necessary in order to work with wide boards.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2653 days

#9 posted 11-07-2010 11:34 PM

You can joint with a planer / table saw with sled, but you can not plane with a jointer. I would (and did) get a planer before a jointer.

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View RalphBarker's profile


80 posts in 2190 days

#10 posted 11-08-2010 01:33 AM

“You can joint with a planer / table saw with sled, but you can not plane with a jointer. I would (and did) get a planer before a jointer.”

I think you have that reversed. One can thickness plane on a well-tuned jointer with the proper technique. Getting an edge to be 90° to a face in a planer is a little difficult, though.

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3208 days

#11 posted 11-08-2010 04:44 AM

I guess I’ll play devil’s advocate here:

The process starting with a rough board:

Flatten one side, taking out cup, twist and bow. This gives you a reference surface from which to work all the other dimensions. It can be done easiest with a jointer, if the jointer is wide enough. It can be done with a planer using a sled and shimming up the bow or twist and cup so the rollers do not deform it when passing thorough. Can be done with hand planes if you have the skill.

Squaring an edge to that side: Can be done with jointer. can be done by table saw but may require long or longer than the board. can be done with hand planes if you have the skill.

Dimensioning board to same width (flat side down): Best done with table saw. Can be done with hand planes and hand saw if you have the skill. Cannot be done with thickness planer and very difficult with jointer.

Dimensioning board to same thickness: Easiest done with thickness planer. Can be done with hand planes if you have the skill. Very difficult with jointer. Cannot be done with table saw if over 3 1/2” wide.

Reality: If you do not think you will need to flatten many boards over 6” width in the near future, get the Ridgid planer (hopefully you can now get it under $300). It has a good track record and is the most bang for buck today. Probably will have decent resale value if you have to go bigger.

The DeWalt 734 is an okay planer (I have one). 12 1/2” width is good for most work. At $349, is a good price (same as I paid about 3 years ago), and prices have gone up. The 735 is a better one and Delta is coming out with a new one that may be better. Blade sets for the 734 are expensive and not resharpenable. (about $60 for a double edged 3 blade set). I dulled both edges on a brand new set dimensioning 100 bf of sawmill kiln dried white oak. Thats about 3 small furniture projects. (They last a lot longer on pine and fir, though.). the price is good, but not as much bang for buck.

At full price, I would go with the thickness planer, but with the jointer at that price, that would be my choice today (and I still do not have a jointer. I use hand planes and a sled on the thickness planer).



PS This is based on your statement that you had access to both items in larger size at the school shop. Most people I know have not been satisfied with a 6” jointer, and have upgraded, while a 12 1/2” thickness planer seems to meet most available lumber these days. The reason I have not bought a power jointer is much of the lumber I use is wider than that, and I do not have 220v power needed for the larger ones. Edge jointing a board with hand planes is not a big deal anymore, once I learned how.

-- Go

View quadcap's profile


18 posts in 2189 days

#12 posted 11-08-2010 07:35 PM

I picked up the ridgid 6” jointer several weeks ago when HD put in on sale for $299. Ridgid was also running a 20% rebate at the time, not sure if that’s still in effect…. but for just under $250, I could not pass it up. It was easy to assemble and required only slight raising of the outfeed table. Seems to work well so far. Dust collection is good.

I did have a lunchbox style 12 1/2 planer for a long time before getting the jointer… I’d use scrub and jointer planes to get rough lumber flat (not smooth) and then run it through the planer. I still do that for the times when I really want to keep more than 6” of width.

Having said that, I wish I had got the jointer a long time ago. The planer & jointer really go together like pb&j

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