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Should I get a jointer?

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Forum topic by RedWoodworker posted 01-17-2018 05:19 PM 810 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RedWoodworker

34 posts in 273 days


01-17-2018 05:19 PM

Hi all,

I’ve been working on my first (small) project after getting a table saw. I bought a cheap board to practice on, and it was so curved that I worried about using it on the table saw. I then took a look at the much more expensive Padauk board I planned to use on the finished product, and noticed that it also was somewhat curved.

Is it worthwhile to buy a jointer (i’d get a bench top model)? Is this something that a lot of people use and find helpful? Some sites say it is not necessary, some say it is vital and should be one of the first things purchased.

What are your opinions and experiences?

Thanks!


18 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3734 days


#1 posted 01-17-2018 05:48 PM

More troubling than correcting a curved
edge is correcting a twisted or cupped
board without a jointer or planer.

A curved edge can be straightened in
many ways besides using a jointer,
but correcting surface distortions requires
at least a hand plane.

View Steve's profile

Steve

553 posts in 669 days


#2 posted 01-17-2018 05:50 PM

I’ve wrestled with what tool to get next. Planer and joiner are on the list and there’s always a debate on which comes first.

I think the general consensus is that you get a planer first. Since you can always use a table saw to make a straight edge.

View Brett's profile

Brett

49 posts in 279 days


#3 posted 01-17-2018 05:51 PM

If you are getting a jointer, you’ll need a planer to go along with it. Once you flatten one face of the board, you’ll have to make the other side parallel to the face you just jointed.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1011 posts in 902 days


#4 posted 01-17-2018 06:00 PM

If what you mean by “curved” is that the edges aren’t straight, there are some alternatives to a jointer if you don’t want to spend the money right now. You can build a sled consisting of a straight piece of plywood with a parallel edge. Fasten your board to it with removable screws or clamps. Position it in such a way so that when you run the whole thing through the table saw, it will saw the curved edge off straight. Detach the board from the plywood and rotate it 180 degrees. Send it through the table saw again in such a way that it rips the other edge parallel to the first.

This isn’t just a stop gap measure but is a technique used by many woodworkers to get a straight edge and an opposite edge parallel to it. For some boards it can work better than a jointer. However, a jointer is still a very nice tool to have.

I hope this post makes sense. It is a little hard to understand from text alone. Here is a picture from Wood Magazine. I hope they don’t mind.

View LesB's profile

LesB

1791 posts in 3529 days


#5 posted 01-17-2018 06:07 PM

Loren is correct about edge jointing a board as compared to a warped or cupped board.
Edge jointing can be done on the table saw by fastening a straight edge to the the board to guide it (sited in previous comment) or with a flush trim or template bit on a router.

A bench top jointer might be OK for short pieces of wood but it would be difficult to straighten the edge of an 8’ board on one. A bench top planer would work for the flat surfaces as long as it isn’t badly warped or cupped.
Given the choice I would get a planer over a jointer.

Not knowing what your tool collections is it is hard to recommend a particular tool. Over the years I bought tools as I found a need for it…..or at least that is what I told my wife.

-- Les B, Oregon

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RedWoodworker

34 posts in 273 days


#6 posted 01-17-2018 06:27 PM

To be clear, when I was talking about curved boards it was in the sense that when I lay them on a flat table, the surface of the wood is not flat against the table.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5737 posts in 2900 days


#7 posted 01-17-2018 06:37 PM

A jointer is a required tool in most any woodshop. Sure, you could buy lumber that is already milled S4S, but as you have found out… it’s not necessarily straight either.

Having a jointer not only lets you true up crooked S4S stock, but you can also buy much less expensive rough lumber and mill your own boards.

Sometimes you’ll rip a wide board down to size at the tablesaw, and the freshly cut piece will become bowed. That needs to be corrected at the jointer.

I think shopping for a small jointer is appropriate, and a small investment to make woodworking more enjoyable (and safer by the way). Rip a crooked board on the tablesaw and you’ll see what I mean!
If the jointer helps your woodworking process, you can always upgrade to a bigger model later.

Good luck with it.

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

View torus's profile

torus

133 posts in 499 days


#8 posted 01-17-2018 06:48 PM



To be clear, when I was talking about curved boards it was in the sense that when I lay them on a flat table, the surface of the wood is not flat against the table.

- RedWoodworker


I think the terminology needs some clarification(google search):

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

View RedWoodworker's profile

RedWoodworker

34 posts in 273 days


#9 posted 01-17-2018 06:59 PM



A jointer is a required tool in most any woodshop. Sure, you could buy lumber that is already milled S4S, but as you have found out… it s not necessarily straight either.

Having a jointer not only lets you true up crooked S4S stock, but you can also buy much less expensive rough lumber and mill your own boards.

Sometimes you ll rip a wide board down to size at the tablesaw, and the freshly cut piece will become bowed. That needs to be corrected at the jointer.

I think shopping for a small jointer is appropriate, and a small investment to make woodworking more enjoyable (and safer by the way). Rip a crooked board on the tablesaw and you ll see what I mean!
If the jointer helps your woodworking process, you can always upgrade to a bigger model later.

Good luck with it.

- pintodeluxe

Thank you for the advice. Can anyone recommend a good, relatively inexpensive jointer? Are jointer/planer combos worthwhile?

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3734 days


#10 posted 01-17-2018 07:08 PM

What’s the maximum width and length
of boards you need to flatten?

If you’re only doing smallish work getting
by with benchtop machines is feasible.

With a hand plane and a work bench you
can flatten any size board. It’s not unbearably
laborious or difficult to learn. Once one
side is flat the board can be thicknessed
with the plane, which is kind of time consuming,
or run through a benchtop planer.

View RedWoodworker's profile

RedWoodworker

34 posts in 273 days


#11 posted 01-17-2018 07:10 PM



What s the maximum width and length
of boards you need to flatten?

- Loren

It will be on a project-by-project basis, but just shopping around, a 6” or an 8” would probably do everything I need. Not sure on length.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

346 posts in 706 days


#12 posted 01-17-2018 07:17 PM

I’ve been working with wood for over 40 years as a hobby and still do not have a joiner. Sure I bought S4S wood for a long time, but I have yet to run into a piece of wood that could not be tamed with hand planes.
Save your money and your ears. Find some used hand planes and learn how to use them.

Sorry for the grumpy old man rant. The older I get the more I detest the scream of power tools.

-- Sawdust Maker

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

4274 posts in 2395 days


#13 posted 01-17-2018 07:45 PM


I ve been working with wood for over 40 years as a hobby and still do not have a joiner. Sure I bought S4S wood for a long time, but I have yet to run into a piece of wood that could not be tamed with hand planes.
Save your money and your ears. Find some used hand planes and learn how to use them.

Sorry for the grumpy old man rant. The older I get the more I detest the scream of power tools.

- LittleShaver


I too went many years before I got a jointer or a planer. When I bought my first one ( Inca J/P )it was a head slapping moment, I suddenly realized what I had been missing. I would never ever go with out one again.

IMHO Bench top jointer are worth the money

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1256 posts in 249 days


#14 posted 01-17-2018 08:12 PM

for the simple task of jointing the edges for a tight glue-up, a jointer an excellent choice.
also a router with a finish bit and straight edge, so will non-powered hand tools.

I had the basic 6” Sears Craftsman jointer for 20 years and sold it for almost what
I paid for it new. with sharp blades and correctly set, any hand tool will do most any job.

when the boards get longer, and they will, build an “out catch” table the same level
as the jointer bed and make fasteners so it won’t move from the jointer and you can
easily run 6 – 12 foot boards on the basic 48” jointer (with a little skill and practice).

in my opinion, a floor mounted power jointer is a personal choice dictated by:
the type of work you intend to do
how often would you be using it
the floor space available for the machine
and of course, your budget.

start cruising CraigsList Tools to see what is available in your area.

and once you do get a jointer (or thickness planer), start saving the different chips in paper bags.
oak, hickory, fruit woods, etc. for your BBQ smoker.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1239 posts in 2081 days


#15 posted 01-17-2018 08:25 PM

I would get a planer and then use a mounting sled with it. Second choice would be a combo machine. A jointer witho uhh t the planer is not too useful.

The nice thing about a planer is they are 12” wide or wider an d you can face joint a board that wide. A 12” dedicated jointer is very nice but the size of an aircraft carrier. Later, a dedicated six or 8” jointer will be a nice addition for most work, reducing set up time to get the job done. You will still need the planer sled for boards too wide for your jointer.

The combo machines are smaller which is nice, but also a hindrance. So a trade off for sure. Go for as wide of one as possible if you go that route. You’ll want the width on the planer side for sure.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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