Hand Jointer-plane Vs Power Jointer

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Forum topic by SnowFrog posted 07-26-2011 07:51 PM 21625 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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102 posts in 2544 days

07-26-2011 07:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer plane joining

Hi there;

I am trying to understand the difference between how a hand Jointer-plane work and a power jointer.

For power Jointer, people say that you can’t really get good results if the piece you are trying to joint is much longer than the base plate of the jointer. But on a hand jointer-plane this is not the case!


A power jointer, like jointing on a router table, the infeed part of the table is lower than the blade and the outfeed is level with the blade and both higher than the infeed and that alignment appears to be critical for the proper function of the power jointer. Yet the sole of a hand jointer-plane is all flat and the blade sticks out from both the infeed and outfeed side!

These facts unless they are completely wrong, appear to me quite contradictory both in form and function.

Furthermore, to complicate things there are the hybrid, portable, hand held power planer . Yet I have been told on numerous occasion to stay far away form.

So why are they so different and how can they produce the same result (lets eliminate the hand held power jointer from the equasion).

The main reason I ask is that I have a very small shop, and I’d like a power jointer but only a small benchtop one would likely fit in the shop. Much of the stuff I would want to joint is in the 4ft range with the occasional longer piece. Much of the wood I buy is S2S so truely my need is focused on fixing the occasional misshaps and getting some lumber back in order for other non furniture related project.

So explanations and recommendations would be appreciated.

-- One can dream, about a passion not yet fully fulfilled!

11 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3661 days

#1 posted 07-26-2011 08:11 PM

SnowFrog—I have both, and each does a good job of flattening stock. I use my #7 jointer plane on things too big to run through my Grizzly G0452.

IMHO, the biggest difference (aside for the obvious) is that they use different principals for flattening stock. With a jointer plane, since the plane protrudes from a flat surface as you describe, you can start in the middle of a board and take off only a small amount in a specific area. With a power jointer with infeed/outfeed tables that are slightly offset, you are dealing with the whole board, which, by definition, results in a slightly tapered board that is flat on the side you joint. Proper use of the power jointer (downward pressure on the outfeed side) can reduce/minimize the distortion that occurs from too much pressure on the infeed side.

In many shops, mine included, the jointer is is used to prep one side of the stock before it goes to the planer. Before we had power jointers and power planers, craftsmen used hand planes, scrapers, etc. to accomplish both flat stock and stock that was a uniform thickness.

With respect to the benchtop jointers, I’m not a big fan. The only way they are practical is if you are doing very short workpieces … their tables are simply too short to give acceptable results for anything longer. The tables on my G0452 ares actually too short (46”) for some of the stuff I have used it for … I just don’t have space for a bigger machine.

It’s all about compromises.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2878 days

#2 posted 07-26-2011 08:22 PM

With a hand plane jointer the sole rides on top of the work and with the blade slightly advanced it will catch the higher spots of the board. As you start to knock down the higher spots the shavings will get longer. Once you are table to take a shaving from start to finish of the cut then you should have a flat board if all was done correctly.

My advice to you would be to get both a bench top jointer and a hand plane jointer. Jointing a board with a hand plane will take some practice and could take a while before you have it down. You could start with the bench top power jointer and after you square the board on there you can then hit it with the hand plane to clean up the cut.

You may get poor results with a hand plane when you start off and a lot of times thats what turns guys away from using them. If you take the time to learn and develop the skill then there is a great deal of joy in using a massive 24in jointer plane.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Loren's profile (online now)


10388 posts in 3645 days

#3 posted 07-26-2011 08:24 PM

I use handheld electric planers for surfacing large boards and slabs sometimes. It
does take quite a lot of skill to do it well – and I’ve surfaced enough rough stock
with simple hand planes (sweaty work) to know what I am doing.

I’d say learn to use hand planes first. Plane use and maintenance are foundation
skills in woodworking. Once you know how to make a board square with planes,
you’ll understand how to do it with power machines better.

View lightingguru's profile


1 post in 2485 days

#4 posted 08-05-2011 03:49 AM

If i am understanding your question correctly the are all the same thing. Basically a hand held planer for used for rough shapping material and things such as doors


View BigJimAK's profile


30 posts in 3288 days

#5 posted 08-17-2011 05:54 AM

One caveat: If you are going to get a hand plane jointer, you must hone the blade, at a minimum. Depending upon the quality of the plane, you may need to fettle the plane itself.


-- Jim in Alaska

View tom427cid's profile


294 posts in 2468 days

#6 posted 08-24-2011 07:20 AM

Many years ago before I could afford a jointer I used an old unbranded plane equivalent to a #7.A characteristic of that particular plane was the casting was thinner than a #7. I made a fence of maple that screwed thru the bed. I also would use a small shim either at one end or the middle to bring the bed to absolute flat. The final test was could 6 or 8 foot boards be jointed to match. Even though I now have a proper jointer for long stock I still use my old hand plane. One of the benefits of this approach is I don’t waste as much material as I do with a jointer.

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View SnowFrog's profile


102 posts in 2544 days

#7 posted 09-02-2011 12:12 AM

Hey Tom427CID

Very good comment. It gives me hopes and my just opt for a jointer plane.

Also I have been reading about a jointer jig for the TS. They look pretty well like the one Dave Owen built here. So how does this compare with the other proposed solutions?

-- One can dream, about a passion not yet fully fulfilled!

View mbholden's profile


3 posts in 3913 days

#8 posted 09-04-2011 01:22 AM

Rule of thumb for powered jointers is that they can flatten three times the total bed length.
Extending that to handplanes, the two foot long #7 will flatten a six foot board.
Since furniture rarely has pieces longer than four feet, the #7 has it covered.
My Delta six inch joiner has a 4 1/2 long bed, so 13 1/2 foot long board are theoretically possible!
However, I couldn’t get a 13 1/2 foot board into my basement workshop (grin)

-- Mike

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2560 days

#9 posted 09-04-2011 07:54 AM

Thanks for the discussion. Currently I use my TS for jointing as I do not own a joiner (plane or power) (Yet). I learn alot from reading these discussion prior to purchase.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2637 days

#10 posted 09-04-2011 08:55 AM

You have not answered a few of the questions by other posters, but I will give this a shot.

First, there are two general types of hand-held planers that can play a part in jointing: hand powered (perhaps a Stanley Bailey), then there are powered hand-held planers (both corded and battery powered).

Then, we have the powered jointer-planers.

Lets say I have three just over four foot long maple boards that are approximately 5 1/4” wide and 3/4” thick that I wish to join into one board 4 foot long, 14” wide and 5/8” thick if I can get it.

I would first use the jointer planer to make one 3/4” side and one 5 1/4” of each of the boards flat… this gives me 2 sides on each that are flat and square to one another. I would then take these three boards to my TS and set the fence to the least width of the boards (lets say 5 1/8”), then run the flat planed side against the fence through the saw to give me all three boards with three sides square.

Lets back up a second. I don’t have a thickness planer (yet). If I did, I would use it to get my third side square with the other two BEFORE I went to the TS.

So now I have all three boards… each now has two of the 3/4” sides and one of the 5 1/8” sides square.

My next move would be to glue up the joints with the flat sides down (on a flat surface) clamped until dry. I personally would also have biscuited as part of the glue-up (again with the flat sides down while using the biscuit jointer so that after the glue-up, I will have all three possibly unlevel sides all on the same side of the new unified board.

Now there is an opportunity to finish your product in more than one way. A hand-powered plane could be used (if you know how). A powered hand planer could be used (if you’re good and hold your mouth just right)... or a powered sander (belt and/or pad or random orbital sander) may be used. If this were my actual project, I would use the powered sanders at this point of this example.

Now there are some great guys on here that may advocate hand sawing, and hand planing every bit of this thing, then I guess even using a hand-powered plane to cut a tongue and groove or rabbet before the glue-up if they don’t want to just face-glue, but that’s not me. Never will be, either unless somehow I had bigger and rougher lumber to deal with. I don’t.

Gimme the thickness planer and I’ll use it, the jointer planer and the table saw, then biscuit joiner, glue and clamp and done except for fine sanding.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View maljr1980's profile


171 posts in 2454 days

#11 posted 09-05-2011 12:13 AM

we had a small grizzly jointer at one of the shops i worked at, you can build outfeed tables or use rollers as long as you keep them in the same plane as the machine. that being said i could joint a 16ft board on one of those cheap home center mini bench jointers if i had to. think outside the box people, this forum is supposed to be filled with knowledgeable craftsman!

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