Jointer or planer...hand planes???

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Forum topic by brian88 posted 11-06-2011 08:10 PM 1793 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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108 posts in 2795 days

11-06-2011 08:10 PM

Hello, so I have primarily been running a custom cabinet shop for the last few years but true woodworking is what I aspire too. So my mindset and creativity usually comes from the production part of my brain that is very creatively limited. My question is this…We have a joiner but I very rarely use it because I don’t necessarily understand the purpose or advantage over a planer. I use the planer to edge all of my face frame material. Maybe you could tell me how I could best use this piece of equipment…the planer seams faster to me…again, my production thought process. Next…now please don’t hate me but I have never used a block plane…ever. So I guess you might consider me a painter that does not use a brush??? Why would I want to use one other than the nastalgia of it? Again this is no disparagement tawards these tools but my ignorance. I admire the time taken by those who only use hand tools to do there work here…I don’t know if right now I have the patience for that…maybe when I grow up….

-- "thats all I have to say about that..."

10 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3986 days

#1 posted 11-06-2011 08:23 PM

Jointers are best used to flatten/square wood prior to thickness planing. If you’ve never tried to use a board with slight twist, you understand. Flatten one side on the jointer then run it through the planer. A planer with a slave board can be used the same way if you’re carefull to shim the boards and take light cuts. A glue line rip blade on the TS used with a straight edge attached to the board can yield pretty darned good straight edges. I do not have a jointer, and have had pretty good success using the planer as I said.
Now on to the planes:
I use ‘em, and I like ‘em. They can be addictive if you’re not carefull. Then there is the mystery of tuning and sharpening. Its a deep chasm. Watch out. Oh! They’re really quiet.


View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2719 days

#2 posted 11-06-2011 08:24 PM

HANDPLANES, YES! Now, what was the question? ;) So if I understand you correctly, you’re trying to figure the best way to get a flat, clear surface? I think the answer lies in the wings of the jointer. Jointers are used for making things STRAIGHT, which is why they have elongate beds. A planer can render the surface of a non-straight board beautifully smooth. This is why you see guys upgrading from 6” jointers to 8” and above. They want to make sure things are flat and straight. Once they’re perfectly dimensioned, it’s off the the planer for thicknessing.

Now, all these things can be done with handplanes, and it’s a glorious thing. But it’s very labor intensive and although I’m a handplane freak, if the board is longer than my reach and I can move it, I move it to the jointer. Get yourself a jointer plane, a Stanley #7 or #8. You’ll probably be starting a terrible addiction but it’ll be a fun ride;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 3046 days

#3 posted 11-06-2011 08:44 PM

A joiner makes things square like the miter fence on the table saw. The planer makes things parallel like the rip fence on a table saw. In other words the planer only makes a mirror image of the bottom face of the board.
As for the hand plane (hand tools in general) 1- You make shavings, or chips..not dust. 2- Using hand tools you can still hear the radio. I am still very much a rookie with hand tools, but many folks claim to be just as fast with planes as power tools.

Just my .02

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3401 days

#4 posted 11-06-2011 10:05 PM

The jointer provides a flat reference face and an adjacent 90° reference edge. That should be step 1 in any project where tight joinery is desired, and everything else builds off that. A jointer is the most efficient tool at providing those reference points. A planer can’t flatten without a flat reference face, which is provide by the jointer or a planer sled. It only thins stock and makes one face parallel to the opposite face. A planer also can’t square an edge.

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

View brian88's profile


108 posts in 2795 days

#5 posted 11-07-2011 12:35 AM

thank you for your input…I think I am seeing your points. I usually mill up about 300 ln. ft of face frame material at a time and I can feed 3 pieces through at a time so I guess it is a time savings thing. I will however give it a try when I need to laminate several pieces together to make a large piece. As far as the hand plane goes…I wouldn’t even know where to start. It seams like there are so many to choose from. And from what I understand, it is essential to have a quality one which would seem to be expensive….also I’m sure there is a technique to doing it right, I would probably want someone experienced to show me the ropes….

-- "thats all I have to say about that..."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3141 days

#6 posted 11-07-2011 12:48 AM

you don´t have to buy an expencive plane to make beautyfull shavings :-)
a good blade and a peice of wood and little fun around the bench and you have a plane
if done right can match anything on the market


View kjf48197's profile


27 posts in 2714 days

#7 posted 11-07-2011 01:30 AM

I like my hand planes because they are quiet and safer to use on small pieces of that will not go through a powered machine. No wasted material that way. With practice and a homemade fence I can square an edge to the face, flatten a surface, or put a god sheen on a board for a project with no sanding. Yes they are addicting. When you buy one go through the steps of restoring, flattening, squaring, and sharpening. There was no greater satisfaction than taking one from a boat anchor to a finely tuned tool that will take a shaving thinner than a sheet of paper. Get online to see all of the steps of restoration and how to use the plane for your project. Be patient it will come to you as it did all of us.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3024 days

#8 posted 11-07-2011 03:16 AM

Aesthetics and religion aside, you should have the hand planes even if you do mainly machine work.

The reasoning:

The hand tools have no limit on size. You have a 36 in planer? What happens when you need to plane a 37 in panel? You pull out the hand tools.

I am honestly not a real purist either way. I have a combo jointer/planer. It has a capacity of 8in. (Little cheap Jet machine.) It can handle 99 percent of all that I want. It is a lot cheaper to get out the hand tools when I want to do a 36 in panel.

They don’t have to be expensive. Making your own is fun and cheap. It is just a jig to hold a blade at a set angle.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View HamS's profile


1829 posts in 2415 days

#9 posted 11-12-2011 03:48 AM

The key to hand planing is sharpening. Until you have used a plane properly sharpened and set up, you have no idea. After you have used one, the light bulb comes on and then time is the shop is as good or better than time in the gym. A proper bench is also critical, the wood must be held firmly and the height must be correct.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#10 posted 11-12-2011 03:54 AM

The best tool for making nearly-perfect straight edges in long boards
is either an enormous 8’ jointer or one of those Joint-a-bility things.

What neither of those make is a planed joint free of ripple, but at least
if it’s a bit bumpy under the microscope, the jointed edges will be
straight and square. Straight and square with a jointer plane takes
a good deal of practice.

Is hand jointing a skill work acquiring? Sure, if you like working with
planes for surfacing work and working on joints and things, it
naturally makes sense to joint the odd edge by hand at the bench.

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