Using a Thickness Planer for Jointing

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Forum topic by andy6601 posted 02-23-2012 07:35 PM 11164 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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91 posts in 1891 days

02-23-2012 07:35 PM

Hello everyone I have a question, can I use my thickness planner for jointing or should I use a jointer for joining. I have a 12” Grizzly thickness planner and it is great, but i have a whimpy 4” craftsman jointer that is, well, whimpy. So can, or should I find a 6” jointer and use that, or just use my thickness planer to join the borads. What I do is I get wood that is rough and knock saw marks off, really I only care about surfacing the faces of the boards, I have a jointer hand plane that I can use to shoot the ends of the boards for making panels say for a chest of drawers, etc. So my next question is would I even need a jointer and really what are they primarly used for? I know this is a 5th grade question but most books and magizines I read never cover how to take a board from the rough and get it to the point to which you start to use if for projects. Then say if I was to get a 6” jointer I don’t want to have to cut all my boards down to 6” or less because then I end up with a bunch of boards that need to be glued together if I am making a large panel. Any thoughts on this would be great. Thanks.

5 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8106 posts in 2851 days

#1 posted 02-23-2012 07:53 PM

On occasion, I have ganged drawer sides/backs and fronts and clamped them together to run through the planer.
More to insure perfect equal widths than for jointing.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View knotscott's profile


7147 posts in 2798 days

#2 posted 02-23-2012 08:02 PM

A planer and a jointer are different tools and really different purposes. A jointer flattens a face and squares and adjacent edge. A planer smooths and reduces the thickness without regard to true flatness.

A planer doesn’t have a true reference point for flattening or squaring boards, which a jointer does have. If you use a planer sled that’ll act as a flat reference point, you can flatten the face of a board. Without the sled, the planer is mainly just duplicating the natural shape and undulations of the board’s surface….twisted board, twisted board out.

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

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 2410 days

#3 posted 02-23-2012 08:17 PM

Here is another post on using your planer to face joint boards.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4408 posts in 3383 days

#4 posted 02-23-2012 08:30 PM

I use a slave board like shown with pretty good results. Having said that, I don’t use a lot of solid woods for panels in cabinetry.
I keep a bunch of wedges and dbl. sided tape at hand.


View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2288 days

#5 posted 02-24-2012 04:27 AM

The way I read your question, I believe I’m doing the same thing you are talking about: I use a jack and jointer plane to get a flat face. At this point, I run it through the planer – flat face down. The jointed face is the reference that the planer needs. I then use the jointer plane to create a straight edge, checking it with a square as I go. I use a table saw to rip the opposite edge parallel to the one I jointed.

I could make space for a corded jointer in my shop, if I really needed it, but I kind of prefer to have the extra space. It doesn’t take that long to flatten the boards by hand, once you get the hang if it and I prefer the quiet rhythm of the planes to a jointer.

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