Uses for a Planer

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Forum topic by seabiscuit posted 03-01-2012 01:13 AM 3052 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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95 posts in 2453 days

03-01-2012 01:13 AM


I have been looking at adding a tool to what I already have and I think the next purchase would be a planer or a jointer. I don’t really think a jointer is worth the money though and think that I can accomplish similar results with a planer and a table saw (from what I’ve read posted here). I think the $300 – $450 can be better utilized on a nice planer (Ridgid or Dewalt 13”).

This is what I want to be able to do:
I buy pretty much all my lumber from Home Depot / Menards. I don’t know where to buy rough cut lumber around me so for now I just stick with buying S4S boards from these retailers. When I buy them, the edges suck and need to be jointed before they can be joined (typically I have okay success with the table saw here). They also are warped or bowed making joining them annoying. I saw some sleds that people make to surface joint a board in a planer. I also want to be able to get a nice surface between resaw layers (resawing done on my bandsaw).

Basically, my question is, if I use the planer for taking the warp/wobble out of boards and for planing between resaw cuts, will it be worth the money?

What do you do with your planer? I guess I am confused on their main purposes (other than cutting down to a precise thickness).


25 replies so far

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3794 days

#1 posted 03-01-2012 01:44 AM

Its probably possible…. but I don’t think a planer is used to take warp/wobble out of lumber. (A sled may help, but it can really be a hassle). I use my planer to make the two sides of the board the same. A board would need to be face jointed and then planned if it is warped…. or wobbled.

View seabiscuit's profile


95 posts in 2453 days

#2 posted 03-01-2012 01:58 AM

I hate the fact that I need to pay $800 just to get a bloody board square and flat

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2943 days

#3 posted 03-01-2012 02:02 AM

Well then, just pay for dimensional lumber that isn’t flat either. Pay to play is the name of the game. You need both a jointer and planer… period.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3026 days

#4 posted 03-01-2012 02:02 AM

A jointer is used to take wobble and warp out of your lumber. The planer will make the desired thickness you need. Some use a router table to joint edges. (I never have, only because I have always had a jointer). Today I have both. I use my jointer more than my planer.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2943 days

#5 posted 03-01-2012 02:06 AM

And I use both WAY MORE than I ever imagined that I would!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3677 days

#6 posted 03-01-2012 02:28 AM

I’ve never done more than fool with using a planer to flatten
lumber. The jointer is no panacea either, but a flat bench
and a couple of handplanes, a 78” level and a pair of winding
sticks will do the trick and that’s still how I often flatten
large boards, especially when the stock is costly and I want
to keep as much thickness as possible early in the milling

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2653 days

#7 posted 03-01-2012 02:45 AM

I did not think a jointer was necessary…...til I got a used 6” Craftsman now I don’t know how I got along without it. I still use my planes but its nice to just run stock over the beast to get a true edge and face.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8091 posts in 2357 days

#8 posted 03-01-2012 02:34 PM

the key is understanding what your reference surface is….

The jointer affords you two….

1. a flat outfeed table, parallel to infeed and tangent to the blade path…. this will flatten a face.
2. a fence that is perpendicular to blade….. this will square one edge.

The planer will make the second face parallel to the first face…. but only if the first face is flat.

Shove a twisted board into a planer and your will get a twisted (though be it smoother) board out.

There are tricks to flatten a face on the joiner without consuming as much thickness of the stock, but the method Loren describes will consume the least amount (though it requires skills beyond what I’ve developed thus far).

My limited experience agrees with Mike’s observation, in that I find myself going to the jointer and planer (now that I have them set up correctly) all the time.

The payback is that you can save a lot of money by making good use of rough and bent lumber.

Second hand bench top planers are all over Craig’s list around my area. Joiners are a little harder to come by, but they can be found.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2805 days

#9 posted 03-01-2012 02:58 PM

Loren is correct but there are other factors as well to reduce the amount removed.

If the board is heavily twisted, find the middle of the twist, cut there. Some boards I have acually cut the twisted part out and ripped it into narrower strips. If the board is heavily cupped (some of this maybe from improper drying), rip it in half. The twists will be reduced significantly and your board thickness maintained.

After you do the cutting, let the board rest for a week. If the twisting is due to stresses in the board, it will twist again. Boards under this kind of stress are unpredicable and care should be taken.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10548 posts in 3457 days

#10 posted 03-01-2012 03:07 PM

My jointer is only 6”. Sufficient for MOST of my needs. When it’s not, I use a planer sled like this one. SLED
Works for me.

-- 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 SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3509 days

#11 posted 03-01-2012 03:32 PM

I am like HorizontalMike, I use both my jointer and planer all the time. Like some have said the jointer will work for not only jointing boards, but it helps to get the twist and warp out of boards too, although I rarely use it for that. Since there are other ways to do this, and since its nice to use rough cut lumber, I would vote for the planer first.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View thebigvise's profile


191 posts in 2929 days

#12 posted 03-01-2012 03:52 PM

I’m with HorizontalMike and SnowyRiver. A jointer and a surface planer are essential tools for the shop. Give me three hours, and I could list the reasons why.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8091 posts in 2357 days

#13 posted 03-01-2012 03:54 PM

David makes a good point…

if the board has internal stresses locked inside, from compression grain (tree was a leener) or spiral grain (tree twisted as saught more light) it’s a hopeless battle.

Cutting into it will only relieve the locked up internal stresses and cause it to warp again.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3026 days

#14 posted 03-01-2012 04:33 PM

The point about internal lumber stress is a good one. MANY, MANY years ago I wanted to make my own trim. I bought solid stock, ripped it down, jointed it, run it through the router and had the profile I needed. PROBLEM was….it cost me a lot of extra money at times, if I wasn’t careful where I bought the RAW stock from I ended up throwing a percentage away…twisted, chipping,splintering. Later on the big stores carried the trim work already milled,when I would do a cost comparison (depending a lot on how much and what I was using ) it was cheaper to pay more money for it already been milled.
I stil get great satisfaction from being able to MILL my OWN profiles !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Lilskip's profile


20 posts in 2307 days

#15 posted 03-01-2012 04:46 PM

My Planer and Jointer are more of my favorite tools in my shop because it freed me from having buy my lumber from the retail stores and there prices. It allowed me to get my materials straight from the mills which gave me a wider varity of species at a more reasonable price. The massive amounts of BF i have put through my planer and across my Jointer has paid for them many times over and over. Once again you get what you pay for, you can not pay $800 for a planer and keep paying $7-8 BF for lumber or get a planer/Joiner and get it straight from the mill at 25cents to $1 a BF.


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