Do i need a jointer?

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Forum topic by mark4345 posted 03-20-2012 01:43 AM 9331 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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71 posts in 2622 days

03-20-2012 01:43 AM

I have acquired a lot of rough sawn boards i will be using on my current and future projects. So far everything i have built has come from a local hardwood retail store, which puts a clean edge on your boards when you buy them… so i never really had the need.

I also have a sliding tablesaw i just got up and running….
On my first little project here with the new saw, i just clamped my board to the sliding part of the table and pushed it through the saw and got a straight edge… no jointer needed.

It is my understanding that you cannot flatten a board with a planer just smooth them. But with a planer sled or a method i saw here this will act as a sled and thus allow me to flatten a board without use of a jointer.

So between the sliding saw and a planer with a sled or other jig can i completely eliminate the need for a jointer? or is there some other use i am not seeing yet. If i am correct i am looking to upgrade the planer and spend a bit more on that maybe a 15 or 20 inch and use that for all my board flattening needs.

16 replies so far

View Eric's profile


221 posts in 2710 days

#1 posted 03-20-2012 01:53 AM

I would get a 6” or 8” jointer…. but that’s me.

-- Eric

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2647 days

#2 posted 03-20-2012 01:54 AM

Well, having a jointer is always a good thing. But I don’t think you “need” a jointer. There are ways around it, such as that beast of a saw you have and planer sleds and such.

I like the ability to easily face-joint boards if needed, and while a planer sled will do this, a jointer is faster and easier most times. But, still, the jointer is not “needed”.

Work with what you have and see how many times you say “I wish I had a jointer”. That is where you will get your answer. If you rarely ever say that, than no, you probably don’t need a jointer.

But if you find yourself wishing every other day that you had a jointer, than it’s something you may want to look into.

It’s like anything though. The work you do in your shop will determine what tools and machines you need. And while there are many tools everyone would like to have (that sweet sliding TS for one), not everyone “needs” them.

I know this isn’t a simple answer, but I don’t think telling you to spend a couple grand when I don’t know if it will really benefit you will help much either.

-- Kenny

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3663 days

#3 posted 03-20-2012 02:23 AM

i personally wouldnt use the router method unless it was the only option. the planer sled is a good workaround. The good thing about it is that you need to use your planer anyway. Kenny has good advice – hold off to see how much you think you want it. meanwhile, with a planer you can do everything you need to do.

You can also build a sled to edge joint on a planer, although I believe it is trickier. You can also build a table saw fixture that allows you to edge joint, or you can use a router. Personally I would not rely on the store to edge joint for me, it just makes things less flexible. I would also buy a planer before a jointer.

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 2475 days

#4 posted 03-20-2012 02:24 AM

If you do alot of edge to edge glue-ups then yes but a good set of hand planes will do the trick.

I would never get a 8 inch jointer. If you are a very fine craftsman than a 8 inch jointer is necessary. A jointer will take a rough board and make it look nice. But if you already have a planner and don’t do much edge to edge work. Don’t get a jointer. But if you do alot of edge work and don’t have a planner than get one.


View Manitario's profile


2680 posts in 3082 days

#5 posted 03-20-2012 02:24 AM

There are many different ways to avoid buying a jointer, eg. planer sled, using a router, hand planing etc. Honestly though, if you can afford it, just buy a jointer. It is the simplest way to joint a board. If you’re at the point where you’re buying rough sawn wood, or even edge gluing wood that is from a big box store (which is seldom straight or flat) you’ll want a way of making two faces flat/true and 90o to each other…you could make it complicated, but probably the easiest way is just to use a jointer.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View cblak's profile


26 posts in 2460 days

#6 posted 03-20-2012 04:02 AM

If your looking at a 20” planer im guessing you plan to do some sizable work so I would definitely recommend getting a jointer. Yes there are ways around it, but most alternatives really only work well on shorter material. Flat, square stock is important for quality work. I know we all try to find ways around the big ticket items but you can pick up a decent jointer for half the price of a large planer. A 6” jointer can (with practice) flatten a 12” board. I have a 6” jointer that has served me well for several years. Time is another issue. A jointer is simply the most efficient way to true your material. I use mine to taper legs, joint boards for glue up, true stock, and even help round stock to save time on the lathe. Its money well spent!

-- Ten seconds of patience, Ten years of peace.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#7 posted 03-20-2012 04:43 AM

I guess you don’t have enough room for a jointer with a saw that size. LOL Only you can decide whether you want a jointer. Do you have to have one ? NO. Is it easier with one YES. Just like your great saw it cross cuts sheet material much easier then a standard table saw. There are ways around having a jointer but why would you want to go to all the trouble and extra time to joint or face plane rather than use a jointer?
In my mind a jointer’s main function is to start you on the way to having good square material with parallel sides with the help of a table saw and planner.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#8 posted 03-20-2012 04:55 AM

Planers in fact tend to do an ok job of flattening boards in terms of
removing cup as long as the board is stiff enough to resist flattening.
Feed roller pressure varies with the planer, but most smaller ones
won’t squash the cup out of 4/4 hardwood.

Where planers don’t work well is removing twist. and they only
remove bow in isolated and short areas.

For straight-lining you can use your slider. You’ll get straighter
and squarer edges than you would with any hand-fed jointer
of less than industrial scale anyway. A small jointer is nice to
have on hand for shorter boards because it can be nice to
bandsaw to the grain line and then joint and rip a short board
so the grain is nice and straight on the face. This is an
aesthetic issue mostly.

Larger boards aren’t especially easy to flatten on even 8”
or wider jointer. You can do it but the jointer makes chips
out of wood you might prefer to keep. These issues become
clear with experience, but flattening and tuning boards on
the bench with planes is a valuable skill and I can’t personally
imaging making good furniture without working some of
the board faces to flat by hand… not because I like doing it
that way (I use handheld electric planers for this too) but
because the jointer becomes an impediment to sensitive
work with longer boards. The jointer just wants to make
a board flat, and if the board is bowed it will get thinner
at the ends – too thin often. The sensible thing to do often
is to let it keep some of the curve and coax it into flat
when gluing or with some form of sliding joinery.

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3663 days

#9 posted 03-20-2012 12:43 PM

thanks for the input loren, especially that last paragraph. as a self taught small scale woodworker, i suspected those things, but never really knew what the pros did. :-)

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2892 days

#10 posted 03-20-2012 01:00 PM

In a word, yes. I’ve never wished I had a 8” but I’m sure I will in the future. Either way, I’ll go vintage.
Edit: Global Tooling has my PM jointer blades for $15 a set. Can’t beat that:)

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

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8549 posts in 2527 days

#11 posted 03-20-2012 02:09 PM

There are others here with much, much more experience and skill than I…. but from my perspecitve, a TS, joiner and planer form a perfect trio for working with rough cut lumber. I personally couldn’t do it with out all three.

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Rick  Dennington's profile (online now)

Rick Dennington

6298 posts in 3393 days

#12 posted 03-20-2012 06:22 PM

Anyone, and everyone that does any type of woodworking for any length of time will need a jointer at one point or another….It’s in the cards…there is no getting around it…only the “Shadow knows”’ll just have to decide when you’re gonna have to have it….plan on it….go for it….:). I’ve got to have mine….!!!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....!!

View DamnYankee's profile


3312 posts in 2761 days

#13 posted 03-20-2012 09:25 PM

What Kenny said.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3511 days

#14 posted 03-20-2012 09:35 PM

I have gotten to where I like edge and face jointing boards.

Probably because I can still remember the frustration of warped and bowed boards that interfered with my DIY projects around the house.

Once I got a jointer and a planer, well it kind of opened up the possiblity to do finer wood working projects.

Now I kind of enjoy watching a piece of rough sawn lumber take shape and become square and flat and thicknessed to my specs. Plus I really like power tools!!!

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3706 days

#15 posted 03-20-2012 09:59 PM

Lots of good opinions here. Ultimately it’s up to you. I don’t currently have a jointer, but I wish I had one. That will be my next machine purchase but it won’t happen for a while. That said, my current method is working really well. I just use my jack plane to take a little off here and there until the board won’t rock or move on a flat surface, then into the planer it goes. After I’ve established a flat, smooth surface on top, I flip the board and smooth up the bottom in the planer. The method really doesn’t take a long time, and it’s actually kind of fun. However, if I could afford a jointer, I’d get one. I’ve seen the sleds people use to joint a face using a planer and have thought about making one. But in the end, it seems like a lot of trouble to go through when you can grab a plane and have a flat surface in a few minutes.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

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