Jointer a needed tool?

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Forum topic by scribble posted 05-18-2012 12:45 PM 2235 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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176 posts in 2199 days

05-18-2012 12:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer planer miter saw tablesaw

I am looking to start building items using rough sawn wood and am wondering if I can do all my builds without a joiner. I do have a table saw, planer, and miter saw.

I am not going to be able to get into building the nicer stuff I would like to as we are waiting on our first child and I have allot of plywood cabinets and pantries to build first.

If not what do is the best way to get a straight smooth side to begin working off of?

-- If you can't read it Scribble wrote it!! “Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.”

11 replies so far

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 2366 days

#1 posted 05-18-2012 12:54 PM

yes u need a jointer…. get one an you will see..


View Vrtigo1's profile


434 posts in 2990 days

#2 posted 05-18-2012 12:56 PM

A jointer is the fastest and easiest way to get a flat reference surface on a piece of wood that you can then take to your planer to get a parallel edge on the opposite side.

You can also flatten boards using a router but it is more time consuming and is generally done with boards that are too wide to go through your jointer.

If you have a router table and have a way to offset the in/outfeed fences, you can also use that to joint narrow boards.

There are apparently also sleds you can build to use with your planer that will allow you to flatten boards, but I do not have experience with them.

I would say that from a time vs cost perspective, you would save a lot of time by spending a few hundred bucks on a jointer. Even a smaller benchtop model would be better than nothing and those can be had on craigslist for $100.

If you are working with wide stock, you do not necessarily need to purchase a wide jointer. You can work around the width limitations of a jointer like so:

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2291 days

#3 posted 05-18-2012 01:06 PM

Jointer or hand plane—jointer is faster and easier.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2692 days

#4 posted 05-18-2012 01:11 PM

I suffer from technique problems on my PM jointer and usually resort to hand jointing. I think you could get by without a power jointer but hand jointing large boards is a real challenge.

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

View knothead's profile


163 posts in 3947 days

#5 posted 05-18-2012 01:52 PM

I have a 6 inch jointer and I find that most of the boards I mill are wider than 6 inches, so I end up with the winding sticks and the jack plane on the concave side working it until it is flat enough to turn over and run thru my planer. Fortunately, with rough sawn lumber you usually have the luxury of the extra thickness to allow this much milling and still yield what you want in the end. A lot more work and a lot more time. Same results but oddly enough a greater sense of accomplishment and pride knowing you can do it.


-- So Much Wood - So Little Time! --

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2692 days

#6 posted 05-18-2012 01:55 PM

^I would agree with that totally, Chris. There’s nothing more rewarding than dimensioning a board by hand. It sure hurts, though:)

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

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2247 days

#7 posted 05-18-2012 07:37 PM

You need a way to flatten boards. Using a router with a flush cut bit and a piece of MDF shelving works really well for edge jointing, but then you still have a problem when it comes face jointing.

If you read through some of my posts, I really struggled with getting wood flat. I am at the final stages of assembly on an entertainment center I made and having a really tough time. It is fighting me every step of the way, and the end result will be far from perfect, but barely acceptable. I have recently acquired a jointer and a planer and got started working on a set of mission tables while I wait for finish to dry. (way out of my league). Holy crap, what a difference it makes working with square, flat wood. It is truly night and day. I am just using some crappy pine for mock-ups, but this crappy pine mock-up is 100x nicer than any finished piece I have ever done.

There are a lot of different schools of thought, but that definitely “upped my game”. I know you can use hand tools, and I really tried, but I just do not have the technique or way to develop it. I do plan on learning someday as it is quite fun for me. However for now I let the machines do the work.


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Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2549 days

#8 posted 05-18-2012 08:25 PM

I have a power jointer, it collects dust and takes up space. Don’t remember the last time it was plugged in. It is faster use the jointer, but it doesn’t add that much time to the over all project to do it other ways. Either knock down the high spots with a jack, very fast once you get the hang of it, or use a sled in the planner. Remember, with the hand plane method you don’t have to completely flatten one side, only make it sit flat. The practice comes in learning where to mark the high spots really. Once you get that down its pretty fast. One side note though, the thinner the board the flatter you will have to make it, a 4/4 board will be fine with a quick high spot knock down, a thinner board will need more of the cup removed so the planner rollers don’t deform it.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Loren's profile (online now)


10394 posts in 3646 days

#9 posted 05-18-2012 08:26 PM

A jointer saves time but planes will do the flattening just
as well. Jointing straight edges is easier to learn on an
electric jointer than with a jointer plane, but you can
learn if you practice.

Jointing faces exactly 90 degrees is not very easy to
do with hand planes. Try to dimension a 36” 4×4 to
perfectly square with straight sides and no taper
with a hand plane. It’s really tricky to do it by hand
but with a jointer and a planer it is easy.

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2549 days

#10 posted 05-18-2012 08:44 PM

I wouldn’t say its tricky at all with handplanes, it does however have a longer learning curve. Once you comfortable with the ends and outs of doing it by hand its simple i think, just slower. Learning to read the feathered edge of a marking line, etc will make it simple, if you pay attention. But keep in mind simple doesn’t mean easy, things can go wrong in a hurry if you don’t pay attention.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View stevenmadden's profile


174 posts in 3088 days

#11 posted 05-18-2012 10:46 PM

scribble: To answer your original question, no, I don’t believe you need a jointer. I don’t have a jointer, instead I use hand planes to accomplish the task of establishing a reference, or datum, surface. With rough lumber, I usually start by flattening one face. I then use my table saw, or a jointer or jack plane, to establish a 90 degree edge to that face. I then rip to width, and use my planer to achieve the desired thickness, or visa versa. Of course, I always finish with a hand plane, that gets rid of any mill marks or snipe and makes certain that the surface is flat. Best of luck.


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