thickness planer vs jointer

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Forum topic by jimmy J posted 06-06-2012 01:49 AM 5238 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jimmy J

229 posts in 2554 days

06-06-2012 01:49 AM

I’m somewhat of a newbie and…
I have an 8” jointer, but no thickness planer. I know this is the reverse order of acquisition for most folks but it is what it is. All of what i read about squaring stock is to joint 2 sides then plane and rip. My question is how sever a deficiency is it to joint both sides of a board vs using the planer?

13 replies so far

View dakremer's profile


2730 posts in 3267 days

#1 posted 06-06-2012 01:56 AM

I would rather have the jointer before the planer – depending on what type of woodworking you do of course.

I have a jointer but not a planer. So I usually face one side then an adjacent side. Then I take it to the table saw and square everything up. But the wood I use is usually in the 2X4 range or smaller – so this works for me.

It would be ideal to have a jointer and a planer though! Its very hard, maybe impossible, to face both sides with a jointer and get the results you would if you used the jointer then the planer. Mainly because you can face one side flat, but then when you flip it around to the other side its not referencing the other flat side. So you wont get a parallel face, like you would with a planer.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View ShaneA's profile


7044 posts in 2774 days

#2 posted 06-06-2012 01:57 AM

Depends on on how straight the stock was to start. The board will not have the same thickness all the way through, which could cause problems.

View mark4345's profile


71 posts in 2599 days

#3 posted 06-06-2012 02:02 AM

as dakremer said already jointing both faces will not give you parallel sides. you will have 2 flat sides but not necessarily parallel.

View DrewM's profile


176 posts in 3175 days

#4 posted 06-06-2012 02:12 AM

I used to own a jointer and a planer….now its just a planer. I got into the world of hand planes and found that I could get excellent results without having to use the jointer. I have a small shop and the 6” jointer took up to much room for me. Plus I’m not limited to width of my jointer bed. The thickness planer is well worth keeping around since it can make faces parallel. But if I had to do large amounts of lumber that jointer would be really nice to have.

-- Drew, Delaware

View WDHLT15's profile


1786 posts in 2651 days

#5 posted 06-06-2012 02:21 AM

I simply could not do without either one. Both are essential to getting quality finished lumber for projects.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2812 days

#6 posted 06-06-2012 02:43 AM

Sounds like you got the more expensive one out of the way. Benchtop planers do a decent job and don’t cost a fortune and have a small footprint.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3823 days

#7 posted 06-06-2012 04:07 AM

It is virtually impossible to joint both sides of a board
to consistent thickness on a jointer freehand.

There are some jigging methods of thicknessing
on the jointer. One was described by Tage Frid
in a FWW article many years ago. Another is to
build an attachment similar to the planer attachment
which was at one time available for the INCA 410

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3488 days

#8 posted 06-06-2012 12:03 PM

Like rockingdan says, you got the biggie out of the way when you got the 8 inch jointer.

Until you can get a planer, you might be able to get planed lumber from your lumberyard.

The one I use locally will sell either rough or planed 2 sides to me.

Loren may step in and correct me if I am wrong on this, but it seems like a jointer by design will produce a slight taper even with flipping ends to try and counteract the effect.

View jimmy J's profile

jimmy J

229 posts in 2554 days

#9 posted 06-06-2012 09:18 PM

Many thanks all for the responses. i will research the jigging and lumber yard approach, then hopefully find funds for a planer.

View knotscott's profile


8140 posts in 3551 days

#10 posted 06-06-2012 09:34 PM

The only thing the jointer can really do to both sides is smooth both the surfaces a bit…it’s capable of flattening both sides, but they won’t be parallel, and the thickness won’t be consistent. If the back of the boards will be hidden, being parallel is less important, but it sure makes things easier in general.

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

View HamS's profile


1829 posts in 2564 days

#11 posted 06-06-2012 09:37 PM

Beware the lmber yard planed two sides stock. Most times it is run through a thickness planer and then turned over and run through the otherside. You get two nice surfaces and they are parallel, but they are not necessarily flat. If you have the lumber yard do it for you make sure they are jointing the first face before they run it through the thickness planer or you will have parallel warped bards with two nice faceses

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7674 posts in 2976 days

#12 posted 06-06-2012 09:59 PM

When money is tight, as it often is for every woodworker, we just have to remember that the best furniture ever made was done without power tools like that. A couple of good used Stanley hand planes and some practice, maybe a few you tube videos, and you may find you don’t need to spend $500 on a planer.

That said…power tools sure are sweet…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2364 days

#13 posted 06-06-2012 11:14 PM

As others have indicated, the sequence is to joint first, thickness second. If a board is bowed and only thickness planed, the planer will simply flatten it, take some wood off the whole piece, and the bow will spring back as soon as the board exits the planer.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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