Which should I buy? Planer or Jointer.

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Forum topic by JohnMcD348 posted 01-14-2014 01:52 PM 2006 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 1591 days

01-14-2014 01:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer plane

I’m new here, been reading and looking for a few years but only just joined. After 40 years, I’ve finally gotten to where I can seriously look at real tools and do real projects that I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. I recently bought a Porter Cable Table saw, I’m acquiring different hand tools and other power tools to go along with the usual home maintenance tools we all have anyway for around the house jobs.

My wife has an old cedar chest with a cracked top that she’d like me to perhaps repair. I know I can easily cut out the split part and repair with a new cedar piece but I began to wonder about producing the proper, matching thickness and that got me to searching for a planer. I was also looking at a jointer prior thinking I would probably use that more often than the need to plane down large objects that a regular hand planer would be much more work on. Then, I thought about this:

With my table saw, I could cut the wood to a close size and use the Jointer to plane it down and smooth it with final sanding and such for finishing.

I’ll admit I’m new and learning about all this so if it’s a bad idea, please educate me on this. My feelings won’t be hurt.


19 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4717 posts in 2345 days

#1 posted 01-14-2014 02:23 PM

I think that a thickness planer is more useful for most people. Ideally both are great tools, but I think it is easier to get by using hand planes to joint lumber and then thickness it on the planer. That is what I have been doing for more than 30 years, it works.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View knotscott's profile


8006 posts in 3369 days

#2 posted 01-14-2014 02:38 PM

Both is best, but the planer can be coaxed into a workaround with a planer sled that does one of the primary functions of a jointer, which is face jointing to give a flat reference surface. It’s much harder to force the jointer to do the work of a planer.

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

View jonah's profile


1695 posts in 3292 days

#3 posted 01-14-2014 02:45 PM

Bondo has it right. It’s very difficult if not impossible to replicate what a planer does with different tools, while it’s relatively easy to replicate what a jointer does (albeit with more effort than using a jointer) on a table saw, router table, or with hand tools.

You almost always want a thickness planer before a jointer.

View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#4 posted 01-14-2014 02:53 PM

Planer,no contest.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3311 days

#5 posted 01-14-2014 04:03 PM

Here’s a link to a project that was just posted a few days ago. It is a jointer sled for the table saw:

With this sled and a planer, you should be good to go.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View JohnMcD348's profile


50 posts in 1591 days

#6 posted 01-14-2014 04:20 PM

Thanks for the input, I greatly Appreciate it. I’ve been thinking about what I want and need to do right now and from the input, the Planer will be on my list of next big items to buy.

Between the Cedar chest top and the bench I want to build, I think I’ll get the most use from it then. I was planning on using pine 4×4’s for the top of the bench but, the local Lowes began selling 4×4’s that are no longer square cut. They all now have rounded corners so I’d have to remove a good bit of stock just to face them on three sides.

View Sawdustmaker's profile


295 posts in 3791 days

#7 posted 01-14-2014 05:39 PM

Jim has it right….Buy the planer and either build or purchase a stand to get it up to a comfortable working level.

-- Brian, Virginia Beach

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3642 days

#8 posted 01-14-2014 05:58 PM

You’ll spend some of your time making jigs to try to
imitate the function of a jointer… the planer certainly
saves more sweat compared to thicknessing wood
by hand.

The ubiquitous lunchbox planer offers tremendous
value for the money, taking a job (thicknessing
boards with hand planes) that used to either require
hard work or an expensive stationary machine and
making that work easier and faster… and the tool

Hand planes are useful tools to acquire. A jointer
plane is preferable and can be got $50 and up, used,
on ebay. A jack plane will do. With either of
these planes (with sharp blade) you’ll be able to
flatten boards and shoot straight edges with
some practice (flattening is easier to learn).

Even an old 4” electric jointer is a useful machine
to go along with a planer. In some parts of
the country you can find a used 4” or 6” jointer
in good working order for $50-$150. If you
join your local woodworking club and ask around
you may find somebody has one they don’t use

View bigblockyeti's profile


5111 posts in 1714 days

#9 posted 01-14-2014 06:57 PM

I’d agree that a planer should be first. 12” – 13” planers are usually the price of a 6” jointer (new prices) and there are several relatively quick methods to joint a board without having a jointer. While there are other methods for flattening and cutting boards to a specific thickness, none are as quick or efficient as a planer.

View lepelerin's profile


495 posts in 2319 days

#10 posted 01-14-2014 07:08 PM

I would go with a planer. You can use a sled to turn your planer into a jointer. There are many plans out there. one of them is from FWW ( ).
If you have a hand plane, winding stick you can flatten a side of the board pretty easily at no cost (assuming you already have a hand plane)...

View JohnMcD348's profile


50 posts in 1591 days

#11 posted 01-17-2014 11:01 PM

No, unfortunately, that’ll be one of my other purchases when finances allow. I know just enough to know what not to buy. I just still need to learn more about what TO buy. Coincidentally, the local PBS replayed a Woodwright’s episode with Roy and Christopher Schwartz(sp?) talking about planes. I need to learn more about what to look for and get. I know I can’t afford a $1-400 hand plane and I’ve been looking on Ebay but I’m not all that certain about the Stanley’s I’ve seen on there as being the better quality ones and not the more recently built ones that are in name only Stanley’s.

View JohnMcD348's profile


50 posts in 1591 days

#12 posted 01-19-2014 04:07 PM

I guess I was wrong. I found that the Stanley Bailey planes are still made in England. I ordered a #5 Jack Plane from Rockler yesterday while they had their $20 off $50 sale, along with a few other items. I only hope the quality is at least a little better than the usual Box store planes. I had thought they were made in the same place and with the same materials that most of the other, now cheaply made, Stanley Tools are so I was looking for the older units, not collector grade but at least units as old as I was.

View love2cad's profile


39 posts in 2050 days

#13 posted 01-19-2014 04:11 PM

I would go planer too. For many of the reasons mentioned above.

-- Bobby

View helluvawreck's profile


31019 posts in 2860 days

#14 posted 01-19-2014 04:17 PM

I bought the jointer first but I had a molding plant so I had access to a planer at the plant. You should buy the planer first but in the long run I think that you will find that you really need both.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View jonah's profile


1695 posts in 3292 days

#15 posted 01-19-2014 09:07 PM

You really don’t want an England-made Stanley plane. Remember that Stanley is a US company. You want a pre-WW2 plane, with the first generation after WW2 being the newest you should consider on ebay. You can quickly learn to identify all the Bailey planes via this website:

You want a Type 19 or older. Most people consider the sweet spot to be 1900-1930, but definitely don’t get near a Type 20 or newer. From what I hear, the WW2 planes can be hit or miss, so it’s usually best to avoid those as well. You’ll find a million Type 16 and 19’s on ebay for really reasonable prices.

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