I don't need no stinking joiner

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Forum topic by C_PLUS_Woodworker posted 02-18-2014 09:53 PM 3246 views 0 times favorited 42 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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601 posts in 2874 days

02-18-2014 09:53 PM

Early on……as a Newbie…….and it continues to this day……I have seen many many forum topics on which tools come first….......the planer or the joiner?

Everyone has an informed opinion…...opinions that (I sincerely think) are based on the type of work they do.

So, early on I bought a joiner…......a good one…....because “everyone” said I needed one and that was good enough for me…..then. A tool to learn on.

I just sold it a while back.

Never did anything on it that I could not do just as easily or easier on the table saw….......putting a straight edge on rough-cut lumber… using a straight line jig.

Of course, it took a while to even learn of the existence and use of said straight-line jig, so I kept using that good joiner……..and it did a wonderful job doing what it was supposed to do.

This was brought home to me this very past week, with lots of new rough lumber arriving at the shop. I only planed and edged the boards sufficient for my current project.

My work absolutely does not require a joiner. And, I know, pretty much for sure, what type of work I will do in the next few years………same as I am doing now.

So, my $0.02 is that the joiner is a valuable tool…........... IF your work calls for it.

If it is used for nothing more than putting a straight edge on a board… with me…...........the very first thing I can do without is a joiner.

So, for beginners like I was….for so very long……here is my list of “Must Have Tools in Order of Importance”.

Table saw – square and true


Router table and or drill press.

Along with the requisite and usual hand tools… both power and manual.

I have so many other power tools, like my Makita 12” compound sliding miter saw, stapler, routers, pin, brad and nail guns, etc. etc…... and love them dearly, but I could do without them…......mostly.

That new(ish) Rigid belt/spindle sander is way up on my favorite tool list. What a jewel that thing is.

So, if you are not certain you need a joiner for your current work, take a look at a straight edge jig, and how to use it. That, with a planer and a good table saw will get your projects done almost all the time. The rest are goodies……………..very much needed and enjoyed goodies, but you can do “work arounds” like I did for so long.

And, NO the saw is not running. I am only setting up the saw and jig

42 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5095 posts in 1687 days

#1 posted 02-18-2014 10:05 PM

I agree, there are many ways to true up an edge on a board, face jointing rough lumber is a whole other animal. Sure you can use a planer sled, I have one, but more often than not it’s a PITA. The other problem with jointers is the price goes up exponentially with width, and while you can get a bench top 13” planer, no such thing exists yet with jointers.

View wiwildcat's profile


58 posts in 1929 days

#2 posted 02-18-2014 10:07 PM

My 2 Cents… I like and use my 8” jointer on all projects that start from rough sawn lumber. I use it to flatten and true up a face before running it through a planer. Most of the rough sawn lumber does not have a true face on it, it is either slightly twisted, bowed, or cupped. Power jointer helps with removing these imperfections from the drying process. Can you do this milling without a power jointer? Yes, just sharpen up the hand planes and get at it.

-- Wisconsin Wildcat

View b2rtch's profile


4851 posts in 3015 days

#3 posted 02-18-2014 10:48 PM

Bruce, you look pretty good in the salmon colored shirt.
If you have a cupped board and you want it flat,you have only two ways : a jointer or a plane.
I know that you do not have a plane and that you say that you have no use for one.
Now you do not have a jointer, you better like cupped board.
In addition you will not obtain a perfectly straight edge on a table saw as you would with a jointer.
No jointer, no plane, no band saw, you better have a good pocket knife.

I could not work without a jointer and band saw.

-- Bert

View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3342 days

#4 posted 02-18-2014 11:05 PM

Even though many folks use a jointer for “edge” jointing, .....”face” jointing is the primary function of a jointer, and there’s no other tool that will flatten a face more efficiently than a jointer. Even an edge jointing jig or sled relies on a flat reference surface in order to created a square edge that’s exactly 90° from the face…..without that reference face, edge jointing will deviate to some degree due to undulations on the face of the board. A jointer provides a flat board face and a square edge that everything else can reference from. Do you absolutely NEED one? Nope…no more than any other tool in the arsenal (TS, BS, DP, router, planer….all are conveniences). Are you better off with one? If you work with rough sawn lumber and want a truly flat reference surface, a jointer is a darn convenient tool to have IMO.

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

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4367 days

#5 posted 02-18-2014 11:07 PM

At Dover Window and Door where I get their cut-off scrap for our Woodworking club Toy making.

What happens is
1: straight line ripping to get a straight cut. There is a laser line that allows them to line up the board before it is cut on the saw.
2: then the piece is ripped to some oversize. Also on the straight line rip saw.
3: then to the 16” jointer to make the surface flat,
4” then edge jointer to get 2 sides at 90 deg and flat.
5: Then to the multi axes machine where all 4 sides are cut using the 2 sides to register the flat and straight surfaces to keep the wood straight through the machine.

When you make windows and doors for multi million dollar homes and you want them to open and slide without binding, you want everything to be straight and true.

To each their own.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


601 posts in 2874 days

#6 posted 02-19-2014 12:18 AM

I figured I would get some flack for posting this topic.

That’s OK.

Here is my response to a couple of the comments above.

BTW, I like wiwildcat comment a lot…… as to how he prepares his rough stock.

I know I have no way of taking the cup or twist out of a board. The planer certainty won’t do that.

So, here is my work-around on that…......and it will not work or be acceptable for many who read this….........but it works for me.

Also, I am not picking a fight here. At all.

Just what works for ME.

I am not making big projects anymore. Small stuff.

I spend a lot (A LOT) of time picking out my rough lumber at the hardwood distributor. A lot of time.

I do not buy big long pieces. 8’ max, and it is rare that I have to buy that long. If they will let me, I buy shorter pieces closer to the dimensions of my project.

What I look for are boards that do not have cupping or twisting or bowed or splits or knots in critical areas.

If I have to, I go to “my” other place for wood that meets my criteria as to quality of the wood.

I am absolutely certain that a joiner would make any board I buy become better milled prior to use. I know that.

I also know that not once…........never…........has an straight-edged and planed “short board = 3’ – 5 ft’ been a problem for me…............ever!

I believe that the careful selection of my rough lumber….........coupled with being short lengths…......pretty much ensures me that just edging and planing the board will get me the results I need.

I just did a table-top glue-up (Cherry). No problems with “flatness” when doing the glue-ups.

Sometimes I do some joining on my router table, with the out-feed fence shimmed.

But, usually I just use my good Freud Glue-line blade. It always works for me. (as long as I keep it sharp).

This is not news to anyone but there are literally hundreds of sites with thousands of comments extolling the virtues of just how good these new (ish) ripping glue-line blades are … producing glue-up ready cuts.

Are they perfect? Of course not.

Will they take are of the cupping and bowing and twisting, etc. Of course not.

Will I….. or do I….......ever start with a PERFECTLY flat board….........probably not each and every time.

But, I am squarely in that camp as to not needing a joiner for my glue-ups.

As I said, if I :

Select the best rough cut hardwood that I can find, and…...

Use shorter pieces that do not “show” any facing or bowing,

And then get these boards planed and edged straight on both sides,

Then I need nothing more…............


I will easily concede that a longer board will magnify any non-true features in a board.

And, I will easily concede that I have absolutely no way to face a board.

So I try to never buy lumber that will need that.

I have yet to screw up buying appropriate lumber…..............although I am sure that day will come.

My very first post made the point that joiners are great for those that need them,

But, some of us can and DO just fine without them.

Would better milled boards be “better”............probably….........but certainly not needed or critical or problematic for the types of projects that I make.

To each his own.

THAT was my point.

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3072 days

#7 posted 02-19-2014 12:59 AM

I have a nice Grizzly 6” joiner and it works very well, when I don’t have stuff stacked on it. I use a Freud glue line blade to do cutting boards. It is faster for me. It produces a nice edge. BUT, I am not getting rid of the joiner. It’s mine and I’m keeping it. I do wish it was an 8” size at times. When I have a bigger shop(soon), it will be used more.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Andre's profile


1786 posts in 1773 days

#8 posted 02-19-2014 01:26 AM

Like ya said, depends on the type of work you do! I kind of tuned out after some comment about sander! LOL
I do have a jointer but much prefer my Krenov jointer plane! ( and My Stanley 60 1/2)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3351 days

#9 posted 02-19-2014 01:29 AM

I disagree that you can’t get the cup out of a board without a jointer or handplane. There are two ways I can think of and have used.
1. Use a router, as many on here have written about, which works well once you make the sled, then run it through the planer for the other side.
2. Use a large flat board, like melamine, and place your cupped board on top of it. Shim it so the rollers don’t press it flat and it will flatten the board. Flip it and run it through without shimming to flatten the other side.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#10 posted 02-19-2014 01:58 AM

May be you don’t need a jointer but I do, like Scott I feel the principle use for a Jointer is face planning wood for use in a planner ,with out face planning a planner will just follow irregularities in a board and make your wood thinner but with the same defects it had before planning. In days gone by a jointer was referred to as” Jointer-planner ” the jointer part of the name was for edge jointing and the planner part for face planning.
Some folks don’t need or want a table saw,but I know there are lots of folks that might disagree with that too.
We all do what works for us,and use the tools that work for us in our woodworking ventures.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View CharlesA's profile


3312 posts in 1764 days

#11 posted 02-19-2014 02:01 AM

I do without a jointer, although I hope that is not always the case. But how you do without a jointer or a plane is mystifying. Planes just make woodworking easier (I’m not someone who builds a large cabinet with a pocket knife and a card scraper—I like power tools).

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View boxedin's profile


15 posts in 1586 days

#12 posted 02-19-2014 02:07 AM

Ach, I use my V-Drum Sander to flatten cupped boards. If they are cupped too much then I use a router jig. It is amazing what one can do with a good V-Drum Sander when one learns how to use it. To me a jointer/planer is a luxury and not a necessity. I hope that I never “have” to buy one. Then again, all of my projects are small. I’m not making cabinets, furniture or bookcases.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4047 posts in 2276 days

#13 posted 02-19-2014 08:29 AM

Every project I do no matter how big or small starts with good stock prep. For me that means a good jointer and planer. I’m not into hand planes or work rounds. Flat, straight square sock is like building a house on a square level foundation. It make everything easier through the rest of the job.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Heavy's profile


118 posts in 2555 days

#14 posted 02-19-2014 09:03 AM

To me jointer and planer are the most essential machines in my shop and right after them is the tablesaw. I don’t know where you buy your lumber but no matter what I need to joint and plane it to get a nice surface (and a square one). I have a 12 inch jointer and I am glad for that. Saves time a lot.

View b2rtch's profile


4851 posts in 3015 days

#15 posted 02-19-2014 11:12 AM

Bruce, see what you started!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Bert

showing 1 through 15 of 42 replies

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