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Forum topic by JeffP posted 10-30-2014 01:20 PM 1378 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JeffP

573 posts in 855 days


10-30-2014 01:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I know I’m walking into a barrage of “everybody knows that 8 inches is better than 6 inches” jokes here, but let’s try to keep it clean…

I’m talking jointer sizes…specifically, outside of the whole Texas notion that everything should be as big as possible if not bigger…why would I ever need an 8 inch jointer. While we’re on the subject, isn’t the very common 6 inch size a bit overkill for 95% of uses?

I’m hoping you all can give me some examples of situations where having a wider jointer made all the difference. There just wasn’t any other tool in the shop that made the project practical, and a smaller jointer would not have been able to do it.

Thanks much!

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.


19 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3938 posts in 1956 days


#1 posted 10-30-2014 01:35 PM

I buy all my wood rough sawn, so I have to flatten the face on all of it. There are a lot of boards (most of them, maybe) that exceed the 6” capacity (let’s ignore the “remove the guard and do one side at a time” method). But m,ore importantly to me ids the longer bed length most of the 8” jointers used to have. When I bought mine, only a small number of 6” jointers had beds the length of mine (66”) although I think model changes have diminished that difference a little. But besides that, you have 33% more cutting edge on the knives which allow you more time between knife changes (the bane of jointers). Now, back to the 2 pass method of flattening boards: if you do this (I don’t) it gives you the ability to flatten a board almost 16” wide, which matches up really well if you have a 15” planer. Now, if all you do is edge joint boards, a 6” will be just fine….and may indeed be overkill (size wise)

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#2 posted 10-30-2014 01:42 PM

The quest for wider jointers is stemmed mostly by the need to joint the face of boards. As I’m sure you know you need to joint one edge and one face of a board before you run wood through a planner in order to get equal widths and parallel facies on a board ,other wise a planner will not flatten a face like a jointer will and just plane and follow any bends in your material. Another case for larger jointers is they have longer tables which makes edge jointing easier on longer boards. The down side of wider jointers is that they cost more and take up more room.
There are ways to get by say jointing a 11” board on a 6” jointer,one route is to rip the board in half and glue it back together after it’s been jointed and planed. There are other techniques that work too. See link below.

http://lumberjocks.com/tenontim/blog/26637

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2853 posts in 2694 days


#3 posted 10-30-2014 01:59 PM

I don’t have room for an 8 incher or I would buy one. So, I am stuck with a 6 inch Jet which I like.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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SamuraiSaw

513 posts in 1428 days


#4 posted 10-30-2014 02:02 PM

If all you ever plan to do is joint the edge of boards, get a 4” jointer. Better yet, learn how to use a handplane and save yourself even more money.

As Jim points out a wide platform jointer allows you to true up the face of larger boards, which is critical in making stable panels. It all depends on the type of woodworking you plan to do.

We build furniture:

This 16” jointer is perfect for what we do.

Small bench top jointers are more frustrating than anything, and are not accurate for material over about 12” in length. Some 6” jointers have adequate bed length that will give you decent accuracy, but 8” are all large enough to handle virtually anything a hobbyist ore small cabinet shop can throw at it.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas.... www.awwtx.com

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Pezking7p

3097 posts in 1115 days


#5 posted 10-30-2014 02:05 PM

Jointing t he faces of wider boards is great. Most rough boards are wider than 6”, and it’s nice to be able to joint them without breaking them down first, especially if you don’t have a bandsaw (rough lumber on a tablesaw can be sketchy).

MY personal reason for wanting an 8” jointer is for the longer beds. Jointing long boards on a 6” jointer takes careful setup and attention to detail, versus just sticking a board in your 8” jointer and going to town.

Yes there are ways to get around this, no you don’t need an 8” jointer. But, for that matter, you don’t need a jointer at all. But they will make your life much simpler in the shop.

-- -Dan

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JeffP

573 posts in 855 days


#6 posted 10-30-2014 02:13 PM

Thanks for the replies so far.

I haven’t ever had a thickness planer. I’m surprised and disappointed to know that the boards need to be nearly flat already BEFORE you plane them. Makes a planer sound like a minimally useful tool now…

...which also begs the question of why you might need a panel or drum sander…or maybe just need a wide jointer and a drum sander and forget the planer.

Is this a preference thing? Or does one actually need all three steps to easily turn rough boards into furniture tops, etc.? (yes, I understand that people did this for hundreds of years with a hand plane and a sanding block…I mean somebody like me…a lazy newbie woodworker. ;) )

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View SamuraiSaw's profile

SamuraiSaw

513 posts in 1428 days


#7 posted 10-30-2014 02:25 PM

There are abrasive planers which are essentially wide belt sanders. They are great for boards with wild grain patterns that have a tendency to tear out, such as curly maple. They are expensive. Drum sanders are nice, but very slow. Ideally you don’t take more than 1/64” per pass, and it will take a lot of passes to surface a board.

Planers are an effective tool for making a board a specific thickness with parallel faces. It can and has been done with hand planes, but that takes a lot of practice. With a jointer, planer, and good sanding equipment you can build just about anything you desire.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas.... www.awwtx.com

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2523 posts in 2901 days


#8 posted 10-30-2014 02:25 PM

It’s simple. If all you want to do is joint edges then anything is fine. If you want to flatten boards for things like cabinetry then anything is fine too… but…. you will be limited to 6” wide boards on a 6” jointer compared to 8” wide. So, for a cabinet door that is 15” wide you’d have three glue joints with the 6” jointer compared to two glue joints with the 8” jointer. Actually not a big deal.
I wish I had an 8” jointer but my 6” works fine. If I come across a fixer upper that I can’t refuse I might buy it. Otherwise I won’t by an 8” unless that happens or my 6” bites the dust. Then again for the price I might still just get a 6”.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#9 posted 10-30-2014 02:27 PM

Jeff
Jointers flatten and then a planner will plane the other side parallel if you did not joint the face first the planner will still plane your wood parallel but that can mean if the side your not planning is 1/2” out of being flat then the thickness of your board may be 1/2” thinner on one side.
A drum sander can be used to size thickness also but you still need to start with one flat side.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View JayT's profile (online now)

JayT

4778 posts in 1674 days


#10 posted 10-30-2014 02:28 PM


Or does one actually need all three steps to easily turn rough boards into furniture tops, etc.?

Yes, a board has to go through all the steps. The only question is whether you do it or pay someone else to do it. You can purchase S4S lumber that is flattened, squared and thicknessed if you wish, it is just a lot more expensive than purchasing rough cut and doing those steps yourself. If all you are ever doing is a few small projects, then it is probably cheaper to go the S4S route. This will also severely limit you in the wood species available to use.

If you are going to be using a lot of lumber, however, then in the long run it is less expensive to do the steps yourself with your own equipment. It also greatly increases the flexibility of what you do in the future.

I haven t ever had a thickness planer. I m surprised and disappointed to know that the boards need to be nearly flat already BEFORE you plane them. Makes a planer sound like a minimally useful tool now…

Quite the opposite. A planer’s primary purpose is to make sure that all the lumber is the same thickness. This is essential when gluing up panels, doing joinery and having a good overall aesthetic. Yes, one side of a board has to be reasonably flat before using the planer. You have to start with one surface to reference off of before you can make everything else square to it. The choice there is a jointer or a handplane.

Now all this may or may not be needed. What type of woodworking are you wanting to do? The projects, materials and your style of working will determine what tools and machines you want or need.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View JeffP's profile

JeffP

573 posts in 855 days


#11 posted 10-30-2014 02:43 PM

So here’s what I’m thinking after this educational thread…

There are three reasons for a wider jointer, some of which are not universal, some of which have simple workarounds, none of which seems to be more than a nice to have />1) bigger jointer has longer tables (sometimes)
2) bigger jointer can face-plane wider raw boards than a smaller one (can be worked around by ripping wider boards down first)
3) bigger jointer can be intentionally used with wider boards to wind up with wider glue-ups for those occasions where the result is better or more convenient with fewer glue-joints.

For me, this seems to come down to:
1) look for a good deal on a 6” with reasonably long tables
2) minor nuisance of needing to sometimes rip down wider raw boards first
3) wider glue-ups seems like it would be great for something with a really wide slab, like a dining room table or some such. I might do that once…maybe twice in my lifetime. Can pay to have it done on those rare occasions. Such a project would be outside the norm for me.

Thanks much for the useful and insightful replies!

This weekend I’ll be fixing up the dirt floor of the old shed/garage that will be my new woodworking space…then on to buying my first real WW tools!

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View GregD's profile

GregD

783 posts in 2599 days


#12 posted 10-30-2014 02:59 PM



Yes, a board has to go through all the steps. The only question is whether you do it or pay someone else to do it. You can purchase S4S lumber that is flattened, squared and thicknessed if you wish, it is just a lot more expensive than purchasing rough cut and doing those steps yourself.

+1. Even with a jointer and planer it is, IMHO, not so much fun processing stock through all 4 steps. HOWEVER, it is A LOT OF FUN working with freshly processed stock. It sits flat on the saw or router table, and tight up against the fence or miter gauge. It is so much easier to machine precisely. Leave the processed stock sitting for a month or more, which is inevitable for most sources of purchased S4S stock, and it typically begins to bend/cup/twist/etc.


Quite the opposite. A planer’s primary purpose is to make sure that all the lumber is the same thickness. This is essential when gluing up panels, doing joinery and having a good overall aesthetic.

A secondary use of the planer is to face joint. I have only a 6” jointer, which is adequate for most of my needs. However there are occasions when I need to face joint something wider. There are well-known tricks for using a planer for face jointing. It is not nearly as quick or convenient as using a bigger jointer, but it gets the job done.

-- Greg D.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1261 days


#13 posted 10-30-2014 03:24 PM

I found a 6” 60” bed jointer, an oddity. I am very happy to have it. Most of the lumber I but is 5-8” wide. I wish I had capacity for an 8” jointer for that very reason, but the fact that 8” jointers are 220v and larger in every dimension means they are out of reach for me for the present time. For my purposes, a 4” jointer wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

P.S. if all I were doing was edge jointing, as mentioned above, I would just use hand planes. It just doesn’t take very long. I’m dealing with a back issue, and hand planing faces of rough lumber was just not what I needed to be doing.

-- "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 JeffP's profile

JeffP

573 posts in 855 days


#14 posted 10-30-2014 03:29 PM

Interesting…didn’t know about the 220V for larger ones. That’s a deal killer for me too.

As for the length of the bed…extension tables?
I realize that right near the blade, perfection is key with bed flatness and fence angle etc. Once you get a couple feet away from the blade in either direction, I’m thinking that a reasonably well made extension table on each side of the jointer should make the long bed just a luxury. Am I wrong on this?


I found a 6” 60” bed jointer, an oddity. I am very happy to have it. Most of the lumber I but is 5-8” wide. I wish I had capacity for an 8” jointer for that very reason, but the fact that 8” jointers are 220v and larger in every dimension means they are out of reach for me for the present time. For my purposes, a 4” jointer wouldn t be worth the trouble.
...
- CharlesA

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

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CharlesA

3022 posts in 1261 days


#15 posted 10-30-2014 03:32 PM



Once you get a couple feet away from the blade in either direction, I m thinking that a reasonably well made extension table on each side of the jointer should make the long bed just a luxury. Am I wrong on this?
- JeffP

I use this approach to a lot of machines, but I would think this is one of the areas that you want true flat precision. If you can pull that off with extension tables, then good for you.

-- "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

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