Not sure what jointer/planer set up to go for to mill old barnwood

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Forum topic by mcg1990 posted 01-26-2015 06:13 PM 1163 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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158 posts in 710 days

01-26-2015 06:13 PM

I need a jointer and a planer, but don’t have the money to buy two separate quality machines. Not new, at least. I need to mill very old 4/4 – 8/4 hardwoods at around 10” – 12”.

Should I go for a combo unit like the Jet, get a used planer (plentiful in my area) and used 6” jointer (not so plentiful) and settle for jointing half a face and then running in the through the planer in a sled, or shall I put the entirety of my funds into one quality planer or jointer, and then wait and do the same with the other remaining tool?


18 replies so far

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158 posts in 710 days

#1 posted 01-27-2015 12:18 AM

I realise my initial post was incredible lengthy, so I shortened it in hopes viewers may be more inclined to contribute!

View texretvet's profile


53 posts in 640 days

#2 posted 01-27-2015 12:38 AM

I had the same issue as you but with an old redwood deck I had about thirty 12ft 2×6 that had about 30 years of weathering on one side.

These boards were all still really straight, and I didn’t need to mill the sides.

I went with a 12 inch planer at the time.

Are the boards cupped or twisted? If they are still flat, you can run both sides through the planer and then dress the sides on the table saw.

If they are twisted or cupped, you could use a hand planer to flatten one side and then run the other side through the planer.

View firefighterontheside's profile


13058 posts in 1274 days

#3 posted 01-27-2015 12:45 AM

What do you mean mill? Are you gonna keep them large or break them down into smaller dimensions. If keeping them large, do you really need them perfectly straight? If you’re gonna keep them large, I would just go with a 12” planer and no jointer. If you’re gonna make 1x’s then I would think about a 6” jointer and a 12” planer. As you said they don’t need to be new. I’m gonna be building a big King sized bed with some rough sawn 4×12. I will plane them and probably joint the 4” side, but have no hope of jointing the 12” face. I think that’s ok. I’m not building an ornate dresser.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View gfadvm's profile


14928 posts in 2108 days

#4 posted 01-27-2015 01:25 AM

You can joint boards with a planer using a sled so I would go for the planer and save for the jointer in the future. Old (dirty or painted) barnwood is REALLY hard on planer blades. Clean it up as best you can before planing.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View mcg1990's profile


158 posts in 710 days

#5 posted 01-27-2015 02:53 AM

The wood is all oak and it’s the flooring of a giant – maybe 5,000sqft – 80ish year old barn.

The boards are twisted and cupped and I use the word ‘mill’ because I do believe I’ll have to give it the whole jointer planer table saw treatment to get usable boards for face jointing in tables. Different furniture designs will want different amounts material removed, I’m not necessarily planning to have every board milled to perfection.

I’ve seen those sleds people make to joint at a planer, but man it looks time consuming. Shimming every single board like that..

@Firefighter – you make a good point about it not being for some up-market dresser. It’s something I need to keep in mind. I’m prone to try and make things over perfect (without having the requirement nor even the skill to do so).

Perhaps if I had more hands on knowledge I’d know exactly what I need, but I’m new enough to working with the pine down at the lumber yard, let alone all this!

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1443 days

#6 posted 01-27-2015 07:42 AM

If you do decide to go for a planer-jointer combo machine, Grizzly has 2 good looking ones, as well as Jet (and there are others—Hammer, etc.). I ran into a great deal on the Jet JJP-12 combo with a helical head (carbide cutters). Though I haven’t used one, I see poor reviews for Jet’s smaller units (8” and 1o”). One advantage of the JJP-12 is that it has a 3 hp induction motor rather than a typical lunchbox’s universal screamer, and it looks like you could use the more robust construction for your project.

I don’t see them used very often, unfortunately. Sometimes a big jointer shows up (old iron, of course), and if you jointed with it, a lunchbox should take care of your planing needs.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View mcg1990's profile


158 posts in 710 days

#7 posted 01-27-2015 01:48 PM

So I think most people are saying I should find a good jointer (and use a sled to joint >6”) and a good separate planer. I just really, really wish I could find an affordable used 8” jointer, as I’d be very happy splitting my 12” stock into 8” and 4” 95% of the time, then using the sled a little bit when I need the full 12”.

Still, if I see a good 6” jointer I’ll go for it, and the same with a good planer. I’ve seen rave reviews about the Steel City helical head (40200H, 40300H) but they’re sold out everywhere.

View firefighterontheside's profile


13058 posts in 1274 days

#8 posted 01-27-2015 02:08 PM

If you see a good 6”, buy it. These older machines keep their value. Then when you see an 8”, buy it and sell the 6”. You will probably get all your money back from the 6”. I just bought a newer bandsaw and so sold my old one for twice what I paid for it. My old 6” jointer is ugly but works great. I thought someday I might buy a nicer one, but I don’t want a bigger one, so i will just keep this one.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 1357 days

#9 posted 01-27-2015 02:14 PM

Check out
He made a 12 inch jointer out of an old lunchbox planer.

A fellow on another forum made one and it works well.

View JoeinGa's profile


7360 posts in 1425 days

#10 posted 01-27-2015 02:23 PM

Whatever you do, make SURE you invest in a decent metal detector to check those old boards for hidden nails, staples, or screws

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View mcg1990's profile


158 posts in 710 days

#11 posted 01-27-2015 04:12 PM

Thanks for the input everyone. I’ll focus on acquiring good machines that’ll hold value, and plan on upgrading when and where I can.

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 993 days

#12 posted 01-27-2015 06:00 PM

check flea bay under professional > jointer and there is the old iron

View greenacres2's profile


240 posts in 1586 days

#13 posted 01-28-2015 01:22 AM

Whatever you do, make SURE you invest in a decent metal detector to check those old boards for hidden nails, staples, or screws

- JoeinGa

No kidding—the cost of knives might make the price of the machines seem cheap!!

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1407 days

#14 posted 01-28-2015 05:33 AM

Using a sled in a planer to face joint isn’t a big deal if it’s set up properly. Not as much time as you think. Since used planers are plentiful, go get one and go to work. Set up a flat “infeed table” your sled can sit on (mine’s made out of cheap melamine covered particle board shelving material), Lay the board on it and shim (I usually use popsickle sticks). I take light cuts till it’s flat. If after a week or two you’re convinced it’s a waste of time, get a jointer. The only jointers I have are hand powered. The amount of time spent planning/jointing as compared to design, layout, cutting to size, routing/shaping, assembly/glue up, prepping for finish, finishing, is fairly small – but it does depend on what is being built.

View mcg1990's profile


158 posts in 710 days

#15 posted 01-28-2015 01:18 PM

Well, all of a sudden the circumstances have changed as I’ve come into some additional funds and some can be used here. My budget for jointer + planer is now around $1500 as opposed to $500. I think my plan is to grab up one of the Steel City helical planers (~$550), which has absolutely excellent reviews and should last me a long long time. Then I should also have enough left for my choice of 8” jointer.

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