Advice Needed - Jointer/Planer/Router Table

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Forum topic by mculik5 posted 02-06-2015 03:47 PM 1188 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 1679 days

02-06-2015 03:47 PM

I am a hobbyist woodworker with limited space. I work primarily in plywood right now, but would like to get into working with solid wood, primarily for cabinet doors and drawers. This will be my first foray into cleaning up rough lumber.

I am planning to put together a top-of-the-line router table (I’m a “buy once, cry once” kind of guy) with a Woodpeckers lift and Incra LS Super System. There are many reasons why I like the LS Super System. Two of those reasons are the dovetail/finger joint capability and the offsettable fences that allow for edge jointing. I recognize that there are better tools for both of these operations, but for my hobbyist/budget/space requirements, I believe the LS Super System is a good compromise.

Now for my question…

Given my goal of making solid wood panels for cabinet doors and drawers (so not huge), and the fact that I will be able to edge joint on the router table, what other tools do I need to produce flat, square wood from rough lumber?

I was looking at the DeWalt DW735 planer. Everyone seems to agree it’s a great planer, but I was getting mixed messages about whether a jointer is also necessary. The gist of the mixed messages was that some folks said a planer on its own would only make the board faces parallel, and that a jointer is necessary to first make one face flat before running the board through the planer.

Other things to know:

- I have a Festool track saw and router.
- I am more of a science guy than an art guy, so I prefer power tools for their repeatability, consistency, etc. That said, I’m open to hand tools if the “value proposition” is compelling enough.
- Money is always an issue, but I’m willing to spend more to get more. As I said above, “buy once, cry once.”
- I don’t have the electrical power or space for a big machine. Whatever I get needs to be portable or benchtop.
- I’m aware of planer sleds, but they look like a hassle, so I’d prefer to avoid if possible.

So again, what other tools do I need to produce flat, square wood from rough lumber?


8 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


9608 posts in 1510 days

#1 posted 02-06-2015 04:00 PM

I couldnt live without a jointer.

Edit: After discovering how awesome hand planes are to clean up glued up panels, I couldn’t do without those either. #4 and a 60 1/2 do everything that I need.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3255 days

#2 posted 02-06-2015 04:02 PM

I bought a six inch Jet jointer used off Craigslist. It works great. I have installed a spiral cutting head from Grizzly. A jointer is a very useful tool. Make one side flat and then one edge. Use your track saw to first make one edge straight if the lumber is slightly bowed, then joint it.

Then run it through the planer to thickness plane it and make the rough side parallel with the flat side.
I have the DW734. It has served me well.

I have made raised panel doors and cabinets for three kitchens and a wet bar starting with rough lumber for the face frames and drawers.

Good luck.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View jmartel's profile


7954 posts in 2174 days

#3 posted 02-06-2015 04:07 PM

Since you don’t have 220v, your only option is a portable planer like the 735 and a 6” jointer. 8” jointers typically require 220v, as well as anything more than 13” planers. I don’t believe any combo machines that are worth buying use less than 220v.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View levan's profile


472 posts in 3004 days

#4 posted 02-06-2015 04:12 PM

I believe a jointer would make your life a lot easier. Granted you could make a sled for the planer to make do, but what a pain. You don’t say what part of the country your in but I would be looking for something like this. They are small but do a great job. In my area you can find these for under a hundred in good condition. With stand and motor.
best wishes Lynn

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View bonesbr549's profile


1557 posts in 3091 days

#5 posted 02-06-2015 04:44 PM

All great questions, and if you have festool you are not penny wise and pound foolish. The question of what you “need” is all relative. I flattened and planed a lot of stock with just a hand plane. However, a jointer, and a planer sure do make it quicker and easier on the elbows!

I have the Woodpecker PRL and the PC7518. They are a great combo, and I have paired with that the Incra-LS positioning system on a custom made router table (from Norm’s plans modified). I recommend you build your own table as you can do that and cheaper and have it customized to what you want. I recommend a large top that helps and wheels to keep it mobile and drawers to keep all the bits and tools together. You can joint an edge on a RT but its just not made for that In my opinion. It would be faster to use a hand plane if you want to go that route.

While I’ve not owned the DW planers, heard good things for sure. I’ve got a little Makita 2012 thats 25 years old that is used for finish planing , and I have a big monster northfield 20” that I picked up for 1500 that does the rough planing.

Jointers are a blessing, but if you have money constraints then I’d get the planer first, and use Rob Cosmons’ rough to ready method with hand planes to get by. I used a scrub plane and a # 7 and got by for several years till I had enough $$ to get a powered jointer. I now have a 12” beast that is sweet. Minimum I’d go with is an 8”.

I use my FT TS55 for sheet goods and love it.

I’ll end with, I’ve spent years building my tool inventory, so I’ve been there done that. My wife has been great, and I’ve put back a few pennies out of every paycheck and each year bought one major tool, till I consider myself in good shape.

I’d search out old american iron they are a great alternative to new and improved.

I’ll include a pic of my Router table as that’s my 2nd most used tool outside my TS.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View kKirk's profile


8 posts in 1253 days

#6 posted 02-06-2015 05:55 PM

You didn’t mention if you had a table saw or not, I would recommend a table saw before a jointer. The track saw will be limited once you start trying to rip solid wood for cabinetry doors and drawers. It also depends on your available sources of ‘rough’ lumber. If your boards are relatively flat and not twisted too bad, and your desire for cabinet door / drawer length of projects, a jointer isn’t as necessary right off the bat. As you mention, you can edge joint on your router table to get by. But definitely as others have mentioned a jointer opens up more possibilities and the ability to handle longer lengths and rougher stock.

View mculik5's profile


20 posts in 1679 days

#7 posted 02-08-2015 08:42 PM

Thanks for all the replies.

No tablesaw, primarily for the same reason I don’t have a combination jointer/planer – space. At some point, if I move into a bigger house, I’ll get one. For now, I make do with the track saw.

Sounds like both a jointer and planer are necessary to mill rough lumber properly and with minimal hassle. That said, it sounds like the planer is the first one to get first.

View goochs's profile


56 posts in 1254 days

#8 posted 02-11-2015 01:44 AM

I’ve got the ls super, a triton and dw735. It does excellent joining and the dw735 is awesome with the extra wings. I’ve made the dovetails on the ls and other router functions are easily set to within 1/32 or less. It is a pleasure to do door panels. I used it to join a bunch of scraps then join them together to make a larger piece and it was fantastic!

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