Planer Sled or Wide Jointer?

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Forum topic by RipFence posted 02-15-2015 06:40 PM 2903 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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77 posts in 2716 days

02-15-2015 06:40 PM

Hello All:
This is a question for those of you who regularly use a planer sled to face joint wide boards.
I currently have Delta DJ20 with Byrd head which is just great for 99+% of what I do. However, recently I needed to face some wider stock. I made a planer sled but did not do it as shown in the FWW article. Really it was just a sheet of plywood with some stiffening rails. Then I used cabinet leveling shims and even paper shims to prevent rocking. It worked okay for the most part but I did get some snipe (which I don’t normally get from my Makita 2040).
Since then I have been watching CL ads for wider jointers and have found one I like. BUT, I am trying to talk myself out of it. Even if it is a good deal its still a lot of money. Plus I very seldom need that extra width.
So should I take another shot at building a better sled (as shown in the Kieth Rust FWW article and video)? Do those of you who use one like that get much snipe? I guess even if I still get snipe I could just allow for that in the initial cut.
My garage is not very big and I like the small footprint of the DJ20.
Thanks in advance for your advice and insight.
PS: In the process of typing this post its seems like I really need to go ahead an make a Kieth Rust sled and try it before dumping ~$2k on a 12” or wider jointer.

9 replies so far

View CharlesA's profile


3329 posts in 1820 days

#1 posted 02-15-2015 06:50 PM

One thought stood out to me in your post: “I very seldom need that extra width . . . before dumping ~$2k on a 12” or wider jointer.”

-- "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 Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10521 posts in 3451 days

#2 posted 02-15-2015 07:08 PM

Using Rust’s sled will minimize, if not totally eliminate snipe.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1743 days

#3 posted 02-15-2015 07:19 PM

You can never have too many jointers, I too have a DJ-20 and used to use a planer sled and for some applications still do. For heavy lumber, the weight of the sled and the lumber together can be too much for me and definitely for my lunchbox planer. A really heavy wide jointer excels in this scenario particularly well. I have an old (50’s) Crescent 12” jointer that’s been updated with ball bearings for the cutterhead and more effective chip collection. The major concern with such a machine is the space it takes up and the tremendous weight which is over 1600lbs. as it sits.

View amt's profile


49 posts in 1741 days

#4 posted 02-16-2015 09:47 PM

You could set up a face-jointing router jig.

-- -Andrew

View Randy_ATX's profile


879 posts in 2465 days

#5 posted 02-16-2015 10:28 PM

I have good luck with a planner sled, but I always get a little snipe. Just account for this before you cut your lumber to length. This will be much more affordable than a new jointer.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View RipFence's profile


77 posts in 2716 days

#6 posted 02-17-2015 03:50 AM

Yes, I should try that. I’m more of router owner than a router user but a router on a set of skis might be a great solution.

You could set up a face-jointing router jig.

- amt

View RipFence's profile


77 posts in 2716 days

#7 posted 02-19-2015 03:06 AM

In looking around at options for face jointing wide boards I found this video by Wood Wisperer
He uses his jointer to face joint part of the board and then he cleans the rest up with a hand plane. In the video this part starts at 3:52. Just for grins I tried it on a 10 1/2” board on my 8” jointer. Probably jointed deeper than I needed to which resulted in more hand planing than necessary. Even so, it only took a few minutes and was really gratifying. Got it nice and flat and then sent it flat side down through the planer then flipped it over and planed the other side. Really nice low tech solution. Of course this technique requires removing the guard so be careful and use push sticks.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5702 posts in 2836 days

#8 posted 02-19-2015 03:41 AM

The DJ 20 has a small footprint. Ha! That thing looks like an aircraft carrier in my shop.
Recently I have been ripping wide boards in two, then gluing them back together. Honestly you can’t even see the joint line.
Also the planks I come across that are 12” wide are usually low quality, and prone to cupping and warping. I focus on buying high quality lumber 6-8” wide.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BigMig's profile


440 posts in 2636 days

#9 posted 02-19-2015 03:23 PM

I use the Keith Rust sled…and it works well. I do sometimes get a little snipe because I don’t have a long infeed table…so I have to remember to keep the sled level when it’s feeding in (and out). Otherwise, it’s a great jig/tool.

$2k for other stuff or premium lumber!

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

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