What should I get first a Jointer or a Planer

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Forum topic by CanadaJeff posted 07-26-2009 07:05 PM 2605 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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207 posts in 3027 days

07-26-2009 07:05 PM

This question has been on my mind for a while. I purchase lumber that tends to have at least one side dressed. However, I am looking into either picking up a jointer or a planer. Is there one I should get first.

Is it possible to plane with a jointer, can you joint with a planer?

21 replies so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14167 posts in 3400 days

#1 posted 07-26-2009 07:19 PM

I personally use my planer much more the jointer… It really depends on what kind of projects you will make.

Keep an eye out on craigslist for tools … I recently bought a 4 inch craftsman jointer for 20 bucks. It is a handy size. My bigger stationary 6 incher jointer takes up a lot of room and now is in the garage and will only be used for larger projects.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 2815 days

#2 posted 07-26-2009 07:27 PM

I got (and still get) this questions so often I did a study of sorts tracking the use of both machines in my and several other woodworkers shops. In our collective cases the jointer won hands down and the story about that is at the link below. Depending on your use patterns, the planer mi8ght win out for your shop.

Jointer or Planer First?

-- Tom Hintz,

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 2744 days

#3 posted 07-26-2009 07:44 PM

If you had to choose only one…I would probably go with the planer first..then the jointer later.

-- Don S.E. OK

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3636 days

#4 posted 07-26-2009 08:13 PM

This is always a fun topic, because it usually ends up about 50/50 on the responses.

Personally, I don’t own either. But a planer is at the top of my list because there are more workaraounds for jointing without a jointer than there are for thicknessing without a planer.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2793 days

#5 posted 07-26-2009 08:19 PM

”Is it possible to plane with a jointer, can you joint with a planer?”

It is possible to face joint with a planer using a planer sled, then edge joint with a router or TS. It’s very difficult to plane two faces parallel to each other with a jointer, though you can make both faces flat. That being the case, I tend to recommend the planer first if you can only have one, though having both is ideal.

A jointer is the most efficient method of flattening one face and an adjacent edge. A planer is the most efficient way to make two faces parallel to each other at a consistent thickness.

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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3239 days

#6 posted 07-26-2009 08:26 PM

Jeff, I agree with Charlie in that you will get about an equal mix of opinions but I would opt for the planer first. You cannot thickness with a jointer but you can joint, both face and edge, with a planer.

Here is a Fine Woodworking Video that describes the construction of a sled for flattening wide boards with a planer.

As far as edge jointing goes that too can be done with a planer and a sled to clamp the board(s) in a vertical position and running them through on edge.

Obviously there is a need for both tools in the shop but if I had to go with one or the other I would go for the planer first.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2649 days

#7 posted 07-26-2009 10:24 PM

You can face joint on a planer, and edge joint on either a router table or table saw, but you cannot thickness plane on a jointer. If you have funds for only one, buy a planer and get a good one. Not the most expensive, but one that does what you want it to do.

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 2817 days

#8 posted 07-26-2009 10:39 PM

Planer. Like Dan said check Craigslist often because you may get a really good deal on one. I got a Dewalt 735 off of there for $300, when they sell for over $600.

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 2819 days

#9 posted 07-26-2009 11:43 PM

Which ever one goes on sale first, you’re going to get them both anyway.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View Robert's profile


32 posts in 3041 days

#10 posted 07-26-2009 11:55 PM

Rob Porcaro@Heartwood runs through his reasoning for planer first:

And he really means first; as in before any power saw.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3517 days

#11 posted 07-27-2009 12:06 AM

You are asking a tough question and it is stressing me out!

I cannot imagine living without either one, but for a while I did when I first started. I think the answer also lies in the tools that I take to the field as a remodeling contractor. I often take my planer but never the jointer.

I often need to thickness wood and only the planer works for me when doing that. But I can get a pretty clean cut on the edge of a board with a good blade and properly tuned fence. Then, I can use a router or belt sander to clean up the edge.

Even for life in the shop I bought my planer first. The jointer was close on it’s heels though.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 2739 days

#12 posted 07-27-2009 03:23 AM

I’ll toss in my vote for the planer as well. Much greater demand for its purpose than for the jointer. I would also throw in an agreement that the jointer was close behind for my shop.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View poroskywood's profile


618 posts in 2782 days

#13 posted 07-27-2009 03:45 AM

Probably Planer first. I really use both equally, I always flatten one side on the jointer and plane the other flat for perfect flat and square stock.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View Mauritius's profile


96 posts in 2643 days

#14 posted 07-27-2009 07:58 AM

About two months ago I had never used either of these tools and had very little idea how they actually operated. So coming from a complete newbie to now, this is what I’ve learned… You can’t joint with a planer, and you can’t really plane with a jointer. You can joint with other tools, but you can’t easily plane with other power tools (although there are some neat router setups posted on here).

If you have stock that’s flat on one side (as you say you do) you can use a planer to make the opposite face parallel, and you can mill the board to the thickness you desire resulting in a board that’s a uniform thickness throughout. You can then use a table saw or router to square up the edges. If you buy your boards flat on one side, a planer is definitely your first buy. However, in my short experience, flat boards are rarely all that flat.

Jointers do one thing, they make a surface flat. If your board is twisted, running it through a thickness planer won’t help, it’ll still come out twisted, just a bit thinner. You have to joint one face first and then plane the opposite face it to have a board that’s an even thickness.

Like others say above, I can’t live without either at this point. I guess this might not help you much, but my opinion is, if you can spring for it, you should get both. Find a used planer that fits the bill and pick up a small jointer a bit later and you’ll be in business.

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2793 days

#15 posted 07-27-2009 01:14 PM

Mauritius – In general you’ve got the basic functions of the planer and jointer right, but with the help of a planer sled that acts as a flat reference surface for the workpiece, you can joint the face of a board flat using the planer. It’s a great way for a person with a 6” jointer to face joint a 9” wide board. Remove the sled, flip the board, and make the next pass with the planer only, and you’ve got a flat board with both sides parallel to each other that’s ready to be edge jointed.

Planer sled

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

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