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Thread: Planer without jointer — doable?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Ventura, CA
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    525

    Planer without jointer — doable?

    I've been lusting after a jointer-planer combo machine but that won't happen any time soon.

    i could swing a lunchbox planer (DW735).. but without a jointer.

    So I would be using hand planes to initially flatten the first face, and the planer to do the rest of the surfacing and thicknessing.

    My hand-tool skills are adequate for that; I’m pretty slow but I think i can live with it.

    Edge jointing would be hand planes an/or tablesaw.

    So this isn’t a perfect solution, but I’m hoping it would be a big improvement as hand planes alone have not been a good solution.

    Any comments? Am I missing anything? Anybody out there using this setup?

    thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
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    852
    Tom - I lived with a planer, but no jointer until just this past month when I finally got that combo machine you're wanting. It is doable, especially if you make a jig for straight lining the first edge on you table saw or use a track saw. Perfect, no but I worked that way for 15 years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Seattle
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    489
    I use a torsion box sled to flatten stock too wide for my jointer. Cedar shims and a hot glue gun hold it just fine. I used 1/2" MDF for skins and solid stock for the sides and internal "cells"? . If making them now I would use 1/4" hardboard skins--the 8' x 18" sled gets heavy with a slab on top. I made the 8'er 3" thick and the 4'er 2" thick and both stay flat. Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Eastern KS
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    412
    I think the DW 735 is a great machine for what it is. I wouldn't want it as my primary anymore after having a floor model but it works well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    2,355
    Depends on how many board feet you process at a time, plus size of stock. Flattening a stack of 8" boards with a hand plane and winding sticks is not what I would call a fun weekend. Even a sled, shims, and hot glue doesn't sound like fun for 20+ boards either. Anything is doable, just how many hours do you want to spend preparing stock? $1,000 for a used jointer over a 20 year lifespan is pretty cheap money!

  6. #6
    Here's another suggestion: Go with the 734, instead of the 735, and buy a used 6" jointer off craigslist. The 734 does almost everything the 735 does, except an additional 1/2" of capacity, and a blower to eject the chips. The difference in price, particularly once you figure in the "optional" tables for another $70ish dollars is about $250. Around here, old delta 6" jointers go for about $100-200, or you could get a new benchtop jointer for $250-300.

  7. #7
    As you’ve discovered, there is not much joy in thickness-ing boards. Hard enough work to get a face and edge flat and square. Then to have to do it again, but with more accuracy...yeah a planer will help a lot.

    I’ve had my stationary tools in storage for much of the past year. I’ve had no jointer or planer, but I’ve got a full compliment of hand planes. The jointing has been tolerable, thicknesses-ing not so much. If I could only bring one into the new shop it would be the planer. Almost finished with the new shop and fortunately don’t need to choose.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Northern Oregon
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    1,763
    Totally do-able. Study up on planer sleds.

    I ditched(cobwebed) my jointer in 1979. At that time my lumber yards delivered kiln dry graded S3S lumber to my commercial shop for way less money than the cost of me flattening and straightlining it.

    These days I use sleds to process rough lumber in my hobby shop. I prefer sawing to get the initial straight edge on a board hands down over a jointer. It's faster and takes less effort.

    I use a thin lightweight planer sled to flatten faces of stock. I built a flat planer table similar to this one, only mine's 16' long:http://lumberjocks.com/assets/pictur...29947-438x.jpg
    It's like a jointer with power feed. Another plus,you don't have to press heavy,long lumber down flat on the jointer tables.
    Even though I have the space and money for a big jointer, I prefer sleds.

    I have room for flat level infeed and outfeed tables that are on the same plane as my fixed bed planer. I use flat 1/2" or 3/4" thick sleds. The sleds flex, but you don't ever pick them up when loaded with your stock, because they're set-up on the infeed table. To set up I slide rough cut thin shims under my rough stock until it wont rock. The shims stay in place without glue or tape,so it's quick and easy.
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right."
    - Henry Ford

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
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    I’m thinking a Amateur woodworker can get by without a jointer if there handtool skills there. I do think there’s a limit because when you start getting into rough sawn lumber with difficult grain a jointer your going to wish you had a jointer.
    I prefer buying rough over sized boards and enjoy facing and planing wood to my liking.
    I’m not trying to make money woodworking. So having a complete woodshop is more important
    Aj

  10. #10
    I lived without a jointer for a good many years, using hand planes to flatten one face and then putting it through a planer. Edges were mostly off the table saw.

    Then I got an 8 inch jointer with a helical head. Wow, talk about a revelation. My work is much easier and more accurate.

    But, yes, you can do without a jointer.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    3,055
    I’ve hand planed one face and thickness with a Dewalt 734 planer since starting out in woodworking. I rather enjoy the process, so have had little desire for a jointer.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
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    388
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew More View Post
    Here's another suggestion: Go with the 734, instead of the 735, and buy a used 6" jointer off craigslist. The 734 does almost everything the 735 does, except an additional 1/2" of capacity, and a blower to eject the chips. The difference in price, particularly once you figure in the "optional" tables for another $70ish dollars is about $250. Around here, old delta 6" jointers go for about $100-200, or you could get a new benchtop jointer for $250-300.
    i had the 734 for many years and sold it recently and grabbed a 735. While the cost of the 735 could range a few hundred more, it is well worth it. The two speeds is a great feature. It speeds up rough planning and that last slice on thHowe higher cuts per inch saves a pile of time on sanding / and sand-paper over time.

    With that said, I do have a jointer and i'd never want to be without one. However for the times I want to flatten boards, it's time to break out the hot glue, shims and flat sled.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Rapp View Post
    i had the 734 for many years and sold it recently and grabbed a 735. While the cost of the 735 could range a few hundred more, it is well worth it.
    Is it worth giving up a jointer though? The DW735 is going to be a little quicker with the rough pass, but the slow speed is the same for both, as is the finish it leaves.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    57,370
    Yes, you can get buy with a thicknesser and a good, sharp, tuned hand plane or three. Part of that involves making a sled that you can use to flatten material in the thicknesser...it allows you to contain and shim a board so that you can flatten one side without distorting it with the rollers and then remove from the sled, flip over and thickness. (being sure to account for taking even amounts off both sides including that first flattening step.

    Is this ideal? No...it has more steps than using a J/P or separate jointer and thicknesser. But it works just fine for many folks.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
    Posts
    4,242
    My unpopular opinion of planers and jointers is the exact opposite of all the above. Seriously think about how many times you need to make a tinner board. Not surface finish planing, legit making a thinner board. Now of those handful of times, is that board more than 3" wide? (If it's less than 3" just resaw thinner on your tablesaw) You are now down to a handful of instances likely, so divide the price of the planer by the number of running foot of the stock you have had to prep like this. There is your machine cost per foot for a planer and I bet that you will find it pretty high. Now add your time rate to it, and you'll begin to see how ridiculously expensive processing lumber really is.

    Some people enjoy the milling process from rough lumber to a usable board, I personally don't. I hate watching expensive lumber turn into planer chips, I hate carrying bags of expensive chips to the dumpster, and I hate wasting time on something that I can outsource for way cheaper and get a better result. To that end, the minimal fee I pay my lumber supplier to S3S on their Weinig is a far better investment than using a planer in my shop. To that end, the planer is the least used machine in there.

    A planer is not a surface prep tool. No surface is finish ready without sanding or hand planing anyhow. If your stock is coming in S3S, why do you even need a planer?

    The edge jointer though is something way different. Nearly every tabletop, cabinet door, countertop, or anything else that is wider than 8" generally has an edge to edge glue-up. That joint is critical for a quality product. Further, the only reliable way to make a perfect edge joint is a jointer, either manual or powered. Yes the slider gets it close enough usually, but blade deflection rears it's ugly head a bit too often to completely rely on it. The jointer is fool proof. I do this for a living, so the powered jointer saves time and a good 6" edge jointer is cheap.

    The other unpopular opinion is that you don't need a big jointer. A 6" jointer will edge joint anything that needs it, and if you are not milling your own stock from rough for zen reasons you don't need to face joint anything, so a good edge jointer is all you need.

    This technique relies on being able to get good quality milling from your lumber supplier. If I can get it out here in the middle of nowhere though, odds are really good that there is a mill close to you that can do quality S3S. If not, my supplier will probably ship to you.

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