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Thread: Surface planer or Joiner

  1. #1
    Jason Hanna Guest

    Surface planer or Joiner

    I am about ready to purchase my first planer or joiner. I have been very happy with the quality of cut from a well set up table saw with a good blade. This makes me want to go for the planer first.

    Most of what I buy is surfaced two sides and straight line ripped, but I would buy rough if I found a source. It would still be nice to be able to clean up the surfaces and adjust the thickness of what I currently buy.

    Is it possible to surface rough wood without a joiner? I am ok with using jigs to get a first straight edge on the table saw, but from what I see on wood working shows, you need a 12" joiner to surface the first side wide. Can you do this with a planer instead of the joiner if the board is reasonable straight? It will more than likely be a long while before I can own a monster joiner because of $ and space. Is it a good plan to start with the planer?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Kanasas City, MO
    Search here for a planer sled... you can surface both face sides with one in place of a jointer. Many threads here on them.....
    I thought about going with the planer first and a sled, but upon further review I thought about the time needed for "jointing" on the planer sled was going to make rough stock prep sloooooow for more than a few board feet. As the shimming of each board would be time consuming, IMO.
    FWIW, I opted for an 8" jointer as I was buying S2S or S4S material which is usually a pretty constant thickness.... so I decided on being able to egde joint after dimensional ripping as well as face joint out any slight cupping-bowing.
    FWIW I can prep 100 BF in a day easily, and it's a nice break from fine WW'ing once in awhile.. more of the "grip it n rip it" philosophy versus joinery etc.....
    Oh yeah, some sort of chip -dust collection is a priority with either tool too.
    Advice at least worth whatcha paid for it.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Belden, Mississippi
    I opted for the planer as a first piece. Don't mind using the sled 'cause I don't use that much rough cut stuff. Kinda what ya have room and the bucks to buy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Pickering, Ontario.
    Jason, most go for a planner first which can produce a pretty good flat and parallel surface if you start with a decent board. A good glue-line blade on the TS can produce decent smooth results and careful attention to setting the bevel at 90 deg dead on, or alternating cut boards top and bottom, can get you by for edge jointing. The benefit of having both is when your expectation for quality moves from "acceptable" to something higher.

  5. #5
    ... and for edge jointing Woodcraft has the Whiteside Glue Joint Bit on sale for $41 instead of $55 ( I'm hoping to get by the store this weekend and get one.

    Though you'd have to pry my jointer from my cold, dead fingers!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Toronto Ontario
    Hi Jason, i think part of the confusion over the jointer/planer issue is nomenclature.

    A jointer should be called a planer because it's function is the same as a hand plane, it makes a surface flat or planar. (Of course it also can a put an edge at a controlled angle from a face).

    A Planer should be called a thicknesser, or parallerer since it only makes a board a given thickness, or puts a paraller face on a board. Start out with material that isn't flat, wind up with a second face that is parallel, but not flat.

    Most people opt for an 8 inch jointer, since that covers most of the wood we use, after that you glue up pieces to go wider.

    A jointer makes a flat surface that all other machining operations reference from, including the planer. If the original surface isn't flat and straight, all other operations suffer.

    The planer has a simple job, make a face parallel to the reference face.

    You can use a sled in a planer, however it doesn't work as well as a jointer, since the sled will not be rigid enough, or straight enough.

    That's why jointers are expensive, and planers aren't, you have pay for the long, precise tables on a jointer.

    If you are just starting out, you might want to consider a combination machine. I am considering selling my 8 inch jointer and 15 inch planer to purchase a 12 inch combination machine.

    There's no ther way for me to have a 12 jointer, as they are too large for my shop.

    Regards, Rod.

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