Should You Use a Planer or a Jointer First?

Hello Woodworkers! It’s Thomas Here with Some Tips for Your Woodworking Adventure!

Planer vs. Jointer - What to Use First?

Diving into a new woodworking project is always a thrilling journey, full of choices and techniques. Let’s tackle a common dilemma: the use of a planer and a jointer. When you’re looking for smooth, flat surfaces on your wood, how do you effectively combine these two tools? Or is it necessary to use both?

When your project calls for both tools, always start with the jointer. It gives you a flat edge and a square end. Following up with the planer, you’ll get a parallel flat side and edge on the opposite face of the wood.

If you’re new to woodworking, you might wonder if planers and jointers serve the same purpose. Although both aim to create evenness in wood, they differ significantly in approach and outcome. Continue reading to understand the nuances of these tools for your next woodworking masterpiece.

Let’s Break It Down: Planer vs. Jointer

Understanding the roles of planers and jointers is crucial. Both tools aim to create flat surfaces on wood, but they do so differently. A planer ensures parallel flat surfaces, while a jointer flattens one side and one edge. If your goal is a completely flat piece of wood, use a jointer first, then run the planer parallel to the flattened surface. Alternatively, you can use just the planer.

If you flatten both sides of your wood with a jointer, you may end up with flat but non-parallel sides. The jointer excels in creating a flat edge and a square end, but not in parallel flattening. For parallel sides, use a bandsaw or table saw, with the jointer-flattened side against the fence.

The planer, on the other hand, guarantees flat and even surfaces on both sides of the wood. For single-side flattening, the jointer suffices. But for flat and even surfaces on both sides, use the jointer first for the edge and square end, followed by the planer.

Both tools ensure quality evenness where needed. When using a planer or jointer, you’ll appreciate their capability to smooth out the natural irregularities of wood grain.

Jointer First, Planer Second: Here’s Why

Now that you understand the differences, it’s clear why the jointer should precede the planer. The jointer provides the initial flat edge and square end, guiding the planer for the opposite side’s smoothing. Using a jointer after a planer might result in unevenness and lack of parallelism.

Attempting to use the jointer for both sides might not ensure consistent thickness, as the tool isn’t designed for that. Hence, for projects requiring both tools, start with the jointer.

Which to Buy First: Planer or Jointer?

Deciding which tool to invest in first depends on your project requirements. Some suggest starting with a planer for its thickness leveling ability, while others recommend a jointer for diverse flat-surface projects. If you can afford both, you’ll typically use the jointer first. But, it ultimately comes down to your specific woodworking needs and budget.

Can a Planer Double as a Jointer?

If you’re on a tight budget, you might wonder if a planer can serve as a jointer. While not designed for squared ends, a planer can still evenly flatten two sides of wood. By ensuring one edge is flat before using the planer, you can achieve impressive results. However, for optimum outcomes and versatility, having both tools is ideal.

Research and Choose Wisely

Whether you’re leaning towards a planer or a jointer, research the options thoroughly. For jointers, the PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer, Variable Speed, 6-Inch (PC160JT) has received positive feedback. For planers, consider the DEWALT 13-Inch Thickness Planer – Three Knife, Two speed, DW735X model. Assess your needs and choose accordingly for your woodworking dreams!

Tool Main Function Usage Order Best For
Jointer Flattens one side and one edge First Creating flat edges and square ends
Planer Provides parallel flat surfaces Second Evening both sides of wood

Should You Use a Planer or a Jointer First?

Complement the information with the following instructional video: