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Thread: Planer or jointer

  1. #1
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    Planer or jointer

    Hello I'm a woodturner mostly how ever the loml has been asking for more and more flatwork projects. It seems now that I need some sort of planing machine. I'm wondering what would be better to get first. Figuring most of the lumber I may be using will be dimentional. Would I be further ahead getting a jointer or a thickness planer. Right now I resaw with the tablesaw a bandsaw and use a barrowed thickness planer for clean up. I really don't want to replace a broken thickness planer so I want my own. I can plane to thickness with a jointer right? I can only do one for right now. Opinions please.

  2. #2
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    If thickness is your goal, you need a planer. It machines to parallel faces. A joint does not.
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  3. #3
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    Planer.

    You can't plane to an even thickness with a jointer, it will always be a non parallel trapezoid. A jointer will get one side flat and then get you an edge flat and square to that flat side but doing opposing sides or edges is a waste of time/energy. You can make the board thinner on a jointer, you just can't make two opposing sides true to each other.

    You can however joint the face side of a board flat with a planer and a simple homemade sled.

    The remaining challenge is to joint the edge of the board true. You can do that with a jig on the table saw (i.e. you need one square board and then you can fasten all your other boards to it and use it against the ts fence as a reference), a hand plane (edge jointing is MUCH less painful than face jointing because less material needs to be removed) or a router table can be used as an edge jointer (or router + guides).

    On the low/mid range planers; I had a DW734 before I bought something bigger/fancier and it worked really well for about 5-6 years, the DW735 is somewhat beefier and generally gets better reviews. If you can find a decent used one they tend to hold up pretty well as they aren't overly complex machines in general. There's a "new in box" on CL (in the "region"): http://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/tls/4237026194.html if its a 735 that's only slightly overpriced, if its a 734 he needs to put down the funny stuff. This one: http://thumb.craigslist.org/tls/4204413167.html is a pretty nice machine if its in even ok shape (and depending on what it comes with for knives... may vary the value proposition somewhat). This looks? like a 735 for $400 http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/tls/4191046167.html if he could be talked down to 350-375 range or if its in REALLY good shape thats not to bad.

  4. #4
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    both. they go hand in hand. As Ryan said you can "Rube Goldberg" rigs to flatten stock and make a staightline jig for your ts to get the edges parallel but in the the long run nothing beats the two in tandem for milling quality.
    That said if budget is an issue invest in a good planer first and start saving for a good jointer.
    He who laughs last, thinks slowest

  5. #5
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    Frequent question but, much like asking "do I need a hammer or a nail?". The jointer and planer are a pair of tools that help you mill lumber. A planer sled can make your planer take care of face jointing tasks so if it is one or the other, go with the planer and make yourself a sled right away. Planing irregular material gives you irregular but, parallel surfaces; not often useful ;-)
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 12-27-2013 at 08:09 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I agree with everything that has been said so far - planer first. That was my direction, then I followed up with a jointer when I could afford it.

    One thing to consider when using a planer or jointer is cutting your wood to oversize length/width first. In other words, don't run an 8', 10' or 12' board through your planer (unless that is to be your finished length, of course). Cut down to near the length you'll need but leave enough to fine-tune the final dimension. I found it far easier to "joint" a board on the planer if it were shorter, keeping in mind the minimum length required for your planer. Shorter lengths will also make it easier to "joint" the edges on the table saw.

    One other item you should consider is a simple crosscut sled to square the ends of a board after doing the other operations. It can be as simple as a piece of 3/4" plywood about 3' long by 16" wide with a runner under it for the miter slot and a length of 1x2 on the leading edge as a fence. There are much fancier styles of crosscut fences but this has served me well for years.
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  7. #7
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    Both my Dad & I in turn had a jointer long before we had a planer.

    If your only doing something like face frames & narrow stock to be glued up you can rip close to size on the table-saw & joint one side & one edge of your stock run the jointed piece through your table-saw with the jointed side & edge against the fence bringing it down close to size say 1/32-1/16 from finished size then back to the jointer to take it down to finished size. The only time I can see that you would need to jury rig something for the planer is if your material was wider than your joiter or taller the you could re-saw on your table-saw then again if you have a good band-saw it could help you out too.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  8. #8
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    I agree with the " get a planer first, jointer second" crowd.

    And Bart, personally I'd much rather "joint" (cut the edge of a board) on a table saw than "plane" (cut the face of a board) with one.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  9. #9
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    Ryan thanks for the tips. I'll be looking into those. Everyone else, thanks for the help. I was leaning towards the planer earlier today. I haven't a lot of need to make a straight edge. The few times I've needed to I managed with a makeshift sled. While thinking about this I remember a number of skill saw and router jigs I could set up to get a straight edge. So thanks again everybody.

  10. #10
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    Using a Planer Sled

    Just finished using my sled again this afternoon and so thought I would show why I vote for a planer first. I have a 8" jointer which is wide enough 99% of the time. For these 11" blanks I pull out the sled:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In just a few minutes the reference face is prepared and I can continue the milling process.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

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