Planer versus Jointer

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Blog entry by jnovak posted 12-07-2021 07:38 PM 691 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi fellow woodworkers,

I’m starting to build some finer furniture but I only have a 2-car garage wood shop and have very limited space…so I have to be very particular as to what tools to buy (almost all my tools are on mobile bases).

With that said, I’d like to buy either a planer or a jointer but not sure which one I should go with. I’m leaning toward a planer (Dewalt makes a nice one I’m looking at) but much of what I need it for is to edge joint lumber after ripping long (flat) boards.

I’ve seen many videos online on how to edge joint boards using a planer…but wanted to check with this group to get their thoughts and suggestions. BTW…I have NEVER used either a planer or a jointer so no idea of the pros and cons of each (thus another reason I’m posting this).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or thoughts.

12 comments so far

View OldDogNewTricks's profile


19 posts in 385 days

#1 posted 12-07-2021 08:01 PM

Absolutely a Planer. A couple of reasons:
1) Being able to change the thickness of wood is critical. Otherwise everything you build is blocky or expensive.
2) I’ve used a sled with playing cards and hot glue to shim pieces to joint the face of a board. It works great. A piece of MDF with a screwed stop on one end, and hot-glued stop on the other with playing cards shimmed in to balance out the piece.
3) A table saw makes a pretty good jointed edge for most applications (not jointing boards for tables though). —You will spend eternity sanding.
4) In a pinch you can borrow a friends jointer for making table-tops or use a shop at the lumber store. (for a fee). I find they are very helpful, not that expensive. Usually you do all the prep and use a table saw to make a rough jointed edge, then take it all to them and have them run it through their jointer for a nominal fee.


View Madmark2's profile


3264 posts in 1930 days

#2 posted 12-07-2021 08:08 PM

Properly tuned TS with good blade will give gluable edges with minimal sanding.

24” sq walnut top glued on saw edge without edge jointing or sanding.

Thickness planer, for me, is better. My saw cuts clean so I don’t feel the lack of a jointer.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View OldDogNewTricks's profile


19 posts in 385 days

#3 posted 12-07-2021 08:45 PM

That’s awesome! I wish my TS did that!

View controlfreak's profile (online now)


3226 posts in 943 days

#4 posted 12-07-2021 09:59 PM

The trouble with a jointer is that you need to joint one face and one edge on whatever board you are working. Only then move to the planner. Where I am going with this is I got rid of my 6” jointer for two reasons 1) It takes up too much space 2) I could only do a 6” wide board max anyway, not going to make a tabletop out of that! I have really gotten into hand planes and discovered that I can edge joint a board very well with my No. 7 or 8 long body plane. I can than work one broad side of the board to be really flat using winding sticks. Than I can move to the planner for final thickness. Table saw for the final edge. Unless I go all crazy and do the whole thing by hand. It takes some practice but it may be worth a shot. So if you are getting just one, the planner.

View Arcola60's profile


122 posts in 3726 days

#5 posted 12-07-2021 10:31 PM

I agree. The planer. You can joint an edge of a board many ways. A hand plane with a 90* guide, a router mounted in a table with the out feed fence shimmed out, or a handheld router with a straightedge clamped to the FLAT edge.
I know there are many other ways to joint an edge of a board. These are just a few.
So, with your limited space, I would go with the planer.

View pottz's profile


22444 posts in 2326 days

#6 posted 12-07-2021 11:33 PM

well considering i use my jointer 10x more than my planer id go with that.but im not given up either one.i dont have the time nor desire for hand planing or jointing im not gonna push you to either,we all work differently so you need to decide whats best for you.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View SuperJoe's profile


86 posts in 122 days

#7 posted 12-08-2021 06:17 PM

I have both although the thickness planer gets the majority of use. When joining long boards on my tablesaw I always alternate the up side. Which means determining the top of your pieces and marking them, then depending on the number of laminates joint the edges with the mark up on the first and down on the second etc. So even when your blade is out of the perpendicular this will give you tight joints.

-- Some of my most creative moments have been when I've had to cover up an error in my woodworking.

View Eric's profile


2877 posts in 1215 days

#8 posted 12-09-2021 03:04 AM

MadMark is right, a tuned table saw will give you a good gluing joint. And a hand plane works wonders if needed.

Joe has a good point also, alternate your boards for the table tops.

I was looking at both for a purchase, decided on the planner, at least for now. Down the road maybe a jointer.

-- Eric, building the dream

View JessIca70's profile


17 posts in 50 days

#9 posted 12-09-2021 03:13 AM

Not that I have much more experience than you- I’m truly a newbie in this world… but… I couldn’t live without my planer. The jointer is nice to have- but the planer is an absolute must. It gives you the ability to buy rough lumber… saving so much money. I just sold my first planer- an old one but a GOOD one and I bet if you spend a little time looking, you can find it.. for CHEAP. I had an old makita 400mm (almost 16”) and it did a GREAT job. The ONLY reason I sold it was because I found an equally as old, JET.. but it was already “retro- fitted “? For the dust collection system I just installed… and the replacement parts are cheaper… look around on offer up, market place etc. set alerts for what you want.. also a good drum sander… for finishing. Just amazing. I just sold my old (original) powermatic jointer for 500.00 because I found a newer version with helical head.. but again.. I think I paid 300.00 a few years ago. (I reconditioned it and it was like new). And as far as making mobile- you can literally put anything on wheels. Just my two (or 25) cents.

-- -Jess

View dbhost's profile


5869 posts in 4574 days

#10 posted 12-09-2021 03:19 AM

IF you were talking about shorter work pieces, and it still depends on how long long is for you, but I would say BOTH.

Although if I had to chose one or the other, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with a planer. You can edge joint on the table saw, router table, or with some practice, with a hand plane.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View RyanGi's profile


122 posts in 379 days

#11 posted 12-10-2021 04:51 AM

I’m in the same spot as you with a small shop and I’d vote for both, but my jointer gets used more than my planer. Nothing gets you a perfect, long 90 degree edge like a jointer. The problem with having only a planer is that if you’ve got a board with a twist or a cup (even if minor) the planer rollers may flatten it out as it cuts, but allow it to spring back. And a cupped board will just stay cupped. You can fake it, sometimes, and a lot of it depends on the lengths and moisture content of your wood. I’m not good enough with my hand planes to get that perfect 90 degrees, especially over a distance, and that 90 is important when hand cutting joints. Sleds and shims are such a pain for me. Some guys use them well, I just don’t.

Something to consider, if it’s just a space issue: I have my jointer and planer mounted on a flip top cart that I made (see above). This means I’ve got both tools living in the footprint of a single tool. My Dewalt 735X is on one side, and the 8” Wahuda jointer is on the other. Both are bench top tools, but unless you’re making really big stuff (and have lots of money) an 8” jointer will get most of your work done, and a 13” planer lets you build jointed panels then flatten the back side of them..which is nice.

Anyway, I started with a planer only and pretty quickly found I wasn’t getting what I wanted from it,,,or it was a lot of extra work to get things the way I wanted them. Regardless, I wasn’t happy.

You’ll have to decide what projects you plan to work on, and how important each tool is…but there’s a reason why any well-appointed shop has a planer, jointer and table saw all within a couple feet from each other!

-- Ryan/// I like chips...and sawdust...but mostly chips...with vinegar

View Madmark2's profile


3264 posts in 1930 days

#12 posted 12-10-2021 05:20 AM

The planer pushing a board flat only happens with very thin (under 1/4”) stock. Cupped & crowned boards aren’t flattened in the planer. The center gets planed crown up, the edges planed crown down. Plane enough and you’ll get dead flat. Stop repeating that old saw.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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