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how to make the most out of a jointer.

3233 Views 18 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  JoshO
ok I am a simply hobbyist. My "shop" gets used more for drinking beer, listening to the radio, and the sweet smell of wood than it sees hardcore sawdust storms.
I know a jointer is just about a necessity in any shop where a woodworker makes his (or her) best creations.

So I have a simple question before I make a jointer purchase. Most consumer models are 6 inch. What happens if you have a board wider than 6 inches that you want to flatten/straighten? ie, your project is using 1×8's

What is the process to handle a situation like this?
How often is this likely to happen?
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There are many ways to flatten it. Router, by hand, etc. These take some effort though. When I get a situation like this I try to find the flattest boards I can. I've had some success running them through my planer without the lockdown on. It will tend to take down some of the high points. But, it's only for wood that is pretty true to begin with. After that I use the jointer on the edge assuming the larger side is flat. So, it's reverse of the normal process.

Other than that, a router carriage or sled with a planing bit works well but takes some special jigs that you can make and time.
Harbor Freight has a 8" jointer, not crazy pricey. I have the 7" version and have been happy with it. I use it routinely on 6" boards. Other power options are surface planers and routers. I like surface planers for the fact that they get the surfaces flat and parallel, and do it quickly. Jointers can have you making wedges if your not careful.

How often it is likely to happen, is how often you use 8" or greater boards.
I have a 6" jointer and I rarely joint anything over 5". I use rough sawn lumber and my widths vary to what ever the board will yield and get the most from it. I do a lot of panel glue ups and I stick to around 3 to 4" boards to lessen warping. Finding straight boards 8" wide that stay straight and don't warp is pretty rare, so I stick to gluing them together. It works well for me.
Josh, if your budget will allow go for an 8" model. I had used my 6" about 3 years and wished I had gone with the extra width. But you can use a planer to flatten wide boards. Here is a video demonstrating the construction of a planer sled. With this sled the limitation to your face jointing is determined by the width of your planer.
I have had joiners up to 12"-wide in my shop over the years and went back to the 6" versions because I so rarely have wider boards but always have too little space and budget for the bigger jointers. If I do encounter a board wider than 6" I just rip it into pieces just small enough to fit my jointer, process them on the jointer and planer and then glue them up. I think sometimes I actually wind up with a more stable glue up than a one-piece board anyway.
I have lots of jointer-related material on my site, starting with a Basics story at the link below. Also, just enter Joiner into my site search to see the rest.

Jointer Basics
You can joint half of the board and turn it around to joint the other half. I can't open it right now, but I'm pretty sure this is a link that will show how it is done.
Hey Josh
A lot of what you do with a jointer are edges for panel glue up. The rest is face jointing the link that David Fisher offered gives one way to face plane by the easiest is to have a wide jointer. Like all woodworking get the best you can afford. Many times you start with what works for now and up grade later. I have a 12" spiral head jointer and I would not trade back down. It would be like trading in your BMW for a Model A ford.
We all do what works for us and the 12" works for me quite well.
It sounds like the solution is just the same as anything else. Sometimes there is no right or wrong answer, just what seems to work better at this point. The larger jointers seem to be the easiest and possibly the most "right" way to do it, but a router and jig to float over the top to flatten one out might be the most practical for those of us who don't have the budget at the time. I do see the light at the end of the tunnel where each upcoming project does not require another major tool purchase. :)
I think perhaps my best option for wider boards are ripping them to a more manageable size, jointing/planing, the the glue up - it will undoubtedly take more time, but at this point it would make excellent practice.
jointing anything wider than the jointer usually relies on a planer… I would recommend getting a planer first if you don't have one already. and if you do - buy as much jointer as your budget and space can accommodate, for most of us - a 6" will do as most boards really fall between the 4""-6" wide.
Fine Woodworking #204 had an article - previewed here "Flatten Wide Boards on a Narrow Jointer" Simple plywood spacer increases the capacity of your 6-in. or 8-in. jointer
by Tony Czuleger, Mike Wilson

In summary he removes the swing-out guard then joints as wide as the jointerbed will allow. Then with doublestick tape attaches a piece of 1/8 plywood (Thicker than the wood removed) so that the remaining unjointed width is off the surface. Then pass that through the planer (plywood down) once you have the 'Top' flat, flip it and remove the plywood to then plane down the remaining material.

I have not tried this method - rather a hybrid of it - I have made a pass on my 6 inch jointer - to take down the known high spots, then handplaned to get the rest of the surface flat with the jointed section. Then go to my planer with light passes.
If the budget allows - like others mentioned - get the 8 inch, and you are covered for 99% of anything you want to do - I very rarely (except when I order Oak by the bundle- not picking through) get anything wider than 8 inches, but often get 7 and 7.5. When I pick through, I get all less than 6 just to avoid this

Good Luck - Dave
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I have used the method described by Dave Nesting as seen in #204 of Fine Woodworking, to flatten wider boards on my 8" jointer and had excellent results, instead of using two sided tape I had better luck when I attached a cleat to a board so that it didn't get pulled threw the planer much like a bench hook, then had that as an auxiliary table for the planer bed. I would post a picture of my setup, but I am not sure how to do that here on Lumber Jocks. I would go for an 8" jointer not only for the extra width but also the extra length of the bed it makes it eaiser to work with longer boards.
I like the idea of the plywood and the planer . . . . . that is genius.
I think 6 inch would be a good option, mostly because of price, but I might spend just a bit more to get the longer table. Unless an 8 inch shows up on craiglist, it might just stay a dream - perhaps until one day it seems like it has become a necessity .
PurpLev just gave me this link last week. Let you know how it works as soon as my new planer gets here!
Go with the link posted by chickenhelmet…simple, fast, effective.
You can forget the jointer for wide boards too big even for a sled.

Here is another way:
One last option…find a "friend" that will let you use his larger jointer….I help folks with their stuff all the time…but I am a bit protective of my tools…and will only let them do the work if they are proficient on the tool in question.
JoshO-One thing I have discovered: If I drink enough beer, I no longer have to read the manuals for my power tools. Just kidding ;>}

I have a 6" jointer (Grizzly G0452) and haven't run into a situation yet where I felt like I needed to invest the money in an 8" or wider tool.

As Jim said, I use it for jointing edges to glue up panels. If I need to flatten stock, I rip it to a size that works on the jointer (usually between 4 and 5 inches), flatten one side and one edge, then plane it to thickness (I have a DeWalt DW733 planer), rip it to width, and glue up a 'panel'. If the panels (or laminations) become too wide for the DW733, I pull out my trusty No 7 jointer plane and do it by hand.

I used the technique above when building my workbench (, including the top which is 22.5" wide and 65" long.
TheDane, I tried checking out your workbench but the page wouldn't load. I will have to see it later. I have been staring at my 3 hand planes lately, and I figure if I can give them a good sharp edge, they could become one of my more favorite tools. As of right now they are difficult and clumsy. They haven't been sharp for as long as I have owned them.

I did end up going for the m*s special and get a performax. It has more power than the delta, maybe it can stay square enough. The price I paid for it allows me to not think twice when it needs replaced. I'll just chuck it.
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