Planer Help - Will it help me?

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Forum topic by Texasangler14 posted 10-06-2015 08:34 PM 1283 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2025 days

10-06-2015 08:34 PM

Hey guys, new here. Wanted to get your opinion on something. I like to build rustic furniture for my house and family. By no means a professional, but getting better and want to take my work to the next level. The ever difficult situation for me is space in my “workshop” which is a 2 car garage that shares with a boat (not getting rid of that!).

I am really considering buying a planer, as most of the time im working with pine. A jointer and table saw addition at the same time just isnt in the budget but could be in the future. Space for all those machines will be the main challenge, not the finances. I am just wondering that if you arent immediately planning on buying a jointer and table saw to mill up to 4 square sides, will a planer still improve the quality of your work? I am thinking lunch box planers only at this time. Mostly the Dewalt vs Porter Cable. I dont have a ton of tools, but every tool I have is with the “best I can afford” mentality.

I want to add a tool that will improve the look of my finished product, make things easier as working with pine can be very difficult. I live in a smaller town with no hardwood dealer near me at all. So Im doing the best I can with what I have available. Also, if anyone has any feedback on the 400 dollar dewalt planer vs the 270 dollar porter cable planer at lowes would also be very helpful.

Just kinda thinking that i know all of these tools are a group thing and really compound the value when you have all of them, but if a planer alone wont really help me that much, I will just not get one. Any help, I would appreciate.

16 replies so far

View Clarkie's profile


507 posts in 2902 days

#1 posted 10-06-2015 08:50 PM

Hello Tex and welcome. Seems like to me if you need to square up the lumber, that the ideal tool would be a good jointer. The surface planers will give you a flat on all four sides, but not necessarily square. A lot can be accomplished with a good jointer, one that is substantial not the Homeless Depot wanna bees. While DeWalt does make some very good tools the cheaper lunchbox surface planer isn’t one of them. I think you already know there isn’t much difference in the two you are considering, besides a hundred dollars or so. If it were me, I would look for a good older model Delta or Powermatic jointer, which through CL you could find for the price of the lunchbox planers. Have fun, make some dust.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 3431 days

#2 posted 10-06-2015 09:21 PM

While DeWalt does make some very good tools the cheaper lunchbox surface planer isn t one of them.- Clarkie

Care to elaborate on that, Clarkie? I’ve been using my 734 for about 5 years now with a variety of species, and have no complaints. The 734 and 735 are well-regarded around here in the lunchbox planer category. The OP is talking about pine, not highly figured wood, and even if that were the case, there are Byrd heads for both of those (although it may make more sense to go with a better model w/ helical head from the start). Just curious what your assessment is based on.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Chris Radvansky's profile

Chris Radvansky

15 posts in 2029 days

#3 posted 10-06-2015 11:51 PM

I am in a similar position Texasangler. Considering whether I should pick up a table top jointer / planer on CL or not. But at $125 it might be an easy decision…a Craftsman.

-- Chris

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 3431 days

#4 posted 10-07-2015 12:06 AM

One thing that I’ve noticed on here, regarding jointers and planers…you see more people posting that they have a 6” jointer, but wished they had gotten 8”, than people who have a 12” planer, and wished they had gotten 15”+.

I have an old Yates 8” jointer mounted on a Powermatic base. At some point, the fence got busted or something, because when I got it, it had a fence off something else in its place, and not adjustable. But, its produced square boards for a couple years for me, and it was $100 bucks on CL. When I have more expendable income, I’ll probably replace it and pass it on to someone else, or part it out, but I suspect I’ll have it for quite a few more years. Long story short, I’d set my budget, know what I wanted (realistically within that budget), and then keep an eye on CL for a while.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View MNgary's profile


318 posts in 3478 days

#5 posted 10-07-2015 12:10 AM

“A jointer and table saw addition at the same time just isn’t in the budget”

I’m having a problem figuring out how a planer will help you, Texasangler14, if you don’t have a tablesaw. If you are hand sawing, hand planing seems logical. If you are power planing, a powered table saw seems to be important, to me.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Holbs's profile


2379 posts in 3091 days

#6 posted 10-07-2015 12:52 AM

I say go 6” jointer, or lunchbox planer if your wallet is tight. If you had time to learn, and to go REALLY easy on the wallet I would look into hand tools (which is what I should of done when I started out). You can always sell those items off later and help assist with 8” jointer or larger planer (which is exactly what i’m doing).

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4292 days

#7 posted 10-07-2015 02:19 AM

A good table saw will make you happy. You can make a ripping sled for ripping bowed stock. I do that when I buy rough stock.

Adding a joiner and a planer and you will be set to build a lot of stuff. Saying that, a drill press and a band saw will make for a well rounded shop.

It’s not that you want those tools, you need those tools! :-)

If you have limited space for power tools like me (one car garage), build or buy mobile bases or carts so you can move them around as needed.

Good luck.

Notes: I bought my table saw new (Grizzly 1023), Dewalt 734 planer new, and Jet 6 inch joiner used. Then I replaced the cutter head with a Grizzly spiral cutting head. I should be good to go for the remainder of my woodworking years. An eight inch joiner would be great, but I don’t have room.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 2481 days

#8 posted 10-07-2015 03:19 AM

Welcome Mr. Tex! I agree with MT. You could ask that very same question on different forums, & every woodworker out there will have an insight. My shop started out in an 8’ x 12’ room in our basement. The first three saws I bought were a circular saw, a good hand saw, & managed to find a pre owned RAS. And acquired tools as the need/funds allowed. When I bought my ts, it was on casters for easier mobility. I started out in the same shoes you’re in now. With pine. Pine has “tar” in it that is pretty hard on blades of all kinds. Were I you, I would consider hand planes, save your $$$, & wait til you have more room, or come across better wood. JMO.

-- Sawdust703

View Texasangler14's profile


10 posts in 2025 days

#9 posted 10-07-2015 12:15 PM

Thanks everyone for the replies, very helpful indeed! Since I am trying to outfit a shop i have definitely checked craigslist. Will have to do some driving but hopefully can get a nice jointer to go along with my planer purchase. I have my eye on a ridgid table saw as well, will likely buy that new. I really appreciate all the help!

View Woodbum's profile


951 posts in 4127 days

#10 posted 10-07-2015 02:20 PM

The table saw would be my first choice. You can do a hell of a lot more with a table saw without a jointer or planer than with either of them without the table saw. My table saw was my first big “capital expenditure” then after a bandsaw, then a planer, then a jointer and then a drill press. I have upgraded then all since the original items, plus a lot more items that I “needed”/wanted for my work. In answer to your question, however; go with the Dewalt and try to stay away from the “new” Porter Cable line. I can recommend the Grizzly 1023 table saw that I have after replacing my Craftsman after 25 years a few years ago. It took me 30+ years to get my shop outfitted just the way I wanted with tools upgraded as necessary. You would like to have it all at once, but you can’t always get what you want, but you can work with what you have until the rest comes along. I’m glad I had the foresight to do this, since I recently lost my job after being with a company for 24 years; 1 year short of my planned retirement. Surprise-Surprise. Now I’m just another 65 year old guy with no job for the first time in 50 years trying to make a little money on my woodworking and survive until I turn 66 and can start my full SS benefits. Good luck to you Mr. Texasangler! Have fun, work safely and save as much money as you can for you and your family. You just never know.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View jerkylips's profile


495 posts in 3632 days

#11 posted 10-07-2015 02:33 PM

The table saw would be my first choice. You can do a hell of a lot more with a table saw without a jointer or planer than with either of them without the table saw. In answer to your question, however; go with the Dewalt and try to stay away from the “new” Porter Cable line.

- Woodbum

what is your goal? are you trying to change thicknesses of boards or create straight/square edges? If it’s the latter, I’d definitely vote for table saw. As others have said, it’s a far more versatile tool. you can build a straightening jig very easily (and cheaply) for getting good straight edges. Table saw is the one tool that shops are generally built around, that would be my #1 priority..

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5280 days

#12 posted 10-07-2015 02:39 PM

I’m with Woodbum. I can’t imagine doing without my table saw. I have a lunchbox planer that only gets occasional use, and I don’t even own a jointer, but my table saw gets used in every project.

As far as deciding jointer or planer first, you really have to consider their primary purposes. If you buy rough lumber that you want to smooth and/or uniformly thickness, you want a planer. If your primary concern is making sure your lumber is flat and square, maybe you should go with the jointer. I would point out, though, that there are a lot of creative ways to use a table saw to perform some of the functions of a jointer.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Texasangler14's profile


10 posts in 2025 days

#13 posted 10-07-2015 06:13 PM

My main concern initially is to make it more square and flat and manageable, maybe the jointer is a better first tool for me. Thank you! I love making farmhouse tables so really the planer idea was because i really wanted to get nice and flat table tops.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


17347 posts in 2200 days

#14 posted 10-07-2015 06:30 PM

Something to really consider is that a planer is not going to flatten your stock. It will make it uniform thickness and clean it up but, if you have a warped/twisted board on the infeed side, your gonna have a warped/twisted board on the outfeed side. A planer is a great help to me but I think some don’t understand that it doesn’t work like a jointer. You’re still going to have to get 1 side fairly flat before you plane. For me, that’s with a handplane or, when I finish making it, a sled/jig. Just something to chew on.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View pintodeluxe's profile


6348 posts in 3875 days

#15 posted 10-07-2015 06:42 PM

Start with a good tablesaw. At least you could work with dimensional lumber. Add a planer and jointer later (in that order). A planer is more versatile because you can now work with different stock thickness, and a planer sled can can even out warped boards if needed. You can use a straight line / taper jig at the tablesaw to joint edges.

You really need all three tools to mill any quantity of rough lumber.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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