Milling without a jointer

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Forum topic by Bernie posted 08-30-2010 04:28 AM 12440 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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422 posts in 3892 days

08-30-2010 04:28 AM

Hi all – I’m new and tried this post on my home site… hope you all enjoyed it ha ha! I’ve got a lot to learn but this seems like a real good site. To the subject————- I’ve been working with expensive milled lumber because my workshop has limitations, a 24 X 24 space. It’s more then some nice shops I’ve seen, but 24 X 24 means I can’t own all the neat tools. I did inherit my Dad’s bench top planner a few years ago and a couple of weeks ago I bought some rough lumber in a yard sale. I dusted off the old Makita 12 inch planner, and planned a couple of oak boards but I don’t have a jointer to square off the boards. I used an old time method off tacking a straight edge to the concave edge of my lumber and created a straight edge on the opposite side. I flipped the board over and now I’m the proud owner of what seems to be a milled board.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

9 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5273 days

#1 posted 08-30-2010 04:32 AM

That’s pretty much how I do it.

I know some guys see a jointer as a must, but I’ve been getting by just just fine without one.

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

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 4306 days

#2 posted 08-30-2010 05:32 AM

A jointer isn”t a MUST but it sure saves a heck of alot of time.
Do a search and you can find several different ideas for jigs to use your planer to joint the first face flat. But you still have to do the edges.


-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4877 days

#3 posted 08-30-2010 12:31 PM

Bernie, if I had to make a choice between a jointer and planer, I would go with the planer. It is possible to face and edge joint boards with the planer. Here is a jig that demonstrates how to edge joint boards with a planer.

And this video demonstrates how to use a planer sled to face joint wide boards.

Going with rough lumber is the way to go. It will save you quite a bit of money over buying processed lumber and also expand your selection.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


408 posts in 4076 days

#4 posted 08-30-2010 03:37 PM

There are four tools that touch virtually every project I make: the table saw, sander, planer and jointer. Even though I also have to work in a confined multi-use space, I will always make room for those 4 tools. While you can edge joint boards in a planer using a jig like Scott suggests (I made an even simpler one using aluminum angle stock) and you certainly can dimension lumber without a jointer, I could never get my planer (DW734) to flatten stock reliably because the roller pressure would artificially force a board to be flat while under the knives and then the lumber would spring back to shape as soon as the pressure was gone. I make a lot of picture frames and doing that well starts with stock that is perfectly flat and straight or not matter how careful you are at cutting perfect 45s, the miters won’t lie up if the stock ain’t true. I could possibly use other techniques to true up lumber but none as fast and easy as the combination of a jointer, planer, and table saw. For me that is the holy trinity of dimensioning lumber. Of the three, the jointer actually takes up the least space in the shop and it stays in one place along a shop wall. A 6 inch jointer will handle most needs without taking up much space. You can find several good models at reasonable prices and the savings in buying rough stock more than paid for my jointer and planer long ago.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 3892 days

#5 posted 09-01-2010 04:30 AM

That’s what I like about this site… diversity! Although I’ll keep using this table saw method for a while, the pro jointer posts have been noted. One thing I’ve learned about woodworking is different strokes for different folks and all methods work!

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View wysong's profile


17 posts in 3876 days

#6 posted 09-06-2010 04:19 PM

When I’m slow at my shop , sometimes I go work over at my
buddies stair tread shop .

There is no jointer or planer , these have become obsolite machines
in todays technology , being replaced with straight line rip saws and deniblling
We don’t bring in rough lumber , havn’t for years , with dressed 2 side lumber
is 5 cents more a BF , why guess what the lumber may look like .

I do use these two machines in my shop though, though the jointer doesn’t
see much work as I can straight line a board on the slider in one pass.

-- Hutch

View mdj's profile


6 posts in 3847 days

#7 posted 10-24-2010 06:18 PM

When you say milling without a jointer I am assuming your tryiong to get a flat and straight edge. For long boards too long for my jointer I have always kept around several pieces of extruded aluminum at various lengths. I use these as my guide and use light passes with a router with a straight bit to achieve a jointed edge. I have used the straigth edge as both a guide for the router base and also as a bearing guide for a long cutting flush trim bit, depending on the situation. the only sraw back here is that I normally have to attach the straight edge to the boards woth screws whoch have to be filled later. Also for boards that are <1> in thickness you can also make a straight edge from the factory edges of plywood so you can use finish nails in this setup which are less noticeable and easier to deal with than holes left by screws.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1427 posts in 4929 days

#8 posted 10-24-2010 06:42 PM

@CharlieM – a jointer is certainly not necessary if all you are doing is making a straight edge with it. Most people don’t realize how many other things you can do with a jointer, though. Mine gets more use than my planer. It is a space hog, though – I wish there was some way to fold up those beds!

@wysong – where are you buying S2S lumber that is only 5 cents more per foot than rough??? My bulk lumber supplier charges 15 cents per surface over the cost of H&M. Even at that price it would be worth it, except that the lumber is never flat and there’s no material left to remove in order to flatten the board.

-- -- --

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 3892 days

#9 posted 10-25-2010 04:56 PM

Hi mdj and Peter… time is teaching a few things. A few weeks ago, I visited a brother and we talked about Dad. Conversation led to his old jointer my bro had forgotten about so we dug it out. Turned out to be an old Sears 6 inch jointer in bad shape. I took it home to my shop, worked it over with lots of WD40 etc and it’s now working except for a knick in a couple of the knives. I own a Tormek sharpening system and after talking to a few friends, I’ve decided to buy their expensive jointer jig and will learn to reset the blades. I know what I’m up against, but I know I can do it. After all, I’m a stubborn Frenchman and I told myself I couldn’t do it. You never tell a stubborn Frenchmen he can’t do something.

As for your comments… I’ve discovered how to flatten wood with a jointer. I thought they were only for edges. MDJ… use your screws on the concave side of your boards, get opposite side straight, then flip your board and rip a straight edge on table saw cutting off screw holes in the waste. Thanks to both of you!

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

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