Planer before others...right?

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Forum topic by pete79 posted 04-14-2011 10:23 PM 1583 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View pete79's profile


154 posts in 3746 days

04-14-2011 10:23 PM

I’m planning to purchase one of the following in the near future:

1. Benchtop Planer (Dewalt 734 probably)
2. Drill Press (Rigid)
3. Band Saw (Grizzly G0555 maybe)

I was thinking the order above suits me well given that I don’t really (or have many near-term plans to) do resawing making the bandsaw less urgent. I currently either buy pre-planed wood, or hand plane it as best I can. The drill press would come in handy as I’ve been doing more mortise and tenon jointery lately and it would be handy, but I can probably manage without.

I’m thinking the planer is first since it can basically save me money in the long run by allowing me to purchase more rough sawn wood. The other two are debateable as to their order of importance.

Is this thinking correct?

-- Life is a one lap race.

11 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4703 days

#1 posted 04-14-2011 10:26 PM

What are you building and what other tools do you already have? E.g Table Saw, Jointer, etc.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3486 days

#2 posted 04-14-2011 10:30 PM

Do you currently have a jointer? If you have a jointer all ready then I would get the planer next. If you don’t have a jointer then I would get that if your planning on using rough sawed lumber.

Drill press is really handy to have. I use mine far more then I ever expected to. I couldn’t see not having it.

I don’t have a bandsaw yet either… So far I have managed without.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3876 days

#3 posted 04-14-2011 10:52 PM

Bandsaws are good for a lot more than just resawing….but based on what you mention above….I would suspect that a thickness planer might be more useful now.

I would recommend you get one of the combos – planner/jointer…a little more expense…but worth it in that you will be able to surface and square up almost any piece of lumber to prepare it for working.

Where a bandsaw comes in is for cutting curves, cutting tall or thick pieces, cutting notches, cutting patterns….etc. I have also found it useful for cutting the tops off of assembled small boxes to make the lids. Resawing is very useful when you get 4/4 stock and need 1/2” or 5/8”....with a planer…thats alot of runs through and alot of wood wasted as sawdust….with a bandsaw…its one cut…and a few passes through the planer. You have a plus with the bandsaw as you get a thin piece that can be useful rather then a bunch of dust.

Remember that the benchtop planers are good for small stock….but tend to bog down on larger stuff….I prefer the Dewalt 735 rather then the 734…although it does cost more. I use my benchtop only for planing parts for boxes and small projects….for my bigger productions (or just larger pieces) I’ll use my Grizzly 20”....I love it because I can even plane a cutting board with the larger planing capacity.

So if you are going the benchtop route…make sure you have a good saw to remove as much waste from your project wood before planing. This will save you time, wood and frustration from when the planer bogs down.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4254 days

#4 posted 04-14-2011 11:01 PM

The planer is the biggest sweat-saver of all the machines. I’ve
flattened plenty of boards by hand and could do almost all sawing
with pretty good efficiency with hand tools if I wanted to, but
planing boards to thickness is incredibly tedious by hand.

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3735 days

#5 posted 04-15-2011 12:29 AM


You need to joint the face before you plane. I would say the trinity is – table saw, jointer, planer.

If you buy dimensioned stock you can start working right away with a table saw. If your committed to dimensioning from rough you will want a jointer. You could deal with a planer sled which an be done, but its very tedious compared to a jointer. But, your your going to need to joint edges anyway, so believe me your going to end up with a jointer in the end. If you can, get at least an 8”. Like most folks I started with a 6”. But like most folks I ended up upgrading so I ended up buying two jointers instead of one.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3680 days

#6 posted 04-15-2011 12:31 AM

We’ve often seen topics like this come up in this forum. Implied in the inquiry is the assumption that we all do the same type of work and have the same needs and priorities. What you buy, in what order should be completely driven by what kind of projects you want to do. In my opinion, there is no universal logic that says you should buy X before you buy Y.

Nonetheless, I will offer a few comments – -

I started with a small bench top drill press and later upgraded to a larger floor model. I will still claim that the small unit was acceptable for 95% of my drill press needs and even after buying the bigger model, the small one still serves a purpose in my shop.

For me, a basic bench top planner (DW 733) is all I will ever need, but with respect to jointers, the bench top units are worthless. Don’t bother with one unless you can get a good floor model.

For many of us, the table saw is the heart of our shops. However, a good $500 plunge saw will do everything that a $1000+ table saw will do and take up less space.

PLEASE – Be guided by the projects that you want to do. The objective is not to acquire tools. The objective is to complete quality projects.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 3273 days

#7 posted 04-15-2011 10:12 AM

I agree with richgreer’s first paragraph.
I say a 6in jointer ,and portable planer will take you into a whole new new world of woodworking.

A bench top drill press from HF or ? will get you started there cheap, I still have and use the little one I started with, for drilling start holes for scrolling.

A jig saw can do only some of what a band saw can,but don’t buy a piece of crap band saw,just to have one

If a board is pretty flat ,taking vary very light cuts, with a planer you can flatten two sides ,or use scrap guides’ a little thicker than your stock, attached to sides of stock, and you can joint stock on a router table.

Another thing is there are so many great used machines out there, that can be had at a good price,you could get an 8in jointer for the same or less than the price of a new 6in,or,a used 6in even cheaper. The people upgrading to 8in are selling their 6in to some one

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 4113 days

#8 posted 04-15-2011 05:48 PM

Lots of good wisdom in these responses. All of this totally depends on the kinds of things you want to make. I’ve faced exactly this situation. I think not having a planer has been the biggest disincentive to making things. It’s a tool that does one thing well but gets you to the point where you can do everything else. One thing I would add is that it’s completely legit to make a carriage for the planer so you can joint faces flat. A simple table saw jig will let you rip one flat edge. A jointer would be great to have, don’t get me wrong. But you can get pretty far with the planer. Some tools make things easier and quicker to do. Some tools do that but also give you a level of quality that is very difficult to have with hand tools. That’s what a planer excels at.

Also, a drill press is another great thing to have, but you can do most of the mortise work with either a drill or a router. Again, it all depends on what you want to do and what will get you farthest along the way.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 3273 days

#9 posted 04-15-2011 07:12 PM

Surfaced stock is expensive ,and so is paying labor to have it done,people don’t give away labor just because you buy something there !!!
There are ways to get around ,not having a jointer

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View brtech's profile


1066 posts in 3528 days

#10 posted 04-16-2011 02:40 AM

Consider getting a used planer and jointer. I have a Jet jointer and a Rigid planer I got for $200 each on Craigslist. Both are in good working order. The planer hardly shows any wear and the Jet is a bit more used, but cuts really fine.

I also think an inexpensive benchtop drill press is a wonderful tool. An HF or Griz is fine. Just have a dial indicator and mag base around so you can check the runnout.

View Broglea's profile


687 posts in 3697 days

#11 posted 04-16-2011 03:04 AM

I see a lot of good comments already. Pete I think your right on target. Go for the planer first. That is what I did and managed to go without a jointer for quite a few years.

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