Can I get by without a jointer?

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Forum topic by Magnous posted 08-19-2020 01:27 PM 729 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 167 days

08-19-2020 01:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer planer sled milling

Does anyone have experience that they can share about using a tablesaw sled for edge jointing and a planer sled for face jointing when you don’t have a jointer available? I know that having a dedicated jointer would be faster, but I’m a hobbyist with no plans to do commission work or anything else that would have me pressed for time. Are there any major pitfalls to skipping the jointer purchase other than the obvious inconvenience of setting up the sleds for each board to be jointed?

For context I’m fairly new to the hobby and work out of a small basement workshop where the stationary tools I have are fairly inexpensive tools that once belonged to my dad: 10” Ridgid TS2400-1, 12” Craftsman bandsaw, 9” Craftsman benchtop drill press. I’m trying to plan out my next few major purchases and I’m thinking that a cabinet saw (probably Grizzly), a Dewalt 735 planer with a Shelix cutterhead, and maybe a 14” bandsaw would have me set without consuming all the space in my shop and completely blowing my tools budget for the next 10 years.

Should I just plan on getting a dedicated jointer at some point in the future? Would it make more sense from a space standpoint to skip the benchtop planer and save longer to get a 12” jointer/planer combo like the Grizzly G0634XP (~$3,000 vs ~$1,100 for the Dewalt/Shelix planer)? Or can my idea to skip the jointer altogether work as a longterm solution?

-- Magnous, Georgia

25 replies so far

View tvrgeek's profile


1073 posts in 2615 days

#1 posted 08-19-2020 01:35 PM

If you are buying 3S or 4S lumber, a TS with a good blade and a offset fence can do an excellent job of glue lines. Or, you can make a sled to cut a strait edge. But not much help is buying rough cut limber.

I wish I had the space and money for a big combo, but alas, I roll my 6 inch jointer into the corner and wil soon replace my Delta lunchbox with the DeWalt.

Can you get buy? Go visit a museum with antique furniture. We got along without any of these tools for several thousand years and for the last thousand or so, produced music/palace grade work. Power tools just make it easier.

View RobHannon's profile


347 posts in 1496 days

#2 posted 08-19-2020 01:49 PM

“Can I get by without a ….?” answers will almost always be yes with a caveat of use this instead. I had no jointer for many years, but I also had a large cabinet saw with a solid fence. Between that and a router I got by without even knowing I was getting by. When I first got a jointer I also got a planer. The planer I used way more because I did not have a good way to thickness wood. Took me a bit before I really started using the jointer in combination with it. Fast forward to some projects that I was doing with some rather twisty reclaimed oak. When I started using the jointer first to get that good reference surface then moving to the planer and finally the table saw I got so much more consistent results by the time I was doing the final sizing that those steps were way faster. I would not go back to the old way now, but I also know I managed it before without the tools needed for that process. My advice, for a hobbyist, is start with the tools you need and get the best fit tool of that type for your situation. When you get through all the needs, then worry about improving efficiency. If you are doing this for a business that is not great advice.

My one exception, get a tracksaw if you use sheet goods. %100 not “needed” but your back will thank you.

View controlfreak's profile


1601 posts in 567 days

#3 posted 08-19-2020 01:54 PM

I hope to make a set of winding sticks in the future to try my hand at dimensioning lumber by hand. If I keep my small shop it would free up a lot of room if I could part with my 6” jointer and DW735 planer. After all the trouble I had with Padauk getting stuck in the DW735 and not feeding smoothly I may not feel bad parting with it.

View Axis39's profile


397 posts in 563 days

#4 posted 08-19-2020 01:59 PM

A jointer is one of those things I wish I had…. But, haven’t ever had the space for.

I use my table saw, planer, router, hand planes, whatever I can get away with to get the job done. We humans always seem to find a way to adapt, if we really want.

Someday I’ll have a jointer, and I know my work will get better, and probably faster.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2360 posts in 513 days

#5 posted 08-19-2020 02:02 PM

Good table saw, good fence, sharp blades; and a thicknesser/planer, all I need. Magnetic digital angle finder thingy for precise blade adjustment is a handy thing to have also.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

View LittleShaver's profile


713 posts in 1585 days

#6 posted 08-19-2020 02:19 PM

You can definitely get by without a jointer. I’ve been a hobby wood worker for over 40 years without one and have built all manner of things. I find that sharp planes do a great job without all the noise and dust.

-- Sawdust Maker

View cmacnaughton's profile


222 posts in 610 days

#7 posted 08-19-2020 02:41 PM

I’ve gotten by without one for nearly 30 years. I WISH I had one, but there are other things I need more and my shop is very small. I do have a No. 7 plane that works quite nicely as a jointer, it just takes a bit longer.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View therealSteveN's profile


6956 posts in 1540 days

#8 posted 08-19-2020 02:46 PM

Yeah, but why would you want to. Jointers need love too. Outside of a hatchet I can’t think of a woodworking tool that is so easy to live with, hardly any parts, they do what they do way better than the list of, or you could use a …....

-- Think safe, be safe

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3981 posts in 2460 days

#9 posted 08-19-2020 03:08 PM

Massive number of existing threads on the topic of needing a jointer.
Please search forums so save us all the trouble of typing it again.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View clin's profile


1127 posts in 1962 days

#10 posted 08-19-2020 03:26 PM

I do not have a jointer and would not consider getting one unless I needed to use it often. I’ve found a planer sled works very well and a table saw sled or equivalent works very well for straightening an edge.

I would think the table saw is actually faster. Clamp the wood cut done. No multiple passes and so on. You do need a saw and blade that makes good clean cuts. But if your table saw can’t make clean cuts, then I’d replace the saw before buying a jointer.

No question a planer sled is more time consuming to setup. But the results are great.

For me, I can’t see how I would get along without a planer, but have done just fine without a jointer. It’s very satisfying to work with rough lumber. And you can do that well with just a planer and sled.

For me, it would be nice to have a jointer if I had room for it. But my shop is small and I just wouldn’t make use of one often enough to justify having it in the way.

A DW 735 is a great planer. I wouldn’t invest in a Shelix head right from the get go. The stock knifes work just fine, though will dull faster. Just see how your usage of the planer goes. If it takes you years to wear out your knives, then stick with the just replacing those. If you wear out a set of knives quickly, then it would make sense to spend the money on the helical cutter.

-- Clin

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3628 posts in 4403 days

#11 posted 08-19-2020 03:35 PM

If it’s just for edges you can get by with a table saw easily. The face though. It’s possible with a planer to make a sled to flatten a board but it’s a lot of bother if you’ve got a lot of them to do.
For edges though. When I have longer boards I put them on a piece of plywood with a couple of screws on the edge and use the straightness of the plywood to make that initial edge on the board. Very easy.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2817 posts in 1128 days

#12 posted 08-19-2020 03:38 PM

I got by without a jointer for years – until I got into the business of making large
pieces that needed to be edge glued to make a large slab.
then – I wondered how I got along withOUT a jointer for so long !!!
if you never had one – you don’t miss it. (too much).
if you had one – and it went away for some reason – you miss the heck out of it !!!
of course table saws have an advantage for some jointing. but, a jointer is just plain convenient.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6335 posts in 3275 days

#13 posted 08-19-2020 03:56 PM

Sure you can, lot of guys do, I did for a long time . But, now that I’ve been using one for 30 years I’d recommend getting one.

Heck some guys even get by without at table saw.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View JackDuren's profile


1413 posts in 1925 days

#14 posted 08-19-2020 03:57 PM

Yes and no. I dont, you’ll find it useful when you use it and you’ll find it eating space in the shop you wish you had for more important tools.

It’s different for everyone. If I wanted to spend a grand I’d get more out of a Domino…

View CWWoodworking's profile


1282 posts in 1145 days

#15 posted 08-19-2020 04:21 PM

Rough lumber-it’s pretty darn handy

Lumber semi dressed from Supplier-can easily be left off the menu

For me, Building is more fun/get more done buying lumber prepped. The way I look at it-my supplier has a 60hp planer and a 15hp straight line rip, and doesn’t really charge for the service. Why would I waste my money and time with “toys”? When they can do it in 20% of the time

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

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