The Difference Between A Planer And A Jointer

The Difference Between A Planer And A Jointer

In any woodworking shop, there are various tools used for various functionalities, apart from chop saw and table saw, planers and jointers are requisite and vital power tools. It can be very challenging to undertake any woodworking task without the use of one of these power tools.

This piece will define and differentiate between a planer and a jointer to enable you to make an informed decision on which one to go for, if not both. The type of project that you are tackling will play a role in determining which one to go for.

If your budget cannot allow you to both, the planer and a jointer, no need to worry, this guide will enable you to make the right choice. But first, it’s vital to learn how each of them operates:

What is a Jointer?

Just as the name suggests, a jointer is a power tool used for joining wood pieces together. It is a piece of equipment used to create square and straight edges on board.

These boards are then joined together to form a bigger one. The edges of this dimensional lumber are mostly for making shelves, desktops, and tabletops.

What are the Functions of a Jointer?

Most of the timber purchased from the local timber yard is usually not straight and square. If you are seeking to produce a precise and high-quality woodworking project, then it will be ideal to ensure that your pieces of wood are straight and square. With a jointer, you will be able to achieve this.

A jointer will give you the certainty that your boards will easily join and ensure that there won’t be gaps left in between.

This helps to create even and smooth surfaces ideal for making dining tables. Jointers are also perfect for making tabletops and desktops.

When working on any woodworking project is it crucial that you first start by preparing the wood. The jointer is specially designed to help you with this.

It will give a perfectly flat face and help to ensure one edge of the wood is squared up for easy joining with another one with no room for gaps.

Once you have a flat surface and you have joined the boards together, this is the point where you will require a second tool.

What is a Planer?

Planer is an essential power tool and much similar to a hand planer. However, it is powered and has the capability of planning the entire surface of the board as opposed to a specific joint or strip.

To support your workpiece as its rides through the machine a planer features a flatbed. Above the flathead lies the cutting head and has the same width as the bed.

Rollers of the plane feed the workpiece along with the flatbed against and under the cutting head, thus removing the piece of lumber as it goes through and out of the machinery.

What are the Functions of a Planer?

A planer plays a major role in creating a uniform and smooth surface. To create parallel surfaces, you will need to turn over and run them through the planer.

The combined use of a planer and a jointer will result in:

  • Perfectly square and straight edges that join pieces of wood smoothly together and with no gaps.
  • Secondly, the parallel surface on the piece of wood when joined is smooth, flat, and level.

Planers are perfect for making new shelves, desktops, tabletop, or benchtops for your working station.

The Major Differences Between Planer and Jointer

Now that you have a clear understanding of how a planer and a jointer function, it becomes much easier to differentiate and to know which one is the most appropriate for your woodworking project.

When it comes to thickness, the difference between a jointer and a planer is quite clear.

The planer will provide you with parallel surfaces and consistent thickness, whereas, jointer will provide you with a perfectly square edge on one side and a flattened one on the other side.

Jointers are designed with cutting knives fixed on the table and with a wood that passes over them; on the other hand, planers are designed to cut from the upper side of the wood.

However, you will be able to accomplish more through the use of a jointer as it’s ideal for making both flat faces and square/flat edges.

It is important to note that these two woodworking power cutting tools are suitable for lumber bought directly from the timber yard.

It will be wise that you go for the one that is suitable for your woodworking project and one which will give your service for long.

Is There a Jointer/Planer Combo?

You might be wondering if there is a power tool with the combined features and capabilities similar to one of a jointer and a planer. Actually, with the advancement in technology, manufacturers have been able to develop one.

They have been designed with a single cutter head to do the tasks of the two power tools and when needed convert from one to the other.

The combo is much advantageous as it will require minimal space as compared when having both the planer and the jointer in your working station.

Additionally, the jointer/planer combo tends to be less costly as compared when the two tools are purchased separately. This machine is much convenient and also easy to use.

Although they tend to be less expensive when compared to buying the two power tools separately, their electricity consumption tends to be more. They are heavy to move around and require a 220-volt thus you could end up spending more on electricity bills.

Which is Better Between a Planer and a Jointer?

The decision on whether to go for a planer or a jointer will depend on the woodworking project that you are working on, the type of wood that you are using, whether the lumber purchased is dimensional and precise for the work.

However, a vast array of woodworkers tends to believe that you can do and accomplish much through the use of a planer as compared to when using a jointer.

Additionally, there are limitations when it comes to the number of tasks that can be undertaken using a jointer as compared to a planer which tends to be more versatile.

Separate and apart from the nature of your likely projects, many serious woodworkers believe you’ll be able to accomplish more with a planer on its own.

Additionally, there are other options for the work a jointer does, and any serious woodworker’s home shop already has a powerful tool for that purpose with a bit of imagination.

Is It Possible to Use a Table Saw as an Alternative to a Jointer?

Although a jointer and a table saw have been designed differently they may be used for the same type of tasks. Thus, if you do not have a jointer you may use a table saw. A table saw requires a high level of caution when operating as it could be much hazardous when used carelessly.

Can a Planer be used as a Jointer?

Planers and jointers require some level of experts and skills for their optimal use and the provision of high-quality cuts. It is possible to use a planer in place of a jointer.

However, the main limitation is on the size of the planer in terms of the width of the cutting knife and the bed. The thickness of the lumber to be cut also matters.

Final Verdict on Jointers and Planers

Both planers and jointers are essential woodworking power tools, the decision on whether to go for a jointer or planer will majorly be determined by the type of woodworking project that you are undertaking. However, you will be able to accomplish more through the use of a jointer as it’s ideal for making both flat faces and square/flat edges.


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Sokna Chan

Welcome to Carpentry is my passion. I understand that it can be challenging for those seeking to venture into this industry, especially if you are a novice. I hope you enjoy and get a lot of ideas from my website. Thank you so much for your time.

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