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Jointer Vs Planer – We Explained Easily To understand

For perfect woodworking, you need top-notch tools. Every part, from edges to surfaces, must be smooth and flawless. Jointers and planers, both power tools, are crucial. They often team up, but knowing their differences is key. Combining them helps achieve perfection in your projects. Here’s all you need to know about jointers and planers, including how they differ.

What is a Jointer vs Planer?

In woodworking, a jointer and a planer are both machines used to prepare lumber for projects, but they serve different functions.

A jointer straightens and flattens the edges of boards by shaving off small amounts of wood. It ensures one face of the board is flat and one edge is straight. This tool is important for creating smooth surfaces and precise joints in woodworking projects.

A planer, on the other hand, makes boards the same thickness across their width and length. It shaves thin layers of wood to ensure a smooth and even result. This tool is crucial for projects requiring consistent thickness, like making furniture.

Importance: Planer or Jointer?

While both tools play essential roles in woodworking, their importance can vary depending on the nature of the project and individual preferences. Here’s a closer look at the significance of each tool:

Jointer Importance

While electric jointers are most common in modern woodworking, the concept of flattening lumber dates back centuries. Early carpenters used hand planes with long soles to achieve a similar effect.

  • The jointer is essential for creating a flat and square reference surface on one side of a board. This foundation is crucial for subsequent woodworking tasks, ensuring accurate measurements and precise assembly of components.
  • The jointer excels at removing warps, bows, and twists from boards, contributing to the overall quality of the final product.
  • By squaring one edge, the jointer facilitates the seamless joining of multiple boards, reducing gaps and enhancing the overall aesthetic.

Planer Importance

  • The planer is vital for achieving consistent thickness across the entire width and length of a board. This uniformity is crucial for projects where matching thickness is essential, such as creating symmetrical components for furniture.
  • Once the jointer establishes a flat surface, the planer efficiently reduces the thickness of the entire board uniformly. This saves time and ensures a streamlined workflow.
  • A planer contributes to the structural integrity of a project by ensuring that all components are of the same thickness, promoting stability and balance in the final construction.

Do You Need Both a Jointer & a Planer?

Deciding between a jointer and a planer—or both—holds special importance. Let’s explore whether these tools are necessary for creating high-quality, refined wood pieces.

Determining if you need both a jointer and a planer depends on your woodworking goals and the projects you tackle. Here’s a simpler breakdown:

Which one you need?

Jointer: If you can only pick one tool, a jointer is often seen as more versatile. It can flatten one face of a board and square one edge, crucial for many woodworking tasks. While it doesn’t ensure even thickness like a planer, you can achieve this using other methods (e.g., a table saw or hand planes).

Planer: A planer is vital for achieving consistent thickness across boards. If you mainly work with pre-surfaced lumber or have access to other tools for flattening and squaring, a planer might be enough. There are several different types of planer find out which one meets your needs.

Benefits of Having Both jointer and planer

1. Complementary Functions:

  • Jointers and planers each have unique but complementary roles in woodworking.
  • A jointer establishes a flat reference surface and straight edge.
  • A planer ensures consistent thickness, working together for optimal results.

2. Efficiency and Precision:

  • Owning both tools enhances workflow efficiency and precision.
  • Utilize the jointer to flatten quickly and squarely boards.
  • The planer comes next, ensuring uniform thickness for a polished outcome.

3. Quality and Versatility:

  • Possessing both tools expands project possibilities and elevates quality.
  • Work with rough-sawn lumber, customize dimensions and craft professional-looking pieces.
  • Achieve a broader range of woodworking goals with this versatile combination.

Jointer vs Planer: Key Differences

Aspect Jointer Planer
Primary Function Flattening surfaces, creating straight edges Achieving consistent thickness, smoothness
Typical Usage Initial board preparation, edge profiling Thickness planning, achieving uniformity
Cutting Technique The rotary cutter head, removes material from the top Rotating blades, shaves material from the bottom
Board Orientation Requires a flat reference surface to start Requires one flat face to feed through
Edge Jointing Ideal for creating straight edges for joinery Not designed for edge jointing
Surface Flatness Excellent for flattening one face of a board Focuses on achieving consistent thickness
Versatility in Joinery Essential for various edge-to-edge joints Does not contribute to joinery precision
Material Removal Depth Adjustable to control the depth of the cut Removes material to achieve uniform thickness
Finished Surface Quality Leaves a natural wood texture on the surface Creates a smooth, consistent surface
Material Optimization Minimizes waste by focusing on specific areas Optimizes the use of raw materials by achieving uniformity
Workflow Integration The initial step in the process precedes planning Typically follows jointing for thickness uniformity
Considerations for Purchase Crucial for woodworking with intricate joinery Essential for achieving uniform thickness in projects

When to Use a Jointer & Planer

Knowing when to use a jointer versus a planer is crucial in woodworking. Here’s a simplified guide:

Use a Jointer

  • When you need to make one face of a board flat and ensure one edge is perfectly straight.
  • To create a smooth and even reference surface, ideal for gluing boards together seamlessly or attaching them without gaps.
  • When dealing with warped, bowed, or twisted boards, the jointer effectively removes these imperfections.

Use a Planer

  • Once you have a flat and square surface from the jointer, use a planer to ensure all boards have the same thickness.
  • When working on the entire board reduce its thickness uniformly across its width and length.
  • For projects involving stacking or joining multiple pieces, the planer guarantees a uniform aesthetic and structural integrity.

Combining Both:

  • For a comprehensive woodworking approach, use a jointer first to flatten a face and square an edge.
  • Follow up with a planer to precisely reduce the board to the desired final thickness.
  • This two-step process ensures all components have flat, square surfaces, and consistent thickness, forming the foundation for visually appealing and structurally sound projects.


Knowing when to use each tool is important for great woodworking results. The jointer deals with unevenness. The planer guarantees the thickness stays the same. Together, they make a strong team in woodworking projects.

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