Which Comes First: Planer or Jointer?

This week’s question comes from Doug. He writes:

Hi Marc. I only have the money to buy one tool at a time with months in between purchases. If you were going to choose between a planer and jointer, which one would come first?

And here was my reply:
Hey Doug. Excellent question. If I had to pick only one, I would get the planer first. That way you can at least get your lumber pretty darn close to flat and parallel. Furthermore, you can resize your lumber when necessary. And for jointing tasks, you can always do a few tricks at the tablesaw, or use a router and a straight edge. Or just invest in a nice long jointer plane. I’ll tell ya, these days, I would be lost without both the jointer AND the planer. So sad.

But that’s just my opinion. I think Doug would be best served hearing everyone’s opinions about this question. So what would you find most useful on it’s own, the planer or the jointer?

Category: Tools


  1. Andrew Craig October 24, 2007

    I would definitely agree with Marc. Although I bought my jointer first (Ridgid special from the Home of Despots), I would have most likely received more benefit from having the planer first (once again, a 13″ Ridgid special from the Home…I see a theme developing). To further the point, if you get surfaced lumber, as opposed to rough, it’s close to flat and the planer can bring it to the dimensional thickness you need. Happy woodworking.

    Portland Sasquatch

    • Mike R November 9, 2010

      Wow – you shop at Big (Orange) Box and you’re still willing to assert that surfaced lumber is “close to flat?!”

  2. Paul-Marcel St-Onge October 24, 2007

    I don’t have a jointer so I can’t say which way is best. I opted for a planer first due to the money issue and space!! I’m just pickier about the wood at the hardwood store since a planer can’t take out bow or twist without shims on MDF. I’ve been happy with the results so far.

    Plane to get the faces parallel then use a guided circular saw to put the first straight edge on the board. Table saw to get the parallel edge then crosscut to length.

    For glue-ups, I do ‘kerf jointing’ by putting the edges I’m gluing together and place the guide so the kerf takes a little off both boards. The result is a dead perfect match assuming you have a glue-edge quality blade. Once the boards are lined up, this process is pretty quick.

    For the board I had a twist in (it was too nice to pass up…) the twist was abrupt so i crosscut close then did a kerf joint and the grain was luckily nearly invisible.

    But now if Marc wants to lend me his 8″ jointer so I can compare experiences…


    P.S., it was good to hear Marc say “shoot some brads”

    • Frank Kovach September 24, 2009

      Do you have a special sled or jig for that technique? I have never heard about it, but now it sounds so obviously simply brilliant that it has to work. But I can’t quite picture in my head how you’re holding the wood in place.

  3. Jay October 25, 2007

    If you’re on a budget ALWAYS get hand tools first. Cheap power tools are destined for the bin, you could save yourself the disappointment, stress and frustration from trying to use them by cutting out the middleman and just throw the money away. A basic set of good quality marking, layout and hand tools, on the other hand, can be had for surprisingly little (you can also spend lots) and will always be useful, even when you’ve got as many power toys as Marc. Unfortunately it’s a whole new minefield to cross and a whole new (fast disappearing) skill set to learn which is why I’m sure Marc is planning some more hand tool friendly episodes soon.

    • Thomas Barclay October 16, 2009

      Whereas I agree on the value of good hand tools (and really undrestanding how to use them), I’d disagree with you on the good + cheap part. A good bedrock design #4 plane will set you back hundreds of dollars, as an example.

      Crappy hand tools are bad – as a friend and I found out while taking part of the Fine Furniture making course at Rosewood Studios in Almonte, Ontario. He had a combination square that turned out not to be and it was a mid-priced brand (Not a Starrett, like the school was using for instance, which is a bit pricey but an excellent tool).

      You’ll pay a fair bit if you want good planes, scrapers, draw knives, chisels, and so forth, but they are worth every penny. To be able to prepare boards for finish without touching a sander or sandpaper is amazing, as one example.

      I will also point out that you may have to or want to finish lumber with your hand tools, but taking a crooked, bowed, and twisted rough-sawn board to six-way square with a hand plane is a labour of love and time. Using a planer or jointer to get it there fast (and then a plane to get the finish beautiful) is much faster. So one can still see value in power tools.

      Find places like Rosewood, take a course from a fantastic teacher who knows hand tools thoroughly, and buy some good ones – you’ll be amazed at the things you can do and how beautiful they en up being. Just expect them to take a bit longer to finish.

  4. Austin Dienner October 25, 2007

    i would also choose a planer first, you can always make a sled or something to go through your planer and get a board perfectly flat. And there is other ways to get a straight edge. Of course these techniques take more time so i would def. recommend buying a jointer in the future, but in the beginning i would get a planer.

  5. Steve October 25, 2007

    I went for the jointer first because I had access to a friend’s portable planer. If you know someone with a planer who is close by (and nice enough to let you use it), I’d go for the jointer and get the planer afterwards. If you don’t, I’d listen to the advise above and build a jointing sled for your planer.

    – Steve

  6. Derrel Cone October 25, 2007

    I agree… With a planer sled ro side shims you can make one side pretty flat so you can have parallel sides when you do your finish thickness planing… You can side joint finish with a table saw or router (using jigs…) or with an inexpensive block plan and shooting board… I got my block plane and jack plane at a yard sale for just a few bucks and then elbow grease to clean it up and sharpen the blades… It works for me and I have planer and a jointer (Ridgid by the way…) as well…

  7. Brad Nailor (http://) October 25, 2007

    I would go with the planer first. Most lumber suppliers will put a straight edge on a board for you for free when you buy it, and if you pick through the pile for the flatest lumber you can plane to thickness without face jointing. The lumber supplier up the street for me sells all his stuff rough planed already so its even simpler to plane it accuratly yourself (although his prices reflect the included machining).
    shoot some BRADS?….

  8. Definitely get the planer first. Although it will take longer than using a jointer, you can build a sled for your planer and joint a straight, flat face. Check out this article:
    and this video:

  9. Skee October 25, 2007


    I’m asking the exact same question right now and came up with Marc’s answer. For me, the decision is based on functionality.

    You can use the planer to joint. Sure, there are some hoops to jump through. But compared to buying two tools at once, those hoops seem reasonable.

    You can’t use the jointer to plane. You can try, but you can’t get the two faces in plane with each other.

    So, you have 2.0 needs. The planer fits 1.5 of the needs. The jointer fits 1.0 of the needs. And I figure trying to use the planer to joint wood will simply make me understand the tool that much better.

    That’s how I reached the decision.


  10. Jeff (http://) October 25, 2007


    If I were in your shoes, I would buy a planer first. This will allow you to work with rough cut boards which are a lot cheaper to buy than finished boards. As far as a jointer, I would go out to an antique store or auction or ebay and buy a #7 jointer plane. Rehab it and put a good iron in it and you will be good to go. Since I bought my LN #7 and LN #71/2 my jointer gets very little action. My first jointer plane was a Stanley #7 that I found and rehabed and it works great. I just bought the LN planes because I am on the slllliiiiiipppppeeeerrrrryyyy slope of hand planes. If you have not given hand planes a shot, try it, you’ll love it. If you need any help with rehabing an old plane or getting started, let me know, I’ll help you all I can.

  11. Jason Young October 25, 2007

    I had the same dilemna when I started out (not long ago) fortunately my wife let me buy both at the same time (a 12 1/2″ Dewalt planer and the Delta 6″ benchtop planer (not so happy with)) so my problem was solved. However, when faced with this question, i’d have to agreee with Marc and get the planer first and here’s why:

    In the normal process of dimensioning lumber you normally joint a face flat first and then plane the opposite side. This can be done with a planer only by building yourself a sled out of say 3/4″ mdf. You lay your lumber with the cupped face up and shim under the high points. The sled should have a stop block or use double faced tape to keep your lumber from sliding on the sled. Once you have the “top” flat, you can flip it over and run it through the planer. This may not be as convenient as running it across a nice Powermatic 8″ jointer like some lucky individuals (who shall remain nameless but who initials are Marc Spagnolo) but it works in a pinch.

  12. Shawn (http://) October 25, 2007

    I would agree with Marc, a simple jig set up on the table saw will give you straight and parallel edges. A simple router jig or planner sled jig will give you the first smooth face so that your planner can parallel off of it to create your second flat and smooth surface. Enjoy your woodworking

  13. Gavin Young October 25, 2007

    I agree–get the planer first. With some elbow grease and a hand plane, one can flatten one side of a board and then run it through the planer. I have a 6″ jointer and still have to use this method on larger pieces of stock that won’t fit on the jointer. Its a good technique that’s easy to learn.


  14. Aubrey Sanders (http://) October 25, 2007

    I bought my jointer first just because it was a offer I could not refuse, and I thought that if I was careful and pay good attention that I would be able to get a flat board using a jointer. How wrong I was (thankfully on scrap peices). I think it would be a whole lot easier to flatten a board using planner than a jointer.

    So I guess that makes it Planer 4 Jointer 0. I bet I see a planer in your near future.
    Have fun.

    Ridgecrest, Ca.

  15. Rick Corbitt October 25, 2007

    I have both and had the jointer first. My experience says if Doug does a lot of general woodworking, get the planer first. If he specializes in doing things that require a lot of edge glueing, then the planer should come first. Rigid makes a decent planer that includes the stand and 2 sets of blades.

    Be aware, you can get by with not having a vacuum system with a jointer, but I’d say NOT with a planer.

  16. Craig from downunder October 25, 2007

    I have to agree with Marc on this. I’ve never had a jointer and don’t really feel the need to get one in a hurry. I use a lot of reclaimed timber and the planer (we call them thicknessers down here) has paid for itself dozens of times over. I doubt if I’d have got as good value for money from a jointer (planers down here :) )

    You can (with a well made jig or two), straighten twisted or bowed boards on a planer, but try getting parallel faces on a jointer and see how far you get.

    Bottom line is I can live without a jointer, but I feel a planer is essential.

  17. Frank October 25, 2007

    I would opt for the planer first and build a sled for it. It will allow you level out the material and complete the face planning that you would normally do on a jointer. The edge jointing can be done several ways, but a router table would be my first choice (something else that you can build).

    If you are really tight on money and/or space you can actually complete all these functions with a router and a few jigs. They wouldnâ

  18. Jim October 25, 2007

    Take it from someone in your place I found a great used Delta Planer. for little money on one of the local for sale pages. and I still don’t have a jointer but i can make do. I have my own sawmill so the planer comes in big time handy. I can mill my own lumber and move right into building. Sorry I’m going on. Just get the planer first you wont regret it


  19. Tim October 25, 2007

    Like most people have said… planar first, jointer second. But if you are serious about woodworking, and think this will be a lifetime hobby, take a look at one of these…
    This Jointer-Planar combo has a couple real advantages. One machine takes up less space (important in my soon to be shop). And you only have to buy one tool… One expensive tool!!, but one really nice tool. And wouldn’t we all like to have a jointer with 12″ capacity!!! (And 4″ more than Marc!!!). It look’s like Jet has done a good job with this machine. Easy change over, easy operation. Any chances WMH will send you one of these for review Marc?!?
    But if you are like the rest of us.. keep an eye on trader mags and craigslist for a good deal on a decent 12-13″ planar and then a good 6″ jointer.

  20. Bob...Las Vegas October 25, 2007


    As far as a choice between a jointer & a planerâ

  21. Byron October 25, 2007

    I’m Going to disagree with the master Marc..just because you can buy the lumber in the thickness you need but once you rip it what you goin to do? so I would buy the jointer or I would go on CraigsList.com and buy both of them Used for the price you would pay for one of them new…( It’s Kinda like buying a table saw without a fence!!!)

  22. Mikey October 25, 2007

    I purchased the jointer first. But I should have purchased the planer first. Purchase the planer first, you’ll be happier.

  23. Mark October 25, 2007

    I got a jointer first, but in retrospect I probably should have done my homework and gone with the planer. You can always rip boards on the table saw, but getting then down to a uniform thickness without access to a planer is next to impossible.

    My opinion; get the planer first.


  24. Jim October 25, 2007

    I don’t think we have enough information to properly advise Doug yet. If you assume Doug has a table saw, his choice of planer or jointer may be different than if he doesn’t. The same would be true if he already has a collection of nice hand tools. The kind of wood working Doug plans on doing in the future is important also. I think our first step should be to ask Doug for an inventory of his equipment and find out what his interests are in terms of woodworking in the future.

  25. I guess my opinion is pretty different than the consensus here because my jointer gets used on every thing I build but the planer sometimes isn’t touched. For one thing, you can pick up a perfectly usable 13″ portable planer for well under $500 so its less expensive than the smallest jointer I’d consider buying which is an 8″ (mine is a factory reconditioned DJ-20 and was around $1,400). Other 8″ ones like the Grizzly are nice and are quite a bit less, but are still over $500 for sure. Keep in mind though that if you find a killer deal on craigslist etc for a good jointer or planer, its worth just jumping and you’ll use both tools.

    So much of what I have been building this year involves using sheet goods and dimensioned lumber that the jointer gets used to put a straight edge on things as well as prep for glue ups etc, whereas the planer only gets used when I’m dimensioning stock or dealing with rough material. After the last cabinet I built, I made a committment to myself to stop working with sheet goods and focus on building furniture made from solid wood so my planer will definately see more use; however, its still so much more efficient to put a flat and square side on a piece of stock even if I’m going to turn to using hand planes that I doubt I’d ever stop using my jointer. If I was working at a leisurely pace and was retired or just doing it for the love of working with hand tools, I’d feel differently, but the guys I respect like Phil Lowe, Scott Philips, etc all agree that the power tools remove the grunt work so that they can spend more time doing the work by hand that will show.

  26. Mattias in Durham, NC October 25, 2007

    Get both, if you can, and save yourself a lot of head scratching. I got a planer way before a jointer, and as a result I found myself inventing creative ways of flattening boards. If I was to offer any recommendation, it’s to get both together. Consider buying used if you can’t afford both a planer and jointer new.

    Workarounds for dimensioning lumber that I used while I had a planer but not a jointer:

    – Flatten one face with hand plane, belt sander, or whatever it takes, and check your progress with a straightedge. If you have a rotary laser you might use it to check for flatness. Once one face is flat, run it through the planer with that face down. When the other face is flat, flip the board to clean up the first face. It doesn’t have to be pretty before going into the planer – just flat. It also doesn’t have to be completely flat – you just need to prevent the board from rocking as it goes through. For example, a dip in the middle is fine, because it’s not going to affect how the board goes through. This method is too slow unless you’re doing just a couple of boards.

    – I have not tried this, but you might hot-glue the board onto a rider board, with wedges to keep it from rocking. Then send it through the planer to flatten one face. Once that’s done, pry it off and plane the other face.

    – I have not tried this either, but the jig where you swipe your router back and forth across the whole face of the board seems like it would work. It would be slow, and has the potential to leave high spots that would mess with the planing, but I know people who swear by it. Obviously very slow.

    – Edges are easy. Straighten the first edge with a hand plane. Cut second edge with table saw. Works great, and is very quick.

    – Edge alternative. Straighten the first edge with a router, using a straightedge to guide the router along the board. Works really well. The bigger the router bit, the nicer the cut. Downside is that it’s hard to get this to work with a narrow board, and you have to fiddle around with the straightedge.

    – Best alternative: Just give up and get a jointer to go with the planer. This is the option I recommend. While you’re at it, get a good dust collector. That one is very easy to justify with a spouse, since dust is carcinogenic.

    I would advice against buying dimensioned lumber (s2s or s4s) at the home center unless you absolutely have to. You will cut your joints and then find that the whole table (or whatever you’re building) is slightly out of whack. And everything you make will be 3/4″ thick. Lumber will always move around, so unless you dimension it in your workshop and assemble it in your workshop, it’s going to bend/warp/fart in your general direction.

  27. I am gonna go out a limb here and say this: I would buy the jointer first. Why, here is the why: making sleds for the planer is hard, they are NEVER true, can NEVER make a twisted board truely parallel. I personally would get the jointer, then make a router jig to flatten the other side, then handplane or scape the routed side smooth. This ensures one side is dead flat (a jointer wins hands down here folks), then the router jig allows me to router the other side off that flat face parallel. Easy as pie.

    Of course both is the best option, and if anyone thinks otherwise, they really don’t know what they are talking about! (planer and jointer are the best).

    But the advantages of the jointer (can flatten one face dead flat–this dependent on how wide the jointer is), it can make perfect straight edges for gluing-jigs for planers cannot give the consistency that jointers do for edges, you control what gets cut on the jointer (pressure, where you start the feed-planer takes that control away), and finally the jointer allows the ease of producing 90 degree corners to the flat face or even other angles for bevelling-very handy.

    I am not preeching, sorry if i sound that way folks. But the jointer is really under rated these days!

    thanks again

  28. Tom D October 26, 2007

    I agree with Marc about the planer first.
    The places I have bought lumber from will give me one (sometimes a little rough) flat face and a right angle edge.

    With the planer, I can get nice parallel flat faces and mill the board to the desired thickness. I then use my table saw to straighten up the other edge. If the board is wide enough, I can use a router with a straight edge to clean up the edge as well.


  29. JIm October 26, 2007

    I would have to say the jointer first also because you need true edges to join pieces together. with a getting boards the same thickness that is less important to me because you can have them done at a local cabinet shop or at a saw mill for little money. I have have both now but had a jointer first and I ether flattened them buy hand with a belt sander or hand plane but also took them to my local cabinet shop and had them planed. I have to say that I use the jointer more then my planer.so that is why I would buy the jointer first.

  30. Mitchell October 26, 2007

    I would first go with the jointer. You can always buy dimensioned lumber but what you canâ

  31. kevin October 26, 2007

    Im pretty sure you could get a good qaulity used planer/thicknesser for what you’d pay for a jointer. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone and a great space saver into the bargain.

  32. Chris October 26, 2007

    I would get the jointer first, then after a week you’ll wish you had gotten the planer first… then get a planer. That’s how it happened to me. :)

  33. ScoopLV October 26, 2007

    Don’t forget to shop for used tools on CL and similar. You can often get two quality 10-year-old tools for the price of one new one. Get a copy of “Workshop Machines” by Taunton Press first if you don’t know much about shop machines.

  34. Bruce (http://) November 12, 2007

    You guys have cover it, so new question. Without worrying about space. 12in planer/jointer combo [ie., Grizzly G0633, Jet JJP-12, Rojec MSP310M] or 15in planer and 6in/8in joiner. Does the 3 in difference on the planer make that much difference because either way the cost of purchase [new] is about the same.


    I would actually vote for the combo. They are really taking off in popularity and I do think you will enjoy the extra capacity for jointing.

  36. Steve (http://) November 14, 2007

    I purchase my lumber S2S so having a jointer to flatten one side is never an issue. My big planer is a 30 YO Rockwell 24″. My portable planer is a 20 YO Ryobi 10″ that does all the small work, I love it. I can also plane rough lumber in it and it comes out flat, those little rubber rollers can’t flatten a cupped board like the big Rockwell can.

    Instead of a jointer I just have a very nice, sharp blade on my small Delta TS. I rip one edge and it’s as clean and straight as a jointer could ever be.

  37. Greg December 30, 2007

    Can someone please provide some background info on the combo planer/jointer? I’m thinking it’s a jointer that just also happens to have a wide-enough blade so that you can flatten the wide side of a board too. In the end, you can have 4 flat slides but don’t have any guarantee that the sides would be parallel to each other…??? Is this all correct?

    I’m debating whether to start out with a planer (that seems to have been the most popular answer here versus a jointer) or getting a combo planer/jointer.

  38. Greg December 30, 2007

    (continued from above)
    I suppose, though, with the combo you cannot plane as wide boards as you can with a dedicated planer.


    Greg. The planer/jointer is just that, a planer AND a jointer. The machine actually “transforms” from one machine to the other. So if it has 12″ blades on it, you have a 12″ jointer in one mode, and a 12″ planer in the other. And the trade-off is you get a super wide jointer, but you might be limited by the planer aspect. There are indeed some occasions when we plane things that are way wider than the capacity of our jointers. But for most shops, a 12″ planer is more than adequate. You may want to find a store that has one of these machines in stock so you can see the tool for yourself in person.

  40. Michael April 10, 2009

    I own neither a power jointer or power planer. I do most of my stock prep with hand planes. Part of the reason is cost, Part of the reason is space and the rest is noise.

    Even if you do go with power tools they will still not give you a finished surface that is ready for the finish of your choice. You will have to follow up with sandpaper or a smoothing hand plane. A good smoothing hand plane will clean up the tool marks left behind by the spinning blades. Once you learn the little tricks about sharpening the blade you will spend much less on sandpaper so the cost in the long run is the same or cheaper.

    The nice thing too about hand planes is that you can use them to joint an edge. So I would recomend getting a power planer if you have the funds and space. Supliment that with a jointer hand plane and a smoother hand plane. That should cover 90% of your stock preperation needs.

  41. Dwade March 11, 2010

    Guys, I’m still very confused. I don’t understand the difference between a planer and jointer. I watched a video on You-tube and still didn’t understand the differences. I remember in shop class in high school school and a planer basically made a (for instance) long flat board, for the most part, flat. Didn’t do anything to the sides of the board just the main face and back of the board. I understand this. On top of this planer, was a flat part of the machine that had this rotating blade that was really wide that you ran the edges of your board over, to make it true. And I suppose, that if the board you were using, wasn’t wider than this wide rotating blade thingie, it could in theory, “plane” this boards face and back too, although if it was really long, the cup and convexity of the board would not be truly planed like the area that you shoved the board through, like in the first part of my example. Is this correct? In general, you plane the face and backs of boards and you joint (or is it “join”) the edges of boards? Thanks in advance, for your replies….I’m an idiot but do have some fundamentals with wood working….nothing like you guys but I do enjoy tinkering.

      thewoodwhisperer March 11, 2010

      Hey Dwade. You kinda lost me on that machine you are talking about. But a picture is worth a thousand words so check out this video: http://www.thewoodwhisperer.co.....rs-jumpin/

      • Dwade March 11, 2010

        Awesome! Thanks for the post! I tried putting in planer vs. jointer on the woodwhisperer but ran into just a bunch of ads that really started confusing more more than anything when I was reading the replies. I think that that video definitely helped and yes, it was pretty much what I’d thought. In general, planers are for the face and jointers are for the edges but sometimes you may or can use them both cross ways. I never even though about having flat edges but your board could be a wedge so that was a great helpful hint to simply table saw the opposite edge of the edge you just jointed. Once the video began showing “alternative” methods, I got confused very quickly. Great post, thanks so much for giving me this shortcut b/c I was getting frustrated looking for what I was looking for! Dwade

        • Here’s the straight scoop on thickness planers.

          In order for this tool to give satisfactory results, the lumber you are thicknessing MUST have one flat face. This is true because of the design of a thickness planer. The reference surface for this tool is below the cutter head; if you run a board through that is not flat, the twist or bow cannot be removed. That’s why jointers and thickness planers work as a team. The alternative to a jointer is a jack plane followed by a jointer plane. You’ll still have a flat reference surface to feed through the thickness planer, and you might lose a pound or two in the process.

          Hope this helps.


          Custom Built Furniture

  42. BUY the PLANER first.

    These days in many North American areas used jointers and planers are abundant. The lunchbox planers can be had for about $100 used and the decent-quality 6″ jointers can be had for about the same.

    Serious surfacing of rough wood will tear-up lunchbox planers in my experience… they are really disposable tools with too many fragile parts compared to a real, all metal planer. The lunchbox planers also tend to give a nicer finish and some control sniping better than some heavy-duty light industrial planers.

    The jointer, much as I love having one, is an over-rated tool. It is not so hard to flatten a board with a jack plane (or bigger). Doing it often will make you fit as well. But thicknessing boards by hand is a hella lot more work than flattening one side. Thus, you can flatten one side, and run that side down in the planer to surface the opposite side to flat. The truth is you can do a pretty vague flattening job with side A and still end up with a flat board when you are done.

    Add to that, a jointer, if you try to flatten all your boards with it, will eat up a lot of usable stock. Hand planes are a much more flexible tool. With a jointer you’ll be tempted to try to tune the board flat every which way – with planes you’ll put your attention on the corners and problem areas, where they belong, and not remove more stock than is needed because you’ll just be making more work for yourself.

    Regarding the edge-jointing capacity of a jointer: I admit it can do a good job with edges, but even a jointer is a tool that requires skill unless you have an enormous automated one with an 8 foot bed and a power feeder.

    These days you can rip a pretty nice joint with a handheld saw and a straight edge and fix it clean with a router or a hand-plane. The router and hand-held circular saw really make the stationary jointer partially obsolete.

    While I never made much practice of jointing plywood to remove saw marks when making cabinets, some people do and it really wrecks the jointer knives. Considering plywood cabinet sides are generally under 3 feet on an edge, the jointer is a quick and easy tool to do this with.

  43. Ross May 18, 2011

    I am in a similar situation as Steve. I am currently borrowing a planer from a friend. It is an older or cheaper model and I have noticed issues. I have learned how to deal with these issues, though. For example, the snipe is almost impossible to prevent completely. As a result I have learned to sand a lot. Also it seems that wide boards are a bad idea as one side of the planer seems to take off a half millimeter more than one side. This is fine if I’m planing something narrower than 3″ or 4″. Eliminating bowing and cupping, however, can’t be done. With the issues I’ve had with bowing and cupping of boards, I am looking forward to getting a jointer. I may look into this ‘planer sled’ idea, though.

  44. Nowadays, I read many thing about this issue. I am a bit confused. Everyone is saying something else.

  45. Bob Sisson November 3, 2011

    I went with the planer first because of the money. I get all my would from as saw mill. Let it dry for a year then plane it. It is a LOT of work for the planer. I am finally after 10 years going to get the jointer. I never had the room before but built a bigger wood shop. That will save mr a k lot od wood also the problem with just the planer is that it pushes the wood down flat while planing and springs back up after through the planer, some time the wood is not usable. But if you only have money or space for 1 tool get the planer.

  46. David S August 1, 2013

    Jointer is more important. Always plane ( on the jointer) the surface of a board to get one true flat side. Then run that true flat side against the jointer’s fence and joint/plane the side. This give you two flat surfaces. One side, one face. The run the jointed side along your fence through the table saw, this gives you three truly flat square surfaces to work with. Then you can use the now true edge to run along the jointer’s fence to plane the other side of the board so that you can plane in the correct grain direction. That first side you surface jointed or planed should have been the the side that rides the plane on the ends, not on the center. So the cupped side, not the bowed side.
    Then find a no. 7 plane and hit the High points on the opposite side, basically jointing the side, then get a smoothing plane no. 4, and smooth the side. This is all done without a power planer. You might also consider a no.5 jack plane, it is a more aggresive cutter than a no. 7, can help determining the amount of actual planing you have to do on the bowed side. Used jointer- $150-#$300 usually for a decent 6″. 2-3 used or lower end planes $200-300.
    You cannot get a true flat side with a power planer due to the fact that the board will either run on the ends or the middle. Try all day but it just wont happen, you will go through a lot more wood trying to use a power planer first. Personally, I invested in hand planes first. Most people dont want to hear that because it involves work. Jointer second, then planer. It also depends on the kind of work you want to do. Why go spend a $1000 on a jointer and a planer if your gonna be a weekend warrior on a 4′ long 4/4 or 8/4 rough lumber? Learn basic hand tool skills with the planes and get some appreciation for woodworking.
    One last thing, it is possible to get two flat sides of a board with a radial arm saw and a true level to the face of the blade fence, by running the board on the cupped side along the fence and sawing the bowed side end to end. That give you a flat side. Flip the board around flat to the fence and run the board through the saw to even the other.


      That sounds like a lot of work to me David. If I were purchasing my tools for the first time, I’d find it much more useful to own a planer first. I would have every intention of purchasing a jointer in the future, for the ultimate stock prep solution. But in the interim, I could buy the flattest boards I could find and have a quick and easy way to get my stock to the needed thickness. I could then use the router or tablesaw to joint the edges. While this requires more attention to stock selection, I find it to be far less labor intensive and far more functional than buying a jointer first. Again, I think we can all agree that it’s really the combination of the jointer and planer that makes the magic happen. But for folks who only have the budget to get one at a time, I think the planer would offer more useful functionality. Just my opinion. :)

  47. Jimmy W December 2, 2013

    I know this is an old topic, but important none the less! I have put serious thought into this as well so for anyone out there here is what my final decision is gonna be. I agree with Marc here, planer first. Ill explain why with a couple of videos that will hopefully justify my decision. Here is a link to a simple jig that fits in a planer that any budget woodworker could make in their garage.
    here is another link for a table saw jig that helps with jointing.
    To all you budget woodworkers, do your jig research! There are so many different jigs for a budget shop it is ridiculous! After these two jigs all you need now is to run the piece through a crosscut sled to have a dimensional board!
    Marc, I would really appreciate your thoughts on my post here….or anyone else for that matter if it will save me from making the wrong decision!


      That’s definitely a viable way to go. If you’re getting the planer first anyway, these jigs will help you get decent jointed edges without the jointer, so it’s all good. Though if you have the means and the space, you’ll probably want to add the jointer to the setup later on.

    • Trevor (http://trevorford.org) February 13, 2014

      Well, it’s been 7 years since Marc’s original post. Hopefully he’s got the jointer by now! :)

  48. Hernán May 5, 2014

    Hi Marc, what about using a jointer and table saw to get one face and both edges done, then use a router sled to bring it to final thickness.

    Example: table top
    1-jointer: face and edge
    2-table saw: rip to final width and joint to smooth the edge
    3-glue up and use router sled to final thickness

    Would this be a good way to do it?
    I’m facing the same decision (planer or jointer)

    Greetings from Argentina.

    • Garth July 15, 2014

      Hernán, that is certainly one way to do it, and many people do exactly what you propose. The major drawback is that a router sled can take a very long time to plane a panel down to your desired thickness, especially if you have to make multiple passes or it’s a really large panel (or both!).

      Bottom line, it comes down to what you have available to you (materials, money, time, etc.) and what your priorities are. The jointer makes wood flat, and the planer makes wood parallel (and thinner). You eventually need to do both (make it flat and parallel) but there are ways to accomplish or work around one without the other. Pick whichever is most important to you or will save you the most amount of work, and start making some sawdust. Videos on YouTube can be extremely handy for helping you see what exactly can be done with each tool.

      Where I live, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a cheap used 6″ jointer, but planers are a little less common and quite a bit more expensive. I picked up a decent used 6″ jointer on Craigslist last year for $80, but after looking in vain for over a year I finally just found a used DeWALT DW735 planer on Craigslist for what I consider to be a reasonable price: $260. People must think all that yellow plastic is actually gold – the used ones usually go for almost as much as a new one! :)

      • Hernán July 16, 2014

        Thank you so much Garth!!
        I´ll go with the planer, probably a makita since i cant find Dewalt planers here.

        So glad that you have such a great woodworking community in your country posting videos and all sort of solutions.


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