6 – The Jointer’s Jumpin’

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In this episode, I review one of the most critical and fundamental aspects of woodworking: milling lumber. I review my 4-step milling process, which requires some big tools. And since I know many folks don’t have a fully outfitted shop, I also present numerous alternative methods for jointing edges and flattening faces. The jointer’s jumpin’ baby!!!

Update (9/10/10): After re-watching this episode, its pretty clear that I missed the ball with the name. I thought it was clever and funny at the time, but it makes it seem like we are going to focus solely on the jointer. Instead, its more of a basic review of milling procedures involving the jointer, planer, and the tablesaw. Oh well, what’s done is done. I think if I did this video over again though, I might need to add a few more alternative techniques. Primarily, the one that involves using the jointer with the guard off to plane part of a wide board, then running it through the planer with a piece of ply in the jointed area to clean up the other side. A little hard to describe so I’ll have to cover this on the site sometime in the future. All in all, I think this video still holds up in terms of giving you some ideas on how to go from rough lumber to properly surfaced boards.

Category: Techniques


  1. Paul December 11, 2006

    Excellent! A comment though on the router table alternative for edge jointing – I lack a real jointer, as would likely be the case for somebody looking to use their router table for edge jointing. The problem I found using the shim method to offset the outfeed side is the same as a newbie may encounter using a jointer – in so far as technique with regard to pressure on the outfeed side. It’s easy to turn your piece into some weird parallelogram or diamond shape. Yes you’re essentially making a small jointer on it’s side, but there’s an even easier way than using a shim. Simply take your straight-edge and double-stick tape it to your workpiece. Then, using no technique whatsoever, or even any fence for that matter, simply run it along a bearing guided straight-bit for a perfectly flat, straight and perpindicular to the face joint in one pass.

    Happy Jointing!

  2. Tim December 11, 2006

    Good show keep up the good work! Love the big resolution you post your shows to ITunes with. I was wondering why you couldn’t use that nice planner to plane both sides of that board you had? Where you just trying to give many different options to go about it or is a good reason for it? I have always been made to believe jointers were for the edges and planners for the face of the board.

  3. The Wood Whisperer December 11, 2006

    Hi Tim. I am glad you are enjoying the high resolution podcasts.
    I certainly could have just thrown that board through the planer, but remember that the goal is to get two perfectly flat and co-planer surfaces. If you don’t flatten one surface first, you wont be able to properly flatten the second surface on the planer.
    For instance, that particular board I was working on had a twist to it. So the board would tip in different directions depending on where you apply pressure from above. So if I sent that board through the planer, it would have come out pretty wacky.
    Now if you have a rough board that sits pretty stable and is relatively straight, you can sometimes get away with sending it right through the planer. But the proper method requires you to have a trued surface BEFORE it goes through the planer. In most cases, you can true a rough surface with the jointer. But since some boards won’t fit on the jointer, we need some other way to properly flatten one face before sending it through the planer. That’s what I was hoping my alternative would accomplish.

    And whoever told you a jointer is only for edges and the planer is only for faces needs a smack on the hand. :) You can and should joint the face of your boards first on the jointer. As mentioned before, passing it through the planer may not give you a perfectly straight and flat board. To see proof of this, think about a 5 foot board that is a little bit bowed. You can send that guy through the planer 20 times and it will still have a bow in it. The only way to remove the bow is to joint one of the faces first.

    And one last note, I sometimes use my planer to trim edges too. Especially if I am dealing with 8/4 material. After I joint the first edge, sometimes I find it easier to send it on end through the planer, instead of using the tablesaw. Works great!

    I hope that clears things up a bit. If you have anymore questions, please feel free to email me.

    The Wood Whisperer

  4. Creed January 4, 2007

    re: Tim’s query: I’ve been taught a jointer is for making a flat surface, a planer is for making two surfaces parallel to one another. (Which is the essence of Marc’s comment.) It’s extremely difficult to substitute one of these machining steps for the other unless the piece was true and square to start with and all you want to do is dimension it.

  5. David Genrich January 29, 2007

    Marc – first, I love your PodCasts. You are doing a great services to woodworkers everywhere. DIY Network should give you a show and pay you to do these!

    Now, for my question. You mention using hot glue to mount a board to a planner sled to remove rocking. That makes sense – but how do you remove the board from the planner sled once the top is flat? (I have never used hot glue, so that might also be the source of my confusion).

    David Genrich


    Hey David. Hot glue dries hard, but it doesnt really stick like regular glue. it sticks more like caulking. So if you use it sparingly, you can easily pry it back up off the board with no damage to your work piece. Its a handy trick.


  7. Mark Salomon February 20, 2007

    I’ve been woodworking for a number of years and think that your episode provides the best single overview that I’ve seen–it does a great conceptual job without getting bogged in detail or tools. I suggest that once your viewers have mastered the basics they might want to consider purchasing a good hand plane . Hand planes are (1) the best way to quickly flatten larger surfaces (think tops of table and cabinets; (2)a better way to remove wind from boards; (3) the only practical way to surface highly figured woods.

  8. Gordon Patnude November 7, 2007

    Hey, I just discovered your videocasts through Fine Woodworking’s website. I have to say that you are doing an impressive job here, and I have added you to my favorite sites.

    I love your style of presentation – it is very natural, comfortable, informative, entertaining and sometimes funny. Don’t change a thing!!


  9. JC March 28, 2009

    Hello Marc! I’m new to woodworking and I think your site, videos and sense of humor and ability to instruct are a great resource for anybody.

    That being said I have a question about milling lumber. Let’s say you come home with a half dozen 4/4 quarter sawn oak planks roughly 12 feet long and 8 inches wide. do you mill all the planks to finished lumber? or do you cut off what you need for a particular project and mill the smaller pieces?

    Thanks for putting in the effort to help us all out. JC


      Hey JC. In most cases, I will lay out my cuts on the large boards and cut them down to size. Then I mill the smaller parts. But I only do this up to a point. Lets say the project calls for a couple 12″ long parts. I am most likely going to mill a longer piece that contains at least two of the 12″ pieces, instead of cutting the boards down to 12″ and milling them individually. So there is some consolidation of sorts. But overall, I do cut the parts down (usually with a jigsaw) first, then I mill the smaller pieces to size. You can see me do this pretty clearly in the beginning of the Gadget Station series.

  10. Rei August 6, 2009

    I’m going thru these videos like a fiend. Very informative, and I love the humor and shirts. =)

    I’m very excited to try some of your ideas!

  11. jack September 27, 2009

    marc what do you think of the jointer planer combo machines? I am looking at the laguna 10 inch and grizzly 10 inch models. is it worth it to pay extra fr jointers and planers with helical heads?

      thewoodwhisperer September 27, 2009

      If you are pressed for space, I think they are a great option. I do think the helical head is worth it on the planer. But on the jointer I would put it in the “nice to have” category.

  12. Matthew Kress September 29, 2009

    I were only going to buy either a jointer or a planer and I could only get one which one would you recomend?

  13. Rob February 11, 2010

    Good video. I have some additional ideas. I have no jointer, just a radial arm saw and thickness planner. I like your idea of using hot glue on a sled… What I have done to flatten bowed lumber on my planner is to simply turn the height adjustment on the first couple passes to compensate for the bow: 1. plane the lumber so it sits mostly flat. It will still have a bow. 2. use a long stright edge to find the top of the bow. Determine how much to remove to make the surface flat and mark it on the surface. 3. as the board passes through the planner, crank the height adjustment up and down the required numbe of turns to remove the bow. 4. turn the board over to create a nice even flat side. 5. plane the first side to remove any waves you made when compensating for the bow. This method takes some practice, but so far is working pretty good for me.

    • Rob February 11, 2010

      For jointing, I use a straight guide on my saw which is 2x longer than the lumber. You simply put the bow opposite the guide and cut it off. Flip the board to cut it parallel. My thickness planner can raise up 6″ and since I have a true and square edge, I run the board perpendicular to plane the edges. I have a 90 deg guide which I clamp to to the infeed table to help keep the wood at 90 deg. I can also take several boards and run them through at the same time clamped or bolted together on the ends.

  14. Cliff Bramlett August 8, 2010

    @ Mark Salomon: Good advice with the plane. I did just that – got a Stanley box plane from Rockler – it’s one of my first real woodworking purchases and the change in my results has been amazing.

    Good, solid advice that I plan to use… as soon as our budget allows purchasing a planer and/or jointer. In the meantime I’m using a sweet little thing Rockler sold me – a Stanley low angle box planer. I’m no expert, but I’ve seen evidence of that mythical “smoother than sandpaper” edge. Love it! I do, however, have years of experience with knives and sharpening and did a judicial sharpening on my plane blade before attempting anything serious.

    Marc, a quick side note: Seems someone hit a typo when entering the email address at the end of the show. I’m sure everyone understands it’s a typo, but thought you might appreciate knowing.

    PPS: Excellent job on the site! I’ve done design in the past, and this is one of the best mixes of ease of use and info I’ve seen!

  15. James Maichel September 10, 2010

    “I think if I did this video over again though, I might need to add a few more alternative techniques. Primarily, the one that involves using the jointer with the guard off to plane part of a wide board, then running it through the planer with a piece of ply in the jointed area to clean up the other side”

    I am pretty sure you covered this during the COD guild build but I forget which video specifically. You could just do some editing and put out a whisper mini.


      yeah I know I covered it in the COD build, but since that isn’t available to the general public I didn’t mention it. But you are right about the mini. Good idea! Thanks.

      • Frank Kovach September 10, 2010

        CALL OF DUTY? Love that game. I guess I have missed the whole ply/jointer thing. I will need to catch up, still doing that. For my two cents Marc, I would like to hear if anyone has ever heard or used the simple method of using a gigantic thickness planer to flatten two parallel faces without using the jointer. I have had other discussions on this method in other venues, never here I think, but here goes. The shop I use has a lot of very large industrial size machines (22 inch planer, 12?inch jointer-at least) among other things. My problem is the method that they want people to use to prep rough lumber is to just throw it in the planer and go to town. They basically flip it every pass and just kind of check to make sure things are going right. Then to the jointer to make a 90 deg edge and to the tablesaw. That’s before I read in three different books and watched 9 different podcasts and read 19 different magazines that said jointer, planer, tablesaw-you know, the right way. The weird thing is, I get in friendly arguments with them all the time and they say it’s because most people don’t have this type of planer and the method they use of flipping it each time-but it seems to work. I’ve never had a crazy messed up board anyway as a result. I don’t know what I’m missing here but just wanted to hear from the real knowledgable sp? people out there if this is legit or are they just nutcase woodworkers?


          Hey Frank. It depends on two things: how flat the boards are to begin with and how pick you are. If your boards are relatively flat, you can get away with that technique (usually called skip planing). The board will wind up “mostly flat”. But if there is a bow or twist in the board, this method will most likely NOT take it out. A big powerful planer will have some serious heavy duty pressure rollers. And if you send a 4/4 board through with a bow in it, the planer will press the board down and temporarily remove the bow as its going through the planer. When the board comes out the other end, that bow is still there. And if you have a twist in your boards, the planer alone will not be able to take it out completely. Now whether this affects your downstream work or not is highly variable. If you’re not that picky, than it will most likely be fine. But if you want truly flat boards (let’s say for a wide table top or something), you are taking a bit of a risk by simply skip planing.

          So no they definitely aren’t nuts. But their boards will not be as accurately-milled and flat as they would be if they used the jointer first.

  16. Mike September 10, 2010

    I decided to pick up a delta 6″ jointer and the Sawstop saw. Delivery is tomorrow.

    I am going to check the jointer with the manual and again using your techniques here to ensure it is level and square.

    Time to watch the video a few more times ;]

  17. Hacker September 12, 2010

    Hey mark a poormans alternative to milling would be great. I have a lowly 6″ benchtop jointer, limited at best, and no table saw ( a festool). I would love to see how a thickness planer and a tracksaw can be used.

  18. Charlie September 13, 2010

    I totally forgot about this vid, great basics. The technique I use is the same, but I usually do both the faces first and then the edges, for ease of tricky grain. BTW did you read a blog post by Glen D. Huey about not letting your wood acclimate and instead just making sure that you surface all sides equally so that they stay in equilibrium? It seems like a good theory.


      Yeah no doubt that even milling is a huge factor. But I still think acclimation is important. That is, assuming there was a significant different between where the wood came from, and where its going. If the wood is right off a pallet from Alabama (they have high humidity, right? lol). And I take those boards into my shop in AZ, I am definitely better off letting the wood rest for a while so that it comes to equilibrium.
      We can try to mill evenly, but sometimes its just impossible to be perfect. So any excess moisture in the board is going to wreak havoc if the board is milled unevenly. The more that board is acclimated to the environment, the more tolerance there will be for uneven milling. So I think we need to keep both factors in mind for the best results.

  19. Duane September 13, 2010

    Great video. I really liked to alternate ideas for flattening large pieces. I’m going to be starting on a Maple dining table so these will come in handy.
    Just found your site and I’m really glad to find a source of info.


  20. Justin September 13, 2010

    Thanks for the repost. Great info as always. When you are new like me these videos definetly help with the learning curve!

  21. Rauhbank7 September 14, 2010

    Because my workshop is quite small, and I am perhaps a little bit oldfangled, I am using nearly solely hand tools. Although my skills are growing by constant practice, especially my skill with the planes is still only average and comes to an end when the boards are getting too wide. Until now I had no solution for the problem of trueing a really wide board, for example a table board with an acceptable result. So, thanks for not only concentration on the jointer, but for present an alternative method with the router next to the jointer and the bank planes. Now I am anxious to try it at one of my next projects.

  22. mike from Pittsburgh September 14, 2010

    This was excellent, thank you. I don’t have a planer or jointer in my shop and I’m not much for hand planing, but it definitely gave me a better understanding of what the process is all about (and therefore what to buy some day).

    BTW I highly recommend picking up a Joint-R-Clamp. Mostly because my uncle invented the doohickey :-)

    God hint on the router sled, as well.

  23. David September 18, 2010

    Hi, I live in Guatemala and 90% of the wood/boards are rough-sawn(chainsaw) that I use…
    After cleaning-up with my PC belt sander, I straighten the boards-edges on my large-router-table using a formed-steel-c-shape-roof-beam as a guide…
    They come in various heights and are formed ‘very-straight’, I use the 4″ X 10′, clamped on its side to the table as my guide… This is very satisfactory in most cases(doors, shutters and outdoor-furniture)…

  24. Jeff September 21, 2010

    WOW! It looks so wasy when you do it! I do not have jointer or a planer in my shop yet. I was wandering if I really needed to put them on the top of my WANT list, and now they are. I am just starting out in woodworking and buying equipment is a slow go, but watching these videos gives me the WOODWORKING BUG!!

  25. Cowboy59 October 27, 2010

    Thanks for educating my son and I Mark.

  26. Wayne December 12, 2010

    I found your website and have bookmarked it. Excellent site!
    I watched your planing video and found some mistakes I was making.
    Now I have a question for a problem I am encountering while planning black walnut.
    When I flatten the board, I am finding one end ends up thinner than the other.
    I have tried alternating and also checked my planner for flatness at zero.
    Help! I don’t want to waste anymore wood.


      Hey Wayne. Just to clarify, you are getting a wedge shape on your boards after passing them through the planer?!?! That’s very unusual. Well without know more about it, the only thing I can recommend is going through a full calibration and setup procedure on the tool. Make sure the cutterhead is perfectly parallel to the bed and make sure your table and extension wings are in the same plane. And of course make sure your blades are also all parallel to the table. With all that done, its pretty much impossible (to my knowledge) to end up with a wedge shaped board. Now if the board is just thinner at its starting or trailing edge, that’s a different problem that affects many planers and its known as snipe. But from what you describe, I don’t think that’s what you’re seeing.

  27. I’m looking for plainer knives the fit the powermatic 54A 6″ planer. The major difference is the thickness according to Powermatic PN708801DX (5/64″) . There are a lot of 1/8″ thick knifes out there but I can’t seem to find the 5/64″. Anyone that has a model 54 A and has replaced their knifes should be able to direct me.

  28. Bill Edwards February 11, 2011

    What is the small square I’ve seen you use in several videos?

  29. Ludovic March 25, 2011

    Hi Marc,

    I’ve got a beginner’s question :

    I own a jointer and a planner, but not a table saw yet.

    The option I see to mill my lumber is :
    Mill 1st face on jointer, then 1st Edge after the 1st Face (on the fence),
    After what, I mill the second face on the planner : 1st and 2nd faces should be parralel.

    Then, I mill the second edge on the jointer. As both face are parralel, the 2nd edge should be perpendicular to other faces ?

    Right ?


      If you do that, the second edge will indeed be perpendicular to the two faces, but that’s only half the battle. The problem is that it is not parallel to the other edge. This is where a tablesaw or bandsaw comes in handy. Now depending on the capacity of your planer and the width of your board, you could always plane the board on its side to establish a true parallel second edge.

      • Brian March 15, 2013

        Hi Mark,

        I’m reviewing this video, as I just bought a jointer. I just read your comment here, and I feel like I’m missing something. If you joint one face and edge and then plane the other face, you now have two faces that are parallel to each other and one edge that is perpendicular to BOTH faces, right? So if you joint the other edge, that edge will now be perpendicular to the face you ran against the fence, and the other face as well since those two faces are parallel. So by the laws of geometry that edge HAS to be parallel to the other edge as well – no need for a table saw, bandsaw, or planing on end. Unless I’m missing something, which is VERY possible! Please set me straight.


          Your laws of geometry must be different than mine. :) The second edge does not have to be parallel to the first edge in this scenario. Being perpendicular to the faces has nothing to do with the parallelism of the edges. One way to understand why is to look at the ends of the board. These surfaces are really just like the edges, only shorter. If you take that board to the chop saw, you can chop one end at a perfect 90 degrees. You can then chop the other end at some odd angle. So now both of those edges are perpendicular to the two faces but they are NOT parallel to one another. The same can be said for the long edges of a board. If you simply joint both edges, you have no guarantee that the edges will be parallel. In most cases, they will be close to parallel but they will likely have a slight taper.

          Obviously this stuff can be tricky to explain so the best way to understand is to do. Head to the shop and mill the board exactly as you initially described. With both edges jointed and both faces smooth and planed, trim a strip off the edge at the table saw. If the two edges are perfectly parallel, that cut off strip should be even thickness. But you will most likely see that what you actually cut is a wedge shape, as you bring the second edge into parallel with the first.

          Keep in mind that many boards come straight line ripped so there’s a good chance the edges are starting off close to parallel. But the only way to make sure they are truly parallel is to make a cut that references from the first edge, either at the table saw or bandsaw or using some sort of edge guide.

        • Brian March 15, 2013


          I am replying to my original post because for some reason it won’t let me reply to your follow up. In any case, I’m an idiot. Apparently I only live in 2d space. I was thinking of the end of the board as a 2d object, in which case of course what I said was true. But, unless something changed recently in the board of overseers of the universe, we live in 3 dimensions. So, once again, I am an idiot. Wasn’t thinking about the fact that the board could be trapezoidal when looked at from above (i.e., like you said, different widths at each end). Between spelling your name wrong and making outrageous claims about geometry, that post was not my finest hour. Apologies for making you type out that thorough explanation as to why I was mistaken. Carry on with your book and photography!



          Haha no worries. Happens to the best of us!

    • mike siroky August 1, 2013

      In my opinion, the thickness planer comes last because it is designed to change the thickness of a board that is ALREADY flat on the opposite face. You cannot flatten the top surface of a board running through the planer unless the bottom is flat already. Sure it will come out smooth, but that is not the same as flat.and squared to the edges. For that you need the jointer, router or table saw with appropriate jigs. Remember the planer cannot square two surfaces because there is no fence. So, after you have jointed/squared one face and two edges, you can plane the final face and make the board the thickness you want.


        I see what you’re saying Mike, but I disagree. The question I usually get is which one should I buy first? To me, a jointer is much less useful without the planer than the planer is without the jointer. Although a jointer gives you one flat face and one square edge, what do you do about the second face if you don’t already own a planer? You’re kind of dead in the water unless you want to use hand planes to true up the second face. At least with the planer, you can get boards that are mostly flat and skip plane them. You can get your boards to the exact thickness you need and you can use alternative tools to joint the edges. This is why when people ask which one to get first, I always recommend the planer. It’s a compromised solution of course, since the jointer planer combination is what will allow you to get perfect boards in just about any situation. But when selecting an order in which to buy tools, I still believe it makes a lot more sense to get the planer first.

  30. Andrew C from Sydney April 16, 2011

    Hi Marc,

    just a quick question regarding the overhead router technique for larger boards ie immobolize the board and route the surface of the board with a sled of some sort on rails. Some sites recommend planing one face using this technique and then putting it through the thicknesser (won’t work if board is too big obviously). Perhaps a really silly question however is there any reason why you can’t surface one side dead flat, flip it over on the jig and surface the other side. I didn’t hear you mention it on the video however surely if everything is square on the jig you should get a coplaner & square board eventually or am I missing something? In addition what’s the best router bit for this application. Would a mortising bit do the job? Thanks for the cool podcasts and website..very helpful.


      Hey Andrew. If the face is flat and the surface you are placing it on is flat, there’s no reason you couldn’t do that. As for the bit, any straight bit will do. But the wider the bit, the less work involved. And if you get a “bowl bit”, you’ll find the results to be quite a bit cleaner with less work to do afterward.

  31. Wayne April 29, 2011

    What hints do you have when planning boards to be glued together. I have boards for a table top and I cannot seem to eliminate the gaps using my jointer.

  32. Bryan V June 28, 2011

    This is a great video, and you do refer back to it quite a bit, which is good, because repetition is a good part of gaining knowledge and skill.

    I started watching your pod-casts not long ago, if only my iphone could hold all your videos.

  33. Wayne June 30, 2011

    In response to the problem I was encountering earlier with small gaps between boards for my table top, I did eventually fix the problem. I did check the flatness on my jointer as you have shown in one of your videos. All appeared ok except for the fence, it was slightly off 90 degrees.. I also decided to take a very small cut on the board edge to get the two joining without gaps. With some care and light cuts, I was able to get tight joints.
    Thanks again for great tips and a website I am truly learning from and enjoying!

  34. J Smith July 11, 2011

    Hey Marc,

    Would definitely love to see the other tequniques you mentioned in your “updated” comment to the video. Perhaps a little more in-depth look into the milling process. I’ve had my planer for awhile, never got to use it because I had no jointer, but I recently got my jointer and got to mill my first boards this past weekend YEAH!

    I have a question though: the instructions for my jointer (Ridgid 6 1/8″) says to never pass a board over the jointer that is less than 3/4″ thick because it could get caught in the blade guard. I measured the height of my blade guard from the surface and it’s got a gap of 5/8″. Although it is always best (and “cheaper” per b/f) to buy 4/4 – 8/4 boards and thus safer on the jointer, it seems to me that anywhere from 1/2″ – 5/8″ thick boards are a very popular size for many projects. So, now with the question, how do you, or how is the safest way to pass a board over the jointer if it is thinner than the gap from your top to the blade guard? Taking the blade guard off is not a great idea, especially with smaller pieces so I thought of perhaps gluing a strip of melamine edgebanding to the face of the blade guard leaving only about 1/4″ – 3/8″ gap from the top to the guard. What do you think or what are your suggestions (or anyone else facing these problems) or what do you do to combat this problem?

    Thanks everyone and keep up the good work Marc. My families thoughts and prayers are with you and Nicole and I hope she feels better soon.



      Thanks Jesse. Nicole is starting to feel a little better. Not a lot, just a little. :)

      As for the jointer, I don’t actually have this issue. My guard sits just above the table surface, probably less than 1/4″. So only on the thinnest pieces do I have a problem. So I actually like your idea of adding some sort of reinforcement strip to the front of the guard. As long as you are sure its securely mounted and won’t come loose. Obviously if it comes loose during use, that would mean very bad things. :) You may also take a closer look at the guard mechanism to see if there is any way to safely lower it closer to the table. Just be away for the blades and make sure everything has its proper clearance. But not being able to go below 3/4″ of an inch is awfully limiting.

  35. Enin August 29, 2011

    Rob Cosman has a great video on hand tools and hand planing boards. it costs money, very informative though.

  36. Ok…here’s the scenario: 6″ Jointer with a 8″ wide board that needs flattening. I recall but can’t remember exactly a technique that can flatten the face of the board on the jointer. Obviously the entire 8″ wide surface won’t be flattened on a 6″ jointer.

    Earlier in this post James Maichel posted on September 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm: ?Primarily, the one that involves using the jointer with the guard off to plane part of a wide board, then running it through the planer with a piece of ply in the jointed area to clean up the other side?

    Is there anymore information available about this technique? I have heard of this technique but I would benefit from some elaboration.

    Thanks in advance!


      Hey Brian. This sounds like a good subject for a video. I’ll see what I can do. But essentially, by removing the guard and running the board through, you will eventually get a 6″ wide jointed surface. But of course, you’ll have some extra material that didn’t get jointed. So the idea is you attach a 6″ wide piece of ply to that jointed area of the board. Use double stick tape to prevent sliding. Then flip the whole assembly over and send it through the planer. This way, the planer is referencing off the plywood surface. The rough 2″ overhang isn’t touching the table so it has no effect. After a couple passes, the top surface is clean. You can then remove the plywood sled, flip the piece over, and plane the opposite side to get rid of the rough 2″ strip.

  37. Mike Piche December 6, 2011

    Hi Tim,

    I’m a novice woodworker just starting to build up my chops and your site is the best site I’ve found for finding clear advice and explanations. Kudos for you for developing such a great resource!

    I just want to give you a heads up that you misused the term “coplanar”. Coplanar means that two or more lines/points in space are on the same plane. If the two opposite faces of a piece of wood are coplanar, then the board would have zero thickness! What we really want is for the two faces to be parallel. I’m not trying to be nitpicky, but it confused me for a second when you said that in the video.

    Anyways, keep up the good work and I look forward to me videos and articles.

    • Daniel January 3, 2012

      Really Mike? Really?

  38. Drew April 2, 2012

    What kind of wax do you use ?

  39. Scott January 17, 2013

    Just watched this video and your note about snipe caught my eye- and I have a question that I haven’t yet found the answer to. Nearly every time without fail, when working on the family Delta Unisaw (a 90’s version I believe), when we are cutting something up, be it plywood or 2×4’s.. pretty much anything- it starts off cutting square but as the cut exits the blade, it basically has something similar to what you call snipe off a router. The back end of the blade digs into the work piece- no matter how straight it gets pushed through. I haven’t had a chance yet (after viewing your video on TS tuneups) to tune it yet, but I’m going to check for square with that and our Biesmeyer fence as soon as I can. Just wondered if this is a common issue or if it does sound like something is just a little bit off. It only happens at the end of the cuts, however, and it cuts in maybe a 1/16″ and upwards of about a half to 3/4″, enough to be a pain when trying to cut perfect squares for nice, tight fitting joints.

  40. Martin October 31, 2013


    I appreciate your explanations on jointing boards. A whole lot of novices get all confused…. until they try to actually DO something with their wedge-shaped boards!

    I hope you will accept my constructive criticism of your Introduction. There is a photo of you ripping a short thick block of wood. Firstly you were NOT wearing Safety Glasses.

    And secondly, I believe discretion would require use of a LONG-shoe type push stick, which should cover a goodly portion of the length of a board, and so assist in holding it to the table. I have found that short boards, or rather those approaching say a 1:1 cut-width to board length are the most unstable in a Table Saw.

    Again, thank you for your videos.

    Martin Camp


      I appreciate what you’re saying Martin.
      I can’t expect you to know this, but that was a staged photo. As you can see, the blade isn’t actually moving. Not that it makes the “example” being set any better, but I thought I’d mention it. Thankfully, I have over two hundred videos showing proper and safe techniques and I certainly hope people won’t make safety decisions based on a one second still photo displayed during an old video intro. :)

  41. Matt April 27, 2014

    Marc, I’m about 7 years later on this post, but I had a question. I’m having trouble finding the WWA post, the link direct appear to work anymore. Is there an updated link?

  42. Matt April 27, 2014

    No problem, thanks for the quick response. By the way, it was the link to the WWA forum post by a guy named Tom regarding jointing with bench planes (10:58 into the video).

  43. Pavitra April 30, 2014

    Your videos have been helpful to learn quality woodworking. Thank you.
    I want to know how to mill a square lumber without a planer/ thicknesser especially when the lumber width is 6″ and more. I do have all other required machines like jointer, table saw, router, mitre saw, etc. but a planer/ thicknesser at the moment. Please advice.

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