What Does a Jointer Do? – Ask Matt #13

A jointer is a very important tool in a woodworking shop. Its job is to set the foundation for all future work you will be doing with a board. Being able to properly mill a board flat and true is a fundamental task in woodworking because flat work pieces lead to more precise and consistent joinery in your projects.

This is the thirteenth episode of my Ask Matt series. If you have a topic suggestion please feel free to sent it to me.

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26 Comments

  1. There is something I’d like to add to Matthews excellent video.

    One of the key things when learning to use a jointer is understanding the sounds of the process. It’s very difficult to explain in words, but sound tells you a heck of a lot. For example, if you’re getting tear out as a result of reversing grain in a board, or because you’re taking too much material in one pass, you can hear it. That also tells you if you’re planing with the grain (correct) or against (almost always incorrect).

    When dealing with a board which is bowed, curved lengthways, as Matthew is in the video, the sound the planer makes will tell you if you’re removing the bow or not. With a bowed board, you’ll hear the planer knives engaging as the front portion of the board crosses the cutter block, it will then disengage for a time and the sound will change, before re-engaging the tail end, where the sound changes back again. If you had been applying too much pressure, then the sound would have remained consistent throughout.

    With practice, you can learn to match the sound with what the knives are actually cutting and where. If you really want to see the results and practice, you can spread chalk on the face of the timber being planed, then it’s easy to see what material is being removed each pass. It’s really quite cool to see.

    A little tip: Never apply pressure to the board directly above the cutter block. There is no situation where this is correct technique. Take light passes of less than 1mm a time, rarely is it a good idea to go above this if you want a decent finish.

    A jointer is a tool like any other and takes a lot of practice to use well. It’s quite a dangerous tool so do triple check your setup and keep the blade guard in the right location. You really dont want a planer knife flying at you at 300 mph as you’ll end up with no head, which isn’t ideal.

  2. Good additional comment. I actually noticed and noted the difference in the sound during Matt’s demo.
    I’m learning heaps today.

  3. Why demonstrate when ten thousand words will do.

  4. Awesome video! I finally understand the difference between a jointer and a thickness planer. Thanks!

  5. awesome to hear!

  6. My planer is a jointer too.. and for the longest time i thought it’s true for all planers

  7. Excellent !! thanks

  8. great video, I picked up a dj-20 yesterday, I knew I needed it, now I know why.

    Time to pour the concrete floor…

  9. nice!

  10. Great video

  11. Great video! Very informative. Best video on a planer thus far.

  12. thanks!

  13. Piece of beauty, perfectly even and smooth boards.

  14. So why not just use the jointer on both sides instead of using the jointer and then the planer?

  15. you’d have two flat faces that are not necessarily parallel in other words, a board with a varying thickness

  16. Matthew Cremona thanks for the clarification. Just getting into woodworking. I think I’m going to start with your router jig system until I can justify spending more

  17. Herminigildo Jakosalem

    If they made a planer with a removable roller head and an installable fence, wouldn’t that be just great?

  18. So you use the jointer to just 2 faces flat and perpendicular. Then use the planner to get the 3rd face flat and parallel and lastly use the table saw to get the 4th face flat and perpendicular

  19. those hand planner are short in length, won’t they follow the bow in a large board?

  20. thank you!!1

  21. I don’t think the tables are coplanar, the outfeed table is a bit higher which allows the blade to shave the board as it goes up and over it

  22. The workshop tool that I find myself wanting most.

    Normally while sweating, arms tired from spending entirely too long trying to flatten and square a board using a hand plane.

  23. You can also make rabbets on a jointer

  24. Amen in flat wood. It is a pain to clean up a table that has warped wood.

  25. The tip about how not to use the jointer like a planer and press hard through the cut was most valuable to me. Definitely improved my understanding of this tool.

  26. This was the best explanation I have seen! Thank you so much!!

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