What Is A Jointer?

A jointer, better known as a surface planer, planer, flat top or buzzer is part of a woodworker’s essential equipment that he uses to make a flat surface along the length of a board. It derives its name from its basic function of creating flat edges on boards before joining them at the edges to make wider boards.

what is a jointer

Difference between jointer and planar

Novice woodworkers always ask, “What is a jointer?” as much as they want to know the difference between jointer and planar. Basically, each machine is meant for a unique surfacing need. Though both woodworking tools are required by professionals to get the maximum out of rough lumber, yet the basic function of a jointer is to flatten a surface or straightens an edge. A planer is used to flatten the second surface and make it parallel to the one made by the jointer.

Thickness Planers:

A thickness planer takes rough sawn boards and converts them into boards of consistent thickness along their length. They are smooth and flat on upper and lower surfaces. This is done by getting one surface to a reasonable smoothness and flatness. This board is then turned over and the opposite side is also smoothened and flattened similarly.

Since the timber is put through a series of rollers, the end result is a consistent thickness. Typically, a planer comprises:

  • An adjustable table proportionate to the real cutting head that determines the overall thickness of the board
  • An in-feed and an out-feed roller that send the board through the planer
  • A cutting head with rotating blades that cover the timber

Wood Jointers:

The primary function of a wood jointer is to create one flat edge on a board which can then be joined at the edges to make a far wider board. This device comes with two tables parallel to each other and known as an in-feed and an out-feed table. They are placed above the cutter head so that the jointer creates a completely straight and a square edge. When two boards are placed together, they fit perfectly and the strong joint that ensues is nearly invisible.

Advantages of jointers and planers

These two devices are both similar in many ways though they perform different functions. Yet, each has its own advantages, such as:

  • Woodworkers use both these machines to smoothen wooden boards, yet a jointer smoothens the edges of the stock allows the edges of both boards to be joined.
  • A jointer can also joint or smoothen the surface of a board.
  • A jointer is also used to flatten a twisted, warped or bowed board.
  • On the other hand, a planer is used to thin a thick board, and to flatten and smoothen its surfaces. It is also used to create consistent and parallel boards of thickness along its entire length.

Generally, the planer and jointer work in combination with the jointer jointing one edge and one surface of the board before sending it through a thickness planer to smoothen its surfaces and make the board parallel and of consistent thickness all along its length.

Author: John Clax

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