What is a jointer used for in woodworking

What is a jointer used for in woodworking

Woodworking is a timeless craft that requires precision and attention to detail. One essential tool in a woodworker’s arsenal is the jointer. A jointer is a machine that is used to create perfectly flat and straight edges on boards and other wooden pieces. It is an indispensable tool for any serious woodworker, as it allows them to create seamless joints and ensure that their projects are sturdy and well-crafted.

The main function of a jointer is to flatten one face and straighten one edge of a piece of wood. This process is crucial for preparing the wood for further woodworking operations such as planing, joining, and gluing. The jointer consists of a flat table and a rotating cutterhead with two or more knives. The woodworker feeds the board over the table, allowing the knives to cut away any imperfections and create a smooth and even surface. The jointer can be adjusted to remove varying amounts of material, depending on the woodworker’s needs.

One of the key advantages of a jointer is its ability to create precise, square edges on boards. This is important for joining boards together to create larger panels or boxes. When two boards with straight, square edges are joined together, they form a stronger bond and create a visually appealing result. A jointer also allows woodworkers to create various joint types, such as tongue and groove, rabbets, and miters. These joints add complexity and beauty to woodworking projects, and the jointer is essential in their creation.

Tip: When using a jointer, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Always wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses and ear plugs, and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, be aware of the direction of the wood grain to ensure smooth and clean cuts.

In conclusion, a jointer is an invaluable tool for any woodworker. It allows for precise edge and face preparation, creating flat and straight surfaces on boards. With a jointer, woodworkers can achieve seamless joints and create visually appealing and sturdy woodworking projects. Remember to prioritize safety when using a jointer and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure optimal results.

Understanding the Function of a Jointer

A jointer is an essential tool in woodworking that is used to create flat and straight edges on boards, ensuring they fit together seamlessly when joined. Understanding the function of a jointer is crucial for anyone looking to achieve high-quality woodworking results.

Key Functions of a Jointer:

  1. Flattening: One of the primary functions of a jointer is to flatten the face of a board. By running a board over the jointer’s cutting knives, any inconsistencies or warps in the surface can be removed, resulting in a flat and even face.
  2. Squaring Edges: Another important function of a jointer is to square the edges of a board. By running the board against the jointer’s fence, it removes any irregularities and creates a straight, perpendicular edge. This is essential for joining boards together accurately and securely.
  3. Creating Chamfers and Bevels: Jointers can also be used to create chamfers and bevels on the edges of boards. By adjusting the jointer’s fence angle, woodworkers can achieve precise angles and shapes on the edges of their workpieces.

How a Jointer Works:

Jointers typically consist of a flat table, a rotating cutter head equipped with sharp knives, a fence, and an infeed/outfeed table. The process of using a jointer involves the following steps:

  1. Starting with an uneven board, the woodworker places it flat on the jointer’s infeed table.
  2. They adjust the depth of the cut by raising or lowering the cutter head, ensuring it removes just enough material to achieve a flat surface.
  3. Next, the woodworker pushes the board forward, against the rotating cutter head, which shaves off any high spots or unevenness.
  4. Simultaneously, they press the board against the jointer’s fence, creating a square and straight edge.
  5. Finally, the board is passed over the outfeed table, resulting in a flat, smooth, and straight surface.

By understanding the function and operation of a jointer, woodworkers can effectively use this tool to prepare their boards for further woodworking processes such as joining, planing, and cutting. The jointer is a versatile tool that plays a crucial role in achieving precise and professional woodworking results.

The Importance of Flat and Smooth Surfaces in Woodworking

Flat and smooth surfaces are crucial in woodworking for several reasons. Whether you are building furniture, cabinets, or even simple wooden projects, achieving a flat and smooth surface is essential for both functionality and aesthetics.

1. Achieving Structural Integrity:

A flat and smooth surface ensures that the various parts of your woodworking project fit together properly. It allows for tight joints and seamless connections, resulting in a stronger and more durable piece.

2. Enhancing Functionality:

A flat surface is necessary for the proper functioning of any woodworking project. For example, when working with table tops or countertops, a flat surface ensures that objects placed on them do not wobble or pose a safety risk.

3. Enhancing Aesthetics:

Smooth surfaces add beauty and refinement to your woodworking projects. Whether you are staining, painting, or leaving the wood natural, a smooth surface enhances the final appearance. It allows for better application of finishes and showcases the natural grain and texture of the wood.

4. Efficient Gluing and Finishing:

A flat and smooth surface is crucial when it comes to gluing and finishing. A flat surface provides maximum contact between the wood pieces, resulting in stronger and more reliable joints. In addition, smooth surfaces allow for a consistent and even application of glue and finishes.

5. Precision in Woodworking:

Creating flat and smooth surfaces requires precision in woodworking. It helps to develop your skills in planing, sanding, and using tools such as jointers and hand planes. The ability to achieve flat and smooth surfaces demonstrates your mastery in woodworking and sets your projects apart.


Flat and smooth surfaces are essential in woodworking for structural integrity, functionality, aesthetics, efficient gluing and finishing, and precision. Taking the time to ensure your woodworking surfaces are flat and smooth will result in higher-quality projects and a more enjoyable woodworking experience.

How a Jointer Provides Flatness and Straightness to Wood

How a Jointer Provides Flatness and Straightness to Wood

A jointer is a woodworking tool designed to provide flatness and straightness to a piece of wood. It is an essential tool in the woodworking industry and is frequently used in conjunction with a planer to achieve the desired finished product.

When a piece of wood is not perfectly flat or straight, it can be difficult to work with and can lead to problems during the construction process. A jointer helps to address these issues by providing a flat and straight surface on one or more sides of a piece of wood.

Here’s how a jointer works to achieve this:

  1. Flattening: The primary function of a jointer is to flatten the face of a piece of wood. To do this, the wood is passed over the jointer’s cutterhead, which is equipped with sharp blades. As the wood is fed through the machine, the blades remove small amounts of material from the high spots, gradually flattening the surface.
  2. Straightening: In addition to flattening, a jointer also helps to straighten the edges of a piece of wood. The wood is guided along the jointer’s fence, which is set at a precise angle. As the wood passes over the blades, any imperfections or irregularities in the edge are removed, resulting in a straight edge.
  3. Parallelism: Another important function of a jointer is to establish parallelism. This means that the flattened face and straight edges created by the jointer are parallel to each other. This is critical when it comes to joinery, as it ensures that pieces of wood will fit together properly.

By using a jointer, woodworkers can achieve flatness, straightness, and parallelism in their workpieces. This not only makes the woodworking process easier but also helps to produce high-quality finished products.

Benefits of Using a Jointer for Woodworking Projects

Using a jointer in your woodworking projects can provide several benefits that can greatly improve the quality of your finished pieces. Here are some of the main advantages of using a jointer:

  1. Straightening and flattening: One of the primary functions of a jointer is to straighten and flatten the surfaces of wood. By using a jointer, you can ensure that your wood pieces have smooth and even surfaces, which is crucial for creating tight joints and achieving precise measurements.
  2. Eliminating twists and warps: Wood pieces often have natural twists, warps, or bowing. A jointer can help remove these imperfections and create flat and even surfaces. This is essential for creating furniture and other woodworking projects that need to fit together accurately.
  3. Creating square edges: A jointer can be used to create square edges on your wood pieces. This is crucial when joining different pieces together, such as when making panels or tabletops. Square edges ensure that the pieces align correctly, resulting in strong and seamless joints.
  4. Improving glue joints: When gluing pieces of wood together, having clean and flat surfaces is essential for a strong bond. By using a jointer to flatten and square the edges, you can achieve optimal glue joints that will hold securely and resist failure over time.
  5. Enhancing overall craftsmanship: Using a jointer in your woodworking projects can greatly improve the overall craftsmanship and quality of your finished pieces. By starting with well-prepared and accurately surfaced wood, you can ensure that your projects have a professional and polished appearance.

Overall, a jointer is an essential tool for any serious woodworker. It allows you to achieve flat and straight surfaces, square edges, and precise measurements, resulting in high-quality and professional-looking woodworking projects.

Common Types of Jointers and Their Features

There are several types of jointers available in woodworking, each with its own unique features and capabilities. These jointers are designed to handle different tasks and suit different woodworking needs. Here are some common types of jointers used in woodworking:

  • Benchtop Jointer: A benchtop jointer is a compact and portable machine that sits on top of a workbench. It is suitable for small-scale woodworking projects and offers a limited cutting capacity.
  • Open Stand Jointer: An open stand jointer features a sturdy, open frame stand that provides stability and support during operation. It offers a larger cutting capacity compared to benchtop jointers and is ideal for medium-sized woodworking projects.
  • Closed Stand Jointer: A closed stand jointer has a fully enclosed stand that not only provides stability but also offers storage space for accessories and tools. It is perfect for heavy-duty woodworking tasks and large-scale projects.
  • Helical Head Jointer: A helical head jointer is equipped with a helical cutter head that has multiple small, rotating cutting edges. This configuration helps reduce noise, improves cutting quality, and requires less maintenance compared to traditional straight knife jointers.
  • Long Bed Jointer: A long bed jointer has an extended bed length, allowing it to handle longer and wider boards without compromising accuracy. It is commonly used in professional workshops where large and wide boards are frequently processed.
  • Combo Jointer-Planer: A combo jointer-planer combines the functions of both a jointer and a planer in one machine. It allows woodworkers to switch between jointing and planing operations without the need for separate machines, saving space and cost.

When choosing a jointer, consider the type of woodworking projects you will be working on, the size of the boards you will be using, and your budget. Each type of jointer has its own advantages and limitations, so make sure to select one that best suits your specific needs.

Choosing the Right Jointer for Your Woodworking Needs

When it comes to woodworking, having the right tools can make all the difference in the final result. One essential tool for many woodworkers is a jointer. A jointer is used to flatten and straighten the edges of boards, ensuring that they fit together perfectly when joined.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a jointer for your woodworking needs:

  • Size: Jointers come in different sizes, typically measured by the width of the cutting blades. Consider the size of the boards you will be working with and choose a jointer that can accommodate them.
  • Bed Length: The length of the jointer’s bed determines how long of a board you can work with. Longer beds provide more support, but they also take up more space in your workshop.
  • Cutterhead: Jointers either have a spiral or straight cutterhead. Spiral cutterheads tend to produce smoother cuts and are easier to maintain, but they can be more expensive. Straight cutterheads, on the other hand, are more affordable but may require more frequent blade changes.
  • Motor Power: Consider the power of the jointer’s motor, as it will affect how smoothly and efficiently it operates. Higher horsepower motors are better suited for heavy-duty tasks and harder woods.
  • Tables: Look for jointers that have adjustable tables, as this will allow you to fine-tune the angle of the cut and achieve more precise results.
  • Dust Collection: Woodworking can produce a lot of dust, so having an effective dust collection system is important. Look for jointers that have built-in dust collection ports or options for attaching a dust collector.

It’s also a good idea to consider your budget when choosing a jointer. While it’s important to invest in a high-quality tool, you don’t want to overspend on features that you won’t use or need.

By considering these factors and understanding your specific woodworking needs, you can choose the right jointer that will help you achieve the best results in your projects.

Proper Techniques for Using a Jointer Safely

Using a jointer can greatly enhance the accuracy and efficiency of your woodworking projects. However, it is important to follow proper safety techniques to avoid accidents and ensure the best results. Here are some guidelines to help you use a jointer safely:

  • Wear Safety Equipment: Always wear hearing protection, safety glasses, and a dust mask when operating a jointer. The machine produces loud noise, and wood chips and dust can be hazardous to your eyes and lungs.
  • Secure the Workpiece: Before cutting, make sure the workpiece is securely held against the fence and the table of the jointer. This will prevent any movement or kickback during operation.
  • Start with the Right Side: Begin by jointing the right side of the workpiece. This ensures that the cutting pressure will push the wood against the fence, minimizing the risk of kickback.
  • Use Push Blocks: To maintain a safe distance from the cutter head, use push blocks or push pads to feed the workpiece through the jointer. This helps to prevent your hands from getting too close to the spinning cutter blades.
  • Maintain a Steady Feed Rate: Feed the workpiece into the jointer with a consistent, steady motion. Avoid pushing too hard or too fast, as this can cause the wood to catch or kickback.
  • Check for Proper Fence Alignment: Ensure that the jointer’s fence is properly aligned with the cutter head. It should be set at a 90-degree angle to the table, providing a straight reference for jointing the edges of the workpiece.
  • Inspect the Blades: Regularly inspect the blades for sharpness and damage. Dull or damaged blades can lead to rough cuts and unsafe operation. Replace or sharpen the blades as needed.
  • Clear the Dust Collector: Empty the dust collector regularly to prevent buildup and maintain optimal dust collection efficiency. This will help to keep the work area clean and reduce the risk of dust-related health issues.

By following these proper techniques, you can safely and effectively use a jointer to create smooth, straight edges on your woodworking projects. Remember to always prioritize safety and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others while operating the jointer.

Tips and Tricks for Getting the Best Results with a Jointer

A jointer is a powerful tool that can help you create flat and straight edges on your woodworking projects. To achieve the best results with a jointer, you need to pay attention to certain techniques and follow some tips. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your jointer:

  1. Start with the right setup: Before using a jointer, make sure it is properly set up. Check that the tables are parallel to each other and set at the correct height. The knives should be sharp and properly adjusted.
  2. Use push blocks: When feeding the wood through the jointer, use push blocks to maintain a safe distance from the cutting blades. This will help prevent accidents and keep your hands away from the danger zone.
  3. Always joint against the grain: Jointing against the grain can help reduce tear-out and produce cleaner cuts. It may take some practice to get used to this technique, but it is worth the effort.
  4. Take light passes: Instead of trying to joint the entire width of the board in one pass, take light passes. This will reduce the strain on the machine, produce smoother cuts, and help maintain control over the wood.
  5. Inspect the wood before jointing: Before running the wood through the jointer, inspect it for any knots, nails, or other imperfections that could damage the machine or cause tear-out. Remove any such obstacles before jointing.
  6. Practice proper technique: When jointing, apply even pressure on the wood and maintain a steady feed rate. Avoid pushing down on the wood as this can cause the cut to become uneven.
  7. Check for flatness and straightness: After jointing one face of the board, check for flatness by laying it on a flat surface. If it rocks or wobbles, continue jointing until it sits flat. Similarly, check for straightness by sighting down the length of the board.
  8. Clean the jointer regularly: Regular maintenance is essential for optimal performance. Clean the jointer after each use to remove any dust, debris, or resin buildup. This will help prevent rust and keep the machine running smoothly.
  9. Always wear safety gear: When using a jointer, it is important to prioritize safety. Wear protective goggles, ear protection, and appropriate clothing. Keep your fingers away from the blades and use a dust mask to protect against dust and debris.

By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that you get the best results with your jointer and create high-quality woodworking projects.


Why is a jointer important in woodworking?

A jointer is important in woodworking because it helps to square and straighten the edges of boards, making them easier to work with and ensuring that they fit together properly.

What are the main features to look for in a jointer?

The main features to look for in a jointer include the width and length of the table, the size of the cutterhead, the fence adjustability, and the overall build quality of the machine.

Can a jointer be used to flatten stock?

Yes, a jointer can be used to flatten stock by removing small amounts of material to create a level surface. However, for larger or more uneven pieces of wood, a planer is usually needed.

How do you use a jointer to square the edges of boards?

To square the edges of boards using a jointer, you first need to adjust the fence to a 90-degree angle. Then, with the face side against the fence, pass the board over the cutterhead, taking off a small amount of material each time until the edge is flat and square.

Is a jointer suitable for beginners?

A jointer can be a useful tool for beginners in woodworking, as it helps to create flat and square boards. However, it does require some knowledge and skill to use properly, so beginners should take the time to learn proper technique and safety precautions before using a jointer.


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