What is a jointer used for woodworking

What is a jointer used for woodworking

If you are a woodworking enthusiast or professional, you have probably heard of a jointer. But do you know what it is used for and how it can improve your woodworking projects? In this complete guide, we will explore the purpose and function of a jointer in the woodworking process.

A jointer, also known as a surface planer or a planer, is a powerful tool used to create a flat, smooth, and straight surface on a piece of wood. It is an essential tool for any woodworking shop, as it allows you to prepare rough-cut lumber or slabs before using them in your projects. With a jointer, you can remove imperfections, such as twists, bows, or cupping, to create a uniform and level surface.

One of the main functions of a jointer is to flatten one face of a board. This is done by passing the board over the jointer’s cutter head, which is equipped with multiple rotating knives. The knives remove thin shavings from the surface of the wood, gradually leveling it. By repeating this process on multiple boards, you can create flat and consistent surfaces that are essential for seamless joinery and precise woodworking.

In addition to flattening wood, a jointer can also be used to create a straight edge on a board. By using the jointer’s fence as a guide, you can run the edge of a board along the cutter head, removing any irregularities and establishing a smooth and straight edge. This is particularly useful when you need to join boards together to create larger panels or tabletops.

Overview of Jointers in Woodworking

Overview of Jointers in Woodworking

A jointer is a woodworking tool that is used to create a flat, smooth surface on a piece of lumber. It is an essential tool in the woodworking shop and is often used in conjunction with other power tools such as a table saw and planer.

The main purpose of a jointer is to flatten one face of a board, known as the reference face, and square up one edge, known as the reference edge. This is important for creating precise and accurate woodwork, as a flat reference face and edge serve as a starting point for other operations such as planing, ripping, and joinery.

Jointers come in various sizes, typically ranging from 6 to 12 inches in width. The width refers to the maximum width of the board that can be processed on the jointer. The larger the jointer, the wider the boards it can handle.

Jointers consist of a flat, horizontal table, often made of cast iron, with a cutting head mounted on one end. The cutting head contains multiple rotating knives that remove material from the surface of the board as it is passed over the table. The height of the cutting head can be adjusted to control the depth of cut.

When using a jointer, it is important to follow proper safety procedures. This includes wearing eye protection, keeping hands clear of the cutting area, and using push blocks or push sticks to guide the board over the table.

In addition to flattening and squaring boards, jointers can also be used to create bevels and chamfers, straighten warped boards, and taper edges. They are versatile tools that are used in a wide range of woodworking projects.

Understanding the Purpose and Function of Jointers

A jointer is a woodworking tool that is used to create smooth and flat surfaces on pieces of wood. It is an essential tool for any woodworker, whether you are a professional or a hobbyist.

The main purpose of a jointer is to prepare the edges and faces of boards before they are joined together. It can be used to straighten the edges of rough lumber, square up one edge of a board, or create a smooth and flat surface on the face of a piece of wood.

By using a jointer, you can ensure that the boards you are working with have clean and straight edges, making it easier to align and join them together. This is especially important when you are working on projects that require precise measurements and tight-fitting joints.

The function of a jointer is to remove any twists, bows, or warping in the wood, resulting in a flat and even surface. It achieves this by using a rotating cutterhead with multiple sharp blades. As the wood is fed through the jointer, the blades remove small amounts of material, creating a smooth and flat surface.

Jointers come in different sizes and configurations, but they all have similar basic components. These include the infeed table, which is the surface where the wood is initially placed, the cutterhead, which houses the blades that remove the material, and the outfeed table, which supports the wood as it comes out of the jointer.

When using a jointer, it is important to follow safety guidelines and take proper precautions. This includes wearing protective goggles, keeping your hands a safe distance away from the cutterhead, and using a push stick to guide the wood through the jointer.

In conclusion, jointers are an essential tool in woodworking that are used to create smooth and flat surfaces on pieces of wood. They are used to prepare the edges and faces of boards before they are joined together, ensuring that the final project is of high quality and has precise measurements.

Key Features and Components of a Jointer

A jointer is a versatile woodworking tool used to flatten and square the edges of boards, as well as to create smooth and straight surfaces. It consists of several key features and components that allow it to perform its functions effectively.

1. Bed

The bed is the flat surface where the board rests during the jointing process. It is typically made of cast iron or steel and is precisely machined to ensure flatness. The length of the bed determines the maximum length of the boards that can be jointed.

2. Fence

The fence is a vertical surface attached to the bed, which provides a reference for keeping the board straight and square during jointing. It can be adjusted to different angles to accommodate different tasks.

3. Cutter Head

The cutter head is the part of the jointer that houses the cutting blades. It rotates at high speed and removes material from the board to create a flat surface. It can be adjusted up and down to control the depth of cut.

4. Cutting Blades

The cutting blades, also known as knives, are mounted on the cutter head. They are typically made of high-speed steel or carbide and are responsible for cutting the wood. The blades can be sharpened or replaced when they become dull.

5. Infeed and Outfeed Tables

The infeed and outfeed tables are adjustable surfaces on either side of the cutter head. They support the board before and after it is passed over the blades, ensuring a smooth and consistent cut. The tables can be adjusted to different heights to control the amount of material removed.

6. Guard

A guard is a safety feature that covers the cutter head and blades. It protects the user from accidental contact with the rotating blades. It should always be in place and properly adjusted during operation.

7. Dust Collection Port

Many jointers have a dust collection port that allows for the attachment of a dust collector or a shop vacuum. This helps to effectively remove the wood chips and dust generated during the jointing process, keeping the work area clean and reducing the risk of respiratory issues.

8. Power Switch

The power switch allows the user to turn the jointer on and off. It is usually located within easy reach and has a safety feature to prevent accidental activation.

With these key features and components, a jointer is an essential tool for woodworking projects that require straight and smooth surfaces. Understanding how each part works together will allow you to achieve precise and professional results.

Preparing Wood for Jointing

Before using a jointer to create smooth and flat surfaces, it is important to properly prepare the wood. This step is crucial in ensuring accurate and precise jointing results.

Here are the steps to prepare wood for jointing:

  1. Selecting the right type of wood: Choose a high-quality piece of wood that is free from knots, cracks, and other defects. This will ensure a successful jointing process and the best possible outcome.
  2. Measuring and marking: Use a tape measure or ruler to measure the length and width of the wood. Mark the areas that need to be jointed with a pencil or marking tool.
  3. Square the edges: If the wood has rough or uneven edges, use a square to mark and trim them to create a straight and square edge. This will serve as a reference point for jointing.
  4. Checking for flatness: Place the wood on a flat surface and check for any rocking or wobbling. If needed, use a straightedge or level to identify high spots that need to be planed down.
  5. Removing excess material: Before jointing, use a hand plane, thickness planer, or a table saw to remove any high spots or unevenness on the surface of the wood.
  6. Cleaning the wood: Ensure that the wood is free from dust, dirt, and debris that could affect the jointing process. Use a clean cloth or compressed air to remove any particles.

By following these steps, you can ensure that the wood is properly prepared for jointing. This will result in smoother, flatter surfaces and more accurate and precise joinery.

Selecting the Right Type of Wood for Jointing

When using a jointer for woodworking, it is important to choose the right type of wood for your project. The quality and suitability of the wood can affect the success of your jointing process, as well as the overall durability and appearance of the finished piece.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting wood for jointing:

  • Hardness: Hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry are often preferred for jointing as they are more durable and less likely to warp or split.
  • Stability: It is important to choose wood that is stable and resistant to changes in moisture content. This will help prevent the jointed pieces from warping or becoming loose over time.
  • Grain: The grain pattern of the wood can affect the appearance and strength of the joint. Straight-grained wood is generally easier to work with and produces stronger joints.
  • Knots and defects: Avoid using wood with large knots or defects, as they can weaken the joint and cause issues during the jointing process.
  • Size: Choose wood that is appropriately sized for your project. Ensure that it is wide and thick enough to allow for proper jointing and milling.

Remember to always inspect the wood before jointing:

  1. Check for any cracks, splits, or other defects that may affect the strength and integrity of the joint.
  2. Make sure the wood is free from excessive moisture or dryness, as this can cause problems during the jointing process.
  3. Consider the intended use of the jointed pieces and select wood that is appropriate in terms of hardness and durability.

By selecting the right type of wood for jointing, you can ensure the success and longevity of your woodworking projects.

Techniques for Preparing Wood for Jointing

Techniques for Preparing Wood for Jointing

Before using a jointer to create perfectly flat and smooth surfaces on a piece of wood, it is important to properly prepare the wood. This involves a few key techniques:

  1. Square the Edges: To ensure that the edges of the wood are straight and square, use a table saw or a circular saw with a guide to cut along the desired line. This step is crucial because the jointer will reference off of these edges to create a flat surface.
  2. Face Jointing: Face jointing is the process of creating a flat reference surface on one face of the board. This is done using a jointer. Feed the wood across the jointer’s infeed table, keeping the wood firmly pressed against the fence. The jointer’s rotating cutterhead will remove material from the high spots on the wood, resulting in a flat face.
  3. Thickness Planing: Once the reference face is achieved, the wood can be taken through a thickness planer. The thickness planer will remove material from the opposite face of the board, making it parallel to the reference face. This step ensures that the board has a consistent thickness throughout.
  4. Final Edge Jointing: After face jointing and thickness planing, the wood can be brought back to the jointer to create perfectly square and straight edges. This is done by referencing the jointer’s fence against the reference face, and then guiding the wood across the jointer’s infeed table.

By following these techniques, you can properly prepare wood for jointing and achieve precise, flat, and smoothly finished surfaces.

Using a Jointer for Woodworking

A jointer is an essential tool for woodworking as it helps to create perfectly flat and smooth surfaces on pieces of lumber. It is commonly used to prepare wood for joinery and to ensure that boards have a straight edge.

Here are the main steps involved in using a jointer:

  1. Setting up the jointer: Before using a jointer, it is important to set it up properly. This includes adjusting the depth of cut, setting the fence angle, and ensuring that all safety features are in place.
  2. Preparing the wood: The wood that you plan to joint should be clean and free from any obstructions such as loose knots or nails. It is also important to make sure the wood is flat and stable before starting the jointing process.
  3. Jointing the wood: To joint a piece of wood, you need to place the face that needs to be flattened against the jointer’s table and push it forward with an even and steady motion. The rotating cutterhead will remove any unevenness and create a flat surface.
  4. Squaring the edge: To square the edge of a board, you need to place its rough edge against the fence and run it through the jointer. The fence ensures that the edge is cut at a perfectly 90-degree angle to the face.
  5. Checking the results: After jointing and squaring the wood, it is important to check the results. You can use a straightedge or a square to ensure that the surfaces are flat and the edges are square. If any adjustments are needed, they can be made by repeating the jointing process.

Using a jointer requires proper technique and safety precautions. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear appropriate safety gear such as goggles and ear protection. It is also important to keep the jointer clean and well-maintained for optimal performance.

Overall, a jointer is a versatile tool that allows woodworkers to achieve precise and professional-looking results. It is an essential part of any woodworking workshop and can greatly improve the quality of your projects.

Step-by-Step Guide to Jointing Wood

Jointing wood is an essential step in woodworking to ensure flat, straight edges that can be joined together seamlessly. Follow these steps to effectively joint wood using a jointer:

  1. Set up the jointer: Start by ensuring the jointer is properly set up. Adjust the infeed and outfeed tables to be level with each other and set the desired depth of cut.
  2. Prepare the wood: Choose the boards you want to joint and evaluate them for flatness. If the boards are warped or twisted, use a planer or hand plane to flatten one face before jointing.
  3. Orientation: Place the board on the jointer with the face you want to flatten facing down on the jointer bed. Hold the board firmly against the fence and make sure it doesn’t rock or shift during the process.
  4. Jointing process: Turn on the jointer and slowly push the board against the rotating cutterhead. Feed the wood steadily, maintaining consistent pressure against the fence and downward pressure on the infeed table.
  5. Repeat the process: Continue jointing the board, taking light passes until the desired flatness is achieved. If you notice any tear-out or inconsistencies, adjust the depth of cut to remove less material.
  6. Check for flatness: Once the first face is flat and straight, flip the board and repeat the jointing process on the opposite face. This ensures both faces are parallel and ready for further woodworking processes.
  7. Inspect the jointed edges: Examine the jointed edges for smoothness and straightness. Use a straightedge or square to check for any gaps or irregularities. If necessary, repeat the jointing process to achieve desired results.

Remember to prioritize safety when using a jointer. Always wear appropriate protective gear such as safety glasses and hearing protection, and keep your hands clear of the cutterhead at all times. Practice proper technique and take your time to ensure accurate and safe jointing.

Safety Precautions and Tips for Using a Jointer

When using a jointer for your woodworking projects, it is important to prioritize safety to avoid accidents and injury. Here are some safety precautions and tips to keep in mind:

  • Read the Manual: Before using a jointer, carefully read and understand the manufacturer’s manual. Familiarize yourself with the machine’s operation, safety features, and any specific precautions.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Always wear appropriate protective gear, such as safety glasses, hearing protection, and a dust mask. This will help protect your eyes, ears, and lungs from potential hazards.
  • Inspect the Jointer: Before each use, inspect the jointer to ensure that it is in good working condition. Check for any loose or damaged parts, and ensure that the blades are sharp and properly aligned.
  • Maintain a Clean Workspace: Keep your work area clean and free of any clutter, debris, or obstructions. This will reduce the risk of accidents and allow you to work safely and efficiently.
  • Secure the Workpiece: Always secure the workpiece firmly to the jointer’s table using a push block or clamp. This will prevent the wood from moving or kicking back during operation.
  • Use Proper Technique: Follow correct jointing techniques, such as keeping your hands clear of the cutting area and using steady, even pressure when feeding the workpiece through the jointer. Avoid rushing or forcing the wood.
  • Avoid Loose Clothing and Jewelry: Avoid wearing loose clothing, jewelry, or anything that could get caught in the jointer’s moving parts. This includes long sleeves, ties, bracelets, and rings.
  • Keep Fingers Away from the Blades: Always keep your fingers and hands away from the jointer’s cutting blades. Use a push stick or push block to guide the workpiece through the machine and maintain a safe distance.
  • Disconnect Power when not in use: When not using the jointer, disconnect it from the power source. This will prevent accidental starts and keep unauthorized users, such as children, from accessing the machine.

Following these safety precautions and tips will help you use a jointer safely and reduce the risk of accidents or injury. Remember to always prioritize your safety when working with woodworking tools.

Finishing and Troubleshooting

Once you have used a jointer to prepare your wood for further woodworking projects, there are a few finishing steps you may need to take to ensure a smooth and professional result.

Sanding: After using the jointer, you may need to sand the wood to remove any remaining imperfections or rough spots. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and gradually work your way up to a finer grit for a smoother finish.

Applying a Finish: Depending on the desired look of your project, you may choose to apply a finish to protect and enhance the natural beauty of the wood. Common finishes include varnish, stain, or paint. Make sure to follow the instructions on the finish product for best results.

Troubleshooting: Sometimes, even with the help of a jointer, you may encounter issues that need to be addressed before proceeding with your woodworking project. Here are some common troubleshooting tips:

  1. Bowed or Warped Wood: If your wood is not coming out flat and straight after jointing, it may be warped or bowed. To fix this issue, you can try flipping the wood over and jointing it again. If that doesn’t work, you may need to use additional techniques such as steam bending or using clamps and cauls to correct the warp.
  2. Tearout: Tearout occurs when the jointer blades catch the wood grain and cause rough patches or splintering. To minimize tearout, make sure to use sharp jointer blades and take lighter passes when jointing the wood.
  3. Inconsistent Jointing: If your jointer is not producing consistent results, it may be due to incorrect setup or misalignment. Check if the blades are parallel to the outfeed table and adjust as needed. Additionally, make sure the infeed and outfeed tables are properly aligned with one another.

By following these finishing steps and troubleshooting tips, you can achieve professional results with your jointer and create beautifully flat and smooth wood surfaces for your woodworking projects.


Why do I need a jointer for woodworking?

A jointer is used in woodworking to flatten and straighten the edges of boards. It is an essential tool for creating flat surfaces and ensuring precise joinery.

What is the difference between a jointer and a planer?

A jointer is used to flatten the edges of boards, while a planer is used to create a consistent thickness across the entire surface of a board. Both tools are often used together in woodworking projects.

Can I use a jointer to straighten warped boards?

Yes, a jointer can be used to straighten warped boards. By running the warped board over the jointer, you can remove the high spots and create a flat surface.

What safety precautions should I take when using a jointer?

When using a jointer, it is important to wear safety glasses, ear protection, and a dust mask. It is also important to keep your hands and fingers away from the spinning cutterhead and to use push blocks or featherboards to guide the board through the jointer.

Can I use a jointer to make an angled cut?

No, a jointer is not designed for making angled cuts. It is used solely for flattening and straightening the edges of boards.

What types of jointer blades are available?

There are two main types of jointer blades: straight blades and spiral blades. Straight blades are more commonly used and are easier to sharpen, while spiral blades are known for their improved cutting performance and reduced noise.

How do I maintain and sharpen the blades on a jointer?

To maintain and sharpen the blades on a jointer, you will need to remove them from the cutterhead and use a sharpening stone or honing guide to sharpen the bevel. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take appropriate safety precautions when working with the blades.


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Introduction to Woodworking: How To Use the Jointer

Jointer Basics – WOOD magazine

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