Jointer or Planer?

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Hi all,
Birthday coming up, and I'm in a bit of a quandary. I've been given the opportunity to pick up either a planer OR a jointer (not both) and I'm not sure which to go for first or which would be the most useful. I also have little experience with either tool.
I'm leaning pretty strongly toward the 13" Dewalt Planer as opposed to their jointer. I don't do much edge gluing, and what little bit I've done has always come out OK using a good blade on my TS, so that directs me toward the planer. I think I'm more interested in getting repeatable thicknesses and smooth finishes to minimize sanding, plus as long as it's reasonably straight, it looks like a planer makes almost any type of wood usable.
My woodworking skills run from fair to good, probably more good than fair. Most people are suitable impressed that I can get an ego boost from showing off my work, so I assume I'm not too bad. I see a lot of my mistakes, but others don't seem to. Since I have no actual experience since my high school daze many many year ago, I thought I'd see what the folk here think. Am I right in thinking that a planer would make the better tool for me at the moment?
Basically, all I see a jointer being good for is making a straight edge, not that I mean that's not important! But I think the practicality of being able to slice 1/16 or 1/32 or less, to a max of 1/8, of materials from 3/4" to 13" would sure make a nice tool. Oh, and yes, I understand what snipe is, and that a warped piece of wood will still be warped after planing it where that's not the case with a jointer; done enough window shopping to be able to see that. But, a jointer is rather limited to not much more than straigtening and edge, right? Wrong?
Whatever your thoughts, happy to hear them.
Oh yeah, a little sidelight: While perusing the local Ace Hardware this morning, I noticed a no-name "Planner" sitting next to the Dewalt planers. I wonder what kind of plane job a 'planner' would do? ;-) It -was- a lot cheaper; wonder why? <g>
TIA,
Pop
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There is a lot of information on this topic on google. You might try looking there as well.
A jointer makes wood flat and makes two edges meet at a specified angle (usually 90 degrees).
A planer (without additional jigs) makes your wood uniform thickness, but not necessarily flat.
There are ways to work around not having a jointer:
You can use a sled to make wood flat in a planer, there are various plans available for this.
You can use a jig with a tablesaw/router get your edges straight.
Chris
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I use the jointer much more than I use the planer. If you buy your wood rough cut, you can easily recover the cost of the planer. Might even convince SWMBO by showing her the difference in price between surfaced and not.
Anything but a jointer is just a workaround, and shop time is precious.
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George wrote:

Just curious...how do you thickness your wood without using the planer?
Chris
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You will need a jointer to make the board flat before you can plane it successfully, as already mentioned. I like my 13-1/2" Delta Planer. Bugs
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You don't have to go as big as a jointer. A Stanley #5 works quite well.

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Hmmmmm ... comparative get you, or are you curious? What I wrote, which makes sense, if you think about it, because there are two edges and one face to join per board. If you rip it, you may even do another edge or so.
Alternatives exist. Though it was only once per class, and a single board, I used to make foursquare and surfaced with handplanes from scrub to smooth at school.
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George wrote:

Well, the context of the original post was which one to get if you can only get one of them.
I read your post as suggesting that the jointer is a better option because you use it more. While that may be true, if you only have one of them the planer would be my first recommendation.
You can use jigs to allow the planer and table saw to do the work of a jointer--not as well or as efficiently, but they'll do it. It's very hard to do the work of a thickness planer with other power tools.
Chris
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The answer is the one you use most. Planer perhaps not at all if you buy surfaced lumber.
Further, it's a nice idea to spend the discretionary money on the tool that you can't present to SWMBO as a money-saver, merely a labor saver.
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George wrote:

Now that is an excellent point...
Chris
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I have both, but it depends on how you want to prioritize. I do not recall which was purchased first.
I purchase rough cut lumber and so use my planer to surface the wood.
I do not use the jointer so much these days, partly due to myinitial tuning of the machine being less than perfect resulting in jointing a nice twist into 9ft long 8/4 maple. I later realised the machine fence was not orthogonal at the infeed and outfeed tables. The other "partly" is due to post re-tuning I still find my technique being imperfect to result in tapering of the wood from front to back.
So these days I take off any major surface imperfections with either hand planing or careful use of the planer (tiny depth of cut) to get the one surface flat and then flip to get the other surface parallel.
If I could purchase only 1 machine, I would get the planer due to having local sources of rough cut lumber. Hand planing can achieve a flat surface, but it is very hard to achieve a parallel opposite surface without a planer.
Personally, I prefer to purchase rough cut lumber since I am able to achieve a final working stock which is thicker than normal S4S lumber. I really like the look of true 7/8 or 15/16in wood than the normal 3/4in or less of S4S lumber.
Dave Paine.

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Depends on your source of wood. I can buy jointed wood so I've yet to get around to buying a jointer. I'd not be without my planer though.
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"Pop" wrote:
>Birthday coming up, and I'm in a bit of a quandary. I've been given the >opportunity to pick up either a planer OR a jointer (not both) and I'm not >sure which to go for first or which would be the most useful. I also have >little experience with either tool.
Depends on how you buy your wood.
SFWIW, there are many work arounds for a jointer, but your options are much more limited when it comes to a planer.
Lew
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I don't know what others' experience is, but it doesn't seem to matter how I buy my wood. S3S doesn't consistently have a straight edge, so I end up jointing it anyway. And no matter if you buy your wood planed, it's rare that I need it in the exact thickness supplied.

Agreed.
todd
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Although I reccomend that you buy the planer. You misunderstand the benefit of a jointer. First you want to *face* joint a board to make sure that the big surface is flat; then you edge joint. For an accurate edge joint, you need to have a flat reference surface to place against the jointer's fence.
So you think that you can buy flat lumber? or you can buy jointed lumber? Maybe, but it's not going to be cossistantly as flat and square as a a freshly milled edge done by you that day. This is one area where DIY is generally better than a professional job done on huge industrial equipment (except particulary large boards). IF you buy rough stock, it may be close to flat, but not dead flat. If you buy prejointed stock, by the time that you get to use all of it, it will no longer be true.
This may sound all way too anal, but it is a subtlety that provides a very real and measurable benefit. Ever since I started jointing (face and edge) all of my stock the accuracy of my work stepped up considerably. Eliminating all twist (which is what face jointing fixes) resuts in assemblies that are flat and square. It is damn near impossible to assemble a flat frame and pannel door if there is a little bit of twist in a stile, or of the edge is not truely square to the face. The twist is magnified by the connecting rail. Think through this geometry.
For me, having a jointer is about establishing reference faces from which all althe milling operations are made.

1st generation planers did not have cutter head locks. The result is snipe and lots of it. Over the life of the planer you will pay for the increased cost by not throwing away sniped wood. Sure there are workarounds, but they don't always work and they are a significant PITA. BTDT.
Cheers,
Steve
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hello,
the guys at my local lumber yard will give me a straight edge for around .20 a foot on the boards that I buy, I then bring them back home and use them, and a face joint and edge for $.40 er bf... not only do I get my straight edge freshly cut, but it's done on a professional quality, well setup and maintained 8" jointer with nice long extra infeed and outfeed tables to ensure quality work, a setup that I could never reproduce at home in my small shop.
I however use the planner all the time. could not live without it.
regards, cyrille

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I guess that all depends in your volume and how handy you lumber supplier is. I could buy an 8" jointer with those .40/bf in about 4 years. Thats a pretty good ROI for a hobbyist.
YMMV.
--
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Hi Steve, No doubt, I probably do misunderstand the benefits of a jointer; no arguement there. That's really the reason for my quandary <g>. I didn't find your info anal at all either, actually. It made complete sense, to me at least; all good information and tucked away for "next time". Since I don't do a lot of jointing work, and in view at least of my foreseeable projects, I've decided to go the planer route. I started planning the underpinnings for a portable table for it last night since I don't yet know the actual dimensions.
Wish my shop was bigger! <g>
Pop

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Hmmm, lots of good input; thanks, all who've responded so far. I'll chaw that over & see what spits out.
One couple Q's if I may: How important is a vacuum attachment for either? Will a shop-vac handle it or does it take a real DC? I'm wanting to make this portable to roll it out of the way when it's not in use.
In a limited space: My ideal location would be to have the outfeed side feed out and over my wood lathe, above the heads. I could easily put a "helper" roller on the lathe table for long boards, too that way. But, it'd be about 42" floor to wood. That might be convenient for a planer? but I don't think a jointer would be much use at that height. Or is it too high for either?
I have an alternative, but it'd require opening the door and letting the outfeed feed into the garage parking area but it's cold/hot there depending on the season. Not a deal breaker, but if I could keep it inside it'd be more comfortable working with it. My shop's only about 12 x 22 feet with 8' of that 22 down to 8' wide vs 12. Wife won't give up the sewing room on the other side <g>. Yet.
Pop

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hello,
DC is realy good with a planner. The planner is the biggest chip producer in the shop as far as I know, and will fill up a full trashcan in less than 1 hour. the HF DC is back on sale and I will be buying one this afternoon!!!!!
a shop vac will not handle the chip load of a planner. my planner (dewalt 735 from memory) has a fan assisted chip ejection, so what I did (in the meantime) is make a trashcan cover with some fabric, make a 2" hole in it, and use that as a chip collection, but it is not the most eficient (but mostly work).
cyrille

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