Pre-newbie jointer question.

A friend just off-loaded on me an old 4 inch "precision" jointer: A Delta Homecraft, mfg is Rockwell, etc. It's on top of a rather ugly stand, sans motor, and the jointer would need a lot of cleaning, much less tweaking and blade sharpening and so forth.
AFAIK, a jointer has no other purpose than creating a square edge on boards that need to be seamlessly joined, as in a table top or the like. In short, a jointer is not a multi-tasker that can be used for a variety of different tasks, correct? I've little enough space as it is and a seldom used single-tasker is not useful to me.
I have done some pretty square edges on a table saw, and with a router on one occasion (using a straight-edge as a guide). Is there any good reason for having a jointer, especially the one I described, lurking the the corner of my shop? What am I missing here?
Thanks for any/all advice.
Longfellow
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Longfellow wrote:

It is also useful for surfacing the face of material (particularly rough-sawn) prior to planing to thickness although a 4" table limits that significantly.
It all depends -- if you don't edge joint a lot of stock and are satisfied with you current working habits, fine--nobody says you have to change anything. :)
It is, however, rather unusual for folks who have them and get used to using them to give them up.
There are some other uses although nothing that can't be accomplished some other way -- most have a rabbeting extension so that rabbets can be easily formed on the edges of boards for such things as insetting backs of carcases.
Can be used to make long, shallow tapers for things like table legs, etc.
Entrance away from the end of a piece can allow cutting recesses or hollows...
In short, if you haven't missed it, you may not find it worth the shop space. OTOH, if you don't try it, you'll never know... :)
--
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Longfellow,

Well, yes it does create square edges. It also creates a flat surface that is 90 degree of the jointed edge. Useful for any lumber that is cupped or warped. Other uses is that it allows you (some do) cut rabbets. Yours might not.
If you're happy with what you're doing, you probably don't need one. It does take some effort to clean and square one away with the knives and such and since your's doesn't have a motor, it will cost you something as well.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jointer
BTW: In doing a Google search, I found one in Georgia, working and sharpened, for $75 in 2004. Should probably tell the value of it. The tablesaw/jointer combo is about $250, it seems on eBay.
MJ Wallace
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A TS can produce a square edge on a board. The jointer's main function is to straighten and flatten a board. The edges are then made parallel by ripping the opposite edge on a table saw and the faces are made parallel by using a thickness planer on the opposite face from the one that was flattened on the joiner. Others have come up with some rather unique uses of the tool.

I have been doing serious woodworking for about 30 years. I have a jointer. If I had to get rid of any large pieces of equipment, the jointer would be the first to go. I seldom use it. Others find the jointer indispensable. I'd say that if you have been getting along with out one you probably can continue to do so. IF however you buy lots of rough cut lumber the jointer may help you out but a 4" model may be of little value in that respect. Boards can be flattened and straightened with a TS and Thickness planer if you have the right jigs for both.
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wrote:

Incorrect.
The primary task of a jointer is to make straight and flat, things that were not straight and flat to begin with. It's only the very rare board that comes from the lumber dealer truly straight and flat; that's what a jointer (in combination with a thickness planer) is intended to deal with.
The typical sequence in preparation of rough stock is: 1) joint one face of the board 2) joint one edge 3) plane the face opposite to the jointed face 4) rip the board to width
Doing so leaves a board with two straight, flat faces parallel to each other, and two straight, flat edges parallel to each other and square to the faces. (Assuming you have your jointer and table saw in proper adjustment.)
The steps don't necessarily have to come in that order. 1) must come first, and 2) must come before 4), but the order could be 1-2-4-3 or 1-3-2-4 also.
Jointers can also be used to cut rabbets, tapers, bevels, and chamfers.

Many people find it faster and easier to get straight, square edges by using a jointer than by using the methods you describe. I suspect, though, that if you're comfortable with those methods and content with the results you're getting by employing them, that you may find using such a small jointer to be an exercise in frustration: 4-inch jointers as a class are not known for producing high-quality results, and of course the size of board you can joint is limited by the size of the jointer. And not just the width, either: the maximum practical *length* is about twice the length of the jointer, which in this case probably isn't a whole lot over 24 inches -- so the biggest board that you could joint with it is 4" wide by maybe 4 to 5 feet long. Depending on what kind of woodworking you do, this limitation might be anywhere between totally acceptable and completely intolerable.
You don't say whether you have a thickness planer or not. If you don't, you need to know that not having one tremendously limits the benefit that you'll get out of having a jointer. The two work very well in tandem, but not so well apart -- and if I had to have only one of the two, it would be a planer. You cannot joint one face of a board, flip it over and joint the other face, and expect that the two faces will be parallel to each other, because there's no reference surface to align the first face to. You *can* face-joint with a planer (do a Google Groups search on this newsgroup for the phrase "planer sled" for more info if you're curious), and of course you already know how to edge-joint with a router.
And you said this jointer doesn't have a motor.
Kinda sounds like a boat anchor to me.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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<snip>
Thanks to all. The whole thing will hit the back of the pick-up headed for the dump. I've not had a need for one, 4 inches is too small, and a working one is not that expensive.
I certainly do appreciate the prompt responses! Ate lunch between posting and your replies: good to go for the rest of the PM.
Thanks again,
Longfellow
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Why not try posting on craigslist as a trade for some other small tool or items it is better than nothing plus the gas it takes to get to the dump.
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Tvfarmer wrote:

Bill
--
I'm not not at the above address.
http://nmwoodworks.com
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Longfellow wrote:
> Thanks to all. The whole thing will hit the back of the pick-up headed > for the dump.
Why not take a detour to GoodWill?
Even get a tax deduction.
Lew
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