More than likely the lumber store used a jointer to get that straight edge,
so you're basically farming that out, which is why you don't need it for
that. It sounds to me like you're not buying rough lumber but S3S, which is
(or should be) ready to plane to your desired thickness and rip to width.
People who truly buy rough lumber use either a hand plane or a jointer to
get one of the faces flat and then either the hand plane again (more power
to them) or a planer to bring it to a consistent thickness. So, if you're
buying S3S, it's relatively easy to get around using the jointer.
You do not.
If you were buying bowed, twisted, or warped wood it would help you flatten
or straighten the wood. I have a jointer and it is probably going to
disappear. Most the lumber that I buy is pretty good to start with as
apparently is yours.
I consider myself an amateur woodworker with
almost 20 years shop (hobby-type) time.
I convinced myself that I needed a jointer about 10
years ago while watching Norm. Set out to get the
best deal I could and eventually bought a Delta 6-incher.
I swear that next to the table saw, I use it more than almost
any other tool (ok, maybe the router is second!).
Anytime I want to shave off a 64th or 32th, guess what I
plug in? Sure, you can do it with a hand plane or
a TS (maybe), but for fast, accurate truing (sp?), I would
not trade the jointer for anything.
Certainly, you can do without it, but it is a great
piece of iron to have around when you need it.
After 20 years of working without one tho, I would
say just keep on doing what you're doing if you're happy
with the time & process you use. On the other hand, if you
have to ask, maybe you do need one!
Time is money. After a couple of years I think I've finally recouped my
investment on the jointer. It definitely speeds things up.
In my experience, rough lumber with one side cut straight is never
truly square to the face of the board. It may appear so when you are
selecting the boards, but when you let it rest in your workshop you'll
probably get a bit of movement. A jointer will make quick work out of
re-straightening and re-squaring the boards. And if you need to cut
larger stock to smaller width with a bandsaw, you are going to release
some pressure in the stock which will surely make it move (depending on
the species you're working with).
I use the jointer to generate a flat (albeit with circular cutter
waves) edge, then remove any cup on the face while at the same time
creating a square edge. Unfortunately you need to always calibrate your
jointer to make sure it is square to the fence.
If I'm joining boards into a panel, I find that the jointer really
isn't enough. It looks good, but there may be 0.01" or so gaps along
the edge of the boards. However, these edges are square.
I then take the 2 boards to be joined together and clamp them (facing
edges up) to the table. I use a long benchplane to smooth both edges
together. This removes circular marks from the jointer blade and makes
sure that the 2 edges match perfectly.
And forgive me, Norm, but if you do it this way you don't need to use
biscuits or an $800 Lamello biscuit jointer.
I carry a 6" combo square in my apron at all times, as I'm constantly
using it. Checking the jointer takes 5 seconds, I don't bother if I'm
If carrying the square dosen't suit your habits, why not buy a $4
drafting triangle and leave it at the machine?
Bingo on all counts. My payback was a bit quicker. I basically paid for a
Powermatic 54a by milling free walnut 'scraps' from a sign shop into 3x3x36
leg blanks. For $11.75 b/f for S4S 3" walnut blanks, it didn't take long.
I s'pose I should not argue with success, but if the two boards have their
(soon-to-be) facing sides up for planing together, how does that make sure
that they match? Seems you would have mirror images in your result. Now,
the mirrors may be perfect so that they are perfectly tight when put
together. But if there is an error along the way, doing it your way
_seems_ to raise the propsect of a compounded error -- i.e., take a little
two much off along the way and when the edges face each other the gap will
be twice the amount you took off. OTOH, if your technique is as good as
your results suggest, then doing the two boards at once would seem to save
time and effort. But, again, doing it _this way_ would not seem to help
ensure a perfect match. My hunch is that _you_ would have a perfect match
even if you did the boards one at a time.
Caveat: I say all this having used neither a jointer nor one of these
high-f'luttin planes some of youse guys have. I'm just trying to follow
along. -- Igor
You're right, nothing is ever perfect (and the more expensive the wood, the
less perfect it is, particularly when you're on the last piece). But, if
done properly, the described method will give you "perfect enough" results
than you would get by doing the edges one at a time without some stable, and
repeatable reference, preferably perpendicular to the edge you're preparing.
Assuming the faces of the stock are parallel, the idea is to insure that the
joined edges, if not precisely 90 degrees each, are at least
'complementary', in that they add up to 90 degrees.
IME when planing with this method, which is limited, it works best when the
thickness of the two pieces clamped together is less than the width of blade
doing the cutting, so that both edges are cut all the away across on the
Actually, you don't even need to go out to the shop to see the principle in
action. Grab a piece of paper and scissors and cut out two virtual
tubafours. Lay them on top of each other and snip one end off with the
scissors, either straight across, or at a slight angle. Now join the two
snipped ends and they should match.
You can do the same thing on a jointer, and remove any small error in the
fence being 90 degrees to the tables, by alternating good-face-in,
good-face-out, when jointing for long grain edge to edge glue-ups.
Just don't try that on a chess board. It reallllly matters. I had
everything smooth as glass and perfectly adjoining, at whatever not quite
perfect angle it happened to be until it fit right.
Actually, the fit wasn't the problem, but the thickness. I wasn't thinking.
I wound up with random width boards. Looked really stupid after the second
cut, with every "square" a different size.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
If your work habits are pleasing to you and you can accomplish what you
want w/o one, I'm not going to try to persuade you otherwise...
If, otoh, you're interested in purchasing lumber rough sawn and/or want
to take on more or larger work and perhaps do some of the routine work
more quickly, then a jointer may be of some advantage. However, <if>
you do decide on one, I would recommend that nothing less than an 8" one
will satisfy for the long run unless small work is all you do, but even
there being able to face joint something wider than 6" is a real
IMO, YMMV, $0.02, etc., ...
========================What can I say except that I have been creating sawdust for 20 years
LONGER then you and I need a ...Jointer.
It just seems to me that anyone who would go to the trouble to have
his supplier put one straight edge on his rough lumber then " plane"
that same rough lumber (by hand or not) then glue up a panel
would also take the time to grab the resulting glued up panel and
plane and sand it himselp....
Maybe my definition of rough lumber is different then yours...
Somehow I think you are starting with lumber that is surfaced on 3
sides ...(that is not rough cut lumber by my definition) then gluing
it up then hauling it to a local shop to have the faces sanded
Just my thought...
There you go. Try getting those edges straight when you come across a gloat
of 1500 bf of <insert wood species here>. It's been my experience that all
edges are rough (if not in raw log form), twisted, and need to be jointed.
Try doing that on your General. Soooo, you keep buying your expensive
lumber and you don't need a jointer. Good on ya.
SH - Still wanting the 16" man machine.
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