What Is a Woodworking Jointer Used For

Woodworking jointers play a crucial role in achieving precision and accuracy in woodworking projects. Whether you are a seasoned woodworker or just starting out, understanding the importance of a woodworking jointer is essential. In this article, we will delve into what a woodworking jointer is used for and why it is an indispensable tool in every woodworker’s arsenal.

A woodworking jointer, also known as a planer or surface planer, is primarily used to flatten and straighten wooden boards. It helps create smooth and even surfaces by removing any imperfections, such as warps, twists, or bumps. This allows for seamless joining of boards when constructing furniture pieces or other woodworking projects.

But the purpose of a woodworking jointer goes beyond just flattening boards. It also plays a vital role in creating precise edges, ensuring that all sides of the board are perfectly flat and square. This is particularly important when edge joining multiple boards to create wider panels or tabletops.

Furthermore, using a jointer enhances the overall quality of wood surfaces by providing clean cuts and eliminating tear-out. By achieving a smooth finish, it not only improves the aesthetics of your finished project but also makes further processes like sanding much easier.

In the following sections, we will explore the inner workings of a woodworking jointer, discuss its different types available in the market, highlight its main features and functions, provide step-by-step guidance on how to use it effectively and safely, showcase its common applications, share advanced techniques and tips for maximizing its potentiality, address maintenance needs and troubleshooting adviceg.

By the end of this article you will have gained a comprehensive understanding of what a woodworking jointer is capable of and be equipped with knowledge to embark on your own successful woodworking projects.

Understanding the Basics

A woodworking jointer is a crucial tool for woodworkers that helps in achieving smooth, flat surfaces and precise edges on wooden boards. It is an essential component in any woodworking shop, whether it be a professional workshop or a hobbyist’s garage. To understand its importance, it is essential to have a detailed explanation of what a woodworking jointer is, how it works, and its main components.

At its core, a woodworking jointer is a machine designed to flatten the face of a board and create consistent parallel edges. It consists of three primary components: an infeed table, an outfeed table, and a rotating cutter head with sharp knives or blades.

The operation of the jointer involves guiding the wooden board over the infeed table towards the rotating cutter head. As the board passes through the spinning blades, it shaves off any unevenness or imperfections from the surface, resulting in a flat and smooth finish.

The infeed table acts as a support for the wooden board as it enters the jointer while maintaining straight alignment. It allows for precise control over how much material gets removed from each pass. The outfeed table supports the board as it exits the cutter head, ensuring that it remains level and parallel to the surface of the infeed table. These two tables work together to provide stability and accuracy during operation.

Overall, understanding how a woodworking jointer works and its main components is crucial for anyone looking to venture into woodworking projects. Mastery of this basic knowledge sets the foundation for effectively utilizing this essential tool to achieve high-quality results. By having detailed insight into its mechanics and functionality, woodworkers can confidently maneuver their projects through different stages like flattening surfaces and creating accurate edges using this versatile tool.

Types of Woodworking Jointers

Woodworking jointers are essential tools in the woodworking industry, used to achieve precise and accurate cuts and create flat surfaces on wooden boards. There are several types of jointers available in the market, each designed for specific purposes and varying levels of woodworking expertise. This section will discuss the different types of jointers commonly found in the market, including benchtop jointers, cabinet jointers, and hand-held jointers.

Benchtop Jointers:

– Benchtop jointers are one of the most popular choices among hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts due to their compact size and affordability.

– These jointers are designed to sit on top of a workbench or any sturdy surface, making them convenient for small-scale woodworking projects or workshops with limited space.

– Benchtop jointers typically have a cutting width ranging from 6 to 8 inches, suitable for processing narrower boards.

Cabinet Jointers:

– Cabinet jointers, also known as floor-standing jointers, are larger and more powerful than benchtop models.

– These professional-grade machines feature wider cutting widths (typically between 8 to 16 inches), allowing them to handle larger workpieces with ease.

– Cabinet jointers are often equipped with heavier-duty motors, longer beds, and more robust components, making them ideal for commercial woodworking operations or projects that require precision and accuracy.

Hand-Held Jointers:

– Hand-held jointers, also called trimmers or edge planing devices, offer portability and versatility in woodworking applications.

– They are small handheld power tools that can be maneuvered easily along the edges or surfaces of wood boards.

– Hand-held jointers are commonly used for smaller tasks like chamfering edges, trimming excess material, or aligning joints.

TypeDescriptionKey Features
Benchtop JointersCompact size, affordableCutting width: 6-8 inches
Cabinet JointersProfessional-grade, larger and more powerfulCutting width: 8-16 inches, heavy-duty components
Hand-Held JointersPortable and versatile for smaller tasksManeuverable hand-held power tools

Main Features and Functions

Woodworking jointers are a crucial tool in any woodworking project, as they play a significant role in improving the quality and precision of wood surfaces. One of the main features of a woodworking jointer is its ability to flatten and straighten wooden boards.

This is accomplished by using the jointer’s infeed and outfeed tables, along with its rotating cutterhead, to remove any imperfections or unevenness from the surface of the wood. By doing so, it ensures that the boards are perfectly flat and straight before further processing.

Another important function of a woodworking jointer is creating precise edges on wooden boards. The jointer accomplishes this by utilizing its fence and cutterhead to trim and square up the edges of the wood. This is particularly useful when joining multiple boards together to create wider panels or when creating seamless tabletops. The precise edges achieved with a woodworking jointer ensure that the resulting joints are tight-fitting and strong.

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Additionally, woodworking jointers can significantly enhance the overall quality of wood surfaces. By removing any imperfections or roughness from the wood, such as chips, knots, or tear-outs, the jointer leaves behind a smooth and polished surface that is ready for further processing or finishing. This feature is especially beneficial when working on furniture pieces or other projects where a high level of craftsmanship is required.

In summary, woodworking jointers offer several essential features and functions that greatly contribute to the success of woodworking projects. Whether it’s flattening and straightening wooden boards, creating precise edges for seamless joints, or enhancing the overall quality of wood surfaces, these tools are invaluable in achieving optimal results. With their use, craftsmen can ensure that their projects are not only aesthetically pleasing but also structurally sound.

Ability to flatten and straighten wooden boardsEnsures that boards are perfectly flat and straight before further processing
Precise edge creationSquares up edges of wood and creates tight-fitting joints
Improves overall quality of wood surfacesRemoves imperfections, leaving behind a smooth and polished surface

Step-by-Step Guide

A woodworking jointer is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance the quality and precision of your woodworking projects. Whether you are creating furniture, cabinetry, or other wooden structures, using a jointer correctly can make a significant difference in the final result. In this section, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to use a woodworking jointer effectively.

Safety First

Before using a woodworking jointer, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, ear protection, and a dust mask. Make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific jointer model.

Preparing the Jointer

Firstly, ensure that the jointer is placed on a sturdy and stable work surface. Adjust the height of the infeed table so that it is slightly lower than the cutter head’s highest point. Check that the fence is set at 90 degrees to the table and securely tightened.

Jointing Process

To begin using the jointer, turn it on and allow it to reach its full speed before starting any operation. Feed your workpiece face-down onto the infeed table against the fence. Maintain firm downward pressure on your workpiece as you pass it over the cutter head and onto the outfeed table. Ensure consistent contact between both tables throughout this process.

Continue passing your workpiece over the jointer until you have achieved a flat reference surface along its length. Take small increments with each pass rather than trying to remove too much material at once for better control and accuracy.

Once you have completed one face of your workpiece, use this newly flattened face against your jointer fence to create one straight edge by running it vertically along the fence. This will ensure that subsequent pieces are square and properly aligned when joined together.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can effectively use a woodworking jointer to flatten and straighten your wooden boards, creating a solid foundation for your projects. Remember to take your time, be patient, and always prioritize safety. With practice and attention to detail, you will achieve optimal results with your woodworking jointer.

Common Applications

Woodworking jointers have a wide range of applications in woodworking projects. They are an essential tool for creating seamless tabletops, edge joining boards for wider panels, and achieving a smooth finish for furniture pieces. Let’s explore these common applications in detail.

Creating Seamless Tabletops: One of the main uses of a woodworking jointer is to create seamless tabletops. When working with multiple boards to make a tabletop, it is crucial to ensure that they are perfectly flat and aligned. A jointer can be used to flatten the edges of the boards and create precise 90-degree angles, allowing them to fit together seamlessly. This results in a smooth surface without any gaps or unevenness.

Edge Joining Boards for Wider Panels: Another application of woodworking jointers is edge joining boards to create wider panels. Instead of using a single wide board, sometimes it is more practical and cost-effective to join narrower boards together.

However, these boards need to have straight and flat edges for a strong and seamless joint. A jointer can be used to remove any irregularities on the edges and create clean mating surfaces, resulting in a solid and visually appealing panel.

Achieving a Smooth Finish for Furniture Pieces: Woodworking jointers are also instrumental in achieving a smooth finish on furniture pieces. Whether it’s building cabinets, tables, or chairs, having flat and consistent surfaces is crucial for both aesthetics and functionality. Jointers can flatten wooden boards by removing imperfections like twists or warps. They also help create clean edges for seamless joints when constructing furniture frames or panels.

Advanced Techniques and Tips

Advanced Techniques and Tips:

Woodworking jointers are versatile tools that can be used for more than just flattening and straightening boards. In the hands of a skilled woodworker, a jointer can be utilized for advanced techniques that add unique design elements to woodworking projects. Here, we will explore some expert tips and techniques for advanced woodworking with jointers.

One technique that can be accomplished with a jointer is tapering. Tapering involves creating an angled cut along the length of a board, gradually decreasing its width from one end to the other. This is often used in furniture making to add visual interest or to achieve a specific design requirement.

To taper a board using a jointer, start by adjusting the outfeed table to an appropriate height, then use the fence to guide the board through the jointer at an angle. Take small passes until the desired taper is achieved.

Another advanced technique made possible by a jointer is beveling. Beveling involves creating an angled edge on a wooden board or plank. This can add decorative details or create joints that fit together seamlessly when constructing furniture pieces or architectural elements. To create beveled edges with a jointer, adjust the fence angle accordingly and pass the board through smoothly and consistently.

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Complex angled cuts are also achievable with a woodworking jointer by utilizing jigs and fixtures. By setting up specialized jigs or attachments, woodworkers can create precise compound angles on their workpieces, resulting in unique shapes and intricate joinery. These complex cuts can elevate woodworking projects to another level.

When employing advanced techniques with a woodworking jointer, it’s important to exercise caution and prioritize safety measures. Always wear appropriate protective gear such as safety glasses and ear protection while operating power tools like jointers. Additionally, make sure you are well-versed in using these advanced techniques before attempting them on your own.

By expanding your knowledge of what can be achieved with woodworking jointers, you can take your woodworking projects to new levels of creativity and craftsmanship. With tapering, beveling, and complex angled cuts, a jointer becomes an invaluable tool for bringing unique design elements into your work. However, always remember to prioritize safety and practice these techniques with precision and accuracy.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial in ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of woodworking jointers. By following a few simple maintenance tasks, you can keep your jointer running smoothly for years to come.

One important aspect of maintenance is keeping the jointer clean. After each use, take the time to remove any wood chips, dust, or debris that may have accumulated on the machine. Use a brush or compressed air to clear out the dust from the cutterhead, tables, and other parts of the jointer. This will prevent any build-up that could affect the quality of your work and potentially damage the machine over time.

Another essential maintenance task is to sharpen the blades regularly. Dull blades can result in rough cuts and tear-out, impacting the overall quality of your woodworking projects. It’s recommended to check and sharpen your jointer blades every couple of months or as needed. You can use a sharpening jig or a professional sharpening service to maintain sharp edges on your blades.

Additionally, it’s important to check and adjust the settings on your jointer periodically. This includes ensuring that the infeed and outfeed tables are parallel and properly aligned with each other. Make sure that all adjustments knobs are secure and calibrated correctly so that your jointer operates smoothly. When making adjustments, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While regular maintenance can help prevent many issues with woodworking jointers, some problems may still arise during operation. Here are some common issues you may encounter with your jointer along with troubleshooting tips:

  1. Uneven cuts: If you notice that your jointer is producing uneven cuts, first check if the tables are properly aligned and adjusted parallel to each other. If everything appears aligned correctly, ensure that all screws and locking mechanisms are tightened securely.
  2. Snipe: Snipe refers to a deeper cut at the beginning or end of a workpiece. This issue can be caused by an incorrect setup or uneven pressure on the workpiece. To minimize snipe, try supporting the workpiece adequately at both ends and ensure that the pressure is distributed evenly as it passes through the jointer.
  3. Tear-out: Tear-out occurs when the blades of the jointer tear chunks of wood from the workpiece, resulting in a rough finish. To reduce tear-out, consider using a slower feed rate and taking lighter cuts. You may also want to invest in high-quality, sharp blades for better results.
  4. Excessive noise or vibration: If your jointer is producing excessive noise or vibration during operation, it could indicate a problem with the motor, belts, or bearings. In this case, it’s best to consult a professional for repair or contact the manufacturer for further assistance.

By following these maintenance tips and troubleshooting techniques, you can keep your woodworking jointer in optimal condition and address any issues that may arise during operation. Remember to always prioritize safety and refer to your machine’s user manual for specific instructions regarding maintenance and troubleshooting tasks.


In conclusion, woodworking jointers are essential tools in woodworking projects. They play a vital role in achieving professional and high-quality results by flattening and straightening wooden boards, creating precise edges, and improving the overall quality of wood surfaces.

Throughout this blog post, we have covered the basics of woodworking jointers, including their main components and how they work. We explored the different types of jointers available in the market, such as benchtop jointers, cabinet jointers, and handheld jointers. Each type has its own unique features and functions that cater to specific woodworking needs.

Moreover, we provided a step-by-step guide on how to effectively use a woodworking jointer, emphasizing the importance of safety measures for optimal results. We showcased the various applications of jointers in woodworking projects, from creating seamless tabletops to edge joining boards for wider panels.

Furthermore, we delved into advanced techniques and tips for utilizing a jointer for tapering, beveling, and creating complex angled cuts. We discussed the significance of regular maintenance for woodworking jointers, including cleaning, sharpening blades, and adjusting settings. In addition to maintenance tips, we also provided troubleshooting advice for common issues that may arise during jointer operation.

Woodworking jointers are invaluable tools that significantly enhance the precision and quality of woodworking projects. By understanding their basic functions and features while following proper usage guidelines and maintenance routines, woodworkers can ensure optimal performance and longevity for their jointers. So whether you’re a professional carpenter or a hobbyist woodworker looking to take your craft to the next level, adding a woodworking jointer to your toolkit is definitely worth considering.

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