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Wood Jointer vs Wood Planer – Which One Do You Need ?

​Crafting furniture, cabinets, and other forms of woodworking are great hobbies. However, they are hobbies that require the right tools for each specific project.

 There are dozens of different types of saws and power tools that make woodworking easier, including the wood planer and wood jointers.

​Wood Planer vs Wood Jointer

​The planer and the jointer share several features, which leads some people to mistake these tools for each other. While these tools appear similar, they serve different functions.

How Does a Wood Planer Work?

Wood planers have been used for hundreds of years. However, modern planers such as the DeWalt DW735 or DW735X are equipped with a cutter head that is used to plane the surface of a wood board. Basically, the planer cuts boards to the right thickness. It can also be used to help create evenly parallel sides on a board.

​How Does a Wood Jointer Work?

A wood jointer is used to ensure that your boards are flat and even. You place your wood on an infeed table. It then passes over the cutting blades before passing to the outfeed table. You can repeat this process to smooth all sides of the board.

​Why Do You Need a Planer or a Jointer?

​Both the wood planer and wood jointer are massive power tools that are used for milling lumber. While you can perform these tasks by hand, hand-milling requires a lot of practice to master.

These power tools are used for the same basic reason. When you purchase lumber, it is hardly ever straight or perfectly flat. You will typically find warps and defects somewhere along the wood. These defects can limit the quality and structural integrity of your finished woodworking project.

Typically, when using a planer to cut a board to the right thickness, you need one flat side as a reference. This is usually achieved with a jointer. You can create one smooth, flat side with the jointer and then use the planer to create the parallel flat side while cutting the board to the right thickness.

​Top Reasons to Start with a Jointer

​A jointer may be the more useful tool. You often need to start with a jointer to create a flat surface before you use a planer to cut an uneven board to the right thickness. Using a jointer, you can create completely even faces on all sides of a piece of wood.

If the edges or surface of the wood that you want to cut is not flat, the jointer can easily help smooth out the board. The planer will not solve the problem. It will simply follow the bend as you reduce the thickness of the board.

​Top Reasons to Start with a Planer

​While the jointer is recommended for a variety of scenarios, there are also situations where a planer is preferred. If the wood that you purchase is not the right thickness, the wood planer provides an efficient way to get the thickness that you need.

A wood planer is also useful for creating a parallel side. For example, when crafting a table, a door, or a window frame, you want each side of the wood to be identical. The planer can help create this parallel side if the board is already flat. If you notice defects, you should first use the jointer.

You may also use a wood planer when you need to get rid of minor surface imperfections. For example, the board that you are cutting may have minor dents or scratches. The planer can quickly create a smoother surface.

​Which Tool Should You Choose?

​In the end, the tool that you choose depends on the types of projects that you enjoy completing.

The wood planer is mostly used for cutting boards to the right thickness and for creating a parallel surface. However, if the board is not flat, you need a jointer, or you will end up with parallel sides that are not equally bent or curved.

The jointer is the more versatile of the two tools and serves the most functions. You can use it to create flat pieces of wood from boards that are twisted, cupped, or bent. However, these tools also go hand in hand. There are many situations where you may want both a wood planer and a jointer.