How to use a jointer

So, you're a beginner who's finally taken the leap and invested in a jointer but now you're not quite sure what to do with it. Don't worry - you've come to the right place! This step-by-step guide will walk you through the basics of how to use a jointer so you can start making perfect, straight edges on your woodworking projects. Ready to get started? Let's do this!

Quick Breakdown of Key Point

A jointer is used to square and smooth the edges of wood. To use it, adjust the knives so they are even with each other and the outfeed table. Slowly and carefully feed the wood through, running it in several different directions until you have the desired finish.

What is a Jointer?

A jointer is a very useful power tool for woodworking. It is used to flatten, straighten, and square timber for the purpose of joinery or furniture making. By using a jointer, you can achieve and maintain consistent thickness and straighten bowed boards or warped lumber.

A jointer consists of an upright base and two parallel blades mounted on a level platform. The platform has an adjustable fence that moves left and right depending on which way the board is fed into it. This allows the operator to adjust the cut angle until it is perfect. The base also houses an electric motor and belt-drive which powers the blades to rotate quickly, giving you smooth cuts every time.

Using a jointer can save time, money, and effort in comparison to other methods like hand planing wood. Not only can you work with large pieces of wood but you can also get more precise results as well. Additionally, with a jointer, your cuts are more uniform and mistakes are easier to identify than when you're hand planing.

On the other hand, jointers require more maintenance than some other tools, such as saws or sanders. Also, if the blades are not set up correctly or calibrated properly then you can end up with bad results. Jointer parts, motors and blades all need to be inspected often for proper operation. Therefore there's an additional cost in terms of replacing parts when they wear out over time or require sharpening or repair.

In conclusion, a jointer is an important tool for woodworkers to have in their arsenal due to its ability to help produce uniform and consistent cuts at speed compared to slower techniques like hand planing. It’s important that this machine be properly maintained so errors can be minimized in order to save time and money in the long run. Now that we know what a jointer is, let’s take a look at its parts, Motor, And Blades in the next section.

  • According to Wood Magazine, the most important step when using a jointer is to make sure that your material is perfectly flat and straight.
  • A study published in 2016 found that using a push stick when using a jointer can reduce the likelihood of kickback and increase accuracy.
  • According to Popular Mechanics, it is important to check for snipe before and after running each piece through the jointer and adjust accordingly.

Top Summary Points

A jointer is a power tool for woodworking used to flatten, straighten, and square timber. It consists of an upright base, two parallel blades mounted on a level platform with an adjustable fence, and an electric motor that powers the blades. Jointer can save time and money compared to other methods like hand planing but require more maintenance than some other tools. It is important to maintain this machine properly to minimize errors in order to save time and money in the long run.

Jointer Parts, Motors, and Blades

A jointer is an essential tool for any woodworking enthusiast. Before using a jointer, it is important to understand its parts, motors, and blades. Jointer motors are typically electric and are used to power the jointer’s cutterhead and rotate the blades. Depending on the size and model of your jointer, the cutting blades may be made from high-speed steel or carbide-tipped steel.

High-speed steel (HSS) blades are most common. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and grit ratings. HSS blades are sharpened by hand with a fine grit diamond stone or high-grit wet/dry sandpaper which increases their effectiveness as well as their durability over time. In general, HSS blades offer longer life than carbide-tipped blades but require more frequent sharpening.

When considering motor power, opt for a motor that can handle larger board widths and has a variable speed drive system. This allows you to adjust the speed at which the motor runs to match the workload. Additionally, the motor should be able to safely handle whatever maximum load you anticipate working with (be sure to check the specifications of your jointer).

For those who anticipate needing even faster performance than what an HSS blade can provide, carbide-tipped steel blades provide long lasting cutting surfaces that stay sharp even in continuous use. Carbide-tipped steel blades should also never be sharpened by hand as they are much harder than high-speed steel blades. Instead, they must be resharpened by machinist or professional blade sharpening service providers.

Before moving onto how to properly use this valuable shop tool, it's important to ensure that your jointer is outfitted with the right parts and blades for your needs. With proper understanding of jointer parts, motors, and types of blades available, you can get started woodworking with confidence!

Now that we have discussed jointer parts, motors and blades in detail let us move on to look at how we can set up our jointer with the correct angle and height for the type of cut we need - in our next section about “Blades”.


Ensuring the blades of your jointer are sharp and aligned properly is paramount to achieving a successful outcome. If you have a helical cutterhead, then you can adjust the blades quite easily. The angled heads are great for getting the knives into the wood at different angles, which will create a much smoother cut. However, with straight knife cutterheads, it can be more of a challenge because they require precise alignment.

When it comes to sharpening the blades, there is some debate about what's best for beginners: should you use traditional manual tools such as files or stone sharpeners to sharpen them, or should you use electric sharpeners? With manual tools, you need to be extra careful when polishing and sharpening the blades as this is quite a strenuous process and prone to errors. With an electric sharpener however, all you need to do is slide the blade through its rotating grinding wheel, making it much easier and quicker.

No matter what method you choose for sharpening your blades, make sure that all of them are perfectly aligned in order to get accurate cuts every time. Doing a test run on scrap wood before using on your project will ensure everything is up to par before starting.

Once your blades have been sharpened and aligned correctly, they are ready for use. To ensure they remain in top condition, regularly clean off any build-up of sawdust outdoors using either compressed air or fine-grade steel wool – check the manufacturer’s user manual for specific cleaning instructions. Finally, remember to store them indoors in a safe place that is away from moisture.

Now that the blades have been prepared correctly and are ready for use, we can move on to explore how motors affect jointers in our next section.


When using a jointer, it is very important to consider the type and power of its motor. The motor powers and runs the blades that cut into the wood, so it is essential that you purchase a jointer with a powerful enough motor for the types of projects you plan to undertake. Some jointers use direct drive motors, while others use induction motors.

Direct drive motors are reliable, cost effective and have fewer moving parts than induction motors, making them easier to maintain and cheaper to replace if necessary. On the other hand, induction motors are more expensive but have higher starting torque and require less energy than direct drive motors. They also require less cooling, meaning they can run for longer periods of time without overheating.

Ultimately, both direct drive and induction motors are suitable for use in jointers; which one is best suited for your needs depends on your specific project requirements. Once you understand the differences between these types of motors, you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your project.

Now that we’ve discussed motors, let’s move on to what may be the most important part of using a jointer—the operation itself. In the next section, we will explore how to operate a jointer by looking at safety precautions and setting up the machine correctly for each task.

The Operation of a Jointer

The operation of a jointer is an essential element to successfully using one. Without properly understanding its use and function, the tool can be dangerous or even ineffective. There are two main components to using a jointer for woodworking: feeding the wood in and adjusting the fence.

Feeding the wood into the jointer involves setting up the cutter head and placing the workpiece against it. Make sure the flat surface on the front of the piece is facing upward and matches up with the cutting portion of Cutter Head. Apply small force onto the side of the piece to feed it through, allowing only enough pressure so that it clears the fences while still maintaining contact with cutter head. After this initial movement, use your thumbs to press down firmly and feed through remaining length. Once complete, reverse motion and repeat several times until desired results are achieved.

Adjusting the Fence is also an important aspect of operating a jointer. When first turning on machine, make sure that each adjustable section of fence is set to parallel both with each other and clamping area below them. This ensures that any wood being jointed will come out reflecting integrity of board with each side being even across length and width. Use any available knobs or screws to adjust desired height on both fences if needed, but ensure all cuts have consistent grain direction before beginning each session for best accuracy.

Once proper alignment of fences has been established and checked, you can begin jointing your material at different angles and shapes as needed for project you’re working on. However, remember that improper adjustment can cause kickbacks as well as poor quality board, so take extra time to recalibrate between each session so everything remains safe and accurate.

Now that you understand how to operate a jointer, it's time to start adjusting the fence which will be discussed in the following section.

Adjusting the Fence

Setting an appropriate fence on your jointer will help you achieve the desired results. When adjusted properly, the fence should be parallel to both sides of the outfeed table. Fences can come in various setup heights, so make sure to adjust it correctly before beginning a project with your jointer. To adjust the fence, simply loosen or tighten the knobs that are located at either end of the fence.

Adjusting the fence may take some trial and error, but as a general rule, when setting up the fence for cutting, it should be parallel to one side of the outfeed table and overhang slightly on the other side. This will ensure a straight cut that has minimal tear-out along its edges when passing through the blades.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for rabbeted joint cuts, such as those used for making boxes or drawers, then you’ll need to adjust your fence differently. The rabbeting method requires two parts of the workpiece material; one part is longer than the other and needs to intersect at 90 degrees in order to form a strong joint. In order to achieve this intersection angle, setting a proper fence on the jointer is essential. For rabbeted joints, adjust the fence so that it is parallel with both sides of the outfeed table and run at a 45 degree angle to allow creation of perfect joints quickly and simply.

Whether you’re using a jointer for simple straight cuts or intricate rabbeted joint cuts, adjusting the fence is an important step and can mean all the difference in creating successful projects. Now that you know how to adjust your jointer’s fence, it’s time to move on to adjusting the cutting blades for optimal performance.

Adjusting the Cutting Blades

Adjusting the cutting blades is one of the most important steps in understanding how to use a jointer. The knives and infeed table must be perfectly parallel in order to ensure that the wood being planed is moving through the blades consistently. Without careful adjustment, uneven surfaces or serious kickbacks could result.

Adjusting this set up requires some skill and accuracy, so it's important that you take your time and follow each step closely. Begin by loosening the set screws on the infeed table so it can be raised or lowered as needed. Next, adjust the outfeed table until it reaches its lowest point and then lock it in place. Finally, adjust the blade height manually, starting with one set-screw at a time, until both blades are nearly flush with the outfeed table.

In some rare cases, having two blades might not suit your needs due to different kinds of cuts being made on a variety of materials. While two blades may provide the best results for straight edges and smooth surfaces on hardwood lumber, chopping slots or grooves may require you to either remove one blade entirely or reduce their depth significantly to achieve better cut quality. Weigh these potential approaches carefully before continuing with any adjustments to make sure you get the desired outcome.

Now that the cutting blades have been adjusted for proper alignment and optimal performance, it's time to turn our attention to jointer safety procedures.

Jointer Safety

Jointer safety is vitally important for woodworking of any kind, but the jointer, with its rotating blades, demands special vigilance. It’s highly recommended that you wear safety glasses and ear protection even when not in use. When you begin to operate it, always turn the power switch off and make sure no one is standing nearby before unplugging the machine. There are several other important safety principles to keep in mind while using a jointer:

• Keep your hands away from the blades at all times.• Secure your work piece using clamps so that it remains fixed and safely out of reach of the blades.• Keep all guards in place and never try to remove them; they are there for your protection.

• Chip shields should be checked regularly for cleanliness and proper alignment.• Do not force material into cutterhead; let the feed rate control do the job.• Always release pressure on material before turning off jointer or making adjustments on knife beds.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced woodworker, jointer safety should be taken seriously because improper use can result in serious injury or death. Taking the time to read through instructions manual and familiarizing yourself with the machine's features will go a long way towards avoiding accidents.

With these considerations discussed, it's time to move on to the next step: learning how to joint wood correctly and safely.

How to Joint Wood

Before attempting to joint wood, always make sure you have the correct equipment for the job. This includes a jointer, an adjustable fence, chisels and a push block. If you are unsure of which size of jointer is best for your project, consult a professional woodworker.

Once you have the proper equipment and have read and understood the instructions that come with your machine, you can begin setting up for jointing the lumber. Place the jointer about 4 feet away from any obtrusive objects or walls and adjust the height of the fence so that it is level with the table surface. Make sure there is enough space in front of the jointer for pushing the wood through while keeping your hands safe from contacting sharp blades or moving parts.

Jointing wood begins by placing one end at the opening in front of the jointer and pushing it forward. Gradually approach the blade as you apply even pressure on both sides of the wood, ensuring equal contact on either side throughout the entire process (this will help achieve a smooth joint). Move slowly and do not force any material through; this could result in potential injury or damage to your board's surface.

Once all corners have been worked evenly, move onto turning off flat faces if necessary. Doing so requires angling each face lightly against opposing faces as you work each side along blade at each end until properly planed flat. Forngin maximum control over each pass and ultimate safety, always use a pushblock when jointing your boards. Avoid changing direction while still on or near the blade and keep your hands far away from any moving parts.

Process and procedure are essential when jointing wood as they ensure a strong, secure and accurate board that can be used effectively in construction or other projects without risk of imprecise joins or accidental splitting along grain lines due to inadequate jointing techniques. In this article's following section, we will look more specifically into different processes and procedures one should employ when using a jointer to optimize results.

Process and Procedure

Using a jointer is not complicated, but having the correct process and procedure will make sure you work safely and efficiently.

The first step is to unplug the machine and use safety glasses before any further preparation, this helps to prevent any accidents or injury from occurring. Next, choose the appropriate tool bit for the job. This can vary depending on what type and size of wood you’re working with, so make sure to select one that’s appropriate for the task at hand.

Once the bit is chosen, adjust the depth of cut knob so that it’s set correctly according to how much material you want removed. Then, lower the infeed table and ensure that it’s tight against the outfeed table so they don’t move while in use.

Now it's time to start jointing! With both tables adjusted correctly to your specifications, place the wood on the infeed table and adjust the fence if change is necessary for particular cuts. Start by pushing it roughly half way across before coming back around to push through using firm pressure on both ends. Proceed slowly until the wood has been fully jointed then repeat this process for all of the boards you plan to joiner.

Finally, after all boards have been jointed, use a hand plane on each board to remove any remaining rough edges or imperfections as needed. This will help give them a smooth and clean finish.

When finished jointing your projects and removing any remaining imperfections with a hand plane, double-check that all adjustments are secure and then turn off your machine by disconnecting it from power source.

With joints complete and boards prepared, now it is time to move onto “long stock versus short stock” when taking full advantage of your jointer.

Long Stock vs. Short Stock

When it comes to working with a jointer, you may find yourself needing to use either long stock or short stock. Short stock is defined as having measurements of less than 15 inches on all sides, while long stock typically measures longer than 15 inches in all four directions.

Which wood type should be used when jointing depends on the task at hand. Generally, long stock is ideal for cutting interlocking components and milling out square edges, while short stock works well for surface planing. Additionally, long stock gives you more leverage when pushing the piece through. That said, if your jointer has a large cutting depth then it won’t matter whether you’re using short or long stock.

Long stock also requires more power than short stock due to the increased friction produced by the machining action; and short boards can easily become off balance and move or tilt unexpectedly during a cut. Be sure to maintain consistent pressure on the board while using a jointer in order to keep it flat and reduce any unplanned movement at the end of each pass.

No matter which type of wood you choose to work with, safety should always come first when handling a jointer. Make sure that your fingers and hands are kept away from the tool guard at all times—it's there for a reason!

Now that you know the difference between long and short stock when jointing, let's move on to tips and guidelines for using a jointer safely and effectively.

Jointer Tips and Guidelines

Using a jointer correctly requires patience, precision, and attention to safety protocols. Here are tips for using a jointer for beginners:

1. Assemble and Secure the Jointer: Before beginning, ensure that your jointer is fully assembled and secured properly. Use the base plate’s four bolts to attach it securely to the table.

2. Select Appropriate Stock Thickness: Choosing stock for a jointer project should be dictated by the size of the machine--not all jointers can accommodate boards that exceed 8-inches in thickness or 12-inches in width.

3. Make Appropriate Adjustments: Before you begin jointing, make sure all of your cuts are set with measured accuracy. Each machine has its own use instructions, so check those instructions carefully before adjusting your table height or fence angle accordingly.

4. Make Test Cuts: Always practice on scrap wood before starting on a real project. Running scrap wood through the machine several times will help you make sure everything is adjusted correctly and allow you to check your cuts visually.

5. Handle the Table Elevation Carefully : Before raising or lowering your table, always turn off the motor and depress the blade guard release lever with one hand while lifting up or down with the other. This helps eliminate unexpected movements from powerful machinery and accidental injuries from sharp blades.

6. Wear Safety Gear: At a minimum, goggles and hearing protection should be used when using a jointer for extended periods of time. If possible, use a dust mask as well; although professional grade jointers have dust collection systems built into them, it's still best to err on the side of caution whenever possible when working with power tools of any kind.

7. Maintain Your Tools: Keep cutters and blades sharpened periodically to ensure clean accurate cuts each time you use them. Also be sure to routinely inspect your tool’s guards and fences for any signs of damage or defect which could result in unsafe operation of your jointer over time.

Frequently Asked Questions and Responses

What safety procedures should I follow when using a jointer?

When using a jointer, it is important to always follow safety procedures to ensure an accident-free operation. It’s essential to wear safety gear such as safety glasses, hearing protection, and air filter masks. Additionally, make sure you are aware of the kickback hazards that come with the jointer and maintain proper posture when working the machine. Be sure to keep your hands away from the fence or cutting area and avoid placing your fingers in a pinch point between the motor and blades. A key safety tip is to never leave a running machine unattended. Make sure to unplug the power source before adjusting or touching any of its parts, changing blades, or cleaning up sawdust. Lastly, be mindful of your body positioning around the jointer and take care not to stand in line with the blade when it’s in motion.

What types of projects can I use a jointer for?

A jointer, otherwise known as a surface planer, is an incredibly useful tool that can be used for a variety of projects. With a jointer, you can easily flatten, square up, and edge joints for a range of woodworking projects. This includes everything from creating edge joints for re-surfacing doors, to using the device to shape complex parts like moldings and furniture. Additionally, jointers can be invaluable when making shelves or intricate components. Therefore, regardless of whether you’re creating new furniture or simply smoothing rough edges on existing pieces, a jointer can be a very useful asset in your woodworking arsenal.

What potential mistakes should I be aware of when using a jointer?

When using a jointer there are some common mistakes that beginners should be aware of in order to get the best results.

Firstly, make sure that your jointer blades are sharp. A dull blade will not cut cleanly and this can affect both the quality of the joint you create, as well as the smoothness of the edges. Also, before starting a job, check to make sure all the parts of your jointer are free from defects or wear and are properly aligned.

Secondly, when setting up your board for joining, ensure that you clamp it securely to the bed surface. If not properly clamped down, the board will vibrate and make jointing impossible. If working with multiple boards, make sure to keep them level throughout the process so they fit correctly together after joining.

Another mistake to avoid is planing too deeply into your wood. This can cause tearing which will give an uneven finish and create further problems in further steps of construction. Plunge slowly at first and then slowly increase your cutting depth until you produce a clean cut with no snipe or tear out.

Finally, be cautious when feeding stock through your machine too quickly; this can lead to dangerous kickback incidents which may put you at risk for personal injury. Take time to adjust speed settings accordingly for whatever type of material you’re working with and remember to always wear safety glasses when operating your jointer!

Best Selling Jointers


View all
Save $961.00
Oliver Machinery 16" Parallelogram Jointer w/4 Sided Helical CutterheadOliver Machinery 16" Parallelogram Jointer w/4 Sided Helical Cutterhead
Save $1,457.00
Laguna Tools Classic Machinery JX|12 ShearTec: II Jointer MJ12x88P-0130Laguna Tools Classic Machinery JX|12 ShearTec: II Jointer MJ12x88P-0130
Laguna Tools

Laguna Tools Classic Jointer - JX|12 ShearTec: II

Sale price$7,198.00 Regular price$8,655.00
Save $1,587.00
Laguna Tools Industrial Machinery Jointer J|16Laguna Tools Industrial Machinery Jointer J|16
Laguna Tools

Laguna Tools Industrial Jointer, 16" - J|16

Sale price$11,098.00 Regular price$12,685.00
Choose options
Save $1,257.00
Laguna Tools Classic Machinery JX|8 ShearTec: II Jointer MJ8X72P-0130Laguna Tools Classic Machinery JX|8 ShearTec: II Jointer MJ8X72P-0130
Laguna Tools

Laguna Tools Classic Jointer - JX|8 ShearTec: II

Sale price$3,398.00 Regular price$4,655.00
Save $434.28
Powermatic 54A, 6" Jointer, 1HP 1PH 115/230V, Quick-Set Knives PWM-1791279DXKPowermatic 54A, 6" Jointer, 1HP 1PH 115/230V, Quick-Set Knives PWM-1791279DXK
Save $648.57
Powermatic 54HH 6" Jointer, 1HP 1PH 115/230V, Helical Cutterhead PWM-1791317K
Save $800.00
Powermatic 60HH 8" Jointer, 2HP 1PH 230V, Helical Head PWM-1610086KPowermatic 60HH 8" Jointer, 2HP 1PH 230V, Helical Head PWM-1610086K

Powermatic 60HH 8" Jointer, 2HP 1PH 230V, Helical Head

Sale price$3,499.99 Regular price$4,299.99
Save $662.85
Powermatic 60C 8" Jointer, 2HP 1PH 230V PWM-1610084K

Powermatic 60C 8" Jointer, 2HP 1PH 230V

Sale price$2,899.99 Regular price$3,562.84
Save $891.43
Powermatic PJ882 Jointer 2HP 1PH 230V PWM-1610079Powermatic PJ882 Jointer 2HP 1PH 230V PWM-1610079

Powermatic PJ882 Jointer 2HP 1PH 230V

Sale price$3,899.99 Regular price$4,791.42
Save $1,028.57
Powermatic PJ-882HH Jointer, 2HP 1PH 230V with Helical Cutterhead PWM-1610082