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What Does a Wood Jointer Do & How Does it Work?

Woodworking is not an easy task to perform, so it can become a problem if you do not have proper knowledge regarding the tasks. Jointers are machines specifically designed to join two pieces of wood together with a smooth, slick surface. It is useful for two different types of woodworking. So, exactly what does a Jointer do? They use a repeating mechanism with a circular blade that cuts timber. Then it slides along the saw’s dead center and grabs onto the board. It belongs to the machines consisting of table saws and planers.

You may think using a jointer is simple, but it is the most frustrating to sit in front of woodcutting. However, after cutting and shaping, the wood jointer will precisely perform its job. How do they maintain the quality so accurately? Let’s get some deep knowledge about its working and uses.

What is a Jointer?

A jointer is a machine that can decrease round saw marks and sharp cutting edges in wood by shaving off splintery imperfections. It has a special head that swivels on a screw to provide rhythmic contact with the wood. It is one of the most critical machine tools for builders that use a guided cutter or a knife to rip, crosscut or compound joint widths on the edge of a workpiece. Remember to tune the jointer before using it; otherwise, you would face cutting edges and faces problems.

Working of a Wood Jointer Machine

Carpentry jointers are also capable of cutting chamfers and rabbets. You need to learn some tricks for these actions. The jointer is not responsible for milling a board constantly, but you can easily dissect wood from two faces. Several projects are completed using a jointer, like making a stock square.

What is a Jointer Used for?

Rectify the defects in material

If you notice a piece of wood, it remains imperfect from first. The texture of wood changes with time after it is fried up. After the wood stock gets habituated to the surrounding environment, a jointer comes needy to flatten it.

Dress boards

Always purchase wood that is rough because dress it by yourself. In this case, a jointer will help you in equaling all dimensions. The layer under the cover is revealed easily.

Square stock

Carpentry or woodshop business deals with wood boards with proper shapes and round edges. Jointers make the angles perfectly perpendicular so that fasting is done properly. The jointer is useful for other operations as well.

How Does a Jointer Work?

There are four sections present in jointer

  • The infeed table
  • Outfeed table
  • Fence
  • Cutter head

Among four components, infeed and outfeed tables are complimentary. They remain on the same surface. You will find them perfectly flat because the infeed table is known to support the cutter head. The milled portion of the wooden board requires support from the outfeed table. the thickness of the board varies. So, the height of the infeed table also changes. Extra thickness is eliminated from the side of the board using a jointer. The outfeed table always remains fixed.

So, the height of the cutter does not match with them. After that, the fence of the jointer table remains perpendicular along both edges of the table.

Try to remove material from the infeed table by using a jointer. Then, feed the board along the fence and over the cutter board. This will give rise to a flat surface. Several passes are necessary to dissect irrelevant materials and make surfaces flat.

The average depth for most projects in wood boards stays within 1/16 to 1/8 inches, which explains size. 6 in jointer are most common for working with a 6-inch cutter head.

This is done to ensure efficiency in handling project. length of both infeed and outfeed tables varies. It will become easy for the jointer to reach the board if the size of the board is large. One single jointer can handle boards double their size.

What Does a Jointer Do?

Different applications of jointer are as follows.

Face jointing

The first step in making wood perfect is face jointing. Divide whole pieces into smaller areas to make it easier to distribute labor. Before jointing operations, make timber strong with a rip cup. wood material is to be kept with a concave part facing downwards at the end of the machine. Tests are taken to test the strength of the table and its durability. Length of the board sometimes is kept shorter.

It pushes the tail at the end of the timber. Workers use their left hand to feed material inside the cutter head. Repeat these steps until flatness is received. After completion of face jointing, the final piece of wood can be taken to a planer and placed parallel.

Edge jointing

Edges of the wood are straightened using a jointer where the machine is kept perpendicularly. Square edge will only come when the initial face of the timber is jointed properly. Throughout the mechanism, you need to stay careful and consider safety points against the cutter head blades. Always use your left hand to move the wood down the edges. After applying constant pressure using lower fingers, place it parallel. Keep your finger in this position until the operation is completed.


Many years ago, tapering was used to draw jigs. Jointers are used in this case without any strong efforts to stop the block. You do not require any high skilled knowledge in this operation. Remember the following points-

  • Keep the depth about ½ inch
  • Use scrap block to get the perfect size of the cutter head
  • After that, mark the fence
  • Set the stop block away from the cutter head
  • Sides of the blanks are made tapered
  • After applying pressure, remove the block


The jointer is responsible for performing complicated tasks as well, like chamfering. In this process, you will come to know how chamfering is done.

  • Adjust the jointer fence according to your angle and then tilt the gauge for preciseness
  • After the fence gets tilted, secure the stock 
  • This will avoid timber from slipping away after the application of the jointer
  • Try to make consistent narrow cuts in between the depth
  • Coarse grain cuts are needed around the edges
  • If your material is 3 inches wide, then chamfered push blocks will come in handy


Some of the jointer models are best in creating rabbets. This is done by joining two pieces of wood. There are standard methods of using jointer for this process-

  • Front edge of the boards requires cutting grooves of perfect sizes
  • Fence is required away from the edge of the table
  • Infeed table is kept at the height of 1/32 inches so that passes are created
  • Shallow, narrow cuts are required to be done
  • Push blocks are necessary for the procedure of rabbeting
  • It is advised not to lean over the jointer when the process is still on
  • Make adjustments wherever it is necessary 
  • Cutter head guard can be replaced after rabbeting

Safety Tips while Using a Jointer

  • Cutter heads guards are available that may come in handy
  • Push sticks and push blocks are available that keep your hand safe
  • Do not join pieces shorter than 12.”
  • Avoid overreaching the jointer while joining longboards
  • Use eye and face protection
  • Play safe with your thumb when cutting a piece
  • Do not remove cutter head guard from hand
  • Outfeed tables remain fixed. Do not adjust their circumference 
  • Don’t joint-stock less than 1/4” thick. 
  • Do not joint material shorter than 10.”
  • Avoid using dirty material or with grease
  • Join materials with the heap of grain.

Before using a jointer for face jointing or edge jointing, look after the defects of the board. If dirt and faults remain, then it will jump out while planning. Push blocks are essential to reduce the chances of injury. Stocks that are of proper lengths are extra advantages.

Safety guards are good to keep if the face-jointers are less powerful than machines. Successful jointing determines the body stance, pressure and speed of the tables. Practice makes everything perfect, so eliminate all the defects.

Jointer vs Planer

Jointer removes cupping, warping, and twist to flatten the surfaces. While Planer reduces the thickness and makes a thick board thinner. A Jointer makes the rough surface smooth. Then, what is a planer used for? Planer also smoothens the rough side and creates the flat surface, but parallel to the other side. Means, to use a Planer, one side of wood should be flat and that side goes down onto the bed. Now the machine reduces the thickness of the other side that is on the top. Simply we can say that, you can flat one side of wood using jointer and keep it on a planer and make it thinner by flattening other side.

Coming to blades, the difference between jointer and planer is, Jointer has a blade below the table while planer has above the workpiece. In jointer 2 opposite surfaces of wood may not be parallel which indeed misses the dimensional stability. While in planer, it creates the parallel surfaces which gives same thickness on all boards maintaining the good dimensional stability. To avoid using two different equipment, you can opt for the best planer jointer combo.


Do I need a jointer?

If you are beginner, you can just buy the surfaced wood at a near by lumber mill with out investing in a jointer. And if you started using a rough sawn lumber in your woodworking, then you really need to add a jointer to your power tools list.

Can you use a planer as a jointer?

Yes, using a planer as a jointer is a best option when there is no jointer with you. Also, if your wood piece to too large to fit through your jointer, you can go for planer to flatten the pieces of wood.


A jointer is considered powerful for smoothening a wooden surface. There are several operations that workers undergo to get their work done efficiently. All these operations are explained above, along with safety tips. No matter how much work you do, being safe is the priority. Tapering, chamfering and face jointing are becoming popular nowadays. After proper research and analysis, all the instructions are given so that your work achieves the proper objective. Go through all the instructions and complete your work fruitfully.