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Jointers and Planers: How to Choose, Use and Maintain Them

If you are a woodworker who wants to create smooth and square edges on your lumber, you may need to use jointers and planers. These are power tools that can help you achieve accurate and consistent results in your woodworking projects. But how do you choose the right jointer and planer for your needs And how do you use and maintain them properly In this article, we will answer these questions and more, based on the book Jointers and Planers: How to Choose, Use and Maintain Them by Rick Peters.

What are jointers and planers

A jointer is a tool that flattens one face or edge of a board and makes it perpendicular to the adjacent face or edge. A planer is a tool that reduces the thickness of a board and makes it parallel to the opposite face. Both tools use rotating knives or cutters to shave off thin layers of wood as the board passes through them.

Jointers and planers are essential for preparing rough lumber for further processing, such as cutting, gluing, or finishing. They can also be used to remove warps, twists, cups, or bows from boards, or to create decorative effects such as bevels, chamfers, or moldings.

How to choose jointers and planers

There are many types and models of jointers and planers available on the market, each with different features, capacities, and prices. Here are some factors to consider when choosing jointers and planers:

Size: The size of a jointer or planer is determined by the width and length of the cutterhead and the table. The wider and longer the cutterhead and table are, the larger the boards you can work on. However, larger tools also take up more space in your workshop and may cost more.

Power: The power of a jointer or planer is measured by the horsepower (HP) of the motor. The higher the HP, the faster and smoother the cutting performance. However, higher HP also means higher electricity consumption and noise level.

Cutterhead: The cutterhead is the part of the jointer or planer that holds the knives or cutters. There are different types of cutterheads, such as straight-knife, helical, spiral, or segmented. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of durability, quality, noise, and cost.

Dust collection: Jointers and planers produce a lot of wood chips and dust that can clog the machine, damage the blades, or create health hazards. Therefore, it is important to have a dust collection system that can efficiently remove the waste from the tool. Some tools have built-in dust ports that can connect to a shop vacuum or a dust collector. Others may require additional accessories or modifications.

Safety: Jointers and planers are powerful tools that can cause serious injuries if not used properly. Therefore, it is important to look for safety features such as guards, switches, locks, anti-kickback devices, push sticks, featherboards, etc. that can prevent accidents.

How to use jointers and planers

Before using jointers and planers, you should read the manual carefully and follow the instructions for setting up, adjusting, operating, and storing the tool. You should also wear appropriate protective gear such as goggles, gloves, ear plugs, etc. Here are some general steps for using jointers and planers:

Prepare the board: Check the board for any nails, screws, knots, cracks, or defects that may damage the tool or affect the quality of the cut. Mark the face or edge that you want to flatten or square with a pencil or chalk.

Set up the tool: Adjust the height of the infeed table (for jointers) or the depth of cut (for planers) according to the amount of material you want to remove from the board. Make sure that the outfeed table ( aa16f39245


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