The term ‘jointer’ is frequently used in the construction industry and is a very important tool in a woodworking shop. A wood jointer is a machine that smooths, straightens and makes surfaces flat when working with wood. Learn the different types of wood jointer.
It helps deal with cupped, warped and twisted boards, leaving a smooth surface for finishing. This industrial machine lays the groundwork for all of your woodworking projects and makes them easy to work with. A wood jointer plays a major role in the construction industry.
This article will explain how this common tool functions, 5 different types available, their key features and also share some useful FAQs about them.
Different Types of Jointers
There are several different types of Jointers available, each designed for a certain type of wood project. Depending on the type, each jointer offers a distinct finish. If you don’t pay attention to this, you might purchase a jointer that isn’t suitable for your needs.
1. Closed Stand Jointer
This is the most popular jointer and can be found in the market in four different sizes of 6, 8, 12, and 16 inches. A closed jointer is equipped with an enclosed base, mainly made of cast iron, that offers stability and also protection to the engine, your hands. Though the enclosure does add more weight to the jointer it also reduces noise/ vibration when cutting wood and prevents dust, dirt and debris from getting inside.
2. Open Stand Jointer
This type of jointer has an open stand, with the motor exposed. It is the least expensive jointer model available in the market and while it doesn’t offer much protection and is louder too; it is actually significantly easier to move and store. The open stand jointer is the perfect choice for home workshops and woodworking projects that don’t require a large amount of use.
3. Table Top Jointer
As the name suggests, this jointer type is designed to be used on a tabletop. The tabletop jointer is another inexpensive tool, available for purchase in the market. Though often mixed up with the more portable benchtop jointer, a tabletop jointer is capable of flattening thicker and wider wood due to its longer and bigger table.
Small stores that need a little boost of power will benefit greatly from this type of jointer. A table top jointer can be moved easily, isn’t noisy and doesn’t take up too much space, making it even more enticing for home workshops or new woodworkers.
4. Long Jointer
This jointer typically has an adjustable infeed and its outfeed tables let you set the height to your requirements offering extra comfort while working with it. A long jointer also has extremely long arms that are used for a precision-machined finish with the finest clarity. It’s very stable and quiet with its structure consisting of a one-piece steel closed stand with the mounting tabs on the top.
5. Hand Jointer
This type of jointer is not as common as the others and it has a design that will remind you of a plane. This tool is made for the more experienced woodworkers and it’s very useful when you need something with great precision. A hand jointer is typically used for small jobs, but it’s not just a one-trick pony. It is useful for projects where great accuracy is needed. Furthermore, unlike a traditional wood jointer which can only be used from one end, a hand jointer gives you the option of starting to trim wood from any point along its length.
Key Features in Selecting a Good Wood Jointer
1. Table Size
The price of the entire jointer is quickly determined by the table’s length and especially width as the overall size has a great influence on the jointer’s ability to cut various volumes of wood. So, the bigger it is, the more costly the jointer is going to be.
Jointers need to have beds that are accurately oriented to the knife within fractions of a millimeter. The greater the bed, the stricter the tolerances required by the manufacturer, another factor that will affect the price of the jointer.
It is recommended that six inches should be sufficient for the majority of people, but for those who are used to using jointers and flattening thicker pieces of lumber; eight inches should be enough as considering their requirements, it will be able to perform the task effectively.
However, an 8-inch bed size jointer can cost twice as much as a 6-inch jointer, even with all other features being equal.
2. Cutting Depth
The number of passes a user must make on the wood to achieve the desired results of its smoothness is determined by the level of cutting depth. A jointer with a 5/8-inch cutting depth, for example, requires the wood to be advanced across two or more times because of the blades’ ability to cut just five eight-inch of wood in one pass.
The majority of jointers can typically surface wood in one pass using 1/2 or 3/4-inch cutting depths.
The greater the depth of the jointer is, the fewer the number of passes you will need in order to flatten or displace a surface. However, make sure that you don’t use a jointer with a cutting depth greater than the thickness of the wood you typically work on.
3. Dust Collection
Dust can cause an allergic reaction, irritate the respiratory system and affect your eyesight, thus it is important to consider the design of the jointer. Dust collection ports facilitate efficient dust management and reduce airborne particulates which can work their way into your body and can cause havoc.
A good jointer should be able to capture at least 90 percent of the dust it produces. You should give higher priority to models with large ports for sawdust removal as they will save you time and effort. Typically benchtop jointers have 2-inch dust extraction ports, while large cabinet-style jointers include 4-inch dust extraction ports.
This is a very important factor to consider especially if you have a small shop and you need a jointer that can be placed anywhere in the space. Usually, jointers are not small, but there are some out there that can fit in tight spaces. You should look for a not-so-heavy jointer that has a small footprint to save space in your shop. Choosing between an open stand jointer, benchtop jointer or tabletop jointer may be the best option if portability is your priority.
5. Knife Options
The majority of jointers have decent cutterhead blades installed from the factory, so blades on jointers aren’t usually an issue at first. However, keep in mind that jointer blades wear down with time, especially if the jointer is used frequently. Some blade models have straight blades while others have helical or spiral cutting heads.
Straight blades are sharp but should be replaced or sharpened more often as they are exposed to the greatest amount of stress and wear out quickly. Helical blades feature a curved, screw-like design and are built to last longer. However, they have a v-shaped cutting edge which results in more effort needed to push the wood through the blades. Though its cutting style also has the benefit of creating a very fine smooth finish.
When changing blades, it is advisable to use curved ones instead of straight blades due to straight blades having the risk of snapping and gouging the wood.
Jointer power is measured in horsepower and for most purposes, a 1-1/2 to 2 HP motor will suffice. The majority of jointers include 1 hp, which is usually enough to trim and cut softwood with ease, even up to the maximum cutting depth.
Generally, 6-inch jointers feature a 1-horsepower motor, while 8- inch jointers require motors with 2-horsepower engines. Lastly, High-end commercial-grade, 16-inch jointers have motors with as much as 3-horsepower in them.
A jointer with more horsepower can work faster and smoother, but note that if you are working on smaller pieces of wood; less horsepower may be enough.
7. Safety Features
Power jointers are one of the safest power tools since the blades are covered by a retractable guard or the wood stock while they cut, but they still have their dangers and should be used with care.
Many jointers today come in additionally packed with safety features such as push handles that allow you to guide the wood through the blade without having to use your bare hands. They may also feature huge off switches that are conveniently located and can be switched on rapidly in the event of an accident.
8. Additional Features
Although the basic function of a jointer is to flatten one face and bevel another, it can also straighten board edges. A jointer can be used to prepare a board with one straight edge and the other edge at 90 degrees for gluing.
Jointer tables are usually equipped with additional features that make them simpler to use. Large knob controls allow for quick and easy adjustment of the feeder table height and guide fence angle.
Our Top Picks Wood Jointer
Below are some of the best jointers available on the market, all with their own unique qualities. All 5 mentioned can be easily ordered online from Amazon, without having to make a trip to the hardware store:
The Porter-Cable benchtop jointer is one of the best and most popular jointers on the market due to its adequate table size, which is just over 32 inches long and 6 inches wide; variable speed options, and double cutting head.
Its 1-horsepower motor enables adjustments in speed between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM with a cutter head speed of 12,000 to 22,000 cuts per minute, allowing you to tailor the saw for the size and species of wood.
Furthermore, it features a large exhaust port that hooks into a dust collection system and a cast-iron guide fence that gives excellent support while also ensuring that the cutting head produces flawless 90-degree angles. The trimming head has two knives that may be changed with ease using a jack screw lock.
The JET 6″ Long Bed Jointer boasts one of the most lengths in its class. You may also replace or swap all three blades in a fraction of the time it takes other machines with this machine’s exclusive three high-speed steel auto-set quick change knife system.
Its front-mounted table adjustment handwheels help you make fast, simple, and precise adjustments. This jointer’s powerful 1-horsepower motor is capable of effortlessly handling the most challenging jointing tasks with the cutterhead Speed of 6000RPM.
It also includes a two-way tilting fence with positive stops at 45° and 90° to perform bevel cuts, conveniently placed industrial push-button controls and a closed stand.
This benchtop jointer features an expressive variable speed range of 6,000 to 11,000 RPM and cutter head speed of 12,000 to 22,000 cuts per minute, allowing for precise selection of speed depending on the material’s size and hardness.
The two-knife cutter head, with jackscrew knife leveling arrangement and built-in cutter head lock, makes blade replacement and adjustment a breeze. It’s great for edging, flattening, and face jointing with its center-mounted fence offering stability and support. The craftsman benchtop jointer’s 10 amp powerful motor can easily handle both hard and softwoods.
4. Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH 8-Inch 2HP 1-Phase
This Powermatic 8″ Jointer meets the need for accuracy while combining unique, user-friendly designs with useful features.
With a quick pull on the infeed table lever, you can quickly raise or lower the table height and rotate the handle for fine-adjustment of cut depth. The fence is tilted using a worm gear system that is effortlessly operated via a simple handwheel.
The tables extend to 73″ in length for added support. During adjustments, a non-mar insert in the fence protects the table from damage. You may find this jointer with a three high-speed steel knife cutterhead, or a helical cutterhead with 54 four-sided knife inserts.
Additionally, for quick and easy access, it is designed in a way that the operating switch is positioned high up and its push blocks have a magnetic base that allows them to be mounted on metallic surfaces.
1. What is a wood jointer used for?
A jointer is a powerful tool that “dimensions” the wood into the required form by the user. It flattens the woods’ surface, squares off its sides and trims any rough-hewn wood edges. A jointer, as a stationary tool, works on irregular timber fed through an infeed table.
With the appropriate jointer in your workshop, the whole procedure may be completed correctly, consistently, and quickly. It’s a fantastic machine for preparing wood that’s oversized, deformed, and rough. That wood is changed within minutes, delivering boards that are square, straight, and ready to carve your cut.
2. What is the difference between a hand planer and a jointer?
A jointer creates a flat surface on wood, used to correct bow and warp on one side of a board at a time. On the other hand, a planer is a thicknesser that takes a thick board and makes it thinner.
Although you may anticipate a jointer to produce the board uniform in thickness, there might be certain locations that don’t line up because of how bent or warped the board was in the first place. So, you may need to use a planer after the jointer which will make it even in thickness.
The use of hand planers has significantly dropped in recent years, but they are still a useful tool to have on hand for shaving off a few tenths of an inch here and there for small projects. It takes more muscle power than an electric hand planer, but it can still manage to produce a flat and smooth surface on your wood piece.
3. Can you sharpen wood jointer blades on your own?
Although it might be possible to sharpen jointer blades on your own, it’s not recommended. Some novice woodworkers have tried and ended up burning or warping the blades.
Sharpening is a complex task requiring time, correct tools, and practice. However, if you still wish to try it, you can make a wooden jig to sharpen your jointer blades yourself at home.
Many people have tried using high-quality water stones, but have been disappointed with the results, so it is advised to have your blades either professionally sharpened or construct a wooden jig to be able to do it on your own.
These are just some of the many types of wood jointers that are beneficial to add to your workshop.
The most important thing to remember before you make a purchase is to check out reviews and descriptions because they can help you determine what model will best fit your needs.
Also, product manuals usually have clear illustrations or diagrams that can help you understand how to use the machine.
Being familiar with the use of a jointer is key to getting your woodwork done fast and right.
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Lawrence D. Reynolds is an experienced carpenter and woodworker who started this site to help others get into this craft by providing advice on choosing tools and materials and sharing How-To guides about woodworking. He has been into Woodworking for over 25 years and enjoys nothing more than sharing his knowledge and helping others learn about this wonderful material.