What Does A Jointer Planer Do? [Everything Explained!]

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If you’re a woodworking hobbyist, a jointer planer combination machine can be a perfect addition to your garage. It gives the best value to your money and relieves yourself of having to deal with limited workshop space.

To understand how you will benefit from this, you need to know what a jointer planer does, how it operates, and if there are any downsides involved.

This webpage is the right place to start. Because that’s what I’m going to discuss today.

What does a jointer planer do?

If you’ve been in woodworking you must admit that jointers and planers are invaluable when preparing rough, unfinished lumbers. Undoubtedly, they save a ton of time and hassle from your end and help you accomplish more in your woodworking projects.

While the two machines are mechanically similar, they perform completely distinct tasks. For instance, if your projects need making parallel boards then thickness planers are perfect for the job. On the other hand, jointers ensure your workpieces are nice and flat on all surfaces and square on all edges.

However, both these machines are expensive and will take up significant space. Because of this, hobbyists and small shop owners may not be able to purchase two machines separately. Many woodworkers thus face a dilemma choosing between a planer and a jointer when they want to increase the productivity of their shop.

The good news is, with the jointer planer combo available nowadays, this doesn’t have to be a problem anymore. Now you can invest in a machine that can do both. These particular machines allow you to switch between jointing and planing mode in a few seconds which is quite remarkable. 

Since one machine will now perform two operations, you will save costs and shop spaces, and enjoy woodworking more than ever before.

How does a jointer planer (combo) machine work?

So a jointer and a planer are two separate tools which are combined in a single multi-unit of a jointer planer combo machine.

As you can guess, the machine has an infeed and outfeed table similar to a jointer. So, the wood sharpening operations have to take place on top. A key thing to note is that this type of machine will have just one cutterhead to perform both jobs.

Reasonably, the thickness unit has to be placed underneath the jointer beds. For the same reason, when you transit your wood from jointer to the planer it has to be fed through in the opposite direction.

To use the machine as a jointer, you have to run your board across the table from right to left, similar to any other jointers. When you want to switch to the planing mode, you have to unlock and remove the jointing table first. Finally, you’ll raise the planing table up to the height you want, as you would do on a normal planer. And, you’re all set to correct your woods to a uniform thickness.

Why consider a jointer planer (combo) machine?

You only need one machine rather than two

First and foremost, purchasing a jointer planer combo is far cheaper than buying a jointer and a planer. It’s a great opportunity for a hobbyist who wants to upgrade his shop but doesn’t have the money to invest in two heavy-duty machines at a time.

Since these machines are available at a variety of prices, I can almost guarantee you’re going to find a decent one even with the tightest of budget.

You don’t have to bother moving big machines

The functionality of a jointer and a planer is merged into a single jointer/planer machine. Therefore, the usefulness and the portability gets doubled. This is a huge advantage since you have to think about moving just a single machine rather than two, to a Jobsite that needs both jointing and planing facilities.

You can save more shop space

Apart from this, workshop space is a big trouble many woodworking enthusiasts face.  Most of us don’t have access to a dedicated fully functional shop that a professional possesses. Due to this lack of space, one can’t think about buying all the machines simply because he/she has enough money on hand.

And, that’s where a planer jointer combo machine becomes so useful. They take up less space so that you can make a tight space work.

You can tackle bigger projects

Because the same planer cutterhead is being used for both operations, you’re going to get a wider-than-average jointer capacity. That’s why Jointer planer machines enable you to work with larger pieces of wood than a convention jointer would allow.

One cutterhead also means there is less maintenance involved. Considering all of these it can be said that a combo machine is going to give you a lot more bang for your buck.

Is there any downside involved?

Switching from jointing to planing mode (& vice versa) will take some effort and time especially if you buy a heavy-duty 12 or 16-inch machine. This may not be a big of a deal over time once you get used to it. However, this can lead to minor delays and impede your workflow.

How to switch from jointer to planer?

Depending on the models the changing over from jointer to planer in a combination machine may vary. Some models also suffered a bad reputation for complicated changeover and weak alignments.

That’s why you should always check this orientation in your machine and try it out a few times before placing the final order. Having said that, the transition generally involves four-steps.

  • At first, you should release the table lock and raise it until it locks into position
  • Then you have to reposition the dust hood up and over the cutterhead
  • Now lift the planer table to the desired thickness (follow the scale)
  • And finally engage the planer roller drive

It is advisable to do the jointing of all your pieces at once before going for the planer. This way you can minimize the changeover and increase the lifespan of the related parts.

Final Words

If you want to take your woodworking to the next step, there is no better place than to start with a jointer planer combination and reap maximum benefits. I hope the above information is of use to you regarding what does a jointer planer do, and knowing the basics overall. Finally, I wish you wonderful days ahead with the best tool at your disposal.

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