What is a Jointer & What Does a Jointer Do?

A jointer is one of the three stock-dressing machines that you must have in your workshop.

The other two tools are the bench saw and a wood planer. The primary purpose of a jointer is to straighten and flatten your wood. It can be used to remove warps and twists in the board.

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With some adjustments, you can quickly achieve other complex operations, including face jointing, edge jointing, chamfering, tapering, and rabbeting. In the subsequent section below, you will learn how some of these operations are achieved.

Face Jointing

Face Jointing

This is the initial step in handling your timber. However, it is essential not to face-joint the whole piece before dividing it into smaller work pieces. Instead, start by subdividing your board into stock with slightly oversized length. At the same time, rip cupped wood to rough width to help straighten wood before the jointing operation.

Then, place your wood material with the concave part facing down with the grains pointing in the tail end of the machine. In the case that you have a bow and a cup on opposite faces, you will have to lay either of the sides on the table to determine the most stable side. The best way to set your cut depth is through conducting a test run.

If your board is of a length shorter than the infeed table, hook your push block onto the tail end of your timber piece. Using your left hand, restrain the leading as you feed the material into your cutterhead. Conduct the number of passes until you achieve your desired flatness and smoothness.

For twisted boards, you will have to work extra effort into balancing the pieces to avoid rocking them through the blades. But this gets easier if you have one of the best benchtop jointer models since they are a perfect choice for edging, flattening, and face jointing.

After face jointing, you can take your final piece to the planer and, with the faced joint down, plane the opposite side to be parallel to the jointed face.

Edge Jointing

Edge Jointing

Apart from ensuring that a given edge is straightened, edge-jointing also ensures that the edge is squared up to a board’s face. In this case, your jointer should be set at 90 degrees.

To achieve a perfectly squared edge, it is vital to maintain the initially jointed face of the wood in perfect contact with the fence throughout the operation. Besides, you should also put your safety into consideration and protect your hands from the cutterhead blades.

Below are the steps that you should follow when conducting an edge jointing operation.

Step 1: Using your left hand, move the fingers to apply force at the upper and lower edges of the fences. Simultaneously apply downward pressure with your thumbs.

Step 2: When you advance towards the cutterhead, lift your lower fingers past the cutterhead while putting constant force against the fence using your index finger which should be parallel to the top of the fence.

Step 3: Upon passing your board past the cutterhead, drop your fingers to the lower edge of the fence, and maintain the finger in position until you complete the cutting operation.


Tapering 1

In the past, tapering was achieved through drawing jigs that made the consistent taper. However, if you have one of the best jointer planer combo, you can easily create a tapered piece of wood without putting a lot of effort. All you require is a stop block, a functioning jointer, and some basic math knowledge.

Set the depth of the cut to be ½ the total taper. After setting the cutting depth, use a scrap block to ascertain where the cutter head makes contact with your piece. Mark the fence.

You will also need to determine the ½ length of the taper and set the stop block to that distance from the cutter head.

Run the side of the blanks set to be tapered over the jointer. Then, once you have run that section, remove the block and pass the block top first over the jointer applying pressure so that its pivots make contact with the jointer bed.



A jointer can also perform complicated tasks such as chamfering. Here is a guide on how you can successfully chamfer a piece of wood.

  • First, adjust the jointer fence to the angle of your liking using a tilt gauge It is advisable to always tilt the fence towards yourself for greater accuracy and safer working condition.
  • Once the fence is tilted, secure a piece of stock to the outfeed table with a clamp to avoid the wood from sliding away from the fence as it comes across the jointer.
  • Make shallow consistent cuts until the preferable depth is achieved.
  • When chamfering around all the four edges, make coarse grains cuts first.
  • If the material is less than 3 inches wide, used chamfered push block and apply force towards the fence.


Best jointer models can also create rabbets that are used to join two pieces of woods. The standard procedure of creating rabbets using a jointer is outlined below.

  • Draw the exact size of the groove on the front edge of the board. Then, you will be required to position the fence with the width of the rabbet away from the edge of the table.
  • Lower the infeed table to 1/32 of an inch at a time and make successive passes until the desired depth is achieved. It is advisable to make numerous shallow cuts instead of one deep cut.
  • A push block is necessary for any rabbeting operation.
  • For safety purposes, do not lean over the jointer. Also, always turn the jointer off whenever you want to make any adjustments. The cutterhead guard should always be replaced immediately after the rabbeting operation.

Final Word

In conclusion, a jointer is a vital woodworking tool for straightening and smoothening surfaces. Several specific operations can be efficiently completed with the aid of a jointer. These operations include face jointing, edge jointing, tapering, chamfering, and rabbeting. If the instructions above are followed to the uttermost, you can always achieve the objective of your project. Here is a visual overview of five ways to use your jointer.

Don’t forget to pin it!

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