How to Use a Jointer Planer


There are many uses for a jointer. It is primarily used to plane the edges of boards after they're cut with a saw. Trim carpenters use portable jointers to clean up edges and to narrow or taper boards that must be fit tightly to windows, walls or other objects. A jointer will also cut a bevel on the edge of a board, which is useful when you're making door and window jambs.

Things You'll Need

  • Jointer
  • Square
  • Safety glasses
  • Board


  • Set the jointer fence square to the table. This is done by placing a square on the table and against the fence. Most jointers have a knob or handle to adjust. Loosen the handle, align the fence, and tighten the handle again.

  • Set the depth of the cut by turning the adjustment knob. There may be one knob that unlocks the adjustable side of the table and another knob that turns to set the depth of the cut. The height of the in-feed table determines the depth of the cut. The most you should ever take off at one time is about 1/16 of an inch.

  • Run a piece of wood through the jointer in a way that the direction of the grain angles down from the top to the bottom of the board. If the grain is reversed or angled upward, the blade could tear off wood or make a rough cut. Check the edge of the board with a square to verify that the fence is set at a 90-degree angle to the table. Adjust the depth of the cut if necessary.

Planing wood

  • Hold the edge of the board flat on the table and tight against the fence.

  • Push the board into the cutting blades. Keep pressure on the board so that the out-feed table and the edge of the board stay in contact. For small stock, use a push stick or push pad to keep your hands out of danger. Lift your hand as you move close to the blade, and grasp it again just past the blades, when your hands are out of danger.

  • Finish the cut by keeping the board flat against the out-feed table. Be careful here. The weight of the board may lift the back end off the cutting blades, causing an uneven end.

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  • Photo Credit Pattern of wood - can be used as background image by Elnur from
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