Convert a Hand Planer to a Jointer: A Guide

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Stepping into the woodwork realm calls for mastering the creative mastery and the versatile use of some pivotal tools, namely Hand Planers and Jointers. Essential to crafting flawless, beautifully finished pieces, these tools carry a distinct role and design. This essay unravels the fundamental understanding of a hand planer and a jointer, aiming to empower enthusiasts and hobbyists with the knowledge to convert a hand planer into a jointer proficiently. A profound look into the modification process, careful adjustments, and necessary safety measures are embedded in this exploration. Moreover, we dive into the practices of testing and adjusting the newly transformed jointer, ensuring its top-shelf performance.

Understanding Hand Planer and Jointer Basics

An Introduction to Hand Planers and Jointers: Their Basic Functions and Pivotal Differences

There’s bound to be a point in woodworking where you’ll find the need for a hand planer or a jointer. These fundamental tools, often confused due to their similar functions, play distinct roles in crafting perfect pieces of woodwork.

Hand Planer: An Indispensable Companion for Woodworkers

A hand planer, also referred to as a “bench plane,” is a tool armed with a sharp blade that shaves off thin layers from the surface of the wood. Typically, a hand planer is used to flatten, straighten, and shape the wood. What makes a hand planer a central part of a woodworking toolkit is its flexibility and portability.

With a bit of exerted pressure, it can smoothen rough surfaces and even out inconsistencies in the wood. One of the fascinating characteristics of a hand planer is its ability to be adjusted – the depth of cut can be easily changed to control the amount of wood being removed.

Jointer: Perfecting Surfaces and Edges

A jointer, on the other hand, is a stationary powerhouse tool often used to refine and square the edges and surfaces of comically twisted or warped wood. It has an infeed table and an outfeed table between which a set of rotating blades or knives are positioned. By sliding the wood across these rotating knives, the jointer meticulously shaves it down, delivering a flat surface that’s square and perpendicular to the edge.

One essential job of a jointer is its ability to mill one edge and one face of the wood at 90 degrees, providing a solid foundation for subsequent planing or cutting. This feature makes it an essential tool for precision woodworking tasks.

Spotting the Differences: Hand Planer vs. Jointer

Although both tools essentially fulfill the same function – that is, flattening the wood – there are distinctions in their utilization.

A hand planer, with its mobility and adjustable features, works incredible magic on small-scale projects. One can easily control the amount of wood removed, making it ideal for minute adjustments and touch-ups. However, it might be a little challenging to achieve perfect edges and exact perpendicularity with a hand planer.

A jointer, meanwhile, comes in play when dealing with larger pieces of wood that require precision and absolute flatness. Especially in preparing lumber for fine woodworking, the jointer’s ability to create perfectly squared edges and faces remains unparalleled.

Wrap Up

Deciding between a hand planer and a jointer ultimately boils down to your woodworking project needs. For quick fixes and small custom jobs, a hand planer would do the trick. In contrast, for extensive woodwork and precision milling, investing in a jointer might be a sound decision. After all, in the world of woodworking, there isn’t one-size-fits-all but knowing the basic functionality of each tool will help you make the right choice!

Modifying Your Hand Planer

Testing and Adjusting the New Jointer

Ready to get the best out of your shiny new jointer? Let’s move ahead with breaking in this awesome tool with some testing and calibration, ensuring its setup is just right for ideal performance during your woodworking projects. Follow these steps and your jointer will be slicing through wood like a hot knife through butter!

First off, testing jointer outfeed table for coplanarity:

Grab a precision straight edge (emphasis on precision!) and check for any differences in the height between the infeed and outfeed tables. This is key to ensure your boards won’t be twisted during jointing.

Next up, testing fence for square:

To make sure your board sides are truly perpendicular after jointing, the fence must be absolutely square. Get a digital angle gauge or a drafting square for this. Hold it up against the fence and check that it is at a perfect right angle with the outfeed table. If it’s not, adjust the fence’s tilt until it reaches the golden 90 degrees.

Adjusting infeed table for depth of cut:

By moving the lever or wheel, adjust your infeed table to determine the depth of your cut. An ideal starting point is setting it to remove about 1/32″ to 1/16″. Remember, too deep a cut will make jointing difficult or even produce unsatisfactory results.

Ensuring cutter head is sharp:

The quality of your jointing mainly depends on the sharpness of your machine’s cutter head. A blunt cutter head will result in a rough or tear-out surface. So, check it for sharpness, and if necessary, replace or sharpen it.

Finally, run some tests:

Now that the jointer is all set up, procedure-wise. Grab some scrap wood. This is crucial because you want to avoid rookie mistakes, as well as not ruin premium wood on your initial runs. Make cuts to this piece and measure the results. Review how the jointer is working. Are the wood pieces flat? Are the cuts square? If not, it’s time to revisit your setup. Also, note how it feels to operate the machine -make adjustments to reach a comfort level that makes you look forward to more jointing.

Well, that’s the gist of it! As your skill improves, so will the fine-tuning of the jointer. Happy woodworking!

Empowering oneself with the skill of converting a hand planer to a jointer can open up new dimensions in woodworking capabilities. It is not just about following the functional transformation steps, but also about understanding the core essence of these tools. The modification would indeed require patience, precision, and a keen eye for detail. However, once you ace the testing and adjusting phase, the craftsmanship satisfaction that follows will be unparalleled. Remember, every woodworking journey is unique, your conversion process’s success will be the testament of your dedication, creativity, and love for the craft. So venture into this learning experience with an open mindset, eager curiosity, and secure grip on your tools.

About The Author