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A jointer is essential in any woodworking shop where rough wood needs to be smoothed out, squared and made even ready to be joined. However, since these can be pretty pricey tools, it’s important to take the time to do your research and find a machine that will be effective, reliable and long-lasting.
In our best jointer for woodworking guide, we will be showing you some of our favourite tools as well as giving you some tips to help you make the right decision when buying.
What To Look For When Choosing A Jointer
There’s very little point in going out and buying the first jointer you lay eyes on. The chances that it will meet your exacting needs are slim so we would strongly recommend looking over the features to make sure it’s the right product for you. If you’ve never purchased a jointer before, you may be wondering what is most important to look out for; here are our top tips.
The bed width tells you a lot about the size of wood that the machine is able to handle. This is an important thing to think about because the width of the jointer will be reflected in the price. You will normally find that a larger jointer costs more money. If you don’t need something huge then there’s no point in forking out all that extra cash.
Normally a cutting width between six and eight inches will be more than enough for hobby woodworkers and most professionals. However, if you’re a pro who needs to flatten much wider boards then you may need to look for something much larger.
What’s even more important, however, is to look at how accurately oriented the bed is to the cutting knife. If this is out by even the tiniest amount, it can affect the cutting efficiency hugely so it’s important that the bed is well made and that the manufacturer has very tight tolerances during production.
Normally, you will find that the blades on your jointer are pretty impressive when you first set it up from brand new. However, over the course of time, your blades are going to wear down, and this will happen more quickly the more often you use the machine.
This is why it is advisable to choose a jointer with the highest quality blades as this will make them last longer and reduce how often you have to replace them. That said, when it comes to replacing the blades, we would suggest going for a curved blade over a straight one as there is less risk of snapping and these curved blades tend to last longer without dulling.
Using a jointer can be a risky business if it isn’t used safely. We have some excellent safety tips in this article but it is a good idea to look for a tool that has plenty of safety features. This might include an automatic stop and safety guards, among other things.
Fences And Guards
Your jointer will have fences and guards which will keep the material straight and aligned as you move it across the table. You’ll want guards and fences that are adjustable so that you can cut wood at varying angles and this is usually done using a lock/unlock feature.
You’ll also find that an adjustable fence is great when you need to secure your stock with clamps for times that you may also need to employ the use of handheld tools.
Maximum Cut Depth
Just like cutting width is important when buying a jointer, cutting depth is also a key feature to look at. The cutting depth determines how many passes you will need to make in order to trim the wood to the desired size.
Many jointers will have a standard depth of either half an inch or three-quarters of an inch. However, you should be looking for one whose depth is adjustable as this makes for a much more versatile piece of equipment.
Ease Of Use
For many people, using a jointer will be a new experience and the last thing you want is something that is a nightmare to operate. It should be easy and smooth to move the stock across the blade with easy to reach on and off controls.
A jointer isn’t the most affordable piece of equipment you will purchase for your workshop so it definitely pays to think about the features and whether you are getting good value for money. The jointers we are going to be looking at later in this guide range between £200 and £400 so it is possible to choose one at the lower end of this price range and still get something that will serve you well.
However, you’ll find that you will pay more when choosing a closed stand or tabletop jointer but it’s certainly worth making an investment. We would never advise going for the cheapest jointer just to save money because you’ll probably find that it gives up the ghost much more quickly and you’ll only end up having to fork out once again.
Having a dust extraction feature on your jointer is essential since these machines can produce a lot of mess. Not only can this be a pain to clean up but it’s known that a dusty workshop can be a contributing factor to the number of accidents that happen. Not to mention that dust exposure is not good for your lungs and can lead to long term problems with repeated exposure.
If you’re going to be getting a lot of use out of your jointer then we would suggest looking for one whose dust container is much larger as you won’t need to keep emptying it more than is necessary.
A jointer is often used alongside a planer to get perfectly smooth and even results for the wood. However, if you’re going to be doing this often then it doesn’t make sense to buy two separate pieces of equipment. It’s far more convenient and cost-effective to buy one tool that does both jobs.
There are lots of multifunctional jointers out there such as the Scheppach model that we will look at later which also functions as a thickness planer. Of course, these will be a little more expensive than a single function machine but it’ll almost certainly be cheaper than buying them separately.
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The Silverline bench planer is a compact tool that is perfect for the hobby woodworker. It’s affordable and yet offers a good amount of features that can be easily used by every level of woodworker. It has a 3mm cutting depth and a six-inch cutting width making it ideal for most casual projects.
We liked that this jointer has an anti-kickback feature for safety as well as dust extraction to prevent you from being exposed to large amounts of sawdust. You’ll also notice that this is a very lightweight piece of equipment so it’s very portable and easy to store.
The fence can be easily adjusted between 90º and 135º allowing you to make bevel cuts when you need to. The machine will make light work of various types of hard and softwood so it’s also incredibly versatile.
Check it out on Amazon
Check it out on Amazon
For the casual weekend woodworker, we love this WEN jointer that has a good number of features as well as being relatively portable. At 16.5kg, you are getting the perfect balance between stability and the freedom to move the jointer around the workshop without breaking your back.
This one features 12 staggered blades that, much like its big brother, provide you with an ultra-fine and smooth finish. Turning as many as 12,000 times per minute and powered by an 1800 watt motor you know this is a powerful and reliable piece of equipment.
You’re getting some nice adjustment features such as a fence which can be moved up to 45 degrees and height adjustments up to ⅛ inch. What’s more, this jointer will work well with hard and softwood giving you good versatility.
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If you’ve been thinking about buying a jointer, you’ll know that there is a lot to think about and that making an investment like this shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s important to assess the features of any potential jointer to make sure that the tool meets your needs and our go-to guide tells you everything you need to know.