If you enjoy woodworking DIY projects and you have a woodshop, then you most likely have a hand planer.
Many woodworkers have several hand planes in fact, and one of them is likely to be a jointer.
If you are interested in hand planer vs jointer, what you have to understand is that there are many types of hand planers, and a jointer is just one of them.
What’s a Hand Planer?
A hand planer is a tool you use when you work on wood. As the name implies, you hold the planer in your hand in contrast with a bench planer. However, it’s often generally considered that a hand plane is also hand-powered. The term “hand plane” typically refers to the tool that’s you push into the wood and not powered by a motor.
When you run a hand planer across the wood, you save off parts of the wood. That’s its most basic function. You’ll want to do this if you wish to get the wood to a specific size, or if you want the surface level. In some cases, you may wish to smooth the wood with results that can’t be matched by sandpaper.
Some hand planes are called smoothing planes because they’re for smoothing the wood. And then we have the jointers.
Size and Materials
Hand planes come in different sizes and production materials. They can be made of wood or metal. Metal hand planes are heavier, but they’re easier to adjust. The wooden hand planes are made of hardwood, and typically this is wood from broad-leafed deciduous trees.
Inside the wood or metal body of the hand plane is the iron, which is the usual term for the cutting blade. It’s fastened into a metal plane with the lever cap, which is a type of clamp. It can also be fastened into a wood plane with a wooden wedge.
There’s a rectangular opening in the bottom of the plane, and that’s where the iron juts out a bit. The opening is called the mouth while the bottom is the sole. The length of the sole is often the defining trait of particular hand planes.
The angle of the iron also depends on what type of cutting it’s supposed to do. The bevel of the cutting edge usually faces down, but some planes have it facing upwards.
What’s the Jointer For?
The jointer is the best hand plane to use at leveling and squaring (truing up) long edges, and it’s also for leveling wide boards.
It gets its name because it prepares wood boards properly by creating perfectly flat edges on the sides of the wood that you’re jointing edge to edge to create a wider board.
For example, you may create a table top by jointing several planks of wood side by side.
Types of Jointers
Generally, the standard wooden and metal jointers have irons set at 45 degrees with the bevel facing down. However, there are low angle metal jointers with the iron set at just 12 degrees, with the bevel facing upwards.
The no. 7 plane is a 22-inch jointer with a cutting width of 2⅜ inches. This is the most common size of jointer. This is a very versatile tool, as some even use it not just for jointing but also for smoothing and for shooting the long edges of boards to form them to a wider wood panel.
The no. 8 jointer is only 24 inches long with a cutting width of 2⅝ inches, but it really is huge compared to the no. 7 plane. It’s a lot heavier and wider, and a few people can’t deal with the weight and size.
But many more woodworkers like it because it’s just so effective. When you have patches of tough grain that smaller hand planes can’t handle, the no. 8 jointer just plows through them as if they weren’t there.
You just have to sharpen the blade frequently, because it’ll be harder to push if you have a dull blade. You’ll also need to wax the sole with paraffin.
Then you have the bevel up jointer. This is also 22 inches long with a cutting width of 2¼ inches.
It’s actually easier to use than the bevel down versions, and it’s even more affordable.
But some dislike the lower level of gravity that makes it harder for you to notice if the jointer is tipping left or right.
Today, you can get electric jointers but they can be very big and heavy machines. But plenty of woodworkers still opt for the handheld version of the jointer.
It’s a lot quieter and you don’t produce as much dust. You also find that it’s a lot more satisfying to work on wood when you’re using a manual machine like a jointer.