Ask WWGOA: Square Material Without a Jointer or a Thickness Planer

Ask WWGOA Banner


How do I go about getting square material without a jointer or a thickness planer? I have a table saw, circular saw, and various cordless tools. Thanks in advance for any help.

Submitted via email


This is a great skill to have in your bag of tricks, as it will come into play on nearly every project. Here’s a video that walks through the process: Post Haste Project: How to Square a Board. It’s tough to do this without a jointer and planer. The key is to establish one square face on a jointer first, then use that face as a reference for each of the next steps where you will square up the remaining sides. Then you will simply cut the ends square on a miter saw, or if you don’t want to add one of those, you could easily do this on a table saw.

Without investing in a jointer or planer, you will have to start by choosing lumber that is at least flat to begin with. Then you can use a table saw and a sled as described in this article to establish a straight line on one edge, then flip that over and rip as normal on the table saw to square up the other edge and make it parallel to the first.

Hope this helps,

Post Haste Project: How to Square a Board
Jointing on the Table Saw

Do you have a woodworking question you’d like answered by an expert? Email your question to or reach out to us on Facebook.

Please note: questions may be edited for clarity and relevance.

10 Quick and Easy Gift Ideas

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

6 Responses to “Ask WWGOA: Square Material Without a Jointer or a Thickness Planer”

  1. Gerardo D Remes

    How to build scrollsaw or bandsaw made of wood?

  2. JOE Whitehill

    How can a warped lid to a small box s straightened?

  3. RANDY

    What if you can't afford a planer or jointer at the moment. Surely there is a technique using table saw, router or miter saw to square a piece of wood for use as a straight edge template. I watched "squaring plywood with a router" and "jointing with a router". Can one of these techniques be modified to create a true square long edge?

  4. Robert Taylor

    Along with the question about squaring a board I have read that we should not trust a factory edge on plywood and the corner to be 90 degrees. If we do not use at least one of them how is the best way to ensure a straight side and square corner?

  5. BobE

    I spose I'm wondering why a hand plane wasn't suggested.

  6. Kurt

    I have a chunk of slab wood and would like to save the bark on it. What is the best way to keep it on. It was cut this past summer. I was hoping to use my cnc to put a 3D scene on it Simla What product do you recommend to use to keep bark on the edge of slab wood that was cut in the summer.