George Vondriska

Jointing Boards Wider Than Your Jointer

George Vondriska
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Duration:   6  mins

Most woodworkers try to buy a jointer with enough capacity to handle any board we would want to face joint or edge joint. But let’s face it; jointing boards wider than your jointer is a requirement that many woodworkers face from time to time. First, you should look at this challenge through a positive lens; it means you’ve scored some great lumber!

When considering jointing boards wider than your jointer, let’s start with a suggestion on what not to do. A woodworker might jump to the conclusion that, since the board is wider than my jointer, I’ll just try running it through the planer a few times to see if I can get a flat face that way. The outcome is predictable; you’ll end up with a board with the same shape as it started with, only thinner. Each pass through that planer will peel away more valuable lumber and not fix any bows or crooks the board has. Therefore, when jointing boards wider than your jointer, it’s best to follow a couple of essential principles:

Learn how to master the jointer

Working with boards that exceed your machine’s capacity will require you to understand all of your jointer’s mechanics and how to safely push the tool’s limits.

Use the jointer to help establish the flat face

Even though the board might be larger than your jointer’s capacity, a technique can be used to establish a flat surface on one face of the board.

Finish on the planer

This will require a bit of creative ingenuity, but you can plane the opposing side to the flat face with a jig. Then, flip it and finish flattening the first side.

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3 Responses to “Jointing Boards Wider Than Your Jointer”

  1. Peter Jonas

    I found this video quite helpful. I have a small shop and have been debating between purchasing a used 6″ floor jointer or an 8 or 10 inch benchtop. As I watched you, it seems the length of the bed really makes a big difference in getting a flat/straight cut. Is there any reasonable limit to how much overhang you can work with? For example, could you run a 10″ inch wide piece of wood on a 6″ jointer and finish with the mdf and planer? In say the $500-$600 range would you purchase a new bench top unit or a used floor model with a longer steel bed?

    • Customer Service

      This is a great question. All things considered, for my purposes I would choose a 6″ stationary jointer over a larger benchtop unit. Length is important, for sure. Many people start with a 6″ unit and upgrade to an 8″ unit later, which is what I did. So, my vote would be to find a used 6″ stationary if you can find a decent deal, then plan on upgrading to an 8″ stationary model if you “outgrow” your 6″.
      Woodworkers Guild of America

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