Here’s how to make a jointer and planer pay for themselves.
Let Mother Nature be your co-designer as you build dazzling projects with wavy edges, bristly burrs, bark inclusions, and other “flaws” that give wood a look of unrefined beauty.
Compared to the versatility of the tablesaw and jointer, the planer is a one-trick pony. Its only purpose in life is to machine opposite faces of stock parallel with each other and to a desired thickness. Of course, even a pony has to learn its one trick well before you put it through its paces—and the same goes for a planer.
A jointer requires fewer adjustments than a tablesaw—just three or four, depending on the design of your machine.
What separates a “nice” project from a “great” one can be simply several details better executed.
Sometimes it’s easy to take the simplest-looking things for granted. While working on a scrollsawn picture for one of my kids, I spent more time thinking about the process of making the picture than the frame I would put around it. After all, how hard can it be to miter a simple frame? I’m pretty happy with the frames I’ve made, but the skill came from a lot of practice and some solid techniques. Here are some of the things I've learned, occasionally the hard way. Note: I focus on making a frame using a mitersaw.
Thin-wall PVC pipe and fittings
Lightweight, easy to cut, and available at home centers, thin-wall PVC presents the low-cost option. An airtight system can be assembled dry (no glue) using self-tapping screws, allowing for reconfiguration. Cutting stock 10'-long pipe to exact length eliminates couplings.
Here's a tune-up process for your tablesaw and bandsaw that doesn’t take much time and returns their dead-on accuracy.
Our Tools Editor recommends gifts in multiple price ranges.