Q&A: Planing Without Jointing

planing without jointingQ: Help! For the life of me, I can’t get the twist out of rough lumber when I run it through my planer. I don’t own a jointer yet, but isn’t there some way to make flat boards with a planer?

A: As the saying goes: “Garbage in, garbage out.” Normally, a planer can’t take the twist out of a board; it merely makes the top side parallel to the bottom. To get a board flat without a jointer, fool the planer into thinking the bottom of your board is already flat.

Build a sled from two 3/4-in. medium density fiberboard (MDF) shelves. These shelves are cheap and widely available. Two of them make a really stiff sled. Shim the high spots with playing cards taped to the sled. Using shallow cuts, run the board through the planer until you’ve cleaned up the top side. Then flip the board over and plane to thickness.

planing without jointing

2 thoughts on “Q&A: Planing Without Jointing

  1. 8iowa

    Egad! The great lengths that some people will go to using avoid hand tools!

    At my “Workshop in the Woods” I usually work with rough sawn boards. After cutting boards to project length, I use winding sticks and a #5 hand plane to remove twist. With the surface thus prepped it becomes my reference surface for going thru the planer. Perfect results in a short amount of time.

    If I have a lot of material to remove I use a #6 plane having a blade with a camber radius of 10 inches.

  2. newburnt

    Good grief, Charley Brown. Why didn’t I think of that? I’ve been a woodworker for 35 years and that little trick just didn’t dawn on me. Your never too old to learn!

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