Can I use a hand planer as a jointer? The answer to this question may surprise you! If you enjoy woodworking or have a DIY project in mind, understanding the functionality of different tools is essential. In this article, we’ll delve into the topic and explore whether a hand planer can be a viable substitute for a jointer. So, let’s grab our tools and discover the possibilities together!

When it comes to woodworking, having the right tools can make all the difference. The hand planer and jointer are both valuable assets in any woodworker’s toolkit. But can they be interchangeable? That’s a great question, and we’re here to shed some light on the matter. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced woodworker, this knowledge will surely come in handy.

So, why is the question “Can I use a hand planer as a jointer?” on your mind? Perhaps you’re looking to save some money by repurposing your existing tools, or maybe you’re intrigued by the prospect of testing the limits of your hand planer. Whatever the reason, let’s explore this topic together and find out if a hand planer can step up to the task of a jointer. Get ready to learn and unleash your woodworking potential!

can I use a hand planer as a jointer?

Can I Use a Hand Planer as a Jointer?

Many woodworking enthusiasts often wonder if they can achieve the same results with a hand planer as they would with a jointer. While both tools are used for surface flattening and smoothing, they have distinct differences in how they operate and the results they produce. In this article, we will explore the question of whether a hand planer can effectively substitute a jointer and discuss the pros and cons of using a hand planer in place of a jointer for specific woodworking tasks.

Understanding the Differences Between a Hand Planer and a Jointer

Before we dive into whether a hand planer can be used as a jointer, let’s first understand the key differences between these two woodworking tools.

A hand planer is a handheld tool that is used to remove thin shavings of wood, resulting in a smooth and even surface. It typically has a flat sole and a cutting blade that extends from the base. Hand planers are commonly used for trimming, chamfering, and smoothing wood surfaces.

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In contrast, a jointer is a stationary power tool that is specifically designed to flatten and square the edges and faces of boards. It consists of a flat table and a rotating cutter head with multiple blades. The cutter head removes material from the board as it is pushed across the table, resulting in a straight and flat surface. Jointers are commonly used for preparing boards for joinery and creating flat surfaces for woodworking projects.

1. The Limitations of Using a Hand Planer as a Jointer

While a hand planer can be a versatile tool in a woodworker’s arsenal, it does have limitations when it comes to replicating the functions of a jointer. These limitations include:

  1. Limited width capacity: Hand planers are typically narrower than jointers, which means you may not be able to achieve the same level of precision and flatness when working with wider boards.
  2. Difficulty in achieving consistent thickness: Hand planers rely on the skill and control of the user to maintain a consistent thickness across the entire surface. This can be challenging, especially when working with longer boards.
  3. Less control over square edges: Jointers have a fence that allows for precise control over creating straight and square edges. Hand planers, on the other hand, require more skill and technique to achieve the same level of accuracy.

2. When Can a Hand Planer be an Alternative to a Jointer?

While a hand planer may not fully replace the functions of a jointer, it can still be a useful tool in certain situations. Here are some scenarios where a hand planer can be a viable alternative:

  • Smoothing and finishing: If you have already flattened the surfaces using a jointer but need to achieve a smoother finish, a hand planer can be used to refine the surface and remove any remaining imperfections.
  • Small-scale projects: For smaller woodworking projects or when working with narrower boards, a hand planer can be sufficient to achieve the desired results.
  • On-site woodworking: If you work on-site or do not have access to a jointer, a hand planer can be a portable and convenient option for minor surface adjustments.

3. Tips for Using a Hand Planer as a Substitute for a Jointer

If you decide to use a hand planer as a substitute for a jointer, there are a few tips and techniques to keep in mind:

  • Use a straight-edge or level as a guide to ensure consistent thickness and flatness across the surface.
  • Take light passes and gradually work your way across the board to avoid taking off too much material at once.
  • Pay attention to the grain direction and adjust your planing technique accordingly to avoid tear-out or splintering.


While a hand planer can be a versatile tool for certain woodworking tasks, it cannot fully replicate the functions of a jointer. The limitations in width capacity, difficulty in achieving consistent thickness, and less control over square edges make a hand planer less suitable for extensive surface flattening and edge squaring. However, a hand planer can still be a valuable addition to a woodworker’s toolkit, especially for smaller projects or on-site work. As with any tool, proper technique and practice are key to achieving the best results.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Using a hand planer as a jointer can be a temporary solution for small-scale projects. It can help you achieve smoother surfaces and straight edges.
  2. However, a hand planer is not a replacement for a dedicated jointer. Jointers have larger tables and more power, allowing for precise flattening and squaring of boards.
  3. Hand planers require more skill and effort to use effectively compared to jointers. They are best suited for smaller pieces or touch-ups.
  4. If you plan to tackle larger woodworking projects or require consistent and accurate results, investing in a proper jointer is recommended.
  5. Remember to always prioritize safety when using any power tool or hand tool, following the manufacturer’s instructions and wearing appropriate protective gear.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to woodworking, using the right tools is essential. One common question that often arises is whether a hand planer can be used as a jointer. In this section, we’ll address some of the queries surrounding this topic.

Question 1: What’s the main difference between a hand planer and a jointer?

While both tools are used in woodworking, they serve distinct purposes. A hand planer is designed for removing material and smoothing surfaces, typically used for making boards thinner or creating beveled edges. On the other hand, a jointer is meant for flattening the faces of boards and creating straight edges for joinery.

A hand planer can be handheld or electric, with a blade that protrudes from the sole. A jointer, on the other hand, has a long, flat table with a cutter head and fence to guide the board. Although both tools involve removing material, they have different functions in the woodworking process.

Question 2: Can I use a hand planer instead of a jointer?

While a hand planer can be useful for certain tasks, it’s not a substitute for a jointer. Hand planers are designed to remove small amounts of material, while jointers are used to flatten and straighten larger surfaces. Attempting to use a hand planer as a jointer may not yield the desired results.

A jointer ensures that the face of the board is precisely flattened, allowing for proper alignment and smooth edges in joinery. Without a jointer, achieving accurate and seamless joints can be challenging. It’s best to use a jointer for the specific task it was designed for.

Question 3: What should I consider when deciding between a hand planer and a jointer?

The choice between a hand planer and a jointer depends on the specific woodworking tasks you need to accomplish. If you mostly work with rough lumber and need to remove material quickly, a jointer may be the better choice. It allows you to flatten and square boards efficiently.

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However, if you primarily focus on final surface preparation, edge beveling, or creating chamfers, a hand planer can be a versatile tool. It’s more portable and can be used in various applications. Additionally, a hand planer is generally more affordable than a jointer, making it an attractive option for beginners or those on a tight budget.

Question 4: Can a hand planer be used in conjunction with a jointer?

Absolutely! In fact, many woodworkers use both tools in tandem. A jointer is ideal for flattening and straightening the faces of boards, while a hand planer can be used for fine-tuning and smoothing edges. Together, they allow for precise dimensioning and surface preparation.

Using a jointer to create a flat reference face and edge on a board, and then employing a hand planer for further refinements, can result in excellent woodworking outcomes. By combining the strengths of each tool, you can achieve exceptional accuracy and finish in your projects.

Question 5: Are there any alternatives to using a jointer or hand planer?

If you don’t have access to a jointer or hand planer, there are alternative methods you can use to achieve similar results. One option is to use a router with a straight bit and straight edge guides to flatten and square the faces of boards.

Another alternative is to use a table saw with a sled or a track saw to rip the rough edges off the board and then use a thickness planer to achieve the desired thickness. While these methods require additional tools and setups, they can be effective substitutes if a jointer or hand planer is not available.

can I use a hand planer as a jointer? 2

Turn Your Hand Planer into a Jointer for Only $10


Using a hand planer as a jointer can be a helpful technique for DIY projects. However, it’s essential to understand its limitations. A hand planer can quickly flatten small pieces of wood, but for larger and longer boards, a jointer is more efficient and effective. It’s crucial to consider the size of the wood and the desired results when deciding which tool to use.

Additionally, when using a hand planer as a jointer, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent angle and pressure to ensure even and smooth results. Taking light passes and frequently checking the surface with a straight edge can help achieve the desired flatness. Keep in mind that while a hand planer can be useful, it may not provide the same level of precision as a jointer, which is specifically designed for this purpose.

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