Do you find yourself wondering if you really need a jointer when you already have a table saw? Well, you’re not alone! Many beginners in woodworking grapple with this question. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of the age-old debate: “Do I need a jointer if I have a table saw?”

When it comes to woodworking, there are always multiple tools that can accomplish similar tasks. It can be confusing, but fear not! We’re here to break it down for you and help you make an informed decision. So, let’s dive in and discover if investing in a jointer is necessary when you already have a trusty table saw by your side.

To settle the debate, we’ll explore what each tool brings to the table, their specific functions, and how they complement each other. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of whether a jointer is an essential addition to your arsenal of woodworking tools when you already own a table saw. So, let’s get started and clear the fog surrounding this question once and for all!

do I need a jointer if I have a table saw?

Do I Need a Jointer if I Have a Table Saw?

Many woodworking enthusiasts often wonder if they need a jointer if they already have a table saw. Both tools are essential in a woodworking shop, but they serve different purposes. While a table saw is great for cutting and shaping boards, a jointer is specifically designed to flatten and straighten the edges of boards. In this article, we will explore the roles of both tools and help you understand why having both a jointer and a table saw can greatly enhance your woodworking projects.

Understanding the Role of a Table Saw

A table saw is a versatile woodworking tool that is used for making various cuts, including ripping boards, crosscutting, beveling, and miter cuts. It consists of a circular saw blade mounted on an arbor, which is powered by an electric motor. The blade protrudes through the surface of a table, allowing the user to safely guide the workpiece through the cut.

The primary function of a table saw is to accurately cut large pieces of wood into smaller, more manageable sizes. It is especially useful for making straight cuts and precision joinery, such as dadoes and rabbets. With the help of accessories like a miter gauge or a crosscut sled, a table saw can also be used for making angled cuts and compound miter cuts.

See also  What Is The Function Of A Scroll Saw?

While a table saw is a versatile tool, it does have limitations when it comes to flattening and straightening rough lumber. This is where a jointer comes into play.

The Importance of a Jointer

A jointer is a woodworking machine that is specifically designed to flatten the faces and straighten the edges of boards. It consists of a long, flat table with an adjustable cutting head that contains rotating blades. The workpiece is fed through the machine, and as it moves across the table, the blades remove any unevenness or warp on the surface, resulting in a smooth and flat board.

One of the primary reasons why a jointer is essential is because it helps ensure that the boards you are working with have flat and square edges. This is crucial for creating strong and seamless joinery, such as gluing boards together for panels or creating clean and tight-fitting joints. Without flat and straight edges, it can be challenging to achieve precise results in your woodworking projects.

Additionally, a jointer also helps remove any cupping or twisting in a board, making it easier to work with and preventing issues down the line. By having straight and flat boards from the start, you eliminate potential problems during the assembly process and ensure that your final project turns out the way you intended.

Why You Need Both a Jointer and a Table Saw

While a table saw and a jointer serve different functions, they complement each other perfectly in a woodworking shop. Here are a few reasons why having both tools is beneficial:

  1. Flattening and straightening: A jointer ensures that your boards have flat and straight edges, which are necessary for precise joinery. While a table saw can make straight cuts, it is not designed to flatten rough lumber.
  2. Time-saving: Having both tools allows you to maximize your efficiency in the shop. Instead of relying solely on a table saw and attempting to square the edges by other means, using a jointer saves time and effort in achieving accurate results.
  3. Versatility: A jointer and a table saw together offer an extensive range of capabilities. From cutting and shaping to edge jointing and flattening, you can tackle a wide variety of woodworking tasks with confidence.
  4. Increased project possibilities: By having both tools, you open up new possibilities for your woodworking projects. With straight and flat boards, you can create seamless panels, intricate joinery, and more refined designs.

Tips for Choosing a Jointer and a Table Saw

When it comes to selecting a jointer and a table saw for your woodworking shop, there are a few factors to consider:


1. Size: Determine the largest board you will typically work with and choose a jointer that can accommodate that size.

2. Fence precision: Look for a jointer with a reliable fence system that allows for precise adjustment and accuracy.

3. Cutting depth: Consider the maximum cutting depth of the jointer to ensure it can handle the thickness of your boards.

See also  Can I Use A Metal Lathe For Wood?

Table Saw:

1. Motor power: The motor power determines the cutting capacity and performance of the table saw. Choose a motor size that suits your needs.

2. Safety features: Look for features like blade guards, riving knives, and anti-kickback devices to ensure safe operation.

3. Fence quality: A sturdy and accurate fence is essential for making precise and repeatable cuts on a table saw. Choose a table saw with a high-quality fence system.

By carefully considering these factors and investing in high-quality tools, you can set yourself up for success in your woodworking projects.


While a table saw is a versatile and powerful tool, a jointer plays a unique role in the woodworking process. Both tools are essential for achieving accurate and professional results. By understanding the distinctions between a table saw and a jointer and having both in your shop, you can greatly enhance your woodworking capabilities and tackle a wide range of projects with ease and precision.

Key Takeaways: Do I Need a Jointer If I Have a Table Saw?

  • While a jointer and a table saw serve different purposes, they can complement each other in woodworking projects.
  • If you want smooth and flat surfaces, a jointer is essential for creating straight edges on rough lumber.
  • A table saw is great for making crosscuts and ripping boards to width, but it may not give you perfectly flat edges.
  • Using a jointer before using a table saw can ensure that your boards have straight and smooth edges for accurate cuts.
  • If you don’t have access to a jointer, there are other methods like hand planes and router sleds that can help achieve similar results.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why would I need a jointer if I already have a table saw?

A jointer and a table saw serve different purposes in woodworking. While a table saw can rip boards and make crosscuts, a jointer is specifically designed to flatten and square stock. Even if you have a table saw, a jointer is still useful for ensuring your boards are perfectly flat, straight, and have smooth edges before you start cutting them.

Using a jointer before using a table saw will help you achieve better results. It allows you to create flat and square edges on your stock, ensuring accurate cuts. Without a jointer, you may struggle with boards that have uneven surfaces or crooked edges, resulting in less precise cuts on the table saw.

2. Can’t I just use a planer instead of a jointer?

A planer and a jointer have different functions, so using only a planer may not give you the desired results. A planer is designed to smooth the surface of a board to a consistent thickness, but it doesn’t handle twists, warps, and uneven edges as effectively as a jointer does.

A jointer is the best tool for ensuring flat and straight edges on your stock, which is essential for accurate and safe woodworking. By using both a jointer and a planer in combination, you can achieve the best results. The jointer will flatten and square your stock before it goes through the planer, resulting in smoother and more uniform boards.

See also  Which Scroll Saw Blade To Use?

3. Do I need a jointer if I’m just a beginner woodworker?

While a jointer is not an essential tool for every beginner woodworker, having one can greatly enhance the quality of your work. It allows you to start your projects with properly prepared stock, resulting in more accurate and professional-looking pieces.

However, if you are on a tight budget or just starting out, there are alternative methods to achieve some of the jointer’s functions, such as using a circular saw or a hand plane. These methods may require more time and effort, but they can still help you achieve satisfactory results until you are ready to invest in a jointer.

4. What are the key features to consider when buying a jointer?

When buying a jointer, there are a few key features to consider. Firstly, consider the width of the jointer’s cutting capacity. A wider capacity allows you to work with larger stock. Additionally, pay attention to the length of the jointer’s tables, as longer tables provide more support for your stock.

Another important feature is the fence. Look for a fence that is sturdy and easy to adjust, as this will ensure accurate and repeatable cuts. Finally, consider the motor power and overall build quality of the jointer. A powerful motor will handle hardwoods with ease, and a well-built jointer will provide stability and durability for years to come.

5. Can I achieve similar results without using a jointer?

While a jointer is the most efficient and precise tool for preparing stock, there are alternative methods that can yield similar results. One option is to use hand planes to flatten and square your stock. This method requires patience and practice, but it can be done without investing in a jointer.

Another alternative is to use a router with a flush-trim or straight bit to clean up edges, although this method may not be as effective for larger or thicker stock. Keep in mind that these alternative methods may require more time, effort, and skill, but they can still help you achieve satisfactory results if a jointer is not available to you.

do I need a jointer if I have a table saw? 2

NO JIGS! -Turn a table saw into a jointer to straighten boards!


So, do you need a jointer if you have a table saw? Well, it depends. If you mainly work with rough lumber and need to flatten and straighten the edges, then a jointer is a handy tool to have. It can help you achieve precise and smooth edges that are essential for creating seamless joints in your woodworking projects. However, if you primarily work with pre-surfaced boards or smaller pieces of wood, a table saw can still do the job of ripping and crosscutting. With careful measuring and planning, you can work around not having a jointer. Remember, practice and technique are just as important as having the right tools. So, keep honing your skills and experimenting with different methods to get the best results in your woodworking adventures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *