Jointers and Planers

Jointers and planers are the kind of heavy-duty tools you’ll only find in the workroom of someone who’s really into their DIY. A jointer is used to flatten one face of a rough board; a planer is used to smooth the other face and bring the board to an even thickness – and both are much quicker and less hard work to use than a handplane.

Jointer & Planer Safety

As both of these tools contain sharp blades, you need to take the proper precautions to protect yourself.

Safety First

  • Buy your jointer or planer from a reputable dealer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • It’s important to register a new jointer or planer with the manufacturer so that you can be contacted if a safety notice or recall is required. It also makes it easier for you to return a faulty product or order a repair. To register any of your appliances, regardless of age, visit Register My Appliance.
  • Use our free online checker to see if you have any recalled electrical items.
  • Check that your appliance has a UK plug; if it doesn’t, don’t try to use a UK travel adaptor. Get in touch with the retailer and ask for their advice.
  • Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling) or if it feels too hot to touch. If you have fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping then contact a registered electrician to investigate.
  • Any socket you plan to use to plug in a joiner or planer should have RCD (residual current device) Protection. An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. If you don’t have RCD protection in your fuse box for your sockets, consider using an RCD plug to protect you and your property from serious appliance faults.
  • Regularly (and carefully) inspect the blades on your jointer and planer to ensure they’re sharp enough and in good working order.

Using your jointer & planer safely

  • Always ensure the jointer or planer is switched off before you plug it in.
  • Wear a dust mask, safety glasses and hearing protection when using a jointer or planer, and don’t wear loose clothing or jewellery that could get caught in the mechanism.
  • Remove any dirt, nails, screws and staples from old wood before attempting to joint or plane it.
  • Always use push pads and push sticks when using your joiner to ensure your hands are kept well clear of the cutter head.
  • Ensure the fence on the jointer is square to the table (a machinists’ square or digital angle gauge can help here) and that the workpiece is pressed firmly against it.
  • Never try to joint a board that is less than a quarter of an inch thick.
  • Going against the grain when using a planer can cause tearout; avoid this by feeding the wood in smooth side forward.
  • Always unplug the tool when it’s not in use.