# Can I get two parallel sides of a board with only a jointer?

I'm building up my woodshop and currently have a jointer (4" wide), a table saw, and a miter saw. I really wish I had a planer, but my budget is a little tight right now. In lieu of that, I'm trying to figure out any way to reliably use the jointer to get two parallel sides on a board. Normally, I'd flatten out one side with the jointer then move over to the planer to get the other side flat and parallel to the first. Is there a way to accomplish the second step just on the jointer rather than with a planer? Right now, I'm working mostly with 1x4 boards.

• Welcome to WSE. Do you have a router and hand planes?
– Ashlar
Commented Mar 22 at 1:18
• In general, no, although you can fudge it to some degree using variable pressure and other tricks. None are 100% reliable AFAIK, requiring other methods be used in concert with the jointer (primarily router jig or hand planing, although as @Aloysius Defenestrate points out in his Answer it may also be doable using a TS). Just to check something, you say 1x4s, does that mean actual 1" x 4" boards (four-quarter stock at 4" width) or something else? Asking mostly to get an idea of the typical/usual level of out-of-flat you'll be dealing with; although you've got to think in the long term here. Commented Mar 22 at 7:09
• Terminology point: to avoid any confusion it's best to always refer to ends, faces and edges of any board. The 'sides' of a piece of wood might be variable depending on context, while face and edge always refer to the same surfaces. Commented Mar 22 at 7:12
• @Ashlar unfortunately, I don't have those either, though I'm thinking I will invest in a hand plane here soon.
– byl
Commented Mar 22 at 15:59
• @Graphus thanks for the terminology clarification. I should say then I want two parallel faces? Regarding the stock, I'm working with planks pulled from pallets that are roughly 40"x3.5"x0.75". Most of them are pretty flat already, but I discovered that with one of them, just running the jointer over both faces resulted in them being not quite parallel.
– byl
Commented Mar 22 at 16:04

Assuming a tablesaw with a tall enough blade and fence…

Flatten one side on the jointer, run twice (bottom half, then top half) through the tablesaw, then flatten the sawn side nicely on the jointer.

Use featherboards and of course push sticks as needed.

• Even if the blade doesn't give enough depth of cut, one can make (several) passes along each edge, then finish the through cut by hand prior to finishing on the jointer. Commented Mar 22 at 11:51
• I suppose this will work because, even if the two cuts from the table saw are not quite aligned with each other, they both should be parallel to the opposite face and so will be an appropriate datum for the jointer?
– byl
Commented Mar 22 at 16:06
• The two cuts should be aligned with one another. The jointed face is always riding against the fence. (And you don’t move the fence.) Commented Mar 22 at 20:14
• Search function here returns a number of hits, but in short, it’s a doohickey that helps hold the stock against the fence. Don’t hesitate to ask another question if you want clarification on anything. Commented Mar 22 at 23:56
• Just to amplify something Aloysius said, do feel free to ask another Question if you can't find the information yourself especially here on Woodworking since duplicates aren't allowed. Various forms of featherboard (and all similar pressure devices, which can include just a clamped block of wood) are used to hold stock against the fence but also down. The latter is much less used but it's a very important aid to safety in many sawing situations, but most particularly when the saw has a long fence (almost ubiquitous in the US) and/or if there's no riving knife/splitter (common on old saws). Commented Mar 23 at 8:04

It is also possible to create parallel faces using a router although it becomes much more work for larger pieces due to the small size of router bits. First create the base face using the jointer, anchor the piece to a flat benchtop and straddle the width of the piece with two rail boards, slightly higher that the workpiece. Using as wide a router bit with a flat bottom cutting edge and the router's wide base you can now route a new face that is parallel to the bottom. IF the work piece board is wider than your router base can span you may have to create a wider base for the router. You can clean up the face with hand planes or sanding.

• +1 Because of routers being used more and more in this way, especially for slabs of course, they've (recently?) started to offer bits specially designed for the purpose. Commented Mar 25 at 8:08