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Thicknesser vs Jointer

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Peter9651

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I am fairly new to woodworking (mainly scroll saw projects actually) and I was wondering if anyone out there has any advice about buying (an inexpensive) jointer or thicknesser.
I have a very small workshop so size is important.
I do not do much woodworking so throughput is small but I do need something that removes all the rough bits on the faces, and lets me reduce thickness and widths to what I require and smooths out the wood to a good finish.
Any advice anyone can offer is better than no advice at all.
Not asking too much, am I?

UPDATE:
Cannot thank (32 at last count) all the people who have replied to my post (some within mere hours of posting) and all the advice you have all given.
 
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sunnybob

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A bench top thicknesser ( the yanks call it a lunchbox, but we dont "do" american english) might be your answer. Like all machines, they have faults and need fine tuning, but if you have no planing skills (like me) and cant be bothered to learn (like me) it can make a twisty rough sawn plank useable
 

Blackswanwood

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Hi Peter.

What are the typical dimensions of the stock that you work with and when you say very small workshop does that mean you are looking for something that you sit on the bench rather than the floor?

Cheers
 

Droogs

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Hi Peter and welcome,
Just to point out a "jointer" and a "thicknesser are different machines. Here in the UK a jointer is called a planer. And funnily enough Americans call a thicknesser a planer
:confused:

You mention that most of your work is scollsaw based such as, I presume, intarsia or marquetry type stuff. If you have no intention of working on furniture sized projects (tables & chairs) then perhaps the range of power tools made by Proxxon would probably be best suited to what you do. There is also the option of using hand tools to prepare your stack and this in general does not require as large a cash input as machinery in general. Also it is most often, once you know what you are doing, far quicker to use hand tools for small one off jobs than it is with machinery. if you are making a large amount of the same parts then machinery wins hands done.

Below is a link to Proxxon's UK agent and the range they carry:


If you are planning to also do larger stuff then the Axminster hobby range is pretty good. Not the cheapest but their follow up customer support is generally second to none. their site below:


For smaller things from axminster





Remember as well that the 2 machines can be bought as separate machines but are available as combination machines as well to save a litttle space but that saving brings a slight reduction in capacity.

Look forward to seeing what you produce. You''ll find the people here welcoming and eager to proffer help and advice should you need it
 
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Trevanion

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Whilst both work mostly under the same principle of a spinning cutter head which planes the wood (relatively) smooth, both machines do a different task to the other.

A Surface Planer (Americans call it a joiner, don't let MikeG catch you calling it that 🤫) is designed to flatten, straighten and square rough-sawn timber that may have twists, bows and cups and generally you're only working two faces of the timber.

A Thicknesser is designed to be the next step after surface planing, it planes the timber down to a calibrated size by working off the prior planed surfaces face down on the thicknessing bed, which usually results in straight, square, and sized timber. You can run rough sawn boards through a thicknesser but these will not come out straight, square or without twist, every surface defect will be translated from the bed up into the cutter head and you'll have "banana" boards.

A Planer Thicknesser is the best of both worlds, one machine for both tasks, therefore, taking up less space although it can be awkward and time-consuming to swap between both modes on some machines.

Obligatory safety note that these machines are really rather dangerous to people who aren't trained and have no prior experience of working wood with spinning cutters, it's worth taking a machinery day course with the likes of Peter Sefton or Axminster to avoid doing stupid mistakes which could cost fingers.
 

Jackbequick

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I am fairly new to woodworking (mainly scroll saw projects actually) and I was wondering if anyone out there has any advice about buying (an inexpensive) jointer or thicknesser.
I have a very small workshop so size is important.
I do not do much woodworking so throughput is small but I do need something that removes all the rough bits on the faces, and lets me reduce thickness and widths to what I require and smooths out the wood to a good finish.
Any advice anyone can offer is better than no advice at all.
Not asking too much, am I?

Using planes and glass paper will do a good job for you if you are skilled and a lousy one if you are not. If the area of timber is considerable you can use jointer, thicknesser, belt sander.

Just on my experience the jointer has a high speed blade assembly rotating towards the feed...that cost me a finger top. It only has a cover which is pushed out of the way as you feed the timber. It is not 'fully enclosed'

The thicknesser is more like a rectangular tube with blade inside and adjustable to that the 'tube' stops the timber from moving away from the blade...as can happen with a jointer.

To be a 'real deal' tradesman and not a 'process woodworker' have an array of planes, loose blades and sharp chisels which will give you access to those parts of the timber you want to smooth. Carry plenty of glass paper and some sanding blocks. A hand plane can do a LOT of work if correctly sharpened and sensibly adjusted, As an example recently Bunnings refused to cut marine ply for me. I heard the tragic tale of the damage it does to the saw. Yeah...right!...

I cut it myself, like hot knife and butter, using a well used hand circular saw pretty well ready for tip-resurfacing. My panel saw readily sized the cut-off and the edges planed most 'co-operatively' for my No 4 Stanley . There's no real purpose to reaching for power tools for
everything. I planed 3/8 inch from the 2400mm length with perfect 'roll-off' of the ply and achieved dead-smooth surface. One can do wonders with the old tools including block-planes and scrapers if the tools are properly cared-for and the timber understood. Perhaps my advice would be leave power tools alone until you have achieved continuous expertise with hand tools. It's a great feeling and feels also really 'in touch' with the task.
 

sunnybob

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Plywood cutting leaves a lot of glue and resin on the blade. thats why the average "store" will not cut it for you, or charge a premium. I have a very good woodyard near me and they will cut whatever I ask on the wall saw, but if its ply, they change blades. That way the other panels dont get infected edges. If you cut a lot of ply at home, invest in a good blade cleaning kit.
 

bp122

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Didn't know that.

Is it the same with some softwood with natural sticky sap? Do they leave residue on the blades as well?
 

sunnybob

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almost all wood leaves a build up. Some, like pine, are much worse than others. Blades need cleaning every so often, even router bits.
I've just cut some ply shapes for my grandchildren to use for arts and crafts. Bandsaw to rough shape then use a template on the router to finish off. After a dozen shapes the router bit is a hell of a mess. I usually buy really cheap ones and throw them away after a few uses rather than clean them.
 

timber

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I am fairly new to woodworking (mainly scroll saw projects actually) and I was wondering if anyone out there has any advice about buying (an inexpensive) jointer or thicknesser.
I have a very small workshop so size is important.
I do not do much woodworking so throughput is small but I do need something that removes all the rough bits on the faces, and lets me reduce thickness and widths to what I require and smooths out the wood to a good finish.
Any advice anyone can offer is better than no advice at all.
Not asking too much, am I?
Hi I am about 10 miles from you and have a Triton Thicknesser that I don't use . up for grabs It just like new with spare blade.
 

Jackbequick

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Plywood cutting leaves a lot of glue and resin on the blade. thats why the average "store" will not cut it for you, or charge a premium. I have a very good woodyard near me and they will cut whatever I ask on the wall saw, but if its ply, they change blades. That way the other panels don't get infected edges. If you cut a lot of ply at home, invest in a good blade cleaning kit.
[/QUO

I think that's a good panoramic comment... I had no noticeable residue from the marine ply, however as maintain my tools properly. any residue is cleaned from the saw blade on power tools and hand tools. Marine ply doesn't use soft gummy glues.

It is possible that uncleaned blades in places like Bunnings used on their young timbers might create blade tension, however that has nothing to do with claims 'marine-ply is too hard to cut'.

Tools require care. I do the caring. That's why I have no problems with the work. If there is anyone thing in construction....and there are several....which show how poor apprentices are taught it is the lazy mans fitting of noggings...no pride, no understanding of the purpose or the behaviour of timber, particularly that Pacific product.
 

Jackbequick

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Hi, my reply was not printed so I'll reduce it. No gummy residue with Marine ply. commercial cutters don't want to shred the edge of course. I use a panel saw for ply and power or hand saw for Marine ply. I agree on cleanliness. Tool maintenance should always be done when the immediate task is over whether hand-power, belt- operated or electric power, A task for the day should always include time for cleaning tools bench and floor for an clean start next day.
 

sunnybob

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Having been working with machinery since the 60's, we had a saying regarding cleaning;
After every job, clear up. After every day, clean down.
Clean down was everything from head height to the floor.
 

TheTiddles

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I think most of us here have the lack of space limit. From my perspective there are only a couple of things where bigger/more expensive is definitely better, that’s your planer/thicknesses and bandsaw. I remember feeling the pinch when I bought mine but I’m glad I did, a smaller machine would have been a lot less capable and I would have replaced it by now I recon, whereas I’m not having any limitations on it now nor I expect for a long time
Aidan
 

Trevanion

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If you think about if you buy a 24” planer you could use it as a bench... double duty!
 

Jackbequick

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Having been working with machinery since the 60's, we had a saying regarding cleaning;
After every job, clear up. After every day, clean down.
Clean down was everything from head height to the floor.
Sunnybob...it's the way!...I recall long ago when doing the Film and TV production course at Nth Sydney TAFE...At the end of the nights I had a 20k drive...pick up my young children and drive to home...get them to bed again and get things ready for their school next day. Without even thinking about it after the others 'bolted' at 10-10:30 pm I stayed back coiling cables getting gear back in place. That could take an hour or more.

One Friday the course co-ordinator asked me to come have a drink at the 729 club...a TV industry alcoholics oasis....now long gone...It was about 11:30 by the time I'd cleaned up and about midnight by the time I lobbed into the club. We had a few beers...he was considerably ahead of me... then he said 'you are different from all the others...you fit in"..."???" He then explained that it was noticed by all teachers that I prepared everything for the next class next day. I said 'it's just normal for me (electrical contractor) I don't even think about it" .He said 'that's what will get you into the industry.

When I applied to channel 10 the next year for an advertised job there were many candidates already in the Industry. I guess they checked with the school because I was offered the job. Wretchedly I had to decline as it was 2 weeks on 2 weeks off which I could manage and still have plenty of time with my children BUT they said'it never happens...'usually within a couple of days, sometimes overnight, you have to go back out in the field'. I couldn't do that as a single parent of three children. I was very disappointed but it was explained 'you were the best candidate...but it really is a single man's job'.

So...the point is that people really do notice those who clean up and those that don't. There's a sense of finalising of the day's task which you either take-on or avoid. The likelihood is that even if you do clean up at work it will not be on your own time, not because you can't come in early but because the character isn't there. In one's own workshop or task it shows respect for tools and for self. It also can help with safety in finding defects. Voila....
 

sunnybob

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Jack, one of the many things no longer taught is to clear up after you. The world moves on and life changes, except for grumpy old men, who never change. :)
Hey, you dont have to be ashamed of being australian,(I even went there once) no need for the "pacific region" address (y):cool:
 
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