How Does A Jointer Work? [Here’s What You Need To Know!]

How Does A Jointer Work

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A wood jointer comes in handy for different woodworking purposes. But if you are a beginner, you may definitely ask at any point, point- how does a jointer work? Here is the short answer to the query.

First, the wood surface or edge is set on the infeed table. The wood is held tightly against the fence, and then the wood passes through the cutter head. The cutter head now shaves out a layer of wood.

Is that all? Not so fast! For a perfect result, certain things are required to know that we’ll cover here. So just stay tuned!

What Are the Parts of a Wood Jointer?

A jointer is a great woodworking machine that is used to straighten, flatten, or square edge the wood. It is the mechanical version of the other hand woodworking tools that works amazingly.

But as a beginner, it will be hard to understand the way a jointer works without knowing its parts. So, let’s break it down into its parts.

Infeed Table

The infeed table is the part of the wood joiner that supports the workpiece. Its position in relation to the cutter head determines the depth of the work. As much as you lower the infeed table, the greater the cut depth.

Outfeed Table

The outfeed table supports the just-machined position of your wood jointer. It has a fixed height for the cutter head and infeed table.

Cutter Head

The cutter head is the most important part of the wood jointer. It is made of high-speed steel.

The cutter head has spiral-shaped tooth edges. The teeth have spaced between them, which comes into play for material flow.


It is that part of the wood jointer that keeps the workpiece in place. The fence prevents the piece from sliding off of the workpiece as it is fed through the machine. 

Although different jointers have different fence systems, they all have the same basic adjustments- tilt and lock. 


The guard has a spring that returns quickly to ensure it covers the entire cutter head when clearing the cutter. 

So, by any chance, if the guard does not return quickly to cover the cutter head, you should check the mechanism and take the necessary steps as required. 

Dust Chute

The dust chute is the mechanical part of the jointer base. The wood dust produced by the jointer is usually collected in the dust chute. 

Push Block

The push block is not an integral part of the jointer, but it has its importance in providing safety. 

It is a block with a handle that hooks the workpiece and moves it through the cutter head. 

How Does a Wood Jointer Work?

Generally, the jointers are used to having flat edges on the board, making wider boards, rabbeting, tempering, or recessing pieces, or squaring an edge of the board. 

To do all these jobs, four major components work in harmony, the infeed board, outfeed board, fence, and cutter head. The infeed table, as well as the outfeed table, lie on the same plane and are flat. 

When the workpiece approaches the cutter head, the infeed table plays an important role in supporting the board. The height of the infeed board can be adjusted based on the thickness of the layer that one wants to remove. 

The depth of the cut is adjusted by lowering the infeed table. The height of the outfeed board is always fixed. It is flush with the height of the wood jointer’s cutter head. In the case of the fence, it runs perpendicular to the cutter head edge. 

To create a flat surface, the workpiece is fed across the cutter head, along the fence. Generally, the average depth of the cut ranges between /16 and 1/8 inches. It is the reason why one may find different sizes of the jointer.

The most common one is the 6-inch jointer, which means it has a 6-inch cutter head. It indicates the maximum width of the board that can be handled by the jointer. The infeed table and outfeed table relate to the reference area. They are also known as the bed of the jointer. 

The jointer bed and the reference area are proportional. Generally, a jointer is capable of cutting wood boards up to double the length of its bed. 

How Does a Wood Jointer Work in Different Situations?

The wood jointer comes in handy for different purposes for different woodworkers. 

When you are a woodworker, your understanding of the wood jointer’s functions determines for how many purposes you can use it. 

However, here we have tried to cover some other ways that the jointer serves. 

#1- A Bowed Board Straightening

A wood jointer does great work straightening a bowed board. You can achieve a well-flattened and straight board with the help of a wood jointer with ease.

All you need to do is make a little bit of a change in your working technique to straighten up a bowed board.

Here, you have to join the edge of the board in such a way that the bow will face upward. It will make it very easy to flatten up a bowed board.

#2- Squaring Up a Second Edge

The other purpose that a wood jointer can serve is to square up a second edge. 

If you feel the requirement of squaring up a second edge while working with the wood jointer, first check out the fence of the jointer. 

You need to ensure that the fence is in its place and has been squared with the infeed table and the outfeed table. 

Keep the fence of the jointer at 90 degrees, as it will make it easy for you to square up second or more edges.

All ready! Now move ahead to the second edge squaring in a perpendicular direction to the already joined first edge.

#3- Jointing Mitered Joint Butts

Now let us come to our other technique with the wood jointer. While working with the wood, if you feel the necessity of joining the mitred joint butts, the jointer can help you do so. In this case, you just need to bevel the fence at 45 degrees.

#4- Correct Material Defects

Woods are naturally imperfect. So, you need to correct the defect before making any wood furniture.

Here the jointer comes into play. With the help of a jointer, you can straighten and flatten up the twisted, cups, or wrapped wood.

Some Essential Wood Jointer Safety Tips That You Must Follow

As the wood jointer is a power tool, it is essential to take safety precautions.

That is why we have listed some crucial safety tips to follow while working with it. Just take a look.

  • Always wear safety glasses before starting to work with the jointer. 
  • Ensure to have dust collection. 
  • Never adjust the outfeed table. 
  • Your hands must be kept 4″ away from the cutter head, and do not pass your hand over it.
  • Use a push block at the end of the workpiece. Do not use your thumb to do so. 
  • Do not even try to remove more than 1/16″ at a time, and do not join less than 1/4″ thick.
  • Do not cut any part that contains split, loose knots, or other any kind of defects.
  • You should also avoid cutting materials that contain screws, nails, or other metallic items.
  • Stand by the cutter head at the side of the wood jointer.
  • If you notice any malfunctioning from the jointer, stop working with it immediately and get it checked.

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