I inheritted what I believe to be a "jointer" from my father in law. This thing looks ancient and weighs a ton. It seems to operate well though. In any case, I am sort of confused as to what to do with it.
I have used planers before. They are nice and wide and I can feed boards into them and get my thinner boards. This jointer, however, is not wide. Its blade is only about 4 or 5 inches wide ... and I'm not sure what the heck it is to be used for.
A Jointer is a power plane. There are lots of uses of a Jointer, and it is the second most used tool in my shop. You use it to make a face or edge flat and true. After that it can be planned to thickness the board. IT is most often used by some to make the edges true for glue up of large pannels. It is also used to taper legs, bevel edges to a given angle by adjusting the fence.
When you have stock that is true and square on all sides it is a pleasure to use in woodworking.
Thanks for the support, but I am a big boy in many ways. I am also the largest supporter for Jointers here on the site there are a few people that don't see a reason for them. And 10 years ago I would have agreed. But, now I can't think of a shop without one. I know my work would suffer or it would take me lots longer to produce the same quality.
Bert and a few others have taken a couple of shots in friendly fashion and that is just fine. This is a big world of lots of people doing their own thing. If people don't agree with me and go a different way, that is just fine with me. I just want to make sure that the people that ask the questions get both sides of the story. If someone else takes the lead I just read and go on. On the subject of Jointers I seem to be the only consistent voice.
I will have to agree with Lou, the jointer comes in very handy when you need to join two or more boards together. It provide a square and smooth edge that decreases the chance of gaps. You don't have to clamp the thing supertight in order to close all the spaces. Save a lot of time and headaches.
After 35 years as a commercial wood worker I can tell you that the jointer is absolutely critical to anyone who is laying up panels of numerous boards. It should be used prior to surface planing any stock both for a straight and true suface on one side and one face. Be sure that when you are doing the face side that you let the stock find it' own plane and don't apply a large amount of pressure downward and with sharp knives and as a few light cute you can abtain a straight and trus surface to control your stock in the surface planer.