Can a Table Saw Replace a Jointer? Easy & Affordable Method

Can a table saw be used as a jointer? If you’re into woodworking projects and looking for an alternative method to achieve flat and square boards, this question might have crossed your mind. Well, the good news is that it’s possible! By maximizing the functionality of your table saw, you can transform it into an edge jointer using saws and a thickness planer. This power tool, traditionally known for cutting timber boards, can now take on the role of a jointer with the right techniques and tools like riving knife and plywood.

When using a table saw for jointing, you’ll need to consider jointer knives, riving knife adjustments, and jigs or sleds designed for this purpose. Understanding the benefits and limitations of using power tools like saws is crucial for successful results. While it may not replace a dedicated jointer entirely, incorporating your table saw into the jointing process can save time and money. Additionally, using a thickness planer can further enhance the jointed edge.

In the following sections, we will delve into the details of how to effectively use your table saw as a jointer. So let’s explore this fascinating technique and unlock new possibilities in your woodworking endeavors with power tools like saws and a thickness planer to achieve a jointed edge.

Understanding Wood Warp and Jointing Techniques

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Woodworking projects often involve working with various pieces of lumber, whether it be plywood, timber, or other materials. However, one common challenge that woodworkers face is dealing with wood warp. Wood warp refers to the bending or twisting of a wood piece due to changes in moisture content or internal stresses within the wood fibers. This can be especially frustrating when using saws and power tools in the workshop.

Grasping the concept of wood warp and its impact on woodworking projects

Wood warp can have a significant impact on the outcome of your woodworking projects, especially when working with plywood and timber boards. Imagine spending hours meticulously crafting a beautiful piece of furniture, only to find that it warps after a short period of time. Understanding the causes and effects of wood warp is crucial in preventing such disappointments. It’s important to use the right saws and power tools to minimize the risk of wood warp.

When moisture levels in the surrounding environment change, timber boards tend to absorb or release moisture, causing them to expand or contract unevenly. This leads to warping, which can manifest as bowing (curving along the length), cupping (curving across the width), twisting (twisting along its axis), or crowning (curving in both directions). Plywood is also susceptible to these issues. It is important to use appropriate saws when working with these materials.

To mitigate these issues and ensure stability in your woodworking projects, jointing techniques using tools like a jointer sled and plywood come into play. These techniques help to achieve precise and flat surfaces on timber, enhancing the overall quality of your projects.

Gaining insights into various jointing techniques used to correct wood warp

Jointing techniques using plywood and tools such as saws are essential for correcting wood warp in timber. These methods effectively flatten warped boards and create straight edges for proper assembly of your project.

  1. Face-jointing: Face-jointing involves creating smooth and flat surfaces by removing any irregularities from one face of a board. This technique is particularly useful when dealing with cupped boards.

  2. Edge-jointing: Edge-jointing is employed to create straight edges on boards by removing any twists or bends present along their length.

  3. Surface planing: Surface planing helps achieve uniform thickness across a board while also addressing any warping issues. It involves removing material from the surface until it is flat and smooth.

Understanding how jointers can help in flattening warped boards

Jointers are invaluable tools for woodworking. These machines, commonly used with saws, consist of a flat table and a rotating cutter head. They are essential for flattening one face of a board and creating a straight reference edge. By using jointers, you can effectively remove any twists, bows, or cups from your plywood pieces. A level sled can be used to ensure accuracy during the process.

To use a jointer for flattening warped boards, follow these steps. First, secure the plywood onto the sled. Then, carefully feed the board into the jointer, ensuring that the edge is in contact with the saws.

  1. Adjust the depth of cut on the jointer according to the severity of the warp in the plywood.

  2. Place the concave side of the board (if cupped) or convex side of the board (if bowed) down on the jointer table. Use a sled to ensure that the board is level.

  3. Apply light pressure against the edge of the fence while pushing the board across the sled and cutter head.

  4. Repeat this process until you have achieved a flat surface using a board, ensuring that the edge is straight and using a sled when necessary.

By utilizing jointing techniques and employing jointers in your workshop, you can overcome wood warp challenges and ensure that your woodworking projects turn out beautifully crafted and durable. Remember to choose suitable board materials, apply appropriate glue techniques, and consider other factors that may affect wood stability throughout your project’s lifespan. Additionally, using an edge sled can help you achieve precise cuts and maintain accuracy in your woodworking projects.

So next time you encounter a piece of wood with an unsightly bend or twist, rest assured knowing that with proper understanding and application of jointing techniques, you can conquer wood warp and create stunning board pieces that stand the test of time.

Difference between Table Saws and Jointers

Two common machines that often get confused are table saws and jointers. While both tools, such as the board and sled, are used in woodworking projects, they serve different purposes and have distinct features. Let’s explore the key differences between table saws and jointers.

Primary Functions

Table saws are primarily used for cutting wood pieces into desired shapes and sizes. They consist of a circular blade mounted on an arbor that protrudes through the surface of a flat table. Woodworkers can adjust the height and angle of the blade to make precise cuts, such as rip cuts or crosscuts. The board and sled are essential tools for guiding the wood through the saw, ensuring accurate and safe cuts.

On the other hand, jointers with rotating knives positioned just above its surface are specifically designed for flattening wood surfaces, creating straight edges, and ensuring boards are perfectly square. A jointer has a long bed where you can run a piece of wood over to shave off any unevenness or imperfections, leaving behind a smooth and flat surface. This tool is essential for woodworking projects involving sleds.

Cutting Mechanisms

Table saws utilize circular blades that spin at high speeds to cut through wood fibers. The teeth on these blades remove material as they pass through the workpiece, resulting in clean cuts across various types of wood. These cuts are particularly useful when working with a board or sled.

Jointers employ cutterheads equipped with multiple sharp blades or knives positioned close together in a cylindrical formation. These blades, known as sled, rotate rapidly while cutting across the width of a board on the jointer’s bed. By removing thin layers of material with each pass, jointers create flat surfaces by leveling out any irregularities present in the wood.

Unique Features

Table saws commonly feature adjustable fences that help guide wood boards during cutting operations, ensuring accuracy and consistency in each cut. They also offer options for making bevel cuts at different angles by tilting the blade.

In contrast, jointers have an adjustable fence parallel to their cutterhead which helps maintain consistent edge alignment when flattening boards. Jointers often include a built-in mechanism called a “guard,” which protects the user from the rotating cutterhead and prevents accidents.

Both table saws and jointers have their unique benefits and are suitable for specific tasks. Table saws excel at cutting large pieces of wood into various shapes, while jointers are indispensable for board preparation.

Pros and Cons of Using a Table Saw for Jointing

Advantages of Utilizing a Table Saw as a Makeshift Jointer

Having the right tools, such as a dedicated jointer or a table saw, can make all the difference when it comes to flattening and straightening wood surfaces. While a dedicated jointer is typically used for this purpose, there are instances where using a table saw as a makeshift jointer can be advantageous.

One significant advantage of utilizing a table saw for jointing is cost-effectiveness. Investing in a separate jointer can be expensive, especially for hobbyists or those with limited budgets. By repurposing your existing table saw, you can save money while still achieving similar results.

Another benefit is the space-saving aspect. Woodworking shops often face constraints. Combining the functions of both a table saw and jointer into one machine allows you to maximize your workspace without sacrificing functionality.

Potential Drawbacks: Limited Width Capacity and Safety Concerns

While using a table saw as a makeshift jointer has its advantages, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks before diving in headfirst. One limitation is the width capacity of the table saw. Unlike dedicated jointers that come with wider beds specifically designed for larger pieces of wood, most table saws have narrower tables that may restrict the size of the boards you can work with.

Safety concerns also come into play when repurposing your table saw as a jointer. Jointers are built with safety features like guardrails and push blocks to protect users from accidents while operating the machine. Table saws, on the other hand, may not have these same safety features since they are primarily designed for cutting rather than surface preparation.

Weighing Pros Against Cons: Is This Approach Suitable?

In determining whether using a table saw as a makeshift jointer suits your needs, it’s essential to weigh the pros against the cons carefully. Consider factors such as budget constraints, available space in your workshop, and the size of the projects you typically work on.

If cost-effectiveness and space-saving benefits are crucial to you, repurposing your table saw as a jointer could be a viable option. However, if you frequently work with wider boards or prioritize safety features, investing in a dedicated jointer might be a better choice.

Ultimately, the decision boils down to personal preference and individual circumstances. It’s essential to assess your specific woodworking needs and evaluate whether using a table saw as a makeshift jointer aligns with those requirements.

Steps to Joint Wood on a Table Saw without a Jig

Jointing wood is an essential step in woodworking, but not everyone has access to a dedicated jointer. However, fear not! You can still achieve flat and smooth edges by using your trusty table saw.

Preparing Your Workpiece

Before diving into the jointing process, it’s crucial to prepare your workpiece properly. Start by selecting boards that are relatively straight and free from major defects. Ensure they are of similar thicknesses for consistent results. Make sure your table saw blade is sharp and properly aligned.

Ripping Boards for Flatness

To begin the jointing process, set the fence on your table saw parallel to the blade. Take one of the boards you’ve selected and rip off its edge by running it along the fence against the blade. This initial cut creates one flat reference surface on the board.

Next, flip the freshly ripped board so that its newly cut edge rests against the fence. Adjust the fence slightly inward (around 1/32 inch) from its previous position and rip off another thin strip from the opposite edge of the board. Repeat this process until both edges have been ripped multiple times.

Crosscutting for Width Consistency

Once you have achieved flat edges on all boards, it’s time to ensure their width consistency through crosscutting. Set up a stop block or use a miter gauge with an adjustable stop on your table saw’s sled system.

Place each board against the stop block or miter gauge and crosscut them to desired lengths while keeping their ripped edges facing down onto the sled surface. This step guarantees uniform width across all boards.

Reassembling Boards for Flatness

Now comes an ingenious technique to achieve perfectly flat surfaces without a jointer: reassembling the boards. Apply glue along the ripped edges of each board and align them together, ensuring their flat surfaces face outward.

Place clamps across the width of the assembled boards to exert even pressure and leave them to dry according to the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions. Once the glue has cured, remove the clamps and admire your newly jointed wood with smooth and flat surfaces.

Safety Precautions

Throughout this unconventional method of jointing wood on a table saw, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Always wear appropriate protective gear such as safety glasses and hearing protection. Ensure that your table saw is properly maintained, with all guards in place and functioning correctly. Take your time during each step, paying close attention to your fingers’ proximity to the blade.

Achieving Square Sides and Bow Removal with a Table Saw

Achieving perfectly square sides and removing bowing or cupping from wood pieces is essential. While a jointer is typically used for this purpose, did you know that you can also use a table saw?

Take measures to achieve perfectly square sides when using your table saw as a jointer.

To ensure your wood pieces have perfectly square sides, it’s crucial to pay attention to alignment and accurate measurements. Here are some tips:

  1. Start by setting up the table saw properly. Make sure the blade is parallel to the miter gauge slots and perpendicular to the table surface.

  2. Use a reliable square tool to check if the blade is at 90 degrees angle.

  3. Adjust the fence so that it aligns with the outside edge of the saw blade.

  4. When cutting, apply steady pressure against the fence while pushing the wood piece through.

Learn how to remove bowing or cupping from your wood pieces.

Bowing or cupping can be frustrating when working with wood, but with a few techniques, you can effectively address these issues:

  1. Identify which side of the board has a bow or cup.

  2. Place that side down on the table saw surface.

  3. Use toggle clamps or other suitable methods to secure the piece firmly in place.

  4. Gradually feed the wood through while applying even pressure across its width.

  5. Repeat this process multiple times until you have removed enough material from both faces of the board to eliminate any remaining bow or cup.

Understand the importance of proper alignment and accurate measurements.

Achieving consistent results requires paying close attention to alignment and accurate measurements throughout your woodworking process:

  1. Ensure that your table saw’s blade is aligned parallel to both the miter gauge slots and the fence.

  2. Use a reliable measuring tool, such as a tape measure or caliper, to take precise measurements before making any cuts.

  3. Double-check your measurements to avoid errors that can lead to uneven sides or inaccurate joints.

Discover tips for achieving consistent results with this technique.

To achieve consistent results when using a table saw as a jointer, consider the following tips:

  1. Use a sharp saw blade suitable for jointing tasks. A fine-toothed blade will help create smoother cuts.

  2. Take light passes when removing material from the wood piece. This approach reduces the risk of tear-out and allows for more control over the cut.

  3. Make sure to maintain proper pressure against the fence while feeding the wood through the saw.

  4. Regularly check your progress by measuring both sides of the wood piece to ensure they remain parallel and square.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively use your table saw as a jointer, achieving square sides and eliminating bowing or cupping from your wood pieces. Remember to prioritize safety measures while working with power tools and always wear appropriate protective gear.

So go ahead, grab your table saw, and put it to work in achieving those perfectly squared edges!

Importance of a Table Saw Fence for Jointing

A reliable fence is crucial when using a table saw as a jointer. It plays a significant role in ensuring straight and accurate cuts, allowing you to achieve precise jointing results. Let’s delve into the reasons why having a good fence is essential and explore different types of fences and their features.

Recognize the significance of a reliable fence when using a table saw as a jointer.

The fence becomes your guiding companion. A sturdy and dependable fence acts as a reference surface against which you can press your workpiece while making rip cuts. Without this vital component, achieving consistent and accurate results would be an arduous task.

With the help of a well-designed fence, you can effortlessly guide your material through the blade, maintaining proper alignment throughout the cut. This ensures that both edges remain parallel, resulting in perfectly joined pieces with tight-fitting joints.

Understand how the fence helps in maintaining straight and accurate cuts.

The primary purpose of any fence is to provide support and guidance during cutting operations. When used as a jointer, this function becomes even more critical. The fence acts as an extended reference point that keeps your workpiece aligned with precision.

By pressing one edge of your material firmly against the rip fence, you create stability and control over its movement along the blade’s path. This prevents any unwanted drifting or wobbling that may compromise the accuracy of your cut.

Learn about different types of fences and their features.

Table saw fences come in various designs, each offering unique features catering to different woodworking needs. Here are some common types:

  1. T-square Fence: This type of fence consists of two perpendicular components forming an “L” shape. It provides excellent stability and accuracy for jointing tasks.

  2. Biesemeyer Fence: Known for its robust build quality, the Biesemeyer fence is a popular choice among woodworkers. It offers precise measurements and smooth adjustments, ensuring accurate jointing results.

  3. Split Rail Fence: This fence design features two parallel rails that can be adjusted independently. It allows for easy fence alignment and customization to accommodate different jointing requirements.

Ensure your fence is properly aligned to achieve precise jointing results.

To maximize the effectiveness of your table saw as a jointer, it’s crucial to ensure that your fence is correctly aligned. A misaligned fence can lead to inaccurate cuts and compromised joint quality. Follow these steps for proper alignment:

  1. Check the parallelism: Measure the distance between the blade and the fence at both ends using a reliable measuring tool. Adjust the fence until it remains parallel to the blade along its entire length.

  2. Verify perpendicularity: Use a square to check if your fence forms a perfect 90-degree angle with the table surface. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve perpendicularity.

  3. Test run: After aligning your fence, make test cuts on scrap material to confirm its accuracy before proceeding with actual jointing tasks.

By taking care of proper alignment, you can trust that your table saw will function effectively as a jointer, delivering precise and professional results.


In conclusion, while it is technically possible to use a table saw as a jointer, it may not be the most efficient or effective method. Understanding wood warp and jointing techniques is crucial in determining the viability of using a table saw for jointing.

Table saws and jointers serve different purposes, with jointers specifically designed for flattening and squaring wood surfaces. Table saws lack certain features that make jointers more suitable for this task, such as an adjustable fence and an infeed/outfeed table.

Using a table saw for jointing has its pros and cons. On one hand, it can save space in your workshop and potentially reduce costs if you already own a table saw. On the other hand, it requires careful setup and technique to achieve accurate results.

To joint wood on a table saw without a jig, you would need to rely on your woodworking skills and take extra precautions. Achieving square sides and removing bow can be challenging without the proper equipment.

The importance of a reliable table saw fence cannot be overstated when attempting to use a table saw as a jointer. A sturdy fence ensures accuracy during the jointing process.

In summary, while using a table saw as a makeshift jointer may seem like an attractive option at first glance, it is important to consider its limitations and potential drawbacks. If you frequently work with warped or uneven wood surfaces, investing in a dedicated jointer would likely yield better results.

Remember to prioritize safety when working with power tools by wearing appropriate protective gear and following recommended guidelines.


Can I achieve professional-quality joints using a table saw instead of a jointer?

While it is possible to achieve satisfactory results with careful technique on a table saw, dedicated jointers are designed specifically for this purpose and generally provide more consistent professional-quality joints.

Are there any risks involved in using a table saw as a makeshift jointer?

Yes, there are risks involved in using a table saw for jointing. Without the proper setup and precautions, you may encounter issues such as kickback, inaccurate cuts, and potential damage to your workpiece or the table saw itself.

Can I save money by using a table saw instead of purchasing a jointer?

Using a table saw as a jointer can potentially save you money if you already own a table saw. However, it is important to consider the limitations and potential drawbacks mentioned earlier. Investing in a dedicated jointer may provide better long-term value if you frequently require precise jointing.

What other tools can I use for jointing besides a table saw or a dedicated jointer?

Besides table saws and dedicated jointers, there are alternative methods for achieving flat and square wood surfaces. These include hand planes, router sleds, or even utilizing local woodworking shops that offer jointing services.

How do I ensure safety when using a table saw as a makeshift jointer?

To ensure safety when using a table saw as a makeshift jointer, always wear appropriate protective gear such as safety glasses and gloves. Familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions for both the table saw and any accessories being used. Take extra care with setup and technique to minimize risks associated with kickback or inaccurate cuts.


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