UPDATE: I posted a really quick update to this to show a slightly better way. But it won’t make sense until you read/watch the original first. The update video is at the bottom of this article.
I picked up my very first jointer a couple of months ago. I did the research on the whole 6” vs 8” jointer debate and settled on getting the 8”. Since the instant it was tuned up and ready to rock and roll I immediately had a slight regret for not saving up more and getting the 12” model. For what I do in my shop could I have really justified the 12” model? Probably not. I still think the 8” model makes the most sense for the projects I make. But I just so happened to have a 11-1/2” wide piece of sapele that I really would have loved to planed at full width.
I forgot about that board and moved onto the next build which was my chest of drawers. Nearing the end of that project I again had a slight regret for not saving up for the 12” model. I forget the exact width of my drawer fronts but they were indeed wider than the 8” cutter head in my jointer. Instead of using the jointer I skip planed them slightly back and forth until I got a somewhat flat board. It wasn’t perfectly flat but it was good enough for what I was doing.
Now I have seen several people joint boards wider than their jointer and clean up the extra non jointed material with a hand plane but I really didn’t want to use a hand plane for this. I figured there would be a faster way to just use the planer as it was already the next step in the milling process. So after some thought I came up with the idea to use a spacer board to extend the jointed face down to the planer bed only to find out it’s a common technique that people have been doing for a while. I didn’t realize this until after I shot the video so there probably wasn’t a need to shoot a video. Nevertheless, hopefully someone who possibly isn’t aware of this technique can benefit from it here. The first step is to remove the jointer guard as the material won’t pass it. If you feel uncomfortable doing this than don’t do it. Be safe.
With the jointer guard removed the stock can be jointed as it normally would. I’m using a 9-1/4” wide board and as I said previously my jointer has an 8” wide cutterhead.
Next up is the thickness planer. The following image shows the jointed face on bottom resting on top of a piece of 1/2” plywood with the non jointed overhang on the right. The purpose of the plywood is to act as a consistent thickness spacer to transfer the jointed face to the bed of the planer.
Then the planer can do what it does best…plane the other side. After a couple passes the top face will be flat and parallel to the jointed face above the plywood spacer.
After the top side is planed flat and parallel it can now be placed on the bed of the planer and the planer can remove what material is left from the original jointing process. A couple quick passes and it’s gone revealing a second flat and parallel face.
A quick check against the flattest surface I have in the shop and the board is confirmed to be flat on both faces. So yeah….flattening a board wider than the jointer. Keep in mind that if you don’t even have a jointer you can build a planer sled to essentially face joint boards on the planer. Even though I had my planer for a couple of years before getting a jointer I never went through the process of building a planer sled. I always viewed them as a bit inconvenient. Anyway I hope able to be of some help to someone out there. Have a good one folks!
UPDATE/BETTER WAY: Jointing Stock Wider Than Your Jointer