Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Jointer-Planer Safety

Jointer-Planer Safety

Second to circular saws, hand-feed jointers or surface planers are the most dangerous woodworking machines. Most injuries are caused by the hands and fingers of the operator coming in contact with the blades of the machine. In particular, many of these accidents occur when short lengths of stock are being used.


  1. Safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles must be worn. If a face shield is worn, eye protection must be worn underneath.
  2. The knives of the cutter head must not extend beyond the body of the head more than 3.2 mm.
  3. The cutterhead on the left side should be guarded with a spring loaded, self-closing guard that adjusts to the size of the stock. This guard should only be removed when rabbeting. Ensure the guard behind the fence is also in place.
  4. Lock the fence into position before using the jointer.


  1. Use a hold-down push block whenever the wood is narrower than 7.6 cm.
  2. The operator should never place hands over the front or back edges where they can easily come into contact with the head. Hands should be kept as high as possible on the side of the stock.
  3. Stock that has loose knots, splits, structural defects, metal or stone in it should never be jointed.
  4. Check the width, thickness and length of stock before jointing it.
    • Stock less than 300 mm long should not be jointed
    • Stock that is less than 20 mm high should not be edge-jointed
    • Do not face stock that is less than 12 mm thick. Always use a push block for thin material
  5. Allow the cutterhead to come to full speed before using the jointer.
  6. Stand to one side of the machine, not directly in front of the jointer.
  7. Do not leave the jointer until the cutterhead has come to a complete stop.
  8. Return the depth of cut to 1 mm when you are finished with the jointer. You, or the next operator, could be seriously injured if the jointer is set for a deep cut as kickbacks occur when the depth of the cut is deep.
  9. Clean up the work area