The jointer plane is the biggest battleship in the fleet. It’s range is from 18” on up and it has a flat blade. Some call it a a trying plane, others a jointer plane.
The traditionalists will tell you that a jointer plane was one that the coopers used to help shape the curves for a barrel. It was a very large plane turned upside down with legs on the one end. A cooper would draw the board over it creating the shape of the stave (plank). The staves would not only be slightly curved, but would have to joint very tight to create a waterproof seal so as not to leak. This is a true mastered art form all in it’s own.
On a recent trip to Rudesheim Germany, there was an old wine museum. In it they had a wide arrangement of old woodworking tools including this photo I took of a “Jointer Plane”
In modern times the term jointer has stuck because the hand plane is used to join two edges of a board. Yet jointing boards is not the only use for the jointer. It’s used to flatten a board as well.
The jack plane, as mentioned in the previous blog, has done the majority of the flattening of the board. Many will move on to their smoothing plane after the jack plane. But a smoothing plane is short. The smoothing plane will have the tendency to ride up and down the hills and valleys that the jack plane made. Think of it as a sail boat on the waves of the ocean. It will ride up and down it. But the jointer plane rides on top of those peaks and levels it down to the bottom of the valleys. This allows the smoothing plane to just remove the marks left behind by the jointer.
The flattening process of a board with a hand plane is why the British use the term, trying plane. Because you are trying to flatten the board. So whether you are flattening a board, or joining two edges of a board together, a jointer plane is a MUST HAVE for any woodworkers arsenal.