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I don't know how many times I get asked the question, what should I purchase a jointer or a planer. The quick answer to this is both, but for those who want to know why, or what alternatives there might be, read on.
Depending on where you obtain your wood, it can be anything from rough to finely milled and ready to use. In many cases wood is purchased "rough cut" and needs to be finely milled. The reason for this is that whoever milled the wood, has no idea what you are going to make with it, so they cut the wood on the large size you you can re-size it to fit your project and as well as to cut around, or include any "features" of the wood like figure, knots etc.