Woodworking Question: I have read a number of articles on using a jointer or jointing a piece for a project. Some say joint an edge first, others say joint a face first. Which is the right way, or does it matter? See what our experts have to say.

Answer from the experts: It matters. You joint the face first. The fence plays no part in this operation; it need not even be on the machine. When the face has been correctly jointed or planed, it has three geometric properties measured with a straightedge and winding sticks. It is flat in length, flat in width and out of winding. You mark it, and it’s now called a face side.

This face side can now be put against the fence. Assuming the fence is square to the bed, the edge you joint will be square to it. This edge has four geometric properties measured with a straightedge, winding sticks and a try square. It is flat in length, flat in width, out of winding and at right angles to the face side. You mark it, and it’s now called a face edge. All subsequent measurements and machining are done from the face side and/or the face edge.