I bought an old cast iron Craftsman 6 1/8" planer jointer (three blade)
last week. I bought new blades and installed them. I have them set to be
the same height as the bed. Now, at the blades, the back half of the bed
raises on an angle, the blades with it. The front stays level. I figured
why the back bed has to rise, to keep the cut level and not get
constantly deeper, using the front of the bed as the guide. Why is the
back bed flat if it raises on an angle? Why not raise and remain level?
How do I feed a board across the bed properly, to flatten the high part
of the wood? Is the flat surface of rear bed (angled during
cutting?)used for anything?
One of us is very confused . . .
Unless your jointer is some peculiar child of questionable parentage,
both the infeed bed and the outfeed bed should be absolutely parallel
to each other in both planes - front to back and side to side. The
outfeed bed should be adjusted to exactly the height of the knives and
left in that position. The cutterhead should not move up or down, but
should remain in the same vertical position with the blades the same
height as the outfeed bed. Its only movement should be 'round and
'round. The infeed bed is raised and lowered to adjust the depth of
If your jointer is different from what I described, you're on your own.
"If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a
nail." - Abraham Maslow
It sounds like your a little confused about the outfeed table. Both tables
should be parallel (in plane) with each other. I think that you are talking
about the dovetailed ways which are on an angle which is what the table
raises and lowers in, but always in the same plane. At the same time it
raises/lowers the table it moves the table towards/away from the cutterhead
to allow for the radius in the cutterhead which keeps clearance consistent
as you adjust height.
"the back half of the bed raises on an angle, the blades with it"
Now that has me a little confused. The cutterhead should not move at all. It
is the only part that is fixed to the base of machine and does not move. If
it does it will be the first time I have come across it. If this is the case
it would be good if you could post a photo somewhere so we can see how it is
set up.If you have any info on brand/model number of machine someone may
know the machine and able to help a little more.
The only time the outfeed table should need adjusting is after installing
knives. As a general rule the outfeed table should be set to level with
knifes or sometimes some set it anything up to .015" higher. Most jointers
have some sort of locking mechanism on the outfeed table gibs (usually
centre bolt) to lock table once set. The infeed table height is the one that
controls cutting depth.
AS for flattening technique it depends if you are talking about a bow or a
If its a bow ( looking along edge of board it curves up or down)
It is usual to surface with bow facing up (high part in centre). Feed
through in direction of grain. Do not place pressure in centre of board to
force it flat, just a gentle touch to guide it through.
If its a twist/wind (both ends of board out of parallel with each other)
Place pressure on the corner that has contact with table. Feed through
keeping pressure on this side after passing to outfeed table. All the time
trying not to rock the board. On infeed table move feed pressure to
opposite corner at rear of board (also in contact with table).
It may take a number of passes depending on how bad the bow/twist is before
you straighten it.
In summary ... don't place any pressure on board where it has no contact
with table.Let the jointer do its job (straightening) and you do yours
That type of jointer has a fixed outfeed table. It's a ringer for the one
AMT sold at the time, so parts may even cross.
Sounds like there's a bit of a perceptual problem which could be remedied by
a look into any standard jointer reference.
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