Infeed/outfeed table alignment on my old Craftsman Joiner.


I just acquired an old, belt driven Craftsman Joiner and tried using it for the first time. To my dismay, it cuts the board thicker on one end than the other. When I eyeball it, I can see that the infeed table slants downward away from the fence.
I turned it over to look for easy adjustments, but it looks pretty complex. Has anyone had any experience with this problem? Can it be fixed or is it even worth it? I have $75 into the joiner at this point.... should I abandon it and buy a new one or is this something I will ned to learn to do to maintain any joiner?
Thanks in advance for any help/advice!
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3 Jul 2006 14:56:43 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I don't know if it's a systemic problem or if it was unique to me, but I had a Craftsman joinTer at one time that had exactly the same problem. In the alignment process, you could get the infeed table coplanar with the outfeed table, or you could get the height adjustment wheel to work, but you couldn't do both.
At first I thought it was the table and got another infeed table from Sears under warranty, but it exhibited the same behavior. I tried every trick I could think of, including shims on one or more of the four bosses on the underside of the table to which the dovetail gibs attach.
I tried to think of other methods, and at one time I thought of taking it to an engine machine shop to have the infeed table reground while adjusted properly on the rest of the machine, but never followed through with that.
In my opinion, the problem is unfixable. There are ways to make the machine function after a fashion. Find a compromise adjustment that allows you to set the table height as desired while getting the table reasonably coplanar. That's not hard to do. Then make sure the fence is square to the outfeed table--also not hard to do. You now have a jointer that will mill board edges flat and square well enough for most any work that you will do. Just be sure you register the work tightly against the fence.
The jointer is hopeless for face jointing. Don't even think about it.
You may not realize it, but the outfeed table is integral with the body of the machine, which, while probably cheaper to build, actually somewhat compounds the problem, as with an adjustable outfeed table you might have been able to adjust both tables coplanar (and reset the knives) and still be able to move the height adjusting wheel. That's still a mickey-mouse arrangement, though.
For $75, you can have an okay edge jointer. For $75 you can toss it, inflict it on an acquaintance (you wouldn't do that to a friend), or put a $150 tag on it at a garage sale and sell it for anything you can get over $30 and the buyer will think he scored.
I'd shop around for something else (which is what I did--first a DJ15, now a DJ20).
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Regardless of whether you jointer is set up correctly or not, nor is any other jointer designed to keep the top and bottom sides of your wood parallel. After flattening one surface the opposite surface should be made parallel by going through a thickness planer or a TS. If you are trying to achieve or maintain parallel sides by only using the jointer, GOOD LUCK with that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi John,
Actually, there are times when you want to cut a taper and the Jointer is a handy machine for doing it. To avoid taper you do need to make sure that the knives are at the exact same height as the outfeed table and that the tables are parallel. You also need to make sure that your technique is proper. You might find this video helpful for proper jointer alignment and setup:
http://www.ts-aligner.com/jointer.htm
If the tables of your jointer are mounted using dovetail slide ways, then adjusting them for parallel isn't going to be a simple matter. They should have been ground flat after assembly and for them to be non-parallel is considered a major defect. It could be that the cast iron wasn't properly seasoned and there has been some post-grinding warpage. Or, it could just be that the gibs are loose and need to get tightened up. I would try this first. If this doesn't work you can try to shim the gibs. This can be successful only if a small amount of correction is needed. Otherwise, it will take a trip to the machine shop to have the tables re-ground. Not just any machine shop will have a grinder big enough for the job so you will likely end up paying top dollar. I'm guessing that this particular jointer isn't going to be worth it. Perhaps a large chain can be connected at one end and you could re-sell it in a marine application?
If the tables of your jointer are mounted using a parallelogram with eccentric pivot bolts, then you're in luck. You just adjust the eccentrics to correct the problem. An accurate and long precision ground steel straight edge can come in very handy for the task. This isn't a job for one of those big aluminum "rulers" that you find at hardware stores and don't even suggest something like a yard stick! To obtain accurate results from your jointer, you'll need to be making adjustments in the thousandths of an inch.
Please feel free to pick my brain for more info or help.
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
>You might find this video helpful for proper

That's a cute video for selling the ts-aligner tool, but it does not show a thing about setting up the infeed/outfeed to be coplaner (critical for jointer performance), something the ts-aligner won't help with.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Bob,
Actually, the video wasn't made for selling the TS-Aligner. It was made for people who have already purchased one. So, yes, it's not comprehensive on all the possible adjustments and alignments that can be done on a jointer - just the ones that can be done with a TS-Aligner. I offered it because I thought it might help the original poster. See below for why. I've been wanting to do a comprehensive video on the jointer but just haven't had the time.
Using an accurate straight edge is probably the easiest and least expensive method for checking table alignment on a Jointer so that's what I suggested. It can be done more accurately with other methods (using an autocollimator is my favorite!) but I figured that the practical solution was the best. Even so, there's little that can be done to correct this kind of problem on a machine with dovetail ways (short of a re-grind).
Jointers with "coplaner" infeed/outfeed tables don't perform very well at all. The best performance (for which the machine was designed) is obtained when the infeed table lies in a plane which is parallel to and below the plane of the outfeed table. "Parallel" and "coplaner" are two completely different conditions.
Another critical adjustment is the height of the knives - which needs to be the same as the height of the outfeed table. If the knives are higher than the outfeed table then you're likely to see snipe. If the knives are lower than the outfeed table then you get a tapered cut (re: the original complaint). The TS-Aligner Jr. featured in the video facilitates this particular adjustment but is not necessary for the task. Many people accomplish the task with a simple dial indicator and magnetic base setup. And, some are even successful using archaic trial and error methods.
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
Bob wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4 Jul 2006 10:28:43 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com wrote:

Actually, in the case of a jointer, coplanar is a specialized subset of parallel. In the case of my old Craftsman (and I presume the kind the OP is talking about), coplanar is where the adjustments begin. Once that special condition is achieved, moving the infeed table up and produces a parallel condition at every height, which is the desired end result.
Because the Craftsman jointer's outfeed table is an integral part of the whole machine base, it's easiest to begin the adjustment for parallel with the coplanar condition. It could certainly be done by use of a spacer block, but what would be the point when it's theoretically so much easier with the two tables in the same plane?
In my other post I detailed why it wasn't worth it to even try on this jointer in the first place.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for all the advice! I may just look for something a little newer and turn this into the anvil I always wanted but never had.
John LRod wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've adjusted mine with no problem. I think it's a great tool for the money and I've made many glue ups with noards from mine. Give it some real thought and patience and I think you'll get it. Start with a good metal straightedge. With the infeed level with the outfeed right by the knives, set the other end of the infeed to make the tables parallel, then reset the knife end. Of course you have to do it all at each end of the knives, to get the crossways dimension too. Do you have the book? Wilson

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.