When using a typical 6" floor model jointer like a Grizzly - what would you
say is the longest piece of stock that can be easily worked by one person?
Would using roller supports make jointing longer boards feasible?
If I buy 8' rough lumber I find that I have to cut it into smaller workable
pieces to joint and plane it.
There are 10 kinds of people - those who understand binary and those who
Possibly, depending on how much hassle it is to adjust them to level and
parallel with the jointer tables.
You're better off cutting the pieces to an easily workable length before
jointing, no matter how long your jointer is:
a) Shorter boards are easier to handle. It's usually *faster* to make one pass
each with two 3' boards, than with one 6' board, and the results are better.
b) You'll have more thickness remaining after jointing, with the shorter
boards. Consider an 8' board 1" thick with a uniform bow of 1/4". If you joint
the entire 8' length at once, you will have only 3/4" left after jointing and
planing. If you cut it to 4' lengths before jointing, the bow is only 1/8" in
each section, and you have 7/8" left after jointing and planing.
c) Since you're removing less material, you don't have to make as many passes
across the jointer, either.
IMO there is no reason at all to try to joint an 8-foot board unless you need
to produce a straight, flat 8-foot board. If your objective is straight, flat,
three-foot boards, cut them to three feet plus a few inches first, and then
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Most folks consider the jointer bed length the determining factor on
what can be reasonably jointed. I think you can easily go to about
twice the total jointer bed length with the board and still get
reliable results with good technique.
Rollers "might" help with longer pieces but they will introduce some
problems with accuracy. They may be less of a problem with face
jointing, than they would be with edge jointing. Regardless, I'd avoid
In addition, I would say you should joint the material at the shortest
size that will work for the project (Unless it's really short). Just do
the rough cross cuts early, then do the jointing. Only joint a long
unweildy piece if that's whats needed for the project. Of course this
is all just opinion.
Like others have said, you can joint about to about 2 times the length
of your jointer, BUT it's usually wise to first cut long lumber to
shorter lengths because warped boards will lose too much before they are
straight along their entire length. If you get no snipe, you can just
rough cut to about an inch longer than the final dimension. Set up
properly, you shouldn't get any snipe, unlike many (depends on which
model) surface planers which are prone to snipe no matter how they are
set up. Don't cut boards into too small of pieces, as there's a safe
and practical limit, which should be noted in your manual.
Vic Baron wrote:
Well, I guess I've been doing it the right way then. I have no *need* to
joint an 8' board, just trying to save steps but it seems they're not really
there to save. Also, I hadn't considered the remaining thinckness as pointed
out by Doug - that's more important to me.
Thanx for the opinions!
doesn't need full contact. What does need contact and control is that
portion of the board which has just passed over the knives, so it can
provide a proper reference.
The "length" limit is really a weight/leverage limit. A narrow board can be
controlled well at greater than 8', a 2x13" piece of yellow birch becomes a
challenge at six.
Extensions, unless they are _perfectly_ aligned with the outfeed, cause more
trouble than they're worth.
Thanx George, after thinking a bit and reading the comments, I can see where
it would be very difficult to get the extensions to be the exact height.
What brought it to mind was some 8' long 4/4 hard maple I'm using. Trying to
cut corners because at 8' that sucker is heavy. I did cut it into smaller
workable parts and it went well.
Only drawback with cutting to length first is that you may get an unexpected
snipe in the planer and ruin a piece. I like to combine into 4' minimum
lengths. I used to crosscut an inch proud, then I learned that I couldn't
read a ruler that well, so I went to two. Still a lot easier to join a
board two inches over use length than to run the whole thing. I also make
one extra of the longest and widest piece in the project.
You do cut the longest pieces first?
As noted in a previous thread, I cut to layout based on grain matching
for the project <first and foremost>, and only after satisfied there try
to minimize waste. Using every scrap is of no benefit if the project
comes out looking like a mish-mash of unrelated parts.
I cut all pieces enough oversize to mill w/ comfort and avoid snipe.
Multiple pieces such as window muntins, etc. are, of course, blanked out
in larger pieces for rough preparation. Short single pieces such as
narrow drawer fronts are also roughed out in two's or three's, depending
on the size of the piece, both for keeping them together for grain and
as is comfortable size to work with/minimize waste.
IOW, it's a logical selection of what makes sense driven first by the
aesthetics, tempered the practicalities. There is no fixed length or
specific minimum/maximum other than the above considerations. As noted,
it does make sense to not make a zillion really small pieces too early
in the process, so such pieces are kept together as long as possible.
This is a really good explaination of project material planning. I'll
add that I've found that using chalk to markup the pieces is also
really helpful for this process. I used to use a marker on the edge but
it is harder to track multiple pieces from one board once you start
breaking it down.
Yes...I keep at least three colors of lumber crayons (red, yellow,
black) plus a chalk marker or two for places where the crayons don't
work well or don't show up..in general, the crayons last longer and are
so somewhat cheaper although it's pretty much a nit....good point for
newbies who may not be familiar w/ them.
Pretty much - I let the grain figure decide which way I'm going to go to
minimize waste though.
Someone once said " Sometimes it takes longer to find the easy way to do
something than doing it the hard way the first time"
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