I have a newbie question regarding my stationary Craftsman 6" jointer.
I am trying to square my edges to my planed face, but after about five
3/16" passes one end of the board is significantly narrower than the
other. I have already made sure that the outfeed table is level with
the top of the knives. Even after putting slightly more pressure on the
outfeed end of the wood when feeding it over the bed, I still end up
with a trapezoid after only a few passes. Any idea of what I'm doing
wrong? What is the proper technique for jointing the edges of a long
piece of wood?
You say edges, as in squaring both edges? If so, that is the problem You
don't square edges on a jointer. You make one edge straight. then you put
that straight edge against the fence of your tablesaw and cut the other edge
parallel to it.
I'd take off less than 3/16" also.
Thanks for the advice. I want to make sure that I understand though.
Is this the correct sequence?
1) Run rough Face #1 over jointer (less than 3/16")
2) Run rough Edge #1 over jointer with smooth Face #1 along fence
3) Run rough Face #2 through planer with smooth Face #1 laying down
4) Rip rough Edge #2 on tablesaw
How do you smooth Edge #2 after it's been ripped by the tablesaw?
Typically that leaves kerf marks on that edge.
It's my understanding that a paper-thin pass or two with the jointer on
edge #2 should straighten it out. Or, you could use the old "Bailey #7
with shooting board" approach. That seems to have worked well for the
past few hundred years :-)
1-4 is correct.
If you are experiencing blade marks on your rip, consider a better quality
blade and check you blade/fence alignment. I have a junk saw with a middle
of the road rip blade and I can get a pretty impressive rip if I set it up
right. Failing that, you can run the ripped edge back through your jointer
to clean it up. Set it up so the blade is just barely skimming the surface.
*MUCH* less than 3/16". I normally remove no more than 1/32 when jointing
faces, and 1/16 on edges.
Yep. Doesn't have to be that exact sequence, though. Step 1 comes first, and
step 2 must come before step 4. But you can do these in the order 1-2-4-3 or
1-3-2-4 also, and get the same results.
Use a better blade, and/or tune your table saw properly, and that will no
longer be an issue.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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1) Sight the board to determine high spots.
2) Remove high spots with plane or use jointer by placing the low portion of
the face over the knives and maintaining pressure over the high. Even works
for opposite corners. Use your push blocks.
3f) Take approximately flat board to thickness planer. Run first pass
flattest down. Don't need a square edge, or even a straight one yet, and if
the board is marginal, you might be able to squeak through with a hidden
rough spot or two, depending on project.
Now do the edge, using 1 and 2,
3e) Rip for parallel against the edge created, cleaning with a pass at the
jointer if you like.
If you want to rip the board prior to surfacing, you use 1 and 2 with the
best fit face against the fence prior to the rip, then surface. REMEMBER TO
JOIN THE STRAIGHT EDGES FOR 90 after surfacing!!!!
The same way you would if the jointer leaves a rough edge. You fix the
problem. There is a problem if your saw is leaving tooth marks on the edge
of the board. The problem may not be much at all and in that case lightly
scrape, hand plane or sand the wood. Typically I do not have to address the
edge after ripping.
Unless I am misunderstanding you, try way less than 3/16. (like 1/32) and
take as many passes as necessary to get things flat and smooth. On a
naturally flat, rough-cut board, that could be 2 passes. A twisty one could
require 6 passes.
I don't disagree with anything anyone else has said, however...
If you are careful about the wood you buy, you can usually skip face
planing. A planer will take care of cupping on 4/4 (unless perhaps you have
a more power planer than mine), so you just have to make sure your wood is
If I read it right I'm afraid you are mistaken. One face has to be
jointed flat first then an edge is made straight and at ninety degrees
to that face.
Without a known flat and straight surface to put against the jointer's
fence you can't do a second surface and trying to properly joint a face
by keeping the edge not only against the fence but tilted so that narrow
surface is flat against the fence while moving the board would be almost
and impossibility not to mention dangerous.
Again, that is if I understand you post correctly.
No big Mystery here. Your problem is that you are confusing the job of a
jointer with the job a a thickness planner.
The purpose of the jointer is to make one face flat so the other three
sides can be referenced to it. The jointer is then used to make one edge
straight and at ninety degrees to that reference face. This is done by
putting the reference face against the fence and jointing the edge.
From there the second edge can be cut on the table saw with the
reference face on the table and the reference edge against the fence.
A planer or hand plane is then used to make the second face flat and
parallel to the reference face by putting that face down on the planers
Passing a piece of stock repeatedly over a jointer is going to do
nothing to make the faces parallel to each other. It will only make the
board thinner and accentuate any taper already existing.
Tip, take no more then 1/32" cuts. Make a squiggly line from side to
side and the length of the face or edge to be jointed then pass the
board over the cutters until the line is gone. When that occurs the face
and/or edge is as flat as it is going to get. Now move on to the next
Further tip. If you are working with S2S or S4S stock make sure to make
a mark on the face and edge you have jointed. On rough lumber it's easy
to tell which side and edge you have milled, on surfaced stock it isn't
always quite as easy. By marking the milled faces you know which to put
against fences and saw/planer beds for proper referencing.
As others mentioned, 3/16" is pretty heavy for a jointer cut. I usually
cut at 1/16" or less in depth.
But the real problem might be that you are introducing taper because your
outfeed table on the jointer is high relative to your knives. You want to
set the outfeed table just high enough that you don't have snipe on your
boards. Here's an article that may be of help:
(Check out the diagrams about halfway through the article)
Now I don't want to start a big deal about this and with all due respect
I have yet to figure out why that particular bit of advice is so
commonly given when, unless someone has been dicking around with the
machine, it is usually a far simpler problem
The fact is that if you are taking heavy or a lot of cuts with a
perfectly aligned jointer you almost can't help causing a taper.
Heavy and repeated passes will accent any taper already in a piece of
stock and even with stock where the faces are parallel, since it is
difficult to maintain consist ant pressure, your going to cause a taper
if you insist on running the stock over and over again long after the
face is flat.
Yes, misalignment is something to keep in mind but 99% of the time a
newbies problem is not understanding what the machine is for and, for
some unknown reason, trying to hog off ungodly amounts of wood with it.
A jointer is a finesse machine demanding a light touch, not a
thicknessing machine meant to scrape off lots of stock real fast.
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