Jointer Trouble

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I had no idea I would spark this much conversation- and useful tips. If this were 'Who wants to be a millionaire' I believe my lifeline (i.e. this discussion) strongly believes it's the knives. I am apt to suspect them, or at least want to check them, first. I don't have a dial indicator. Last night I rummaged through every industrial and woodworking supplier I could to look for dial indicator deals and realized there are quite a few doo-dads and gizmos that claim to help set the knives. What is sad is that there isn't a standard practice/device for the operation and what's sadder is that the jointer I have has no locking mechanism on the spindle. I don't know that other jointers have this feature since every advice I've come across talk about finding center and working from there. It's kind of nuts that manufacturers might build this machine knowing full well owners may one day have to change the knives and have to perform a Houdini trick to get the task done right. At least, one would think, they could put a pin that you could slide to lock the spindle.
Also, after looking through industrial catalogues (i.e. Enco, MSC) at metal milling machines I find that accuracy is built into the lowliest of machines where as manufacturers who build machines for wood allow much higher tolerances. Yeah, we can sand out imperfections and materials are less expensive but don't we deserve the same treatment?
Anyway, I will be buying a dial indicator but until that arrives I'll see what I can do by hand using the methods suggested in this forum. I have to say I've gotten more out of this forum about jointing than I have in any woodworking book. In some sense it makes me appreciate the incident.
Thanks guys and gals! Happy wooding and feel free to add to the conversation.
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On the contrary, there is, and one example URL: was given you. It is the same technique which almost any standard work on machinery and woodworking will have, and it reads a carry versus a dial, so there's no lost time in spite of merchants who sell dials. Only thing a dial will do is read in thousandths rather than in go/no go. If knowing how far you're off is important, by all means get a dial.
As to square, they make a number of tools by that name, you merely have to use them. Once again, they are go/no go calibrated, which is certainly adequate
and

If locking the spindle is important to you, though I cannot figure why, lower the infeed table, clamp a stop on it and insert a piece of wood between your stop and the leading edge of the knives. It's go/no go again, but it will hold each knife in the same relative position. Some people hone knives on the jointer, and use such a technique to ensure the same sharpness angle or microbevel on each knife. I've not found it worthwhile.

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When setting knife height with a dial indicator, it makes the job easier if you can keep the head from rotating once the knife is at top dead center...

.. and that's one way to do it. Sort of. That prevents the head from rotating forward, but it's still free to rotate backward.
Another is to clamp a block of wood to the fence; of course, that suffers from the same deficiency.
A rare-earth magnet attached to the block might keep the head from rotating backward, though....hmmmm..... think I'll give that a try next time I need to adjust the jointer knives.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Hi Doug,
This is what I do. I bridge a magnet between the cutterhead and the infeed table. Holds the cutter head pretty still but it's not locked down so tight that it can not be adjusted. Give it a try.
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
Doug Miller wrote:

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wrote:

If you don't have jackscrews or springs won't suffice, try cow magnets. They're long enough to get a good reference to the outfeed. Principle behind that other device sold for adjusting, the "magnaset."
Nice thing about adjusting by the "carry" or touch method is that it promotes understanding of the operation of the machine itself, not the tool used to set it. True of almost all the old methods of adjustment. You don't have to learn a secondary device's tricks to get the primary going.
One thing I _won't_ rely on is the spider they send you with your Grizz jointer. I've worked three, and the cutterhead isn't milled or set close enough in its bearings to make it worthwhile. Even after you've reworked it and get the fence and guard ends color coded, it seems you can only get _two_ knives set properly, so you might as well pitch it. Yes, I know that a feeler gage would solve the problem, but once again I'm screwing around with the secondary device rather than the primary. The one on my old Rockwell/Invicta planer is an instant good.
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Chrisgiraffe wrote:

Yes there are! The existence of these products is a testament to the failure and frustration that people have using traditional trial and error methods. A few are good. Most reflect a very poor understanding of machinery alignment and Metrology. You don't really need any of them.

The standard practice which reflects a good understanding of machinery alignment and Metrology is contained in the link that I provided earlier in this thread:
http://www.ts-aligner.com/jointer.htm
or:
http://www.ts-aligner.com/alignmentmyths.htm
The standard device needed for this operation is the dial indicator. You don't need to have a TS-Aligner Jr. to do this. You can perform this technique with any dial indicator jig that can point the dial indicator down. A standard magnetic base is fine or you can make your own from wood. Unfortunately, there are a few nay sayers in the group who would insist that you must do it the hard way (trial and error) and make it sound like getting a dial indicator is a monumental mistake.

I agree, one would think that such a thing would be possible. After all, top dead center will always be located in the same place for each knife. I bridge a high strength magnet between the side of the cutterhead and the side of the infeed table. This holds the knife in place while doing the alignment but doesn't prevent fine adjustment. You can also clamp a board between the motor and cutterhead pulleys. I've done it this way but it wasn't very convenient.

Alas, as you have noticed, most woodworking machinery is built for the lowest possible cost and the least acceptable accuracy. And, most woodworkers (especially the trial and error crowd) never notice the difference. They can't fool the machinists into buying such poor machinery but they have many woodworkers eating out of their hands. Once you learn how to use a dial indicator, you will be a much more discerning buyer (eating from your own plate!).

It will definitely keep you busy.

Yes, it's a good place to come and discuss such things. You do have to wade through the opinions and sift out wannabes and dogmatics.

You're welcome. Feel free to send me email if you have any questions.
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
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No, he needs your product that reflects a poor understanding of machinery alignment and metrology instead.
Hint--putting down the competition is a quick way to turn off a lot of potential customers. Why should we believe your assertion that the other guy's product is improperly designed instead of believing his assertion that yours is? At least the other guy isn't coming in here and whoring his product at every opportunity and putting down everybody who uses an alternative method.

If that is "the standard practice" then please provide a reference to the standard and to a description of the process by which it was established as the standard. If you can't do that then it's not a "standard practice", it's _your_ practice and since you are in the business of selling gadgets whose nature is such that you would benefit by having it become "standard practice" forgive me if I take your assertions that this is some kind of standard with a large dose of salt.
It seems like it is one sensible way to go about things--if you had kept it at that I would have little quarrel with you but you don't, you have to go claiming that your wishful thinking is some kind of "standard".
As for "nay sayers" who insist that "you must do it the hard way (trial and error)", what leads you to believe that doing this without a dial indicator is "trial and error" or "the hard way"? You seem to want to claim that anybody who does things differently from you is doing wrong, without bothering to find out what methods they use and to evaluate those methods first. That, in combination with the fact that you have a monetary interest in having people do it _your_ way, makes you look like a the more obnoxious kind of salesman, the one who makes the mistake of putting down his potential customers when they don't instantly accept his claims about his product.
You might want to read some Zig Ziglar--he addresses the mistakes that you are making here with your sales pitch. Or just hire a real marketing guy and YOU keep off the net before you antagonize so many people that they start resisting your product on general principle.

I have noticed no such thing. Would you care to back up that assertion or are you just blowing more hot air? What are you going to do for your next act, start selling a $1500 jigsaw on the basis that Bosch makes imprecise junk?

And yet they produce quite nice work regardless. Perhaps the machinery is in fact precise enough for their needs? And who would you classify as "the trial and error crowd"? Have some names?

Who does this? And which machinists routinely buy machinery more precise than is needed to do the work that puts food on their tables?

Personally I've been using dial indicators since some time in the late '60s. It's a useful tool for many purposes, but it is not the only tool useful for setting up machinery and to argue that the alternatives are a dial indicator or "trial and error" is at best disengenuous and at worst a deliberate lie. And quite frankly at this point you have shilled your overpriced crap enough that I am prepared to think the worst of you.

His big problem seems to be that his machine has no provision for locking at TDC. The dial indicator won't provide such a lock.

Well, now, the only "wannabee and dogmatic" I see here is you, with your wannabee "standard" and your dogmatic insistence that the only alternative to doing things _your_ way is "trial and error".

Oh, by the way, <plonk> you and your little ts-aligner too. Personally at this point if you _gave_ me one I'd throw the pieces in the scrap bin to cut up for robot parts.
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Before getting your shorts all in a knot you should READ and understand what he actually said.....he did not specifically hustle his own product, in fact he said any dial indicator would suffice.....his provided link/ video specifically said "The video features the use of my TS-Aligner Jr. product. You can perform many of these alignments and adjustments by making your own jig, a low cost dial indicator attached to a stick." .....how you can take fault with that is quite beyond rational.....Rod
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J. Clarke wrote:

He's explaining how you can do it yourself for pennies without buying any of his stuff... <G>
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Mr. Clark. I read through your message very carefully and have prepared a response which I doubt will please you. However, I would wish that you read through it and consider it as carefully as I have considered your words so that you (and other interested readers) might gain a better understanding of what you have said.
J. Clarke wrote:

Well, that's just not a very good characterization of anything that has happened in this thread. Nobody has suggested that the OP should buy a TS-Aligner product. I even assured him that he could do the task without one. I believe that your representation strays a bit from actual fact.

I wasn't trying to "turn off" or "turn on" potential customers. I was trying to help the OP solve his problem in the best possible way. And, by commenting on the large array of devices being sold to solve this particular problem, I'm hoping that others can be educated as well.

You don't have to believe anything I say. An intelligent person will educate himself on the topic and make up his own mind about which products are properly designed. Perhaps this didn't occur to you?

What you don't know about "the other guy" would make you ashamed of ever having such a vile notion. Again, let me invite you to educate yourself - it's always better to speak from actual knowledge and experience. Go and investigate all the makers of the various alignment tools. You certainly know very little about me and I suspect that you know absolutely nothing about the others. Then report back to the group on what you find. Specifically, enlighten us on the capabilities, expertise, and competency of each maker. Tell us about their manufacturing capabilities, quality control, attention to detail, commitment to the customer, etc. Elaborate a bit by explaining exactly what you think people would learn from "the other guys" if they were active participants of this NG who were as open, honest, and blunt as I have been.

Hmmmmm......you really do make it difficult for me to answer in a calm and patient manner. Here goes...
The use of dial indicators to align and adjust machinery is so universal and pervasive that you really tip your hand when you question its validity. This isn't my practice or my method. I'm not trying to push a new set of standard practices on the industry. My products are simply fixtures for dial indicators. I have designed them so that standard practices and methods for machinery alignment and adjustment are easily applied to common woodworking machinery. People have been using these practices and methods for more tha a century. When you cast doubt on the universal acceptance of these practices and methods, you reveal a glaring lack of knowledge on the subject.
It would be quite valuable for you to educate yourself on this topic. Perhaps you might ride along with a machinery technician for a day or two - a professional with formal training who maintains machinery for a living. Or, maybe you could spend some time with the people who design and build machinery. Go and visit a factory where machinery is not only manufactured, but aligned and maintained. Or, how about visiting a local machine shop and getting their perspective on machinery alignment and adjustment. If you are really pressed for time maybe you could just pick up a book on Metrology. Here's a good choice for you. It's an easy read, written for an introductory course on the topic:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)63698278/ref=sr_1_1/002-2182051-9609664?ie=UTF8&s=books
And, if you can't read a book, then maybe you could look it up in some magazines. I'm at somewhat of a loss to know exactly why this sort of information, which literally saturates the industrial world, hasn't managed to filter down to your particular corner of existence.
Even the hobbyist magazines and books address the topic on a regular basis. The first article I saw was in FWW #24 (Sep/Oct 1980) entitled "The Dial Indicator" by R. Bruce Hoadley. Included in the article were instructions about jointer alignment. That was 26 years ago buddy! By 1991 I had been using dial indicators to align my machinery for several years. I had already built a prototype of the first TS-Aligner. When FWW #87 (March/April 1991) came out it gave me a real kick in the pants. In it was an article entitled "Using Dial Indicators and Calipers" by Robert Vaughan. With my butt finally in gear, TS-Aligner appeared in an advertisement in FWW #90 (Sep/Oct 1991). It was the first commercially made dial indicator jig for woodworkers but I was not the first to apply these century old principles to woodworking machinery.

You flatter me no end! I wish I could take the credit but I didn't come up with this stuff. These are universally accepted practices and standards for Metrology, Engineering, and machinery alignment. I just designed my products to take advantage of them. This is what seperates my products from other devices on the market. Most of them are designed by people who suffer from the same lack of knowledge and experience that you seem to exhibit. They goof around in their home woodworking shop for a few years and suddenly they think that they are experts. So they grace the world with some goofy device which gets molded in plastic and sold by woodworking dealers with a 10x markup. My greatest frustration comes when people end up wasting their money on these goofy things and get sorely disapointed by its lack of performance. They incorrectly assume that all such devices are similarly worthless.

Again, let me suggest that you educate yourself. Go get a dial indicator and try it. Until you try it, you have absolutely no authority on the topic. And, don't just set yourself up for failure by doing everything wrong. Make every effort to understand what is happening and why things need to be done in a certain manner. Take time to learn something new and try to see the advantage that a little knowledge can give you.
And, please re-read the thread and tell me why I characterized certain respondants as "nay sayers". Did I start off by saying "don't use the trial and error method"? Or was it someone else who, after reading my message, suggested that a dial indicator wasn't needed?

I can very easily see how it might seem that way to you. Again, re-read the thread and find each and every instance where I said that an alternative method was wrong or that it wouldn't work. I think you'll come up with exactly zero. Somehow you have turned this around in your mind to make it look like I have attacked other methods. In truth, I am defending the use of a dial indicator *AFTER* someone else dismissed its use as unnecessary.
Please try to get a slightly larger perspective on the topic. I didn't just make this stuff up. I didn't just discover dial indicators yesterday. I've been "goofing" around with woodworking and woodworking machines for more than 30 years. I've tried every single method that has been suggested in this thread. I have all the gadgets (including the goofy magnets). And, I didn't just try these once or twice and then give up. There was a time when I did my best to put these devices and methods to use in my shop. But, after years of uncertainty and frustration I was determined to learn about better methods. I think it was this determination that encouraged the machinist friend of mine to teach me. If I had presented him with your attitude then I most certainly would have been laughed out of his shop. Some people do not have particular knowledge but are eager to learn. Others refuse knowledge and shut their mind to new ideas. Your task is to choose which category you wish to live in.

When I suggest that someone adopt an intelligent method by using an accurate measurement instrument like the dial indicator, I'm not promoting "my way" of doing things. I don't have any monetary interest in telling someone to go out and get a low cost indicator and try it for themselves. Stoutman didn't buy an Aligner but I defended his jig from nay-sayers. The OP in this thread didn't buy an Aligner. Heck, I told him that he didn't need to buy an Aligner. But I still defended his decision to buy a dial indicator. Yes, I "DEFENDED" their use of what is definitely a competitive alternative. Not exactly the most fiscally expedient thing to do.

This isn't a sales pitch. This is evangelism. I'm trying my best to enlighten individuals about intelligent ways of aligning and adjusting their woodworking machinery. Eventually they might see the value of my products and buy one. But, that's not my goal here in the NG. I just want to save people from the ignorance which leads to "trial and error" hell. Some will listen. Some will prefer ignorance, cover their ears, and scream "la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-". Again, which are you?

I'll just have to ask you to educate yourself again. Go and visit a machine shop. Compare the machines they have to what you know of woodworking machinery. Look at the scales, crank the handles, turn the knobs, listen to the motor, check out the massive castings, the finely ground surfaces, etc.

I never said that trial and error doesn't work. I never said that a person can't produce nice work if they use trial and error. I never said that a person has to have the best possible tools in order to do good work. You misunderstand completely.
Let me elaborate on what I said so that you can better understand it. People who believe that a lot of goofing around (trial and error) is neccessary in order to get good results will naturally find nothing wrong with a crappy machine which requires a lot of goofing around.

Woodworking machinery manufacturers. Some to a greater degree, some to a lesser degree.

Those that anticipate a future need might. You miss the point entirely (and really stretch my patience). A machinist won't waste his money on a machine that requires a whole bunch of stupid tips and tricks to get good results. He buys a machine that helps him to make efficient use of his time (i.e. avoid goofing around with stupid nonsense like test cuts).

Pardon me Mr. Clarke, but it doesn't show. Not even in the slightest. And your behavior in this message, (distorting what was said, ranting against me and my products) leads me to believe that you feel personally threatened by the suggestion that a dial indicator is a good solution for machinery alignment and adjustment. Until I see some more intelligent discourse from you which reflects some actual knowledge on the topic, I will continue to believe this.

I never said that it was. Again, you have turned this whole thing around in your head.

Agreed. Who said that? I don't remember anybody saying this. Perhaps you've overstated your case a bit.

And, quite frankly, it's difficult for me to remain patient with you. The phrases running through my mind right now...suffice it to say that this statement is about three to four hundred million light years over the top, don't you think? Get a grip Mr. Clarke. This borders on libel.

Hmmmm..... I think that his biggest problem is the proper alignment of his jointer. He's been trying to use all the traditional methods but they aren't working for him. He is uncertain and very frustrated. The dial indicator will definitely help him.

Again, this is one of those things that you should probably be ashamed of having said. It really reflects poorly on your intellect, making you appear much more ignorant that I believe you are. I really don't know anything about your experience or knowledge so I'm not going to make any rash judgements about you. I would suggest that you know as much about me and should refrain as well.

Well, I probably would never try to sell you one either. At least not in your current state of mind. Right now you are just not my kind of customer. I'm not interested in people who lose control like this when they get threatened by something as simple as a dial indicator. You really have gone off the deep end turning things around and manufacturing all sorts of ideas and statements which nobody ever said. My door is always open to you if you decide to calm down and be reasonable (and educate yourself a bit).
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
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I've had three ex-wives tell me I didn't know what I was talking about so you guys can just get in line behind them.
I bridge two heavy duty magnets from the outfeed table on the theory that they will contact the arc of the cutters at one, and only one, point ... TDC ... the point of tangency. In reality, they make contact over a short range of motion but, combined with eyeballing their orientation, it's 'close enough for horseshoes'.
With the blades thus suspended, I adjust the outfeed table so that the blade height matches the setting spider and then tighten the gibs to lock them down. This particular adjustment takes roughly 5 minutes for both jointer blades.
Now, if I could just stop trying to joint embedded gravel ....
Bill
BTW ... Wife #4 and I have our 6th anniversary in about 2 weeks. SHE thinks I have a clue.
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On 15 Nov 2006 14:40:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com wrote:

Any chance you've got a setup that will work on planer knives, too? I must have missed the bit on the jointer setup before.
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Prometheus wrote:

As I mentioned in the other thread, the Aligners can do bed rollers, feed rollers, chip breakers, and cutterhead. These are all the things that can be adjusted from below on a planer. Thre is a restriction. The 1" travel indicators that I ship with the Aligners are about 5" long (from one end of the plunger to the other). So, your planer needs to allow at least 5" underneath the head. Or, since the Aligners use a standard AGD group 2 loop back indicator, you can get one with smaller travel just for use on a shorter planer.
The knives on a planer need to be adjusted in relation to the cutterhead. It can be done from below and some of my competition advocates doing so. However, it seems like torture to me. They really need to be set from above. I don't have a jig to do that right now. There are some other jigs on the market which do it (not the magnet ones, ones with dial indicators).
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
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On 19 Nov 2006 13:31:41 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com wrote:

Any good suggestions for those? I'll admit- that F#$%$ng planer takes me a lot of time, and the results are less than stellar. The old plastic guage with magnets just isn't working out for me. Half the time, I end up using a hand plane instead, which sort of defeats the purpose of having that expensive piece of equipment sitting in the corner.
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Hi Prometheus,
Sorry about the delay in getting back to you on this. Here's an example of a home-made jig that works OK.
http://benchmark.20m.com/articles/SettingPlanerKnives/SettingPlanerKnives.html
I've seen a few magazine articles showing similar jigs. The only commercial jig that I could locate on the web is from a vendor which I've had some really bad experience with. So, I'm not inclined to recommend it to anybody.
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
Prometheus wrote:

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On 24 Nov 2006 11:00:57 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com wrote:

Thanks Ed-
That bit about sanding the set screws flat might just be the most useful part. Looks like the jig should work, I'll make a pair out of aluminum the next time I've got a real slow day.
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You can go down the dial indicator track if you want to go that way. I just find it a lot of unnessary effort. And by the way I have a shop full of dial indicators and micrometers but I still do it the same way as the tradies have done it for centuries.
A simple tool to do exactly the same job just as quick a straight edge. be it a straight piece of timber. a small ruler of either plastic or steel doesnt really matter. I can hear ppl shuddering now at the thought of using a steel rule but if used correctly it will do no damage whatsoever to the blades, if it does buy a set of better quality blades.
To find top dead centre of knife rotation Place rule on rear table. start to rotate knife by hand as soon as it hits the straight edge (remember you are placing no pressure on the straight edge it is just sitting there)... place a mark on the fence keep rotating cutter until knife clears straight edge ..... place another mark on fence measure half way between these 2 points align knife to middle mark ... and you are now on TDC
OK now to set blade height bring each knife to TDC and adjust to straight edge. Knives are parrellel to and level with outfeed table. It will take you longer to undo the nuts on the cutter than it will to set the knives. You will 'feel' the knife on the straight edge. If a little unsure rotate cutter by hand straight edge should not move more than 1/32", you dont have to measure it you can see the straight edge move and guess how much. If your hearing is better than your eyesight all you have to do is listen to machine and it will tell you when its right. You can hear the knife scraping the straightedge. Without knowing the dia of cutter block to do exact calculations this will be within a thou A variation to this that some ppl use is basically the same method as when you are finding TDC. The straight edge should move the same distance on each end of the knife and on each knife. Only downside to doing it this way is that you will then have to adjust the outfeed table to match the knife height.
The first few times you set up a set of knives it could be a little fiddly but once you get the feel of it it only takes a cpl of minutes to adjust a set of knives. The hardest part is usually learning how much to move the knife. I easiest way is to just nip up the 2 outside bolts on cutter just enough so knife doesnt move. Set the knife a little high and tap back down with a piece of wood to set correct height. Tighten bolts and recheck measurement.

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Hi Paul,
In many ways it's the same thing. You've just substituted the dial indicator for a more subjective measurement technique. Yes, it can be pretty "fiddley" and does take some practice. The "carry" (as people like to refer to it) will be affected by how sharp the knives are. Dull knives will tend to rub or scrape more than they carry - especially with a steel rule. I have used this method with varying degrees of success - mostly because I'm just not any good at judging "rubs" and "scrapes". It wasn't too difficult to adjust a knife so that it was fairly equal all the way across. However, I have found it to be very difficult to obtain consistent results from knife to knife so that they all travel in the same circle. There's just a whole bunch of going round and round the cutter head from knife to knife continuously adjusting until you think that they are all even. And, of course, it doesn't address the infeed table adjustment.
With the dial indicator, you adjust till the needle points to zero. End of story. No guessing. Every knife is level and equal with every other knife. And, the infeed table adjustment is just as easy. I keep hearing people say that the dial indicator is so much trouble to use (or "a lot of unnecessary effort"). I just don't understand why. In virtually every possible way it seems a heck of a lot easier and a lot less frustrating (to me).
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com http://www.ts-aligner.com
Paul D wrote:

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supplier
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says...

--
John

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