Jointing happiness

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I've been struggling lately trying to get those "light-tight" joints that are essential to good glue-ups. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, whether it is setup, or technique, but I'm getting 7 to 9 mil gaps on my joints from the jointer. It's a good jointer, a pre-international General, so I can't blame the tool, I just seem to have lost the recipe. My suspicion is that it is technique in maintaining good 90 degree contact with the fence, particularly for narrower boards.
Yesterday, after multiple setup evaluations and trying different techniques, I decided to take a different approach: using the jointer to get the edges close to flat and ready for jointing, then use a hand-plane to joint the two boards (folded in book-matched configuration) together. Wow! Light-tight joints! I'm a happy camper. Doesn't add that much work and results in a much better end product. I did determine that you can't get too aggressive, or the ends can wind up with gaps or the boards get re-shaped to the point of requiring another trip across the jointer to get back onto an approximation to flat.
I used my LN #4 for this. Several years ago, I got a #5 1/2 Stanley from Pat Leach; I need to sharpen the #5 1/2 blade and try it, I suspect the longer sole will provide a better reference.
Downside to this is that now I've got to start thinking about getting a jointer plane. Even if I do figure out what is going wrong on the jointer, I believe that the ability to match the two boards to fine-tune the joint will continue to provide superior joints for glue-up.
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You didn't fully describe the type of gap, but based on the results of the hand-plane solution I would guess that the fence is slightly off square. When you book match the boards for hand planing, the orientation will accomodate any slop in the squareness of the edge. You can do the same when you run the boards through the jointer, and it will also accomodate any slop in the fence squareness.
-MJ
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Mark Johnson wrote:

The fence itself is square (per a machinist square), however, I think it may be more an issue with being able to keep the stock square to the fence. I have tried running two boards through together in the past, the problem then becomes tear-out because the grain direction is not always the same for the two boards. I can take a fine enough pass with the handplane such that tearout doesn't become an issue.
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

> Mark Johnson wrote:

Specifically, I mark each side of the joint 1,2,3,4 and so on at each joint, then, joint with the odd numbers in (against the fence) and even numbers out (away from the fence) Doing this there is no need for the fence to be a perfect 90, in fact, slightly off will give more gluing surface but will ALWAYS result in a perfect 90 joint.

This would be a different issue entirely. If the face against the fence is wobbling, I guess you get a wobbly cut?

Not sure how that would help on a jointer, but you still must keep the boards against the fence for the whole trip.

Hand planes are sweet but it would seem to me it would be more difficult to keep the plane flat on narrow board edge than a wide board face flat against the fence of a jointer?
--
Jack
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Jack Stein wrote:

Thanks, that's a great way to make sure the angles are complementary. I'll try that.
...snip

With the two boards side by side, keeping the plane flat was that tough.
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Another very simple solution that has worked well for me for years is to simply build a sled with a couple of clamps to cut the glue line on the TS.

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It's tough to diagnose long distance. If you haven't done so in your tuning, a little off parallel between in- and outfeed tables can carve a hollow or snipe into your board. Getting the outfeed a little low from the knives will do it too. Technique might have some influence, but less so for edges than the face. I hold pressure on the infeed side until it's well started and beginning to cut, and then transfer most of the focus to the outfeed side.
I prefer to finish the edge on the tablesaw after cleaning up enough for a good bearing surface. The Woodworker II leaves a surface cleaner than the jointer (which could this moment benefit from a light honing.)
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On Sun, 19 Oct 2008 12:09:39 -0700, Mark & Juanita wrote:

My jointer works fine, but it's still somehow more satisfying to joint the edges with a hand plane. If you can find one, get an old Stanley #8. A corrugated sole is nice, but not a requirement.
I repeat, an OLD Stanley :-).
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Larry Blanchard wrote:

Something about seeing those thin wispy curls coming out the plane and then getting that perfect fit just makes everything right with the world, doesn't it?

Hmmm, hafta start looking up Mr. Leach again.
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I bought my 22" Stanley No7 about 20 years ago off the young lad next door after he inherited all his grandfather's carpenters tools. The lad's father was already dead, having drunk himself into an early grave and would have had no interest anyway.
--
Stuart Winsor

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"Mark & Juanita" wrote

Before you totally give up on your jointer, and after you've already edge jointed your boards (or if you have some trouble with the hand plane method) try the the following on the jointer:
Do a layout for your glue-up with all the boards face up, and in the correct/final order.
Starting from the top, and alternating with chalk/pencil, a "U" (up) on one side, and a "D" (down) on the opposite side, of _each_ glue joint in the layout.
Then do a final pass over the jointer, with the above marked edge against the fence, AND in the appropriate up or down orientation.
The resulting adjacent edges of each joint will now equal 90 degrees, even if your jointer fence is not precisely set to 90 degrees.
The method takes out any error of the fence being square to the table (and technique for the most part), takes elegant advantage of the principle of "complementary angles" to obtain 90 degree joints for _adjacent boards_ in a glue-up.
Have used this "jointer" method for panel glue-ups, without fail, for years ... your mileage shouldn't vary.
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Swingman wrote:

Thanks, between Jack Stein's and your recommendations, I have another shot at getting this right.
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Swingman wrote:

One question for you and Jack: Using the technique ya'll describe, it is nearly certain that you are running some of those boards against the grain, particularly if you have done grain matching for the glue-up. How do you deal with preventing tear-out?
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"Mark & Juanita" wrote

I have rarely had any trouble with tear-out when _edge jointing_ even when using highly figured woods. Highly figured woods generally require very sharp blades, along with paying attention to grain direction. If the latter is not an option, as with this method, besides insuring that you have sharp jointer blades, try a spray bottle with water and spritz the areas where the tear-out is problematic just prior to jointing.
In the few cases that doesn't work, I fire up the table saw, with a Freud Glue Line Rip installed, and forego using the jointer altogether.
BTW, you can use the same alternating edge technique to insure complementary angles on the table saw.
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I understand that a shortcut to jointing an edge is bookmatching two boards together. However, I think it is important to understand, and accept, that this does not make a board square. Does it matter when trying to get a nice glue line? I would say yes - a tight, square, sprung joint is of much better quality than a bookmatched one. I'm sure we could argue back and forth about bookmatching joints all day. But that is not my point...
The ability to accurately square a board is crucial to doing good work - _especially_ for beginners. If you don't start with a square board, how do you lay out accurate joints - much less cut them? Having an accurate and square face side and face edge goes way, WAY beyond gluing up a blank. Every operation in woodworking should incorporate these issues. Additionally, the only method I know of for accurate preparation of stock is a handplane with a cambered blade.
Mark and\or Juanita, I strongly encourage you to keep trying with a handplane. You don't mention the length of board, but the 5 1/2 might be ok - and yes, a 7/8 even better. Camber the blade, shoot for perfectly square, perhaps even a sprung joint. Creating the perfect glue up, with a little practice, is much easier than you might think! I'd recommend picking up the David Charlesworth DVD #2 about handplane techniques to understand what "flat and square" really mean (or rent from SmartFlix). And remember, flat and square apply to all of woodworking - not just jointing an edge.
www.sawmillcreek.org and www.woodnet.net\forums have thriving handtool forums that would gladly help you along.
Respectfully, - jbd in Denver
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"Freddie" wrote

Actually, the object of the OP's dilemma was NOT to "make a board square", it was to make the glue joints in a panel glue-up "square".
Something even Neanders learn to do with a plane using a similar technique to the one described.

Methinks you've missed the "point" entirely. The described method basically guarantees a SQUARE _glue joint_ on a jointer.
Failure to do so, on his jointer, was the OP's opening statement ... but don't take my word for it, go back and verify that for yourself.

He may be more Normite than Neander, but I doubt you'll find that Mark is a "beginner" in woodworking. :)
If you don't start with a square board,

See first above ...
<snip>

My sympathies indeed ... maybe you'll pay attention and learn something, eh?
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Swingman
Firstly, I hope I did not offend given my comments. My response was not a pointed comment against what you said, and hope it wasnt taken so. Over the years, I appreciate the guidance youve given me specifically (a cabinet project many years ago included). Nor was my point that Normites are inferior in any way. I, in fact, own a tablesaw, jointer, planer, DowelMax, etc, etc (Even a Fezzztool tape measure!)
No, I did not miss the point. Yes, I understand Mark (who I also know is not a beginner, and hope my comment was not taken to so imply - and if so, my apologies) is wanting to glue a flat panel. I even agreed that bookmatching a joint is a way to get a good glue line and yes, several respected hand tool experts (Hack included) describe this method. I fully agree that using a handplane to perfect a joint by bookmatching boards is an acceptable and decent way to create a blank. That point I again concede. But Ill say again, that was not MY point
My hopes is that Mark, who is exploring hand tools methods to perfect a glue joint, take that interest a bit further. Understand that bookmatching glue joints is a shortcut but is also a doorway to an even better method. That method being the ability to true and square stock with a hand plane.
And, again, not only will his glue ups improve, having flat, true, square components are a further benefit in all woodworking operations.
And yes, Im happy to pay attention, and try and learn something. Its why Im here. Ive only been working wood for 10 years, and dont claim to know it all. I can only relate what Ive experienced. And in my 10 years experience, my Unisaw with a Forrest blade, and Powermatic jointer both tuned frequently w/ TS-Aligner only go so far. Hand planes perfect the job.
And would, again, encourage Mark to try it Certainly Swingman, you cant begrudge me that can you?
Again with respect, - jbd in Denver
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"Freddie" wrote

No problem ... my point is that it has got do Ms. Whittaker, my 8th grade Geometry teacher, proud indeed when a former student of that dear old lady still uses something in the everyday workshop world that she taught, some 50+ years later:
The concept of the "complementary angle".
If you learn it, you might as well use it and pass it on.
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Understood, and fully agreed.
Zz
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i just have to say it..... I think the term is supplementary
shelly
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