All the posts I've read so far offered some excellent suggestions - now all
you need to do is practice. 1/32nd of an inch may be a to an aggressive cut
for you right now since you haven't learned the technique just yet. I have
my jointer set to take off .015 (15 thou / ~1/64th") is all and I leave it
there. I've milled a lot of rough sawn hardwood at that setting and
although I have to take some extra swipes to get any cupping out, it works
for me and I reduce tearout.
Get a 8', 2x4 from the borg and cut 2ea 2' sections leaving a 4' section to
practice on. Try to find one that doesn't have big knots which may nick your
knives but one that has some cupping, bowing, twisting will help you master
Once you have the 2x4 cut up, look at the grain direction. You want the
cathedrals on the grain pointing away from the knives (see below). Place
the test board (2' section) with the grain as shown and any cupping with the
concave side facing down. Any twist or bow will slowly be worked out as you
joint the board flat. I can't explain every situation but as you do the
following basic steps it will become intuitive on what you need to do to
make one side of a board flat and one edge perpendicular to that.
Using the push blocks to hold the wood down flat to the infeed table and you
standing to the side (left foot forward of the right foot) and using only
the slightest amount of downward pressure on the push blocks while they're
on the infeed side, push the board forward slowly but evenly into the
knives. As the first push block goes over the knives - DO NOT - exert any
more downward pressure. Only after the pushblock has gone past the knives
do you apply moderately more pressure.
With the one push block now past the blades - push down on that block
(moderately) to keep that end of the board flat against the outfeed table.
Now move the right hand block up and place it just behind the left hand
block (all this happens in one fluid motion - keeping pressure on the
outfeed side as well as keeping the board moving). It's now hand over hand,
keeping one push block always on the board just past the knives on the
Keep the moderate pressure steady and the forward movement consistent. Mark
some long pencil marks on the length of the board near the edges to use as a
reference. After making a few passes, you will see where the pencil marks
remain indicating the low spots on the board.
To joint one edge - turn the board so the flat side is up against the fence
and joint as above. The technique is the same for a longer piece so use the
4' section to practice on after you're comfortable with the 2' sections.
Get a rhythm going, stand comfortably and relax and you'll soon find that
it's harder to describe how to do it than actually doing it.
There are more tips and tricks to learn on how to make the best of a lousy
board but ask for those once you get the basics down.
1. No you cannot make the sides or edges of a board parallel to their mate
on a jointer - unless you're real good!
2. The board will begin to get a taper on it and it's the reason behind #1
3. If you have a hard time figuring out which way the grain is primarily
running on a board from the visual clues - think of petting a cat or dog.
Run your hand in one direction along the board, if it feels rough - you're
going against the grain, smoother is with the grain. You do not want the
knives cutting into the rough direction. See below
Grain cathedrals on board >>>>, Direction you push the board <-------
( board laying on jointer)
<------- you push right to left
If the grain is reversed above, the knives will lift the grain, causing
If none of this makes any sense.... dial 1-800-God-Help
Let 2nd or 3rd or 4th the suggestion that you write a book!
I was curious about that. It seemed like 1/32nd was a pretty hefty
chunk. I will raise it up to 1/64th tonight.
Got the part about the cupped side down ok, but what I was missing was
the standing to the side. I was at the back of the board pushing it
with one hand and holding down with the other! Only when I got within
a couple of inches of the blades did I move the right hand to the
The edge jointing I was getting good results on. It seemed natural to
stand almost dead center on the jointer and move the board past the
knives with a hand to hand motion.
Dog hates it when I pet him backwards!
With resources like you on this group, who needs an 800 number!?
Thanks for the excellent info!
Actually Dave you shouldn't be pushing down at all, at least not with any
more pressure then it takes to move the stock. Just let the stock slide
naturally over the blades. Pushing down hard causes a situation that defeats
the purpose of the jointer. You want a naturally flat face that doesn't have
cup, bow, etc reappearing when the pressure is taken off the stock.
Rough cut stock, if that is what you are using, will also move with fits and
starts that will smooth out as the face gets smoothed. And, of course, there
is waxing the jointer bed to eliminate friction.
I am using rough cut stock, and it was certainly "fitsing and
starting". To the extreme that I had waves in the surface that had
just gone across the knives. I think I undeerstand what I was doing
wrong now, and will have to go get some more stock so that I can try
out all the good advice gotten here.
Want to mention that I have gotten some excellent info from your posts
(along with a number of other folk) from just lurking. Having asked a
question, I am pleased to report that the quality of information is
still very high.
Thanks for the help (Past, current and future!)
On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 11:37:30 -0500, "Mike G"
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