No. I've never been able to figure out how to use a dial indicator for
anything. I set it up, then find I need to move it to get another
"confirming" measurement so to speak. I know, I'm stupid in that respect.
I did finally get the jointer working well. Just took a few minutes
setting the outfeed table and blades.
Cubby ... find a machinist who is willing to show you how. The whole
thing takes just moments. The indicator is used for a single series of
measurements with the understanding that you will need to do the same 3
second setup each time you start over.
I could show you how in 5 minutes and show you WAAAY mor than you will
ever need to know in 30. But I doubt if I can write anything up here
that will make much sense.
Understand that 1) the indicator must be firmly attached to a stable
base. 2) this stable base is resting on / sliding over the reference
plane (ie; on a jointer, one of the tables) 3) the surface being
adjusted will end up parallel to that plane. 4) the adjustements to be
made will consist of something called 'successive approximation' ...
even if you make the measurements under laboratory conditions, there
will always be measureable error left. If you can no longer measure the
error, great. But a better test instrument could. 5) the smallest level
of error you can reliably count on is 1/2 of 1 division on the dial.
That is, a dial indictaor marked in .001" increments can be relied on to
within .0005" +- .00025" To put this in perspective: at .003" you cannot
see wich of two blocks is the larger. Below .001" it is highly unlikely
that you can feel the difference between them.
All of which is to say ... don't waste time trying for more accuracy and
precision than you need. If you can reliably make cuts to within 1/64"
of where you intended them, you are a better man than I am and far
better than many who nonetheless do outstanding work.
An indicator is an excellent way to set a blade. Mark my words. But it
is not the only way to skin that particular cat.
Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one
rascal less in the world.
thanks Bill. I bought an indicator and base a while back but just haven't
figured out how to take more than one measurement without having to move the
thing to another location, thereby changing it's original reference. I'll
learn it one of these days. Thanks for the encouragement!
What I've found is that it is very important to ensure the total bed plane
is in proper alignment. It's easy to have the infeed tilted inward toward
the cutter head and the outfeed the opposite (or any of the myriad of other
combinations) - such that over the total length of the two beds, there is
not a parallelism. Co-planer and all those other words we like to throw
around. Re-do your measurements both at the cutter head and across the
total bed length.
Use your imagination and think about a piece of wood making its way through
the jointer bed in all of the various misalignment configurations.
Well I think I got it working. I adjusted the height of the outfeed table
relative to the blades and was able to get it cutting without snipe and
without creating that taper I was getting. Thanks much for the info. If
nothing else, it was a colorful thread! What I learned: The jointer
needs to be set up to within a gnat's ass in the way of tolerances. And, I
need to buy a better blade. I too use the jointer to remove the blade
Well, as close as possible, within wood tolerances. Though I'm still
puzzled how you got the beginning of a board, as presented, narrower than
the end which followed. That's characteristic of table droop, not high
What's most interesting about this thread is the number of people who don't
understand how a jointer works. Hopefully you're not one of them now,
having learned that the jointer removes a measured amount of stock
determined by the exposure of the knives from a board rested on the table
for best average straightness. If you have parallel edges, they will remain
parallel if you use your properly adjusted jointer to clip the edges.
Andrew seems to have set up his own straw man, but he's right in saying that
you don't _make_ stock parallel with a jointer normally. Takes scribing and
working it as the big plane it is to do that.
But, if your tablesaw produces a parallel but slightly fuzzy edge because
you've gone too long between sharpenings, or you're feeding too fast and it
vibrates, or you tuck it a bit into the side as you transition to the
push-stick, &cetera ... you can clean it up with a quick pass on the jointer
prior to gluing. Some of us are so lazy in the other areas we allow for one
pass in our original rip. Or three, with lower grade lumber where we might
release tension and get a bow in the resulting piece. Thing is to be smart
enough to sight it and repair it at the jointer. Betting ripping misfeeds
and less-than-great lumber are the reasons for people's stance against
jointers. Had they sighted after the rip, they might have other opinions.
You seem to have some misconceptions about its use/misuse yourself:
Unfortunately, that is very often not true, as these threads clearly point
The edges, or faces, of dimensioned stock are usually "parallel", but rarely
perfectly flat. Despite well set up machines and practiced technique, run
that stock over a jointer and the edges/faces are guaranteed to be no longer
Again, a jointers intended use is not for "dimensioning" stock, but for
preparing it to be dimensioned.
Use it any other way and the unwary should be prepared to be surprised with
stock that is tapered to some extent.
But, apparently, not the obvious, which is that a parallel edge produced by
ripping against a _jointer-straightened_ edge, not the straw man, will
remain parallel if a measured amount is removed along one edge by the
I can think of two possibilities:
1) the board is bowed (not straight, end-to-end), and he's holding the
board with the ends up and the middle down (as opposed to ends down and
middle up), and he's starting the cutting with pressure on the front of
the board, so the front edge is cut in the first pass. The tail of the
board is then well above the knifes when it gets there, on the first pass.
Subsequent passes keep cutting at the front, and eventually cut at the
back as the surface flattens, but the end result is a flat face with a
thin edge at the front (cut on every pass) and a thick one at the back
(only cut on last pass). Put pressure on the back first, and the opposite
occurs. You need to start with pressure in the middle, not the ends - or
even better, turn the board over so it sits on the two ends and they get
knocked off together. This is "technique". The less flat the board, the
more important that the technique be good.
2) something is a bit loose in the jointer tables. With no pressure on
them, everything seems to line up just fine - it is "properly set up". As
soon as pressure is placed on the infeed or outfeed table, however, it
droops. Thus, the droop or misalignment is there when cutting, but not
apparent when measured during setup.
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