I've tried using a saw with a guard a couple times and have come to
the conclusion that it is decidedly unsafe for this woodworker. A
riving knife, OTOH, is a godsend. WRT the jointer, I pretty much
always keep it on.
It'll just slide--the edges are smooth and the spring isn't strong
enough. They're a knives guard and that's it.
If you can find any manufacturer in any user manual or safety
documentation make any representation otherwise, I'll color meself more
I just did a global search on the words guard and kickback in the Delta
manual I posted a link to earlier and there's a lot of references to
using push sticks and so on to guard against kickback but nary a word
that indicates the cutterhead guard has any role other than its function
Again, any semblance to being effective in an actual kickback event
(which I've never experienced in 40+ years on a jointer) is a fignewton
of your imagination... :)
I'll spare you a smart-ass reply but try this:
One more try. Put a board...like a 2x4 in between the fence and the
guard. (Without cutter running... for safety)
Go to the front of the outfeed table and push back towards the infeed
table. The guard should bind the work piece against the fence.
It is the whole point of the porkchop shape.
It is beyond incredible the design was intended to have that function
and _NO_ manufacturer makes mention of it...
As somebody else noted, the shape has two functions --
a) cover the cutterhead for all positions of the fence for all widths of
b) allow easy passage of material by it for the same conditions.
The shape comes from "form follows function".
In my first few minutes of introduction to a joiner, it threw a short board
across the shop. That
board laughed at any effort my pork chop guard put out at stopping the kickback.
My fingers (all 4
of them plus the thumb) of my right hand were numb for several minutes, and I am
sure I felt an urge
to urinate when I realized how close I'd come to serious injury. I had RTFM at
least twice, and
still screwed up. That was some years ago, but I've never forgotten the lesson.
I'd never cut a rebate on a joiner. My weapon of choice nowadays would be a
Stanley #78 (fillister
plane, Jeff). Since I don't do woodworking for a living, most of my work is
one off. For small
jobs, a hand plane is often quicker than setting up a dado for the saw.
Need dozens to hundreds of feet of rebate? I'd break out the TS and dado and
have at it. I'd even
consider using one of those tailed banshee's of a router with that much to cut.
Yes... and I'm a bit puzzled about why using a jointer for rabbeting is
viewed as extraordinarily dangerous... My Delta DJ-20 has a rabbeting ledge
and I wouldn't call that machine a gimmick laden tool... The 6" Reliant I
had before that also had a rebatting ledge. In use the fence and uncut
portion of the board cover the cutter whereas for jointing a combination of
the board, fence and guard cover the cutter. The difference being that in
the former some cutter is exposed when no board is being fed through and in
the later the cutter is covered whether there is a board being fed through
In most applications I've encountered the board is run on edge along the
fence so no more cutter is exposed in this operation than would be exposed
using a dado cutter in a table saw... With wide rabbets the board is run
through flat on the tables. Again the entire cutter is covered by the fence
and the board. Here is a case where the jointer may beat out the table saw
as you can cut a very wide rabbet with the board well supported and the
cutter unexposed. Table saw dado cutters on the other hand are typically an
inch or less wide and wide rebbates on the table saw require multiple passes
and the rebatted area is unsupported by the tool.
On the DJ-20 long boards are well supported due to the long in feed and out
feed tables. I cannot say that about boards run through my shaper as
discontinuous stands are needed to support the board. I'd never use my bench
top router table for such purposes as it's too small to support long boards
and is underpowered. Molding cutters on my molder/planer will do the job but
between installing the cutters and building feed guides set up is very time
consuming. However, if I were doing 1,000s of linear feet that would be the
machine of choice for me.... between the pressure rollers and guides the
board is well controlled with little user influence. For small quantities of
short boards I generally make two to four cuts on the table saw with a combo
blade for rebates or use a plow plane for the task if solid wood is
I've come to the conclusion that I am the most dangerous tool in my shop...
the only shop injuries I've sustained outside of splinters or cuts from the
sharp corners of boards occurred when I was fatigued and rushing. They both
involved kickbacks on the table saw and resulted in nasty bruises. In one
case I failed to reinstall the T-Splitter for a through cut after making
non-through cuts, this as "I only had one cut to make" and in my fatigued
state didn't control the board properly. In the other case, again in a
fatigued state, I turned the saw off and accidently dropped the small,
roughly 4" x 8", piece of oak veneer plywood onto the still spinning blade
while trying to pick up the wood. In both cases that marked quitting time as
I was clearly too tired to continue.
The comfort level experienced by users boils down to what specific tools are
available and the attentiveness and skill of the user. I figure that any one
of my floor, stand, bench top, or hand power tools, and even my meat powered
tools, can bite me if I don't do my part. Overall, I suspect that abused and
improperly used screw drivers rank very high on the "tools that injure" list
and they are about as simple a tool as there is!
I have always maintained that it is not "if" you will get hurt in the shop,
it is "when" you will get hurt in the shop.
After 30 years of serious woodworking I look back on my first 10 years and
think, I only thought I knew all the safety precautions to take.
The cutterhead guard on my jointer would never do anything to prevent
To use the jointer to cut a rabbet the owner's manual states,
"Rabbet Cut: A rabbet cut is a groove cut along the long edge of the
wood stock, usually used for making simple joints.
The cutterhead guard must be removed for this operation, so great
care is needed for safe operation."
On Sat, 12 Sep 2009 06:40:18 -0700 (PDT), Robatoy
> I have never seen that done in real life. I can see it will work, but
> why do it?
I've used the jointer for rabbets on the occasions when the rabbet was
wide. One example was transition molding for flooring where the rabbet
was about 2.5" wide and 1/4" deep.
Of course I know the danger involved, and I appreciate your concern. I
probably should have written a disclaimer, huh? A friend of mine got a
fingertip taken off by his jointer. The very same jointer I now own. I
had to make my own guard for this jointer, as the original was lost,
and it's usually on. Unless there are teeth or pawls along the edge of
the guard(which I've never seen), it will not prevent kickback.
There's just not enough pressure against the fence. It merely prevents
a careless hand from dropping down onto the spinning cutterhead. I
have removed the guard, pawls and splitter from my tablesaw, too. It
is_ the_ most dangerous hobby I enjoy. Tom
Not very unless you are making a really wide rabbit.
I've never had kick back from my jointer? Not sure how the guard would
do anything to prevent kickback?
Most rabbits are not that wide, so not much of the blade is ever
exposed. The knives are not going to do much other than knock off a
finger tip or two. Much more dangerous jobs going on in a shop than
using a jointer. As for using it to make rabbits, I did it a few times
just to do it, but I like leaving my jointer set to 1/32 so 2 passes
make a 1/16th. I don't like changing it and there are better ways to
make a rabbit most of the time. Also, jointer fences are not made for
fine tuned adjustments. The last reason not to use a jointer for a
rabbit is danger.
As for removing the guard, I vaguely recall David Marks doing that on
his giant jointer on TV. I won't swear to it, but I think he used it
facing wide boards w/o the guard which I thought was a little wild, but
David made it look safe. This jointer was really old looking, and
about 20 or 24 inches... really a huge one. Anyone recall him using it
without a guard? Maybe even w/o a fence? I know he would run boards
over it at an angle, but the thing was so wide you could do that with
the fence on, but not sure anymore how he did it.
Interestingly, Scott Phillips makes everything look dangerous. He has
table saw guards, 20 different types of push sticks, splitters, and
every time I see him use his table saw I figure he has a 50/50 chance of
whacking off a hand or at least a finger. He just looks out of place and
uncomfortable in a shop. How he got on TV has been a mystery to me...
He's the only one left in my area... Norm's repeats, David is gone, the
Woodsmith shop is gone... Next I guess will have some babe with a chop
saw and a nail gun building deck furniture while the old man brings her
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If the board is relative straight and flat you can go straight to the
plainer. I did that for years. I not, you may be better off using a jig on
the TS to straighten the board and rip it to the capacity of the jointer.
And there is the option of buying S2S which has already been flattened and
is considerably cheaper than S4S.
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