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View Jeff82780's profile

Jointers are too complicated!

by Jeff82780
posted 02-06-2011 10:06 PM

23 replies so far

View bhog's profile


2238 posts in 3292 days

#1 posted 02-06-2011 10:23 PM

If the board you are trying to join is cupped or twisted you will need quite a few passes.Is the fence 90* to the table? Double check that.Are you joining the face or edge?

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View AaronK's profile


1509 posts in 4066 days

#2 posted 02-06-2011 10:38 PM

also which half of the board is being jointed. is it one side vs the other, or is it front vs back. know what i mean?

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 3364 days

#3 posted 02-06-2011 10:38 PM

check your outfeed table hieght it should be the same hieght of the knives at the top of thier arc then check the knives wit a straight edge to the out feed table to make sure they are all the same hieght then raise both tables above the knives and check thier level they should be in line wit each other then reset the the out feed table to the same hight as the knives and set the in feed table to cut a 1/16 and run a 2x on eger without contacting the fence and check your cuts if its bumoy one of your knives is to high if its not cutting then your infeed table is not inline wit your outfeed then knives

-- As Best I Can

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 3596 days

#4 posted 02-06-2011 10:43 PM

Yea, the fence is 90 degrees . I am jointing the face of a board

View ChuckV's profile


3263 posts in 4129 days

#5 posted 02-06-2011 10:50 PM

As Brandon said, you may have to run the face over the jointer several times before it is flat and you have removed all of the pencil lines. If you are using a board that is already flat on that face, then there is something wrong going on.

When flattening a face, you should not put pressure against the fence. You are trying to make the face flat, not perpendicular to the edge against the fence. I usually skew the board slightly so that at most one point is contacting the fence, unless that is not possible because of the length and width of the board..

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4608 days

#6 posted 02-06-2011 10:55 PM

The two tables must be parallel. The outfeed side must be even with the height of the knives that must also be installed in a straight and true alignment with the tables. Not really complicated. Just frustrating and nearly useless until you get those things right.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11995 posts in 4031 days

#7 posted 02-06-2011 10:58 PM

Crank your in feed table up to just above the blades. Assuming your blades are set dead even with the out feed, the two tables should now be even. To check, lay a long straight edge across both….from in feed front edge to out feed back edge. Slide the straight edge from the fence towards you, pushing the guard away. Keep looking for space under the straight edge.
If you see ANY variance between the tables, one or both tables need adjusting.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 3596 days

#8 posted 02-06-2011 11:00 PM

The outfeed table is the same height as the knives. When i say that half of the board not being joing, I mean split down the middle, left and right. Not front and back. I know that it will take a few passes before the whole board will be jointed, but I ran the board through at least 10 times and half of the board was still not jointed

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11995 posts in 4031 days

#9 posted 02-06-2011 11:09 PM

Your board is cupped. Lower the in feed table a bit (take a deeper cut) and see it the cuts get closer together.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Dustin's profile


393 posts in 4052 days

#10 posted 02-06-2011 11:21 PM

A jointer is a very simple machine, however, using it properly is not as simple. I do not recommend using an industrial tool with out some professional assistance or direction for safety and to get the desired results. The purpose of a jointer is to true one side of a board. That means to render it straight on one edge in order to rip or process it in some way while running it against a fence. It’s purpose is not to give that edge a perfectly smooth finish because it usually won’t, especially if you run against the grain.
For a smooth edge you’ll need to sand it, perhaps with an edge sander.

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 3295 days

#11 posted 02-06-2011 11:29 PM

Do you have burrs on the outfeed table? That might be causing the scratches

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View StumpyNubs's profile


7799 posts in 3403 days

#12 posted 02-06-2011 11:29 PM

Do you mean the entire right side of the board along the length is not being cut while the left (or vise-versa) is- like your blades are only working on the one half? Perhaps the blades are not leveled, one end is lower than the other. A jointer is a VITAL tool, so don’t give up- you’ll figure it out!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View TMcG's profile


191 posts in 3603 days

#13 posted 02-06-2011 11:30 PM

To answer your main question, Yes, absolutely ! A giant PITA !

That said, once you get the hang of it, after going through multiple setups, knive replacments, redoing it all over again and then, finally, getting the technique part closer to the truth, they’re great.

Hang in there, use something soft to experiment with and refine technique



View jmichaeldesign's profile


66 posts in 3385 days

#14 posted 02-06-2011 11:46 PM

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 3596 days

#15 posted 02-07-2011 12:52 AM

well, I lowered the infeed table and that seemed to work a bit, but the jointer just didnt sound right, like it was ready to bog down and the board that i jointed wasnt all that smooth.

View AaronK's profile


1509 posts in 4066 days

#16 posted 02-07-2011 01:31 AM

when taking heavy cuts you cant always lower the feed rate – you shouldnt get burning like you might with a table saw, since the blades wont be hitting the cut surface the same way. that will allow the surface to still be smooth and keep the motor going fast.

one thing that was mentioned before is the possibility that the board is cupped. if that’s the case, you should joint the concave side first, since both high spots hitting the beds will keep it stable. if you do the convex side first, applying unequal pressure to either side will prevent the entire face from being jointed correctly. for appearing so simple, jointing can be a little tricky until you have the machine set up right and experience with different boards. that goes for jointing by machine or by hand – the principles are pretty much the same. depending on the board, you might want to start jointing in the middle, do a couple passes that way, then feed the entire board through. it also depends on when pressure is applied and how much you do push down.

of course the main thing is getting those beds coplanar, the knives set to a hair above the outfeed table, and the fence at 90 degrees. machine setup comes first, without that it will be “all technique” which will make it extremely difficult if not impossible to get the right surfaces.

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 3599 days

#17 posted 02-07-2011 03:56 AM

Some of the above post mention that the rear table should be same height as knives. This is INCORRECT.
The out feed table should be .0003 lower than the knives.
This is what I use to set my knives properly. I have been doing it this way for 30+ years, and my jointer works well for me.
SIMPLE made guage.Plane a piece of hardwood about 12” long to use as guage.
Mark a line on the stick’s face where it crosses the edge of the outfeed table. Rotate the cutterhead slowly so the knife passes beneath the stick. If the stick doesn’t move, the knife is set too low. If the knife just brushes the stick, it’s flush with the outfeed table—which is still a hair too low. Ideally, you want the knife to drag the stick aout 1/8”, more than a 1/16” but less than 1/4”. This indicates the knife is a few thousandths proud, and your jointer will work just right, both now and as the knives wear toward dull. Move the setting stick to the near side of the outfeed table and make sure the knife drags the stick just the same amount to guarantee it’s parallel to the outfeed table across its width.
Repeat this process till all your blades are equal.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View BobG's profile


172 posts in 3564 days

#18 posted 02-07-2011 05:28 AM

Most of the posts above are right in one way or another, I am going to go a little further. first I will assume you are a novice especially with a jointer (obvious or you would not be asking this question) !

1. First you need to make sure the gibs on the jointer are ”Snug” so there is no play in the outfeed table or the infeed. Grab the table one at a time and try to make it move side to side. I use an indicator to show any movement. Use this link to one at Harbor freight, they are passable. If there is ”Any” movement adjust the Gibs. You will find a way to do that underneath each respective table.

2. You are getting there!! Once you are sure that the tables are snug enough to not introduce any play into the problem. Next step is to make the blades “Parallel” to the surface of the OUTFEED table! (Right now you don’t need to worry about the height). Here is where the indicator and base will earn their price!

3. Adjust the indicator so that it reads ”Zero” on the outfeed table without the mag on! Now move it to the knives (you want to “roll” one of the blades to the highest point ”Top Dead Center”. Once it is there move the indicator from far right to far left on the cutting edge of the blade. It “must be the same from right to left! If it is off ”any” adjust the blade by raising or lowering your choice. (don’t allow it to be too far off the zero of the outfeed table)

Go on to the next do the same thing, but now is were it gets harder! You want to bring that blade to exactly the same spot on the indicator. It will take some time but you can do it! Now do the same for the third blade. You want the 3 blades to be set at zero with the indicator and the outfeed table. (I assume your jointer has 3 blades)

4. Now move the indicator tip over the infeed table, crank that table down to around .050 below zero.

A short lesson in measurements:

.1000 = one one/hundredth of an inch
.0100 = ten thousandths of an inch
.0010 = one/one thousandth of an inch
.0001 = one/ten thousandth of an inch

Now that we did that let’s get back to the table we just lowered. Crank it back up so that it is about .015 thousandths below the blades and the out feed table.

5. Now if your blades and the outfeed table are at the same height you are ready to take a cut. If not, make it so! “Almost”
Before you take that cut you need to understand that at first when you lay the board on the infeed table you are going to be pushing it across the spinning blades use extreme caution. Make sure all safety items are on and being used, such as push blocks and the blade guard is on, anything else that came with your jointer!!

Take a 2X4, mark the face with a pencil and joint the face of it. Once you have that board fully surfaced use a straight edge and see if it is flat. If not and it is concave ”raise the outfeed table a very small amount”. Refer to number 4 above.

If it is convex, lower it, and then mark with a pencil and reface that same board. check it should be flat if not and you are sure you adjusted 1 – 2 – 3 correctly you need to go back to beginning of this paragraph and do it again.

Good luck

-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 3596 days

#19 posted 02-08-2011 02:09 AM

WOW! you guys are awesome! Thanks for all of the info. I just purchased some new blades online and bought a dial indicator and magnetic base. When the knives come in, i will make all of the adjustments. Thanks again everyone!


P.S What are GIBS

View BobG's profile


172 posts in 3564 days

#20 posted 02-08-2011 05:33 AM

Here is a website that may help you understand “GIBS” and their positioning.

One more tip that just came to mind that will help some.

When you are searching for “Top Dead Center” put a 12” long 3/4 X 3/4 inch square piece of wood, or something similar, one end about 3 inches from the blades on the outfeed table. Place a heavy block on it, or hold it down at that end. Turn the cylinder (by hand) and you will see the other end go up and down. At the highest point will be “Top Dead Center”! Again help is only a note away!

-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 3282 days

#21 posted 02-11-2011 12:36 AM

sounds to me like really dull blades…

-- New Auburn,WI

View BobG's profile


172 posts in 3564 days

#22 posted 02-11-2011 02:49 PM

Jeff I’m curious as to how the jointer is doing?

-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 3596 days

#23 posted 02-12-2011 04:45 AM

Hi Bob. Just recieved my new blades in the mail yesterday. So tomorrow I will take all of your amazing advice, and hope for the best. I’ll keep ya posted.

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