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Jointer tables not coplaner. Worth the effort to fix or not?

14819 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  pvogelsang
About a year ago i stumbled across a gentleman that was getting out of woodworking. Got some great deals one of which was his Ridgid 6 1/8" jointer(model before the current orange one). Being new to woodworking myself I went about trying to joint some lumber and was effectivly making tapered legs. A quick call to the ole pops and he came over to show me prper technique and he too was making tapered legs. It boggled us both for quiet sometime. Eventually I took out my 50" Lee Valley aluminum straight edge and to my surprise the tables were not coplaner(and yes i moved the infeed up. My process was this, side note here but the straight edge is stated to me .003 flat over the entire length. is this flat enough to be truly used over the length of the beds?) First i began by raising my infeed table and clamping my 50" straight edge to it. i then lowered the table until it just kissed the outfeed table(couldn't slip a feeler guage under it of any thickness. This was great except for the fact that the straight edge touched the leading edge of the outfeed table but by the end of the straight edge/ outfeed table there was a gap about 1/32-1/64 of an inch. This in knew was not supposed to be happening. Long story straight i tried adjusting the gibs and the outfeed table was extremely loose in it's ways…little joke there but not really! this got it closer but still not perfectly flat to the infeed table. Hours and hours of tinkering later i got it as close i could but only after shiming the outfeed table and i still don't feel it's 100% flat.

I Guess getting to my question should i be this worried about the beds being flat? I've always heard they need to be dead flat to each other. Since I payed 100 for the jointer and put another 40 in blades should i just cut my losses sell the jointer and be done with it? Is it worth even taking to a machine shop and having them resurface the beds dead flat to each other? Is my straight edge not straight enough with the advertised .003 thousands of the length? I would really like to avoid buying another jointer but i'm kind of untrusting of this one as it sits. And not having any experience in with jointers before i'm not sure if i'm askign to much or what. So I come to you all for advice and guidance. My brain is but a sponge eager to soak in the knowledge of the ealders.
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I don't have one, but I've heard that the Ridgid jointers are pretty good. If this were mine, I would definitely spend some time trying to dial it in. If you have the owners manual, see what it says about adjusting the tables. Otherwise, Ridgid Tech Support might be able to help you.

IME, jointers need more dialing in than some other tools - and feeding technique is very important.
oh no doubt technique is key. And the jointer has ran well(mechanically speaking) My main concern was with effort involved.
Just my humble opinion but…
There is no such thing as "dead flat". A jointer just needs to cut within the tolerence of the work you're doing. When I was a cabinet maker I mostly didn't even use a jointer becasue I was mostly just glueing boards to plywood which would straighten it out. Now that I'm working on smaller pure hardwood projects and cutting dovetails my jointer is the most used machine in my shop.

In my experience the best way to check a jointer is to:
  1. Take 2 boards as long as the jointer and 4" or wider
  2. Join one edge on each making a couple passes more than you need to clean the edge. This will help magnify any problems with the table being out of plane or flat.
  3. Flip one board end for end
  4. Put the edges together. That will double the size of any problems.
  5. If you can't detect visible gaps then the jointer is set good enough.
  6. You may want to repeat the process on both sides of the table and again in the middle if it's a fairly wide jointer.

Good jointers are cheap so if you can't get it cutting good enough then it's probobly at least worth getting a quote from a machine shop. The quote probobly wouldn't cost anything but I have no idea what the cost might actually be.
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Thanks Don for the response and i agree with the "dead flat" comment just wasn't sure if i was being over critical or what.
If shimming the outfeed alone was not enough you could also shim the infeed to compensate. When I setup my jointer I only had to shim my infeed a very small amount but don't see why you could not shim both in opposite directions.
It is not uncommon for 'experienced' tools to need some adjustment and tweaking, so I wouldn't think about tossing your jointer until you have exhausted reasonable remedies.

I don't have their jointer, but I have other Ridgid tools and their tech support has always been top drawer.
ya the tool is very solidly built and i didn't want to give up on her yet but not having alot of experience in the jointer field i was curious as to my cut lose point. Thanks guys I'll do some more work with her.
It may also be that your knives are out of alignment. The in/out feed tables are just part of the equation.
Just a question on the tapers comment. Are the boards coming out concave, where the section you are moving over the blades is out of whack? Or are you just noticing a wedge look to the boards after you pass the board over the blades a few times? Depending on the cup of the boards, it is not unusual for boards to come out looking like wedges because, once the bottom is flat, the thickness of the board will not be uniform. That is where the planer will come in.

I might be barking up an entirely different tree but just wanted a little clarification.

In trying to visualize what you did, my first thought is if the out feed table height is set correctly to the cutting head. If the out feed table is set just a tad to low in relation to the cutting head, wouldn't that also create the same thing? I would raise the out feed table above the cutter head and then do the same test.

If both tables are flat independently of each other, then isn't it a matter of adjustment or shimming on or the other. Perhaps I have no idea what I'm talking about.

If I were intent are getting them machined, I would first try to do it myself if they aren't out by too much. I've machined heads of my outboard motor by simply adhering a piece of sandpaper to a known flat surface (read my table saw) and slowly worked them back and forth. Jointer beds are a lot bigger and heavier so I don't know if it would be feasible or even possible.
On my Grizzly Jointer. (I've got carbide spiral head on it) when you face joint a board and then try and pick it up. It doesn't want to move. It sits so flat on the outfeet table that there seems to be a vacuum under it and you have to break it, to pick it up.

Nothing is worse than a jointer that won't joint a straight edge. Because that is what they are designed for. What I heard you state as the problem is the out feef end is lower than the infeed edge of the outfeed table (It's going down hill)

Normally there are gibs that you tighten up with a screww to adjust the gibe tight to the slide on the table. I would see if you can put a shim in between the gibs and the table top. If the top is not bowed there is noting that grinding will do but remove metal. The problem is in the slide angle which is where the top should be attached to the base.
Karson you nailed the ole nail right on the head. For those having trouble visualizing whats going on. Imagine looking at a straight edge from the side as it sits on the jointer table with both tables raised above the bed. Now imagine there is no noticable gap in the straight edge as it sits on the infeed table yet as you look towards the infeed side of the outfeed table the straight edge touches the first inch or so of the table and then as you look further away from the blade/center of the table the gap visually gets larger and larger.

Adjusting the gibs did move the table to some extent yet it moved the table un planer to the infeed. Meaning it would suck the table up close the coplaner on one edge(back) of the tables but the front edge(opposite the gibs) would still be out of wack. I'll try and take a look at this weekend. over the weekend I took it out to the driveway for some good natural light and while trying to get the machine back up the threshold of the garage she tipped over and cleanly bent the fence adjustment rod and cut the power cord off clean!!! GO FREAKING FIGURE. Oh well back to square one
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I have a Delta 6in jointer that has been doing the exact seem thing ever since I moved from PA to MD. I assume something happened in the move. I am going to try some of the ideas mentioned.
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