Jointer Methods - Help me keep my fingers

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Tim Anderson posted 09-25-2015 02:56 PM 1653 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 3073 days

09-25-2015 02:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer safety

During a brief lapse in sanity, I dropped a big pile of money on a Grizzly G0490X Jointer. Now that it exists, I am curious about the proper way to use it safely.

Everything I see online says to always use pushblocks, and never joint anything smaller than the minimum board size. I am 100% on board with this, as I’d probably be faster jointing the small stock with hand planes anyway.

My question comes from a conflict I am seeing in woodworking videos online vs what the official Grizzly safety manual says. In the manual, it says to never even put the push blocks over the cutter area, but to pick up, and then reapply pressure on the outfeed once the wood has past the cutting area. In videos online such as this one from the Wood Whisperer, he just runs the pads right over the cutter area.

Bring able to keep the pad on the wood over the cutter seems more convenient, but keeping all my fingers seems like an even better idea than that. Is the extra paranoia of removing the pads above the cutter worth the trouble?

I’m also up for any tips about general operation and safety you would like to provide, as I’m fairly new to the big machine side of woodworking.

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

18 replies so far

View Clarkie's profile


525 posts in 3183 days

#1 posted 09-25-2015 03:12 PM

Hey Tim, nice looking piece of equipment. For your own peace of mind, see if one of your friends or if there is a cabinet shop near you, where you can go and perhaps get some hands on, with help. The first jointer I had sat for more than 3 months before I became acquainted with it, I think it’s normal to respect a tool you don’t know. I had a carpenter friend come over and put me through the paces on the thing before I would go at it by myself. As for where to place the push blocks, as you go over the cutter head with the forward push block you’ll become accustomed to a lighter pressure and be able to follow through, no need to try and lift the push block and skip ahead. After a few hours you’ll make your way with the new machine, just never lose respect for it’s ability, just like anything else the more familiar you become the better you’ll get. Have fun, make some dust.

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3966 days

#2 posted 09-25-2015 03:30 PM

Technique is everything when using a jointer. I don’t always use push pads especially when edge jointing. That said when face jointing down pressure before the cutter head is light to moderate you don’t want the stock to chatter. As soon as enough stock has passes of the cutter head to get a pad on it do so with moderate to heavy DOWN pressure. You back hand ( before the cutter head ) should now shift to light down pressure or just enough to prevent chatter. Your thought and action is to pull the stock from passed the cutter head position with down pressure and to guide the stock and help push it through with the rear hand. If your stock is long a hand over hand on the passed the cutter head position is warranted. Do not over joint your material. It is helpful to squiggle mark your stock with a pencil and.only joint until.all of the squiggle marks are gone.
Do not fear the jointer, it is a wonderful tool. Respect your jointer, it has no conscience.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View pintodeluxe's profile


6520 posts in 4156 days

#3 posted 09-25-2015 03:44 PM

I have the Delta version of this jointer, and I think the long jointer beds are a big plus. They not only make it easy to get straight stock, long beds are safer and more stable as well.

Make sure the blade guard is well adjusted and springs back to cover the cutterhead. I had to fiddle with my guard to get the spring tension right.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 3073 days

#4 posted 09-25-2015 06:09 PM

pintodeluxe, your statement about the spring tension hit home, as that was my first thought upon completion of assembly. “Shouldn’t this thing spring back better?” I then figured out how to tension it properly, so that’s all good now.

jumbojack, thanks for all the tips. I will definitely respect the jointer, as I do my bandsaw and planer. I’ve got a fair pile of slightly warped hickory flooring I can practice technique with before I get onto my other projects. I’ll be sure to follow your technique advice, as many others on forums and in videos have also echoed the same regarding pressure on the board over the jointer throughout a cut. The squiggle mark tip is a great idea as well. I’ve used it with hand planes many times, but didn’t think to on the machine.

Clarkie, I’ll try and find some friends who know their way around one of these babies for advice, but most of my woodworking friends are here online, and again I will definitely be showing it the utmost respect, as I prefer to keep all my digits attached and functional.

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

View jonah's profile


2276 posts in 4641 days

#5 posted 09-25-2015 07:39 PM

I have always pushed down the whole time I’m jointing. I was taught to not push down that hard right over the cutterhead, pretty much exactly as jumbo jack describes. I too don’t use push blocks when edge jointing most boards. My fingers stay well away from the blades.

View Ocelot's profile (online now)


3743 posts in 3980 days

#6 posted 09-25-2015 08:53 PM

It’s far too dangerous. Ship it to me and I’ll, ... er… do something with it. ;-) Nice jointer! I’ve good looking at those from time to time.


-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 2734 days

#7 posted 09-25-2015 11:34 PM

The theory upon which a jointer works is really quite simple.

Don’t know who said this originally (sounds like, but probably wasn’t, the late great Yogi Berra)
In theory, practice and theory are very much the same…in practice, they are very different.

The theory on which a jointer works is that the table to the right of the cutter is just there to “set up” the board before it enters the cutter. The table to the left of the cutter is the important surface (as soon as there is something to rest on it). In the ideal case, the right hand table would probably “drop away” as soon as there is wood and pressure on the outfeed side.

In practice though, I’m sure it varies from one machine to the next how much pressure is needed on the infeed side to keep everything stable and prevent unwanted vibration and movement…but the majority should be on the outfeed table.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View AandCstyle's profile


3306 posts in 3599 days

#8 posted 09-25-2015 11:55 PM

Tim, you’ve gotten good suggestions so far. One reason to not apply pressure over the cutter head is that it might cause the board to dip a bit if it is thin creating a divot. I don’t worry about it with thicker stock, but I do avoid the cutter head with thinner stock.

Also, keep a good coat of wax or other lubricant on the bed to make sliding the stock as easy as possible. I like to think of a skating rink and if the stock doesn’t glide easily it is time for another coat of Johnson’s paste wax.

-- Art

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4032 days

#9 posted 09-26-2015 12:19 AM

You have gotten a LOT of good advice above and I would only add that I like to take very light passes (especially in hard woods like hickory). Not only will you get less tearout, but less chance of the jointer wanting to grab the piece and kick it back.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View jonah's profile


2276 posts in 4641 days

#10 posted 09-26-2015 02:48 AM

What he said ^^^

I’d never take more than 1/32” off at a time.

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 2734 days

#11 posted 09-26-2015 11:37 AM

Just noticed that you included “I’m also up for any tips about general operation…”

Just a couple things on that:
1) you might want to Boeshield that aircraft carrier deck of a table (if for no other reason than to prevent your friends from rusting it out as they drool over your awesome new acquisition)

2) you should probably make a simple “trash can separator” for the DC so you don’t have to mess with that darned plastic bag very often.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 2573 days

#12 posted 09-26-2015 10:17 PM

It’s harder to sue the mfg if they say to stay 1 mile away from the cutter head while operating. In all practical use: yes you can keep the block while over the head but for reasons of precision don’t apply a ton of pressure while over the head be it face or edge jointing as this could bow the board into the head and remove material that need not come out.

And rwmember: #LoveYourJointer

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 3073 days

#13 posted 09-27-2015 02:41 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. I did my best to follow it all, and my initial milling was a great success. One thing I noticed that wasn’t mentioned was that you can hear the blade taking off the uneven bits, and know when it’s getting a good clean pass by sound as well as feel.

Anyways, I’ve managed to do in 4 hours on a Saturday evening what would have taken me about a week of evenings and the weekend doing it by hand. I didn’t even really need to check for square or get out the straight edge. I can just hold the boards on the jointer table or against each other to check for flatness. The boards I did check for square were right on, so the fence stop is working great.

Red Oak, Hard Maple, and Hickory all milled with ease to S3S. There was a bit of tearout on a couple pieces where the grain was weird, but I expect the hand planes would have struggled there too. A bit of scraping and I’m sure it’ll be right as rain.

Now I’ve got the bed all re-waxed so it’s ready to for next time. I am very glad I got this jointer despite the price tag, so I can focus on the actual project instead of milling the wood. I’m also glad I sprung for the helical head and the 8” model over a normal 6” model. Some of the boards were wider than 6”, and the difference in finish between the straight-blade planer and the helical carbide head is fairly noticeable (both had new blades as of this evening just before beginning work on this project).

One problem did arise: the motor belt kept squeaking. I stopped and tried to tighten it twice. The manual says to just loosen the screws and the weight of the motor should be enough to reach the proper tension. They say it should deflect ~1/4” when you push on the side, but I’m getting about 1/2”. I tried pulling down by hand and tightening at the same time, but no luck. I’m thinking I can tie some weights to the cross bars to pull it a bit tighter. Thoughts?

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 2573 days

#14 posted 09-27-2015 01:47 PM

Did you say you S3S on a jointer?
You can S3S on a jointer, plane the face opposite the jointed on, no possibility of tapering. Now rip the edge opposite the jointed one, no possibility of tapering. So if you S3S’d what extra face/ edge did you joint?

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 3073 days

#15 posted 09-27-2015 01:48 PM

Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I’ve had a Delta 22-580 Planer for a while now. I used that for the parallel face, not the jointer. All the edges in the picture are the jointed face and edge, and the face-down side is the planer face.

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics