Need some help using my jointer

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Forum topic by adamclyde posted 05-21-2013 06:36 PM 1373 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View adamclyde's profile


43 posts in 2918 days

05-21-2013 06:36 PM

So I bought a barely used Craftsman jointer recently. Probably the same model this fellow lumberjocker shared.

I’ve made sure that the fence is at an exact right angle to the bed, and I’ve made sure that the outfeed table is exactly level with the blade height. Here is my problem. I can’t figure out how to use the stinking thing properly. I’ve watched different videos, including Norm on NYW and TWW, but still not having good results.

Here’s the problem. As I run lumber through the jointer, I try to keep even pressure, then once a foot or so passes over blade, I shift my pressure more on the outfeed table side. But when I do that, the wood lifts up a bit and the blade no longer makes any contact with the wood. If I put pressure on the back of the wood, I can still get some contact between the blades and the wood, but that technique seems to be counter to all the instructions I’ve seen. And when I do that, I don’t seem to be getting a very good cut.

Is it my technique? the machine? My set up of the machine? Or a bit of all?

I’ve ended up just falling back on my hand tools, but that is pretty slow when you’ve got a lot of lumber and I’m not all that great yet at precision hand tool work.


11 replies so far

View richardwootton's profile


1701 posts in 2960 days

#1 posted 05-21-2013 06:39 PM

Is it cutting at the front of the board when you make a pass? Are you edge jointing or face jointing?

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View muleskinner's profile


941 posts in 3441 days

#2 posted 05-21-2013 06:48 PM

Make sure infeed and outfeed tables are parallel with each other.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View ChuckV's profile


3354 posts in 4532 days

#3 posted 05-21-2013 06:49 PM

Are the infeed and outfeed tables parallel with each other? If the outfeed table runs “downhill”, then what you describe could happen.

Edit: Looks like muleskinner won the race!

-- "Melodies decaying in sweet dissonance." - I. Anderson

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3976 days

#4 posted 05-21-2013 08:02 PM

If, when you put pressure on the outfeed table side, the work piece lifts up and the blade no longer cuts, you now know that the outfeed table is not co-planer with the infeed table, or it is just simply too high, in relation to the cutter.

Maybe this is why the machine was barely used. The first owner did not check with LJ to find out what was wrong.

View JTJr's profile


11 posts in 3679 days

#5 posted 05-21-2013 10:10 PM

As has been described, the outfeed table is not coplanar with the infeed table. Your technique sounded fine. Do a scan on google for jointer setup. The Wood Whisperer comes up, and if I recall right, it was a pretty good video. Also do a search on Lumberjocks for the same. Wood Whisperer comes up.

Jointers are one of the most bitchy setups to perform, since they involve so many moving parts, that must all be tuned in relationship to one another, as well as a fixed cutter head, so set ahead an afternoon, get the manuals out, to understand what can be adjusted and where, lay aside a couple of beer cans for shims, emptying as need be and pull the power plug, or know where you can get some shims of brass or aluminum, and study a few of the youtube videos on the subject. Get a dial indicator, and a good machined straightedge, or study up on the 3 beam, 3 screw method of creating one. (a compared to b, compared to c, etc). For the dial indicator, one of the wide tips is a good thing.

Get a can of patience along with the other items. I have done this on everything from 20” jointers to my fixed outfeed POS craftsman 6” jointer which I machined with a stone to knock down the high spots, since it still works and other things came first. It planes with no snipe now, but it took a while to figure out how to fix it.

Once the tables and head are coplanar, then setting knives is pretty much a snap, and can be done with nothing but a straight edge. Until then, nothing you do will make it work right, and every time you move the fence, you’re likely to get different results.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3695 days

#6 posted 05-22-2013 01:29 AM

You have gotten a lot of good set up advice from the above posters but I’m going to add a technique tip. Always joint the concave (rather than the convex) side/edge. I have had your scenario before I learned this lesson. My machine was set up correctly, I just hadn’t learned how to use it properly.

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

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 3360 days

#7 posted 05-22-2013 01:33 AM

jointing will also require a bit of practice, it is considered a finese tool for a reason.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View adamclyde's profile


43 posts in 2918 days

#8 posted 05-22-2013 02:55 AM

Thanks everyone for the great advice. I did some tweaks to further improve the coplanar nature of the two beds. That, plus @gfadvm’s advice seems to be the ticket. I think I was planing the concave, not convex sides, hence the boards turning up on the back end. Thanks so much to everyone. Definitely some technique involved with the jointer.

One last dorky question. When face jointing boards under 3/4” my boards often get caught under the blade guard. I have tried to position the push blocks as i move them along so it keeps the blade guard from flipping over the board, but I don’t think this is really the design point. Thoughts?

View ChuckV's profile


3354 posts in 4532 days

#9 posted 05-22-2013 01:11 PM

I once had the same “dorky” question about thinner boards like this:

A few years ago, I made a simple MDF sled that has worked great.

I put the board on the bottom of the sled against the heel like this:

Then I am all set:

Be safe and have fun.

-- "Melodies decaying in sweet dissonance." - I. Anderson

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 3043 days

#10 posted 05-22-2013 01:20 PM

That’s a great tip/jig Chuck – thanks. I’ve always been scared to joint the thinner boards because I think they’re going to catch and chatter and then explode into a bajillion pieces. Your backer board looks like it solves that problem.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3695 days

#11 posted 05-23-2013 12:23 AM

Great tip Chuck! Keep em coming.

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

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