Jointer Setup and Calibration

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Forum topic by true2life posted 02-22-2014 04:28 AM 1142 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2005 days

02-22-2014 04:28 AM

Hey everyone, I’m a long time reader to this site and this is my first post. I’m getting my woodshop in order… I’ve recently sold some things to raise the funds to upgrade and buy some new equipment. Right now I’ve got the standard equipment… jointer, planer, table saw, ect. I got that book by John White about how to manage shop machines and I’m going through each one of my tools to get it calibrated. 1st project is the jointer.

I got a 6 1/4” Craftsman Contractor Series jointer secondhand and am getting it up to speed. I don’t think I overpaid for it, but I also don’t think I would have bought it if I knew then what I know now. The tables were rusted and it was pretty out of alignment. I realized this when I was unable to joint a board without developing a bevel, despite extensive research on technique and going through several good red oak boards :/

Well, 1st I got all the rust off the tables… there was a lot. I used scotch brite pads, a lot of WD-40, and after I got as much off that way as I could, I used some Naval Jelly and a wire brush. The Naval Jelly worked pretty well. There is some pitting but after 2 coatings of Minwax paste wax it is starting to feel smooth. I have never waxed anything before and am not sure if I’m doing it right… it still have an inconsistent and somewhat dull look to it and is not as slick as I would have thought. Is this to be expected or should it look shiny, smooth, and be pretty slick?

I’ve run out of time for my shop chores today, but as I was finishing up, I got out my Veritas straight edge and PEC feeler gauge to check the infeed and outfeed tables. Now, I have a mobile base with level feet on it and have not set the jointer level yet, so I’m not sure if that matters… I just wanted to make sure the table wasn’t warped. Well, I only checked the outfeed table, but I think it might have a slight concave warp. The center would be the high point. With the feeler gauges, I could slide everything below 0.002” without any resistance at both ends for about half an inch. I got resistance at 0.002” and did not try any higher.

1st question, is this a big deal? This is a pretty small difference… but the book says very small deviations can result in error. I am not sure if this is something where I can raise the front and back corners of the table with a wrench or ratchet and diminish or take away the bow, or if this is just the way its going to be.

2nd question, the cutterhead has rust spots on it, can I take it out and clean it off too? I know balance is very important there and removing rust is decreasing its mass unevenly… enough to matter though?

3rd question was already asked above, about the waxing. I don’t really know what I’m doing with that, how can I find out proper waxing technique and what kind of results should I expect.

Last question, this is a small jointer. Its 3 feet long… I thought that was big when I got it but it really isn’t. I had an idea for building infeed and outfeed table extensions to make it 7 feet long (2 extra feet on each end). Get 2 cuts of flat steel 2’x6”x0.5”. Make a base with a worm geared crank device that raises and lowers a platform. Attach levelers to the base. Drill holes and countersinks in the steal beams and attach them to the base. This should maintain its shape and be pretty sturdy. It should also allow me to adjust the height of the table extensions to the height of the jointer tables if I were to change them, so they would all be coplaner. I have seen designs with MDF and really, the steel isn’t that much more expensive. Is there a simpler design for all this though, because the parts of the gearing alone could be expensive.

Thanks guys. I’m looking forward to the responses.

2 replies so far

View Holbs's profile


2218 posts in 2479 days

#1 posted 02-22-2014 05:47 AM

look at my blog about my rockwell jointer rehab.
rust on the cutterhead itself shouldnt matter unless it’s interfering with the blades. i wouldnt know..because i removed my cutter head assembly, removed the blades, and cleaned everything up anyways :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View Alastair's profile


7 posts in 2235 days

#2 posted 02-22-2014 06:31 AM

not to be a bummer….but I don’t know if I would put that much effort into the infeed/outfeed extensions you’re talking about. If it were me, I would tune it up to the best of my ability, and use it for a year or so until either you can afford a new one, or are doing work of a quality that necessitates a new one. If you spend some more time on it it will probably work fine to a certain level – but from how your describing the tables I think your beds are just out of flat, and it’s probably not fixable with adjustment (to my knowledge – i think in this case tables need to be reground, maybe someone else can correct me if i’m wrong). That being said, I used my jointer for quite a while without having the proper tools to set it up accurately, and it worked to the level that I needed at the time….but the difference that thousands of an inch make, when setting your knives, and table beds etc. is really quite amazing. If you can get it set up precisely, you don’t even need a longer bed unless you are doing massive pieces…I think we all from time to time figure that “it can’t be that bad” and indulge ourselves on a deal of some sort, but I find very often that these become extra or backup versions fairly quickly, when we decide it would have been better to just get the better tool from the start.

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