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Jointer Use

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  • Jointer Use

    I **finally** added the ridgid jointer to my shop, after catching the old style on sale at HD. I eagerly brought it home for my next project. However, I'm having a tough time getting that perfect edge on the boards. Im using about 8' to 10' lengths of 4/4 poplar. What is the proper technique for this tool?

    I've got a featherboard to hold it against the fence and have tried using rollers on in/outfeed. When I don't use the rollers it seems hard to hold the board to the table. When I do use rollers, it seems difficult to get them perfectly level with the in/outfeed tables.

    Should I be applying downward pressure on the infeed side or outfeed side? Is it beter to walk the board to the cutters, or use some type of hand over hand method?

    Help? Thus far, clamping to a jig and ripping has produced better results than my newest piece


  • #2
    Brian---a jointer isn't a tool you can learn to use fresh out of the box. There's a lot to it.

    First off, find a good straight edge and a square and make sure you have the jointer aligned properly. Check that the tables are even with eachother, at several spots along the width of the table. With the tool unplugged of course. Also put a straightedge on the outfeed table and check the knives, so that their top dead center position is even with the outfeed table. Check that the fence is square to the table on both in and outfeed sides.

    Once you have the tool tuned, start off practicing with some shorter stock---maybe 3-4 feet long. Using outfeed and infeed rollers just add another possible problem.

    Learn to read the wood's grain----grain that runs to the edge is at sort of a slope----if you picture the slope in your mind, as sort of a ramp----you never want to start the lowest part of the ramp into the jointer first, you start with the high side to avoid tear out.

    When starting a board through, you need to apply downward pressure as well as side pressure against the fence. Besure to use push blocks on the wide dimension. Take it slow---as you get to a point where about half the length of the board is through the cutterhead, switch, first one hand and then the other as you move the stock through. Never allow your hands to be directly over the cutter head---just good habit to get into. You should end up with both hands putting a downward pressure on the outfeed side.

    If I left anything out, someone else will come in. Good luck with your new tool.


    • #3
      The manual for the jointer has some basic tips and techniques in it. You will likely end up trying to joint cupped/bowed wood at some point. It's easier to joint with the cupped face down as the wood won't rock back and forth. Probably best to practice with tall peices of wood so you don't need a push stick to hold them. I find it easier to joint without a push stick (more control). Once you get that down, practice with the push stick since you will end up needing one at some point. In my opinion, you should always use a push stick when jointing the face.

      If you want an edge 90 degrees to the face, you should start by jointing one face and run that face against the fence when jointing the edge.


      • #4
        Jeff just reminded me. For face jointing, I built a push stick that has a small cleat on the back. It makes it a lot easier to push the stock through, than your basic push blocks while rely on downward pressure.


        • #5
          Guys - thanks for the tips. You went above and beyond the questions I asked! Several more if you don't mind:

          1) This seems to obvious, but I have to ask. When running an 8' board through without a roller on the outfeed, becuase of its weight I'm applying some serious downward pressure to keep the edge in contact with the cutters. So much so that it's hard to move it through the cutters. Is this normal? Seems the answer is a well earned 'duh', but it just seems more difficult than when ole Norm does it!!

          2) How much should I be taking off in one pass -1/16"?

          3) In relation to number 2, with a board that has say 1/2" inch of bow, would this require 8 passes at 1/16th"? Seems easier to clamp to a jig and rip with the ole TS2424. Thoughts?

          4) Lastly, I've read where the proper preparation sequence is to joint one face, then plane opposite face to desired width, then joint one edge. Correct?

          Thanks again. I'm a loyal Ridgid customer, not so much for the tools, as much as this excellent forum and customer service.



          • #6
            Well Brian---there are those on this forum who would wish I'd go away because I speak my mind about Ridgid tools, of late, but that's another story.

            As to your questions.

            1) Reason I said to practice on some shorter pieces is that it can be a little tricky setting up roller stands. If you have a known straight edge, use that to set the roller stand height. You don't want the stand so high or low that you can see any light under the straight edge sitting on the table and roller stand. Yes, with a stand too high or low, it will be a struggle to keep the work flat on the table. Be sure the roller is exactly perpendicular to the fence/table. Personally I like the Ridgid Flip stands.

            2) Until you become familiar with the tool, I'd keep it under 1/16" for long pieces----less chance of mucking up the stock and less force required.

            3) With a 1/2" bow, it will be real hard to get it out with the jointer, if the board has any length. By screwing the board down to a straight piece of plywood and butting the plywood against your TS fence, you can get a straight edge. There are also some clamping devices they sell at woodworking stores that will do the same thing. Get one straight edge with your TS and then put that up against the fence for parallel edges.

            4) You pretty much have the right idea. What I do is run one face through---take that face and put it against the jointer fence and get one square edge---put that edge against your TS fence, with the jointed face down---then run it through your planer, with the jointed face down. Also, if you know you'll eventually be cross-cutting the stock, if it's a long piece, theres nothing wrong with cutting it down in length, to the rough length you'll need----maybe a quarter inch longer----it's easier to handle on the jointer---just don't make the lengths shorter than a couple of feet.

            Have fun.


            • #7
              Measure the distance from the front of the infeed table to the end of the outfeed table. Double that, and that is the maximum lenth piece of wood you should attempt to use on that jointer. If you have to do longer stock, then you have the wrong jointer. Likewise, exceptionally short pieces can give as much trouble as the too long of stock.

              I've always found hand over hand method to work for me, with presure on the infeed side, never put presure past the cutter head.

              As far as how much to take off, that depends upon the stock, grain direction changes, moisture content, etc. If your getting tear out, lighten the cut. Nibble is always better than bite.
              John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


              • #8
                If you plan to straighten a significant quantity of long boards, you may want to just set up a good routing edge in your shop. I built a cutting table primarily for cutting and trimming sheet goods but it works for boards too. Basically, you want a table with a true and smooth edge and some means of clamping various size work pieces. I cut a series of slots for C-clamps.

                With the board clamped over the edge of the table, run a flush-trim router bit (ball bearing on the bottom) down the table edge. The cut will be nearly as smooth as the jointer's and as straight as your edge. I recommend trimming no more than 1/3 the diameter of the bit on each pass for easier routing. Its much faster and safer than trying to clamp a guide on the board. Use 1/2" shank bits for production work since 1/4" shank bits tend to fatigue and break.

                I only use my jointer for short work like gluing up cabinet door panels or table tops. If I had a frequent need to straighten long boards, I'd probably build some long in-feed and out-feed tables for the jointer. Heck if I had the room, I'd build them anyway. The problem with roller stands is they only contact one point on the board. You will still get vertical movement if the board isn't straight.


                • #9
                  If I may, lets talk about shop our friend Norm Abram states at the beginning of each of his NYW shows..."Be sure to read, understand and FOLLOW all the safety instructions that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your tools safely greatly reduces the risk of personal injury." I failed to FOLLOW one of those safety instructions on my jointer. All is well but, lets just say that I now use a push stick/pad at every opportunity.


                  • #10
                    Brian, if you have a board with a lot of bow in it, say 1/2" like you said, unless you need an 8' length, its probably easier to cut the board into smaller peices. You will likely end up with a less bow, in a smaller peice. For example, if you cut the 8' board in the center, you may have 1/4" of bow across each 4' board.


                    • #11

                      Congrats on your new Jointer. I don't know where I would be as a cabinet maker without one. The assembly of your bed is going to be much nicer with the use of a jointer.

                      To echo Dave's comments, "you need a lot of stick time with a jointer to get comfortable with one." That being said, there is really nothing difficult about using the jointer, you just need some patients setting up the tool and take the time, using sacrificial wood, to operate it and become familiar with it.

                      As always, go to the library and check out a book on the subject or go to your favorite book shop and purchase one.

                      Everyone’s technique is different, but will have some consistencies of "best practice".

                      I specialize in barge board/sinker cypress construction and often my stock can be over 14' in length. I do not shorten the boards before jointing the first edge. Yes, it is a pain, but with two rollers and four flip tops, I find that hand over hand works well.

                      For large stock:

                      I put the rollers on the inside position of the in/outfeed surfaces. I use a 6' level to set the height. The flip tops are set to the outside of the tables.

                      I start with my body position and hands on the infeed side of the cutter head. As I pass the stock over the cutter head I use a slow, steady "hand over hand" motion with my fingers never crossing the cutter head. Once the leading edge of the stock is at the trailing edge of the outfeed table, I "walk" the stock to the outfeed side of the table and continue the feeding process.


                      • #12
                        I agree with the above comments. In addition to the manual that came with your jointer, you might also be interested in a good video by Mark Duginske entitled Mastering Woodworking machines and/or a entitled Jointers and Planers but I can't recall the author. I'm sure there are many other equally (or better) books on the jointer. Jointer set up isn't easy the first time. I have a magnetic jig that greatly assists in getting the knives set right. After you've gone through the set up one or two times, it becomes easier and much quicker. In fact, I almost gave up on Delta 6" jointer before someone suggested the jig and things went a little easier.
                        Be very careful with this machine and never operate it without the blade guard. The guy who has an office right across the hall from me is missing the first joint in one of this fingers because his father had removed the blade guard and this guy didn't want to bother with putting it back on.
                        Also, aside from what was mentioned above the max. length of boards, things go smoother if you wax the jointer bed frequently. This makes a huge difference.