Woodworking is not everyone’s cup of coffee and in the case where you do not have adequate exposure to this activity; your tasks can become such a pain. And being exposed to new tools can generate even more confusion.
However, if you are determined to fully venture into woodworking, a jointer is among the tools that you ought to master its operations. A jointer is used to produce a flawlessly squared edge on a piece of wood. Although there are several procedures that can be applied in developing a squared edge, having the best jointer on your side assures you a more accurate and effective means of completing the task.
But we have to emphasize on the fact that the secret to attaining the full potential of this machine is to follow the correct operation procedure. Perform it correctly, and you will be rewarded with better joints. On the other hand, glossing over these techniques can lead to frustration in your projects.
Below are some of the steps you should follow when using a jointer
1. Acquaint Yourself with the Jointer
It is essential to habituate yourself to the jointer if you wish to achieve optimum productivity from its operations. This includes reading the manual to identify the various features and controls of the machine.
The manual will also help you learn how to fine-tune certain properties, including the fence, the cutterhead, and the cut depth, among other features. Aside from ensuring that a jointer hits optimum performance, familiarizing with the machine ensures secure usage.
2. Ensure that the Infeed and the Outfeed Tables are Coplanar
A well-tuned jointer plays a significant role in ensuring that your final piece is of the desired quality.
Therefore, you should ensure that the infeed bed and the outfeed bed are coplanar. A straight edge is often used to ensure the coplanar condition is achieved. A user manual will guide you through the entire process.
3. Square up the Fence
A machine without a squared-up fence is basically useless.
Therefore, before you consider putting the machine into use, you must calibrate the fence to achieve a square position with the aid of either an engineer’s square or a digital angle gauge.
4. Understand Your Board Stock Limitations
It is always advisable to look at your owner’s manual to determine the wood size that can be used with your model. Ideally, the ability of your machine is limited to the bed size.
You are required to assign a lower size limit for the piece that you intend to process using your machine. In many instances, the minimum wood size is usually ½ ×2×12 inches in thickness, width, and length, respectively.
You may also be required to set the upper limit that you anticipate your machine will handle. This parameter is important because it impacts on the quality of your final piece.
The upper limit length of your wood should not go beyond double the span of the infeed section. However, some of the best jointer planer combo models may provide you with adjustment options that will allow you to work with longer boards.
For high-quality outcomes, ensure that your configurations for the workpieces lie within the limit boundaries of your machine.
5. Set the Depth of Cut
The primary objective of conducting this calibration is ensuring that you make significant headway on the piece per pass without straining the motor excessively. It is always advisable to go for a cautious approach in calibrating this specific property.
For instance, a 1/32 inch will enable you to attain a squared edge with two passes. Thus, you should avoid aggressive rates to prevent damage to the jointer. Besides, a moderate technique to calibrating the depth of cut will guarantee superior outcome at a relatively minimal time.
6. Study How to Read the Grain
Learn to identify the orientation of the wood fibers since it may impact the quality of the final surface. This might not be very important for edge jointing since the final surface will not be seen in the final workpiece.
But having an idea of the orientation of the wood fibers for other surfaces will come in handy since when jointing, you should always strive to ensure that the fiber direction points towards the wood’s tail end when being passed through the machine.
It will guarantee that you avoid chatter or tear outs during the operation. Other factors that may affect the quality of the final piece include the type of wood, feed rate, knife sharpness, and the depth of cut.
7. Always Start by Face Jointing
At no time should edge jointing precede face jointing. Face flattening ensures that your piece of wood achieves a level surface to place against the fence. Thus, if you cannot achieve a level face to be used as a reference against the jointer’s fence, the standard of your board and your well-being are under jeopardy.
Sometimes, boards may be excessively curved, which means that you need to first identify the allowable bent. If you intend to joint a single edge, the concave edge should always be down onto the jointer’s table for a quick benchmark surface. Nonetheless, when an edge is exceptionally crooked, you will have to perform a manual adjustment to the piece first.
First, draw a straight reference line on the inside of the crook. With the aid of a perfectly straight edge, draw a line that will guide you through removing the excess stock. You can then cut the drawn line using a band saw. Then, you can pass it through a jointer.
But if you have one of the best Benchtop jointers, this should not be an issue since most of them come with adjustable fences (90-135 degrees) which enables you to flatten your board at different angles.
8. Proper Feeding Procedure
First, position your piece against the fence, with the desired face on the table. It is essential that the fence and the table remain perpendicular unless you want to chamfer or taper your surface.
Using your left hand on the top edge almost at the front of the piece, apply a steady downward pressure towards the fence. The primary objective is to ensure that you control your board as it goes through the cutterhead. Thus, do not apply a lot of pressure or with aggression because you might distort the board.
As you transition from the infeed to the outfeed table, you should also change your reference surface. Once your left-hand passes though the cutterhead, lock the hand in position a distance past the cutterhead. Upon the transition, ensure that your hand remains in place throughout the cut, maintaining steady pressure downward and toward the fence. The right-hand will then take-over in maintaining steady pressure on the infeed table. The feed rate should be constant.
For visual explanation of the above steps, you can check a beginner guide on how to use a wood jointer.
We hope that the above simple steps will help you operate your jointer without the experience being too tedious. It might take some time and a bit of practice to fully master the machine, but if you follow the right procedure, you will quickly get to a point where you can consistently produce quality results.
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Mark Kirk is an avid woodworker who resides on and manages a woodworking Studio north Texas. He holds an AWI’s Quality Certification Program, and He loves to read, write, and woodworking. If Mark is not in learning the new woodworking projects, you can find him in his studio. He believes that woodworking is one of kind of art!