Q & A: Jointer Quandary
I’ve been having trouble getting
boards straight their full length on my
new jointer. I spent an hour carefully
resetting the knives, but that didn’t help.
Do you think it’s me or the machine?
Could be either! First,we’ll assume that your
jointer’s infeed and outfeed tables are straight
and parallel. Then, the answer may lie in changing
your jointing technique or minutely adjusting
the height of your jointer’s outfeed table.Here are
three common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Persistent Convex Edge
Sometimes an edge remains curved every time
you joint it.
Joint the Belly First
This is a problem of technique, not an incorrectly adjusted machine.
Jointing a long, convex board is difficult because rocking it is so easy.Try
this: Joint the center of the board first.Take a few passes to make a solid
and true reference surface.Then make longer and longer cuts until you
joint the full length of the board.
A Sniped End
Sometimes a jointer takes a heavy bite at the
tail end of a board.
Raise the Outfeed Table
Although you did your best to set the knives level, it doesn’t always work.
You’ll see the dreaded snipe if the outfeed table is even a tiny bit below
the tallest knife. Loosen the gib screws on the back side of your jointer,
raise the outfeed table a hair and try jointing again. Keep raising the table
by very small amounts until the snipe disappears, then lock down the gib
A Tapered Cut
Sometimes a cut mysteriously trails off to nothing.
Lower the Outfeed Table
Rule out the possibility that you’re dealing with a slightly convex edge
before changing any settings. Start fresh with a 2- to 3-ft.-long board
that’s been ripped straight on the tablesaw. Draw a pencil line down the
sawn edge and joint the board. If the tail end of the line remains visible,
you’ve got an outfeed table that’s too high. Lower the table until you get
a sniped cut, then raise the table until the snipe goes away.