I’ve got some beautiful
planks that are too wide for
my jointer. I really don’t want
to rip them down to size and
risk breaking up the grain pattern.
What can I do?
This is a common problem
for which there are a
number of solutions. You
could use a hand plane to
joint one face before sending it
through the planer. Or, build
a carriage to support the
uneven board and hope nothing
slips. Here’s an easier way:
use your jointer’s rabbeting
table, (you’ll find it hiding
under the guard), and a piece
of plastic laminate to joint
those boards in two passes.
First, unplug your machine and remove
the guard. Don’t worry, the board will completely
cover the knives. Just be sure to use
push blocks and turn the machine off
Set your fence to cut a little more than
half the board’s width.
Stick a piece of plastic laminate on the
rabbeting table of your jointer with doublestick
tape. Then lay a straightedge across the plastic laminate
shim so it overhangs the outfeed table.
Adjust the infeed table until the shim and
the outfeed table are flush (Photo 1).
Remove the shim, plug in your jointer
and make your first cut (Photo 2).
Replace the shim, turn the board end
for end and joint the other half of the same
face. The previously jointed area should
ride on the shim and prevent any tipping
(Photo 3). Now you’re ready for the planer.
Click any image to view a larger version.
1. Set the depth of cut equal to
the thickness of the shim.
2. Remove the shim and make the
3. Replace the shim, turn the board
end for end and make the second cut.