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Q & A: Board too Wide for Jointer


Q & A: Board too Wide for Jointer


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 between passes!

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 first cut.

3. Replace the shim, turn the board end for end and make the second cut.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker February 2000, issue #78.

February 2000, issue #78

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