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Perfect Edge Joints Keene NH

American Woodworker. The Best Resource for You andJointers are simple machines with few moving parts, but the two beds, the fence and the cutterhead all have to be in alignment for a jointer to function properly. Few things are more frustrating or more common than problems with jointers.

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Perfect Edge Joints

Perfect Edge Joints



Jointers are simple machines with few moving parts, but the two beds, the fence and the cutterhead all have to be in alignment for a jointer to function properly. Few things are more frustrating or more common than problems with jointers. This is especially true when you're trying to get straight, square edges on your boards. I've come up with a six-step tune-up that should set your jointer straight. It's easy to do and will only take an hour or two, depending on how many problems you unearth.

Jointers are supposed to cut straight, square edges, but all too often, they leave a sniped or a bowed edge (see "Common Problems" ).Snipe results whenever the top of the outfeed table dips below the knife's top cutting arc. A bow cut results whenever the outfeed tablerises above the cutting arc. A cutter head that's not parallel to the outfeed table, or tables that are not parallel to each other, will make it impossible to get the table height set just right for all fence settings.

Common jointer problems result in a sniped or bowed edge. Adjusting the outfeed table height usually cures the problem. However, if both tables and the cutterhead are not in perfect alignment, the problem will return when you move the fence. This tune-up procedure takes care of all the possible misalignments that can cause jointer problems.


The Right Stuff

You will need a few tools to perform this tune-up: A good straightedge, a set of feeler gauges and machinist's metal shims are must-haves for this job. Forsome steps, a dial indicator is easier to use than a straightedge.

The straightedge, shims and feeler gauge run about $80 total. The optional dial indicator with a magnetic base and extension arms adds another $33 and is well worth the cost. All these tools can also be used to set and tune-up other shop equipment and to check your own work for flatness (see Sources, page 6).

A precision straightedge is essential. You can perform all the tune-up steps using this 50-in.precision straightedge that costs $58. Unlike inexpensive straightedges, this one has a precision-ground edge with a tolerance of.003 in. along its entire length. Such a good straightedge is not cheap, but it's a good investment for your shop.

A feeler gauge set isused in tandem with a straightedge to measure very small gaps. If the straightedge reveals a gap, you can measure that gap by finding the feeler gauge that fits under the straightedge.


A dial indicator with magnetic base and arm can't be beat for tool setups. A number of these six tune-up procedures are best done using a dial indicator. Like the straightedge, this tool is also useful for other machine setups.



Metal shims align jointer parts. Variety packs are convenient and easy to use. A strip of aluminum cut from a soda can is a quick substitute for a .005-in. shim. That coupled with some .001-in. shim stock s...

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