I’m sure someone’s last words were “This will probably be ok”.
I used the 25% off coupon at Harbor Freight on New Years day to pick up a 6” jointer. This thing is one serious hunk of iron. The infeed table is flat within 0.001” and the outfeed is flat within 0.0025”. I have some shim stock on its way from Amazon so I can set things up properly. I will write a review after I have it up and running.
However, the point of today’s entry is that I need to slow down sometimes. I have never used a (powered) jointer before and other than doing some research on what to buy I have not read much on how to use them and have read nothing on how to setup and adjust them properly. Yesterday I managed to assemble the unit in spite of the instruction manual. I am not sure that anyone in the manual department has ever even met anyone from the jointer departmet let alone ever seen a jointer. With the assembly complete I wanted to fire it up and cut something.
I can be impatient sometimes. I have the same problem with edge tools when they arrive late at night and I don’t feel like taking a walk out to our detatched garage. I start looking around and wondering if my fiance would notice a paring cut taken with a new chisel or if I just planed a few thousandths off the kitchen table. :)
Anyway, I had some large chunks of scrap (4×6x24) laying around so I threw one on the jointer and started it up. The knives came installed by the manufacturer and I adjusted the table heights using a scrap block. The wood did not slide well on the table and cut very oddly. I needed what seemed like an excessive amount of force to get the wood through the cut which was the signal that something was wrong so I immediately stopped and went inside for the night. I was tired from pulling the fuel injectors out of my car all day anyway.
This morning I went out there and noticed all the yellow warning labels that tell you to remove the anti-rust oil before using the machine. Duh! I also did a lot of web browsing last night and this morning to get a little smarter about the tool and realize the factory installed knives were probably nowhere close to the correct setting. Now I even know what a Gib is and how to shim the dovetail on the infeed and outfeed tables!
I pulled all the knives out and took off the fence and went to town on cleaning off all the rust protection which seemed to me less like an anti-rust oil and more like some sentient alien life form sent down to cling to iron for dear life. It took a lot of scrubbing with mineral spirits and steel wool to get down to the bare metal but eventually I got there and looked great when I was finished. The fence and the cutter head got the same treatment as did the knives. Next, I threw down two coats of paste wax like I do on my tablesaw and boy is there a difference. I slid the same scrap piece, from the night before, along the top to see how it would go and I think I saw the wood sprout legs and pull itself along the table! It is nice and smooth now and felt much safer. Which reminds me it’s time to wax my tablesaw too.
The shim stock should arrive in a day or two at which point I will finish the setup properly before I fire it up again. That will give me some more time to read about how to use it and set it up so everything is nice and true… and put the fuel injectors back in my car so there is actually room to use the jointer.
-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.