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Slow Down - Jointer Setup

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Blog entry by HungryTermite posted 1305 days ago 1792 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.



14 comments so far

View millssnell's profile

millssnell

46 posts in 1377 days


#1 posted 1305 days ago

Which jointer was is that you bought? Is it the one that retails for 199.99?

View HungryTermite's profile

HungryTermite

89 posts in 1655 days


#2 posted 1305 days ago

It was the #30289 model that goes for $299. It was on sale for $289 then with a 25% off coupon I got it for about $215.

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1452 posts in 1704 days


#3 posted 1305 days ago

Hungry,
Great Blog on slowing down. Take the necessary steps, as we’re all human, but need to understand before moving ahead.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2098 posts in 2333 days


#4 posted 1305 days ago

Not to lecture you, but for the sake of others, I think it should be pointed out that you are probably really lucky you didn’t hurt yourself.

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

315 posts in 2152 days


#5 posted 1305 days ago

how so mr mojo?

-- Got Wood?

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2098 posts in 2333 days


#6 posted 1305 days ago

I definitely don’t consider myself to be the safety police but the main points I see are:

1) using power tools when tired
2) using a tool before checking for proper setup, especially important with a new purchase
3) not paying attention to the warning labels on the machine
4) forcing material through a machine to make a cut

Obviously he pointed out that all these things were mistakes on his part. I’m just saying that if I did all of these at the same time, I’d consider myself to be very fortunate if I didn’t get hurt.

I do get the point of the post though, and he is right. It is important to slow down and do things right rather than go for the instant gratification of trying out a new toy. You probably won’t have much fun with it till it is working right anyway.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1452 posts in 1704 days


#7 posted 1305 days ago

Right on mojo

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View HungryTermite's profile

HungryTermite

89 posts in 1655 days


#8 posted 1305 days ago

Yes Mojo, what you said is exactly the point of my 1st sentence, the whole post, and the line in my signature.

I do consider myself lucky. I do know better than that but we all have mental lapses now and again. I actually had what you wrote as my second sentence but removed it before I posted because I thought people would think I was being overly dramatic.

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2098 posts in 2333 days


#9 posted 1305 days ago

Glad you took my post as intended and not as me telling you what you already know. Good luck shimming the jointer (I’ve got to do this on mine eventually, once I get new bearings on the cutterhead). One suggestion I’ve heard is that you can use empty aluminum cans to make your own shim stock if desired. I don’t think you get as much selection in thicknesses though ;-)

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1664 posts in 1494 days


#10 posted 1305 days ago

WAEFRTFM!

(When All Else Fails, Read The Friggin’ Manual)

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View HungryTermite's profile

HungryTermite

89 posts in 1655 days


#11 posted 1305 days ago

I used aluminum cans to shim my tablesaw when I set it up. Pretty easy to make, not so easy to use. I needed shims kinda thick so I ended up needing to stick something like 30 shims in some places. I needed something thinner than any washers I had but much thicker than soda cans.

I would have just bought some steel shim stock from Amazon if I knew they sold it and how cheap it was. I had only seen 100 inch rolls and they were expensive. I bought some 6” x 18” steel in about 6 different thicknesses for less than $20 and that will be enough to shim the jointer and reshim my TS and probably shim anything else I need.

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

View Xal's profile

Xal

1 post in 907 days


#12 posted 907 days ago

That anti rust oil comes of easily with lacquer thinner and a cloth.

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5281 posts in 2191 days


#13 posted 907 days ago

Perhaps you should get a few books from the library first no insult intended.
I bought my first large panel saw and it was read, read ,and read , again watching dvd’s also before i tried it out .The first time I used it at all I was a little scared now over the years I don’t have any anxiety.Just like when you learn to drive a car then you go out on your own for the first time after a while it is second nature .I would aso recommend maybe buying better blades for your jointer. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View HungryTermite's profile

HungryTermite

89 posts in 1655 days


#14 posted 906 days ago

Thanks Xal and Scotsman. This thread is rather old at this point though.

Incidentally, I did upgrade the knives to thicker knives made from better steel back when I first got the jointer tuned up and aligned properly. I am pretty happy with the performance. I think another upgrade worth doing would be to add a link belt and I will probably get to that eventually. Once I finish my workbench I need to tear down my jointer and planer and clean all the resin off and sharpen/change the knives.

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

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