Hi all, my first wood working blog entry. I’ve been looking to start getting into wood working for almost a year now, since I got a $6500 quote for stock cabinets for my tiny kitchen and thought, “They’re just plywood boxes!” So, I’ve started collecting tools slowly, but surely (slowly due to the fact that my wife and I are still paying off our wedding from last year!). I’ve passed the time reading books on cabinet making, wood working in general, and a really nice book on joints, and compiling a list of online resources for when I was finally ready to go.
Last night, I finally bought what I consider my first major purchase: A Ridgid JP06100 jointer. This is a slightly older model of the one currently sold at HD, with the only difference seemingly the color of the lower stand/cabinet (gray vs. orange). I got this for $225, with a spare set of blades, so I think I got an OK deal on it. The seller was great, letting me take a few passes on some scrap white oak he had lying around, for which I was really grateful. Having never used a jointer, I’d probably have been a bit nervous trying it out for the first time at home. He was very safety conscious, and gave me a lot of pointers on how to keep all my digits in place :) So I got it home and unloaded with the help of a friend, but didn’t get a chance to play with it until tonight. The seller let me keep a couple of scraps to practice on, so I went out tonight to try and square off my first board.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my first full attempt. The scrap I was working on had a hellacious bow to it, so I kicked the jointer up to 1/16” and started working on the edge till it was squared off (still took 4-6 passes to get it chewing off wood for the whole edge). Then I notched it back down to 1/32” and flattened a face. I don’t have a proper straight edge, just a large T-square from my school days, but it seems to have done a pretty good job. I held the edge of the T-square to each end of the board edge and held it up to a light, and could only see a small, even line. Same thing for the face of the board I flattened. Putting it on tables and other random things around the house (yes, the wife was laughing at me…), it seems to sit flat and doesn’t rock at all.
For the bad, I can see small waves in the board when I check the surface, so I’m probably still moving the board too fast. They’re only noticeable when holding the board up at an angle to the light, so a good sanding would most likely take that down. On one edge, I can see there’s a small deflection, so I probably put too much pressure over or just behind the cutting head when flattening the face near that edge, so I’ll have to be more attentive and keep the push blocks in the center of the face without pushing down too hard. I over research everything, so I know you’re not supposed to force the face down, so the jointer can do its work (otherwise you just carve out the bow, and it returns when you let the pressure off).
So, I declare victory for my first attempt :) The main thing I was trying to avoid was sniping the ends of either face, and I seem to have done that pretty well. I don’t see any major tear-out either, and the two squared edges are (to me) pretty smooth. A local wood distributor sells soft maple for $2.00 a BF, so I’m going to head there Saturday and try to pick up some more practice wood :) Now I just need to start scanning Craigslist for a thickness planer…
-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"