There’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment when you’re able to successfully troubleshoot a problem.
I was having some snipe issues with my Ridgid 6” jointer. The last 2” or so of the trailing end was getting gouged. A common issue with jointers, I hear. So I set out to solve the problem.
My careful and scientific analysis of the problem (reading the manual and browsing forums) led me to believe the knives were too high relative to the outfeed table. So I began my first foray into jointer knives. The mechanism turned out simpler than I expected, but the process was slightly more frustrating than I expected.
I don’t have a “real” straightedge (you know, those fancy ones y’all gots), just my cheap stainless steel squares and sliding rules. Those would have to do. I spent about 3 hours trying to align the knives.
MISTAKE #1: Using a straightedge that wasn’t quite straight. Like a total moron, I used the flat part of the ruler instead of the edge because I couldn’t keep the ruler standing on edge over the cutterhead. Um, yeah, good one.
MISTAKE #2: Not taking the knives out completely, not cleaning the wedges and set screws.
MISTAKE #3: Using blue tape on the “straight”edge instead of packaging tape.
Needless to say, when I tried the jointer, I got a pretty spectacular cut. Spectacular like, I’ve tapered the board across its width with a beautiful scalloping pattern. Clearly, adjusting the knives did NOT go according to plan. I’m pretty sure I could have done a better job just winging it by eye.
So today I attempted it again, this time cleaning everything thoroughly AND using a better straightedge. The jointer, like all angry tools, showed its affection for flesh when I slammed my knuckle on the blade while tightening a lock nut. Got a minor but nice deep cut. Thank you, jointer. I will now refer to you as the Orange a and will dream nightly about how I’m going to replace you with a 10” beauty as soon as I win the lottery. Until then, I’ll just run miles of Ipe over you ‘til you say our safe word. But I won’t hear you because I’ve got hearing protection on.
With a little more patience and care, I managed to get the knives aligned with the outfeed table. I get a beautiful flat surface with no snipe. Without a dial indicator! And that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from conquering something simple after screwing it up so royally. Needless to say, I did order myself a dial indicator for the future.
-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.