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Setting joiner knives - man that sucked - need advice

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Forum topic by Kurt T. Kneller posted 11-29-2015 02:24 AM 1532 views 1 time favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Kurt T. Kneller

104 posts in 832 days


11-29-2015 02:24 AM

Hi all,
I just finished setting my knives in my G0452 grizzly 6” jointer. It did not go that well. It was the first time I have ever done it. I got the jointer in March of this year and in late summer I nicked one of the 2 of the original blades in 2 different places. Anyway I finally got around to replacing them. I used my dial indicator, instead of the jointer pal, with a flat point and was shooting for 1 – 1.5 thou above the out feed table. Setting the height was no problem and really straight forward.
The problems started when tightening the gibs. No matter what I did as the gibs approached full tightness the blades would come up, in some case almost .002. I, sprayed the blade and holder faces with dry teflon lube, thinking this would be enough for slip. NOT. I finally had to use a piece of wood held vertically with a lot of downward pressure as I tightened the gibs. I was then able to get my target height +/- .0005.
This sure seems a lot harder than it should be. Was I doing something wrong?
What are your procedures for setting your knives?
I followed recommendations I have seen on youtube (woodwhisper, and others).
Any advice would be great.

-- Start with ten, end with ten.......


39 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

693 posts in 1265 days


#1 posted 11-29-2015 03:23 AM

I use a aluminum straight edge that sits on the outfeed table.When it moves the straight edge the same amount each knife they are set.
The knife raising thing that everyone talks about is really just the cutting circle opening up.Due to the gibs pressure on the knife slots.Pretty much normal.
I get them all the same then raise the table for the final adjustment.
How does the new knives cut I bet it’s nice.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#2 posted 11-29-2015 12:45 PM

It was never easy for me, adn one of the reasons I put an insert head in my jointer. I’ve seen posts where folks declare it’s a piece of cake and i simply don’t have the right technique…..OK, I solved that issue as well.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#3 posted 11-29-2015 01:17 PM

I think there are supposed to be springs under the blades.
I have a Grizzly 8” version but never had that problem.
It can be a pain getting these adjusted.

My suggestion is to check the bed for parallel to the cutter head and that is true you can set your knives to the cutter head instead of the bed, which means you can use a magnetic jig.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Kurt T. Kneller's profile

Kurt T. Kneller

104 posts in 832 days


#4 posted 11-29-2015 01:50 PM



I think there are supposed to be springs under the blades.
I have a Grizzly 8” version but never had that problem.
It can be a pain getting these adjusted.
My suggestion is to check the bed for parallel to the cutter head and that is true you can set your knives to the cutter head instead of the bed, which means you can use a magnetic jig.
- rwe2156

My model’s cutter head has (2) options, springs or jack screws. Mine came with jack screws no springs.
The jointer did come with an alignment jig that references the cutter head. It is not magnetic. I had doubts on how accurate it would be so opted for the dial indicator.
I’ll check the bed-head for parallel.


It was never easy for me, adn one of the reasons I put an insert head in my jointer. I ve seen posts where folks declare it s a piece of cake and i simply don t have the right technique…..OK, I solved that issue as well.
- Fred Hargis

I have seen those posts also and went in with high hopes. I have also seen posts where they said they would rather sit over a hot hibachi with a m80 up their…..
I’d love to get a spiral head and do plan on it hopefully this next year. Grizzly has Byrd cutters on sale for $240.
Might not be able to convince SWMBO, but Christmas is right around the corner.


I use a aluminum straight edge that sits on the outfeed table.When it moves the straight edge the same amount each knife they are set.
The knife raising thing that everyone talks about is really just the cutting circle opening up.Due to the gibs pressure on the knife slots.Pretty much normal.
I get them all the same then raise the table for the final adjustment.
How does the new knives cut I bet it s nice.
- Aj2

How has the quality of cut been using that method?
I have made the blade adjustments as accurate as I can and I will adjust the outfeed table for final adjustment.
I called it a night out of frustration and have made any cuts yet. I am sure the new blades will blow the factory ones out of the water.

Thanks for the pointers.

-- Start with ten, end with ten.......

View Picklehead's profile

Picklehead

1019 posts in 1397 days


#5 posted 11-29-2015 02:37 PM

While I haven’t made one yet, the next time I need to set my jointer knives I’m going to make a pair of THESE.

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View bearkatwood's profile

bearkatwood

1214 posts in 479 days


#6 posted 11-29-2015 03:30 PM

Don’t worry about it, let em’ sit where they are. with all these hippies now-a-days wanting reclaimed live edge crap, those striations running the length of the board are a plus. ;)
Just take them out and practice putting them back in. It is always a pain, but it gets easier the more you do it.

-- Brian Noel

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

703 posts in 855 days


#7 posted 11-29-2015 03:37 PM

I assume you don’t have a jointer pal? Garage woodworks on you tube has a video on making something similar with scraps and magnets. If you have some strong neo magnets, in a pinch, you can use a steel (not stainless) straight edge, put the magnets on the side of it and use it to help hold the blades against the straight edge as you tighten the gibs. With a strong magnet, the blade with “stick” to the straight edge as you hold it on the out feed table. I’ve used this method a couple of times. Ideally, 2 straight edges with magnets works better so if you clamp one to the fence, you can hold the other one as you tighten the gibs and you won’t need 3 hands.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#8 posted 11-29-2015 04:09 PM

I have a G0452 and a Jointer Pal. I’m not going to say the Jointer Pal makes it easy to set knives, but it does take some of the grief away.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

1379 posts in 1497 days


#9 posted 11-29-2015 04:29 PM

I think it should be taught that there are 2 phases to setting cutterhead knives (jointer or planer).

Phase 1: rough general setting of knives in their position with gibs slightly snug. The knives can be set via jointer pals or magnets or any jig.
Phase 2: the tightening of gibs that no jig can help with. Your knives with vary on movement PER gib (example: my 15” planer has 5 gibs so I have to check knife height at each gib). When you tighten any one gib, movement could be 0.005” to 0.040” plus or minus that ALSO could affect the next gib measurement.

There is a physical engineering science magic going on with setting knives, a balance must be found. You set one gib perfectly while second gib raises 0.015”. You whack a piece of wood on second gib so it lowers 0.015”, but now your first gib is out of whack by minus 0.008”. So now you correct the first gib, bypass the 2nd gib, work on third gib, then go back to the second gib.

It took me all day to set my 3 knives in my 6” cutterhead jointer. Took me 4-5 hours to set 4 knives in my 15” planer. And then it took me 30 minutes to set 4 knives in my 8” jointer. You actually DO get better with experience. Now, I use a very simple effective method. Roughly set knives, then use the 1/8” movement from a piece of wood over each gib, I’m happy.

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 953 days


#10 posted 11-29-2015 04:36 PM

Use the supplied jig to get it roughly set then use indicator. I leave them a hair high if anything. And clean off the Teflon. I use a block of hardwood to tap them into place and tighten and loosen them to check their proper height.

It’s a pain.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Kurt T. Kneller's profile

Kurt T. Kneller

104 posts in 832 days


#11 posted 11-29-2015 05:36 PM



Don t worry about it, let em sit where they are. with all these hippies now-a-days wanting reclaimed live edge crap, those striations running the length of the board are a plus. ;)
Just take them out and practice putting them back in. It is always a pain, but it gets easier the more you do it.

- bearkatwood

Hmmm? Please explain, I got the hippy part….


I assume you don t have a jointer pal? Garage woodworks on you tube has a video on making something similar with scraps and magnets. If you have some strong neo magnets, in a pinch, you can use a steel (not stainless) straight edge, put the magnets on the side of it and use it to help hold the blades against the straight edge as you tighten the gibs. With a strong magnet, the blade with “stick” to the straight edge as you hold it on the out feed table. I ve used this method a couple of times. Ideally, 2 straight edges with magnets works better so if you clamp one to the fence, you can hold the other one as you tighten the gibs and you won t need 3 hands.

- Lazyman

I do. I just thought I could achieve a higher degree of accuracy (not frustration) with the dial indicator. I’ll try them next time to compare the results.


I think it should be taught that there are 2 phases to setting cutterhead knives (jointer or planer).

Phase 1: rough general setting of knives in their position with gibs slightly snug. The knives can be set via jointer pals or magnets or any jig.
Phase 2: the tightening of gibs that no jig can help with. Your knives with vary on movement PER gib (example: my 15” planer has 5 gibs so I have to check knife height at each gib). When you tighten any one gib, movement could be 0.005” to 0.040” plus or minus that ALSO could affect the next gib measurement.

There is a physical engineering science magic going on with setting knives, a balance must be found. You set one gib perfectly while second gib raises 0.015”. You whack a piece of wood on second gib so it lowers 0.015”, but now your first gib is out of whack by minus 0.008”. So now you correct the first gib, bypass the 2nd gib, work on third gib, then go back to the second gib.

It took me all day to set my 3 knives in my 6” cutterhead jointer. Took me 4-5 hours to set 4 knives in my 15” planer. And then it took me 30 minutes to set 4 knives in my 8” jointer. You actually DO get better with experience. Now, I use a very simple effective method. Roughly set knives, then use the 1/8” movement from a piece of wood over each gib, I m happy.

- Holbs

Sounds like you were in my shop last night….missing step 3…Jim Beam!
Man, that was my experience to a tee! I started around 1:00 pm finished around 7:00 pm, wished I had some booze at 7:01 pm.

-- Start with ten, end with ten.......

View Phil's profile

Phil

10 posts in 388 days


#12 posted 11-29-2015 06:33 PM

Do you think this would be the same setup on vintage craftsman jointer?

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#13 posted 11-29-2015 10:09 PM

I always shake my head about thousandths of an inch or being able to balance a nickel on a machine. Can’t remember where I found it (probably here) but I do recall the part about not using your brother’s feeler gauges to shim the tables. Those instructions always worked for me and I got to laugh at the same time. Does remind me that I have 3 sets that need sharpening and hesitate on buying the jig for my Tormek to do it myself. After I started to take shallow passes (hardly registers on my Delta’s scale) I find that knives last a long time. As a final thought, I wonder if the tightening order might be a factor. Would seem to make sense that on a clockwise screw you would start on the far left so as you tighten you drive the right side down.

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 985 days


#14 posted 11-29-2015 11:41 PM

Setting straight knives just plain sucks. If my bankroll holds up after the Christmas gifts are purchased then I plan to get a spiral head while they are on sale at Grizzly.

I always follow the same steps when I replace my jointer knives. This is for new knives, resharpened knives or simply checking and cleaning.

1. Remove the all 3 knives.
2. Lower the jack screws to their lowest point.
3. Clean out the head and the bars that hold the knives in.
4. Replace one knife at a time. I set both sides of the knife close to the outfeed and then tighten the screws at each end just enough to hold the knife in place but not tight enough to prevent it from moving. I then adjust that knife (by adjusting jack screws) so both sides are .001 above the outfeed table. When the knife is where I want it i then tighten the screws to secure the knife. Each screw is tightened a little at a time to prevent the knife from sliding around on me.
5. Repeat step 4 for the remaining knives. Checking and rechecking throughout the process.

I do not use any type of jig to hold the knife, just a dial indicator.. I my opinion the jigs add and unnecessary variable to the equation. I just don’t see their point.

This may seem like overkill but the jointer is the one tool that has to be calibrated correctly.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4247 posts in 1666 days


#15 posted 11-29-2015 11:48 PM

I do not use any type of jig to hold the knife, just a dial indicator.. I my opinion the jigs add and unnecessary variable to the equation. I just don’t see their point.

Same here… and I didn’t have any jack screws on any of my previous jointers, which would have made things a bit easier! Fortunately, my current machine (makita 2030) has about the easiest knifes to set on the planet (both jointer and planer). Lock the cutter head with the indexing pin, put the knives in, snug the bolts a bit, push down flush with the reference table surfaces using a hardwood block, finish tightening the bolts. Done in 30 seconds.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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