Jointing large boards

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Jon Spelbring posted 05-14-2010 03:33 PM 1395 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 4279 days

05-14-2010 03:33 PM

I’ve got several large, rough cut boards that I want to joint. A couple of them will make up the top to my new workbench. First, here’s the specs/machines:

The boards (5) are 8’ long, 11” wide, and 5” thick – white oak
The jointer is a MiniMax 12” jointer/planer combo.

I started on the first one yesterday. I set up infeed/outfeed tables using a pair of HRT 70 rollers from HTC (66” long). So, I’m able to support the piece at the level of the jointer bed. This, along with lots of wax on the jointer bed allowed me to flatten one face. Next, I tried to joint one edge. That’s where I’m having problems. The MiniMax has an aluminum fence – it’s always worked well in the past, but due to the size and weight of the piece, it’s pushing the fence out of square enough that I can’t seem to get the edge at 90 degrees to the flat face.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I do have hand planes (including a large jointer, but I’m not sure I’m up to hand jointing that much white oak – I will if I have to, but I thought maybe someone out there has a better idea?

-- To do is to be

10 replies so far

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3031 days

#1 posted 05-14-2010 04:05 PM

When you get those glued together you won’t be able to move it without a crane.

Are the faces straight and flat?

I think you just have to take it slow and try to make sure the first few inches of your cut are square and then keep the pressure on the outfeed table. Or rig up a taller, beefier fence to clamp to the table.

It’s going to be alot of work. I bet one of those “boards” weighs at least half as much as you do.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3986 days

#2 posted 05-14-2010 04:46 PM

Are ya gonna make a 5” thick top? Sounds like takin’ a nuke to kill a flea. Uf we knew your plan we might suggest a better solution.


View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 4279 days

#3 posted 05-14-2010 04:48 PM

The faces are straight and relatively flat – the boards have been air drying since 1994, and I’ve had them in my shop acclamating for about 6 weeks.

Heh – if I could get just one jointed to 90 degrees, I could clamp it down, and use IT as a fence!

Yes, they are very heavy. I can lift them up onto the conveyor rig, but it’s not easy!

-- To do is to be

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3674 days

#4 posted 05-14-2010 04:53 PM

use hand planes to get the first of the boards jointed, then use that as your fence – clamp it hard to the jointer table, and off you go.

Good luck – workbenches is a chore, but rewarding work. thing is, everything is huge. huge boards, huge tenons, huge mortises. definitely makes you appreciate smaller parts later on

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3312 days

#5 posted 05-14-2010 04:57 PM

Just a thought—-Can you make an auxillary fence to clamp to the bed of your jointer. I’m thinking of a bandsaw fence I built a while back. If it is a perfect 90, and clamped securely—maybe with c-clamps, it should stay ridged.

Another alternative would be to make a straight edge from something more narrow—something you could handle on your jointer, and use a flush trim router bit to joint the edge. If this isn’t clear, let me know and I’ll explain it further

Good luck


View skeeter's profile


233 posts in 3367 days

#6 posted 05-14-2010 05:08 PM

Yeah i would do it with a router and a fence. Take material of one side with a big spiral bit and then flip the board and use a bottom bearing flush cutter and ride the surface you already made. Then take a few light, full length passes with your jointer plane.

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 4279 days

#7 posted 05-14-2010 05:10 PM

Bill – no, not quite 5” – closer to 4”. I will likely resaw 1” off to use in some other project. As to the plan, it will be a Roubo-ish. I haven’t decided whether to glue 2 of these together, or go with a split top. I’m looking have the width 22-24”, by 7’ long. It’ll be a beast, but I don’t think it will move around much :-)

PurpLev – Yeah, that’s kind of what I’m thinking now. Tough to get the piece at a decent working height to hand plane (jointer +5” is way too high). Fortunately, once I have the “fence” set up, the rest should be easier. I’ll be able to use the planer mode to get the other sides flat and parallel – again, using the conveyor rollers.

There are a few cracks and checks here and there, but nothing that goes through. I may follow The Schwarz’s example and epoxy them. Gives the bench character, right?

I’ll take some pics of the setup and process for a blog entry over the weekend (after taking my Doans!).

Thanks for the suggestions!

-- To do is to be

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3100 days

#8 posted 05-14-2010 05:22 PM

Have you considered using your band saw to make the edges square initially? You would still need to pass them through the jointer but if you have a square edge due to the band saw, then it should be easier to keep the face against the fence.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 4279 days

#9 posted 05-14-2010 05:32 PM


I though about it – I have one edge flat already, just not at 90 degrees. It’s not off by a lot, but enough to be a problem. I’ll likely just buckle down with my jointer plane and get’re done. Then I’ll use it as a (better) fench for the other boards.

-- To do is to be

View a1Jim's profile


117119 posts in 3603 days

#10 posted 05-14-2010 05:39 PM

Hey Jon
Before I ever owned a jointer I used my router table to joint wood and even my table saw . Using my table saw I just riped one side and then the other and take another light cut 1/16 or so. I’ve made bed post this way with no deductible gap in them.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics