Tips & tricks on how to properly use jointer please

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Forum topic by Alexandre posted 06-06-2010 03:31 PM 5891 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 3186 days

06-06-2010 03:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: milling joining cedar mahogany

I am new in the trade and I was looking for tips on how to properly use a jointer. How do you pick the first face to joint. Do you pick the face with the bow going upward or downward? And why would one choice be better than the other? It sounds basic but I don’t want to screw up!!

Thanks in advande

-- Alexandre, Montréal, Québec

13 replies so far

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 3996 days

#1 posted 06-06-2010 03:46 PM

A complete discussion of jointer use is a pretty broad subject to cover. I’ll suggest that you obtain a copy of “Woodworking Wisdom”, in which types of jointers and jointer use is well covered by author Nick Engler. This book is out of print, but can easily be found on internet book sources at very reasonable cost.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3539 days

#2 posted 06-06-2010 04:01 PM

to address the one point you bring out…i always pick the side that is the flattest..join it until you have a totally flat surface, then of coarse use the table saw to get your board flat on the other side..if its a wide board that will be used for more then one project…you will just cut off enough of the other side so its all flat…and of coarse as suggested a good book to get you learned on the joiner is always good…i never read a book..i learned a few basics and then put 14 years of use into it so far…nothing like experience to be a teacher…good luck…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View tedpower's profile


37 posts in 3147 days

#3 posted 06-06-2010 04:24 PM

At school we learned to joint the most bowed side first, enough to get it flat (even if it has some rough surface its ok as long as the majority is flat it will run smoothly on the planer bed) and then move on to the planer, cleaning the opposite face then flipping it to do the side you jointed initially.
gotta watch grain direction too. you want to feed the board so you push down the grain not tear it out. looking on the side of the board the grain should slope downward from the start end of your board toward the back.
it`s like petting a dog its smooth one way rough the other. if you go the wrong way you`ll end up with tear out.

though i`m still new to woodworking and still at school so i`m sure these guys with more knowledge will have some better advice! (or at least explain that better)

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11138 posts in 3664 days

#4 posted 06-06-2010 04:35 PM

To answer your question about the bow:
Depending on the amount of bow, if it’s fairly well bowed, place the board on the bed so that the cutter is at the center of the bow. Taking light cuts, run the trailing end across the cutter, then reverse and joint the other end. Continue this until you get a surface that will remain flat as it goes through the planer.
For slight bows, just run them across the cutters as normal, switching ends for each pass.
There are various methods to using the planer for Jointing faces. Here’s the one I use.
Planer sled

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3190 days

#5 posted 06-06-2010 04:54 PM

Joint the board with the concave side down on the jointer bed. If you think about the purpose of the jointer, and the geometry of the board, this becomes common sense … the purpose of the jointer is to create a perfectly flat face on your board, if you place a board with the convex side down, it will rock when you push it through; on the other hand, with the concave side down, the board has two stable points to rest on.

Twist in a board is a little harder to deal with. You have to run the board through on basically three points so rocking can be a bit more of a problem, but you’ll find that with a couple of passes, it becomes easier.

Pay attention to grain direction. You don’t want lots of tearout.

Pay attention to the way you put pressure on the board. Down on the infeed side to start, balanced in the middle, and down on the outfeed side at the end. But, not too much downward pressure, you don’t want to push the top of a bow down onto the table because you’ll just end up with a thinner board with a bow in it.

I seem to recall seeing a good article or two online. A google search or some digging through one of the magazine sights might get you a good technique article that is more cohesive and better written than what you will find here. (No offense meant guys.)

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4057 days

#6 posted 06-06-2010 11:31 PM

Alexandre, you also might want to take a look at the videos that Keith Cruickshank has produced on this. He has posted two videos, which encompass the 8 steps to milling rough lumber. The first one discusses how to use a jointer to process rough lumber.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4001 days

#7 posted 06-07-2010 12:04 AM

I am not an expert on using a jointer but my method works good for me.
For face jointing:
I usually place the board on the jointer with the bow up in the middle. Most of the time, the ends of the board will make contact but spots in between won’t. Before I start, I draw lines on the surface to be jointed (when the lines are gone, you can check it with a straight edge). I then lay the board on a flat surface (my table saw if possible). I use a finger to put pressure on the board down both sides. Where I push down and the board doesn’t move, I make a mark (usually an X). I then run the board through the jointer placing the most pressure on where these marks are. Stop and check every few passes because it is likely that these pressure points will change. When they do, I use an O so I don’t get confused. You’ll be able to tell by the sound that the jointer blades are making that you’re getting contact all the way down the board. That’s when you use the flat edge to make sure the board is flat and all the lines (drawn to begin with) are gone….. Then it’s on to the planer.

When I use uniform pressure on a board, I usually end up with a wedge. The board will be thin on one end and thick on the other.

I hope this helps. Sounds kinda hard to do, but after you do it a few times, it’s easy. I was really confused about face jointing boards when I first got my jointer. Then a LJ member (can’t remember his handle) kinda pointed me in the right direction. He was rude as hell, but I really owe him a beer for setting me straight.

View handi's profile


159 posts in 4675 days

#8 posted 06-07-2010 03:39 AM

If I may suggest, I have three videos on my website showing what I consider to be the proper jointer technique. They are free to view.

Skill Building

-- Watch Woodcademy free on Amazon Prime!

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 4051 days

#9 posted 06-07-2010 05:08 AM

I have never jointed a board that had the grain run true for the length of the board. If you put the board through based on the grain direction I guarantee you’ll cut someplace on the board where it switches…rendering that a moot point. If your blades are properly sharp you shouldn’t have much problem unless you’re doing something really burly…in which case it’s still a moot point.

All that marking business…hhmm..To me it’s alot simpler to hold the board up to the light [and look at the glare on the jointed surface] after a pass. You can see where the jointer is cutting. Run the board through, look at it, get it done.

Bow up for sure. Bias your down pressure to the outfeed table as long as you hear it cutting. If it stops cutting, the board is high so don’t push down….you’ll just bend the board and falsely face the board but not flatten….continue to push forward.

I never flatten the whole thing. When you hold it up to the light, estimate if it will sit well in the planer under drive pressure….whether the board has enough spots to stay supported.

Main point is bow up gives you two places of support, bow down can allow it to rock. Just don’t press the bend out of it when feeding.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4009 days

#10 posted 06-07-2010 05:24 AM

Go to – Tips & Tricks – General Shop Tips – Squaring Stock

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3548 days

#11 posted 06-07-2010 12:58 PM

I am new to learning the jointer as well and it seems like it’s going to be a learn through experience touch/feel process on face and edge jointing.

So far I have found it best to take multiple light passes on both face and edge, so I can see what is going on with the board. Kinda neat to watch it gradually flatten until you can hear the blades cutting the entire board.

I don’t have perfect fit yet on my jointed boards but its getting there and it light years ahead of anything I have ever achieved fit wise from dimensional lumber from big box stores.

I watched some online videos that newwoodworker and Charles Neil had posted before I started using the machine.

View Cher's profile


962 posts in 3329 days

#12 posted 06-07-2010 01:42 PM

Try David’s blog, it is very helpful.

-- When you know better you do better.

View Alexandre  's profile


4 posts in 3186 days

#13 posted 06-08-2010 03:56 AM

Thank’s to every one, it realy helped!!!

-- Alexandre, Montréal, Québec

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