Is this rookie surfacing mistake fixable?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by fractalbus posted 12-03-2016 01:32 AM 850 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View fractalbus's profile


8 posts in 1968 days

12-03-2016 01:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jointing jointer planing planer out of square square up milling

Thanks for clicking on my question. I made a real rookie mistake and I’m wondering if it’s fixable:

I laminated three layers of correctly milled S4S lumber to create thick corner posts for my project. My lamination job got a little out of whack, so the result needed to be squared up after it dried. But stupidly, I ran the posts only through the planer (all four sides) without first jointing two of the sides. So of course, now my posts are even more out of square. The ends look like parallelograms! Is this fixable, or did I just make myself some expensive firewood?

Thanks in advance!

10 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)


19088 posts in 2005 days

#1 posted 12-03-2016 01:42 AM

You can make them square again with the jointer and planer, but they will lose thickness. Can you afford to lose thickness?

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View canadianchips's profile


2608 posts in 3145 days

#2 posted 12-03-2016 01:59 AM

Pictures please ?
Everything IS fixable …....
How big are these corner posts ?
You might only have to joint one side, make it 90 degrees to exsisting side. Possibly end up with rectangle shaped corner post ?

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View fractalbus's profile


8 posts in 1968 days

#3 posted 12-03-2016 02:13 AM

Thanks for your replies!
Yes, I can afford to lose a little thickness.
I guess I’m confused about the mechanics of jointing one side safely under these circumstances… I would just need to hold the post tightly to the back fence and not worry about the fact that, at first, only a small strip of the bottom side would be caught by the jointer blades, correct? That just makes me nervous because I’m worried about not having good control of the workpiece in those circumstances. I don’t have a ton of jointing experience.

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1068 days

#4 posted 12-03-2016 02:32 AM


You could follow firefighterontheside’s advice at the jointer or you could use the bandsaw or table saw to square up the angled faces. These methods would reduce the size of the leg.

If you do not have the material to spare and therefore would rather not use the jointer or bandsaw to square up the leg faces, then a method to consider is gluing wide stock to each out-of-square face, covering the glue lines. If the out-of-square angle is large, the wide stock glued to the legs could be ripped in the shape of a wedge, otherwise the wide stock could be left square. Once the wide stock is glued to the glue-line faces, the leg can be jointed square and then planed to the required dimension.

View fractalbus's profile


8 posts in 1968 days

#5 posted 12-03-2016 02:44 AM

JBrow – The band saw! Of course! I knew there had to be a simple solution I just wasn’t thinking of. That feels safer to me than heading back to the jointer. That’s going to be my solution.

And thanks for the idea of gluing wide stock to the legs. I think I have enough to spare on the current legs that it won’t be necessary, but now I have that solution in my back pocket as well.

Thanks so much, everyone! I appreciate how supportive this community is of beginners like me!

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1068 days

#6 posted 12-03-2016 02:49 AM


Sorry for this second post, but I did not see your follow-up post until after I replied.

You are correct. One face is held against the jointer fence after the jointer fence is made square to the jointer bed. During the first few cuts, only a little material will be removed. As the leg continues to be jointed, more and more material is removed until the face of the leg against the fence is square to the face that rides on the jointer bed. In my opinion multiple lighter cuts make it easier to move the work piece across the jointer and helping one to maintain control of the work piece.

One suggestion should you choose the jointer is to try a few practice runs with the jointer turned off. This can be done by raising the infeed table until it is even with the outfeed table. The leg can now be run over the jointer while the jointer is turned off and you can judge whether you can perform this technique safely. It is probably worth considering using push pads to hold the leg against the fence and to push the leg across the jointer bed. The push pads will give you a greater margin of safety.

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)


19088 posts in 2005 days

#7 posted 12-03-2016 03:13 AM

Yes, just as JBrow described and you figured, your first pass over the jointer will remove just a splinter. As long as the fence is square to the table you’ll make a square corner. Once you have this corner, go back to the planer and place these two sides on the planer bed to make all four sides square. Mark these sides so you don’t go back to square one. With some push blocks, it’s not difficult and it’s good practice. What kind of jointer do you have?

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View splintergroup's profile


2313 posts in 1371 days

#8 posted 12-03-2016 02:56 PM

Since you seem to have flat faces (and are a little intimidated with the jointer), I’d give it a pass on the table saw.

Keep one face flat on the table, and the other face riding against the fence. The “high” point on the side against the fence should be up. You don’t want the corner slipping under the fence.

This will square up two adjacent sides. You can then square up the leg with more passes through the planer or rotate the piece 90 degrees and make another cut on the TS (repeat again for the last side).

View Dave's profile


154 posts in 3345 days

#9 posted 12-03-2016 03:13 PM

Once you square it up (getting close with the bandsaw or table saw and tweaking with the jointer and planer) you can always add another laminated layer to thicken up the “clean” faces (the ones without glue seams). But, be careful to think about wood movement if you glue a wide piece onto the faces with the glue seams to thicken them up. Those glue-ups may fail over time.

-- "I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright

View corelz125's profile


542 posts in 1125 days

#10 posted 12-03-2016 04:35 PM

Do you have a no 7 or no 8 hand plane ?

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