how to edge joint 18" wide board - please help

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Forum topic by Ben posted 08-18-2010 11:08 PM 2217 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ben's profile


376 posts in 2884 days

08-18-2010 11:08 PM

i have a 5/4 X 18” wide by about 4’ long piece of sapele.
i’ve been unsuccessful trying to edge joint it on my shortbed 6” jointer.
it wobbles off the fence, and i can’t seem to keep even downward pressure on it. holding it up next to a narrow jointed board produces a horrible joint with daylight through it.

i’ve tried using a straightedge and a router also, and that was a bit better but still not a gluable joint.

this is extremely frustrating at this point. makes me want to never again bother with furniture.

any ideas please? do i need to take this to someone who can drum sand it/joint it for me?

FYI board will be part of a table top.

the lumber yard planed it for me, but it’s not flat, and a pretty rough plane.

thanks a lot.

6 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3011 days

#1 posted 08-18-2010 11:31 PM

I assume by short bed jointer you are referring to a bench top jointer. Have you tried using a jointer plane to edge joint this piece? It sounds like by the time you get this board S4S you will end up with a board that will be more like 4/4.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 2932 days

#2 posted 08-18-2010 11:48 PM

My first suggestion is a router with a jointing or multi-edge flush trimmer bit – I’ve done hundreds of joints like this. You said you tried that with a straight edge and didn’t get a usable surface. Sounds like your straight edge/guide setup wasn’t good enough. You can purchase a professional router jointing guide, but making one isn’t difficult at all.

Heres a basic setup: using a piloted flushing trimming bit. this works for a lot of folks, but I don’t like it for large/long pieces.

I prefer to use an unpiloted jointing bit (like a flush trimmer, but longer and with three cutters, as opposed to the typical single cutter flush trimmer bit) and a shelf/rail type edge guide mounted on top of the piece to be jointed- i.e. the guide is a long flat board (I use 1/4 or 1/2” hardboard) with a straight edge attached to the top that the router base rides against. The straight edge is usually another piece of hardboard attached to the base with CA glue. Similar in design to the Festool router/saw guide (and truthfully, nowadays that’s exactly what I use, the Festool router and guiderail).

Whichever method you use, joint in small increments, literally shaving down the edge.

Alternatively, you might try a jointer handplane. Nowadays you can get a decent one fairly cheap on ebay or craigslist and then sharpen, tune, and true it (which is fun project and a great skill all in itself). With large and expensive boards, I almost always choose the handplane over power jointing. It does take practice though.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3037 days

#3 posted 08-18-2010 11:51 PM

Like Jorge said, you could joint on the router table if you have one.

Or take the time to build a straight-line jig for your TS. Or buy one – they’re not that expensive.

One of those two methods should take care of your edge jointing. As far as face jointing/planing…if you can easily take it to someone who can do it for you, that’s one option. Another option is to rip the board to two 9” halves…face joint and plane with a thickness planer. If your jointer can’t handle 9”, you can build a sled for your planer.

Good luck – sounds like a spectacular board!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Ben's profile


376 posts in 2884 days

#4 posted 08-19-2010 02:07 AM

thanks a lot guys.
in that one picture, the piece to be jointed is above the guide, with the bearing below running along the guide. that’s an interesting idea.
i had the router base sliding along a jointed board. i wonder if i was pressing against the guide too hard and caused it to flex inward.

but i’m not sure why routing along a jointed board (assuming it’s well clamped) shouldn’t produce a perfectly straight edge.

i’ll keep tinkering.

thanks again for all the suggestions.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3764 days

#5 posted 08-19-2010 02:58 AM

The board should be perfectly flat before trying to edge joint it. What reference will you use to get it straight?

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3789 days

#6 posted 08-19-2010 03:10 AM

John is correct. It is very difficult to joint and edge on a board that is not flat. I also recommend a #7 hand plane. It can flatten your board and then joint your edge.

I often take my boards from the jointer to the workbench, where I clamp them and then, with a #5 plane set to take off very thin curls, I remove a few thousandths in the center of the joint in order to give my boards a little “spring” in the middle, making the ends nice and tight. I only have a 4” jointer with 28” of infeed and outfeed, yet, I’ve jointed and glued boards 100” long.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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