Trouble with jointing

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Forum topic by jaydub posted 01-05-2011 02:36 AM 1253 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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63 posts in 3137 days

01-05-2011 02:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer joining

I got the Ridgid 6” jointer a few weeks back. I’ve spent a bunch of time surfacing a load of reclaimed studs from a demo I worked on last summer, and things seemed to work great. With an outfeed roller I was able to run 10’ boards without any trouble. Edges are great, and even faces are nice.

Today I picked up some nice 3” square cherry for a set of table legs. Pretty straight from the yard, but not perfect, so I figured I’d clean them up. Why not? I have the right tool for the job!

Unfortunately, I seem to be putting a significant bow into these fairly short (3’) pieces. I figured running short pieces would be easy if long pieces went off without a hitch. I’m doing my best to keep pressure on the outfeed side once it starts cutting, but it seems like the bow gets worse with each pass. I was smart enough to stop before I invested a bunch of $ in cherry sawdust – but am anxious to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Any suggestions? I know this is “jointer 101” but I need the help!

Thanks in advance.


-- happiness is a sharp plane iron

9 replies so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3033 days

#1 posted 01-05-2011 02:58 AM

Did you calibrate your jointer or use it straight out of the box?

Assuming your technique is correct, there are a number of things that can be slightly off with a jointer that can result in bows, snipe, tapers, etc.

The tables must be perfectly flat (if they’re not, not much YOU could do about it, but it would be Ridgid’s problem).

The infeed and outfeed tables must be perfectly coplanar (parallel).

The knives must be set to the exact height of the outfeed table.

Even if some of these things are off by a few thousandths of an inch, it can cause the kind of results you’re having. If you haven’t watched it already, I’d recommend the Wood Whisperer’s jointer setup video. If this information is more basic than you needed, I apologize!

Jointer setup is frustrating, but with a good step-by-step approach like presented in WW’s video, you can dial in the jointer perfectly.

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

View mfike's profile


100 posts in 3688 days

#2 posted 01-05-2011 02:59 AM

I use a dial indicator with mag base to set my outfeed table level to the knife at top dead center, which is basicly the highest point that the knife reaches. If you don’t have an indicator, you can use a good straight edge. That’s a good starting point. Once you get the outfeed level with the knives, make a few passes with some scrap wood and check your results. If you’re still getting a bow, make adjustments and try again. When you make adjustments, only move the outfeed as little as you can because .003” can be enough to make the difference.

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3033 days

#3 posted 01-05-2011 02:59 AM

Also, when you say “bow,” do you mean it is cutting deeper towards the beginning, middle, or end of your board?

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

View bob101's profile


321 posts in 3473 days

#4 posted 01-05-2011 03:21 AM

I had this problem only a month ago after sharpening my knives, it was frustrating to say the least. After ruling out poor technique, i adjusted my outfeed table and voila problem solved. As stated in the above post’s my outfeed adjustment was about a 16th of a turn of the outfeed adjustment, barely noticeable but solved the problem. First though pay attention not to rock back when running pieces threw the machine I sometimes find myself doing this , even after fifteen years of using a jointer.

-- rob, ont,canada

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#5 posted 01-05-2011 03:50 AM

It’s tricky to correct some problems in jointed wood by just running
them across the machine again. Assuming the machine is properly
adjusted, you still have to use your head to get straight wood with
it. There’s a lot of technique you’ll pick up with practice – but the most
important thing, imo, is to really observe the wood and use your squares
and straightedges to help you refine your eyeballing skills. Once you know
where the problems are on the particular face or edge you need to
straighten, then you should be thinking through the best way to correct
it on the jointer while removing less wood rather than more. Better 2 or
3 shallow cuts than one deep one.

View jaydub's profile


63 posts in 3137 days

#6 posted 01-05-2011 04:05 AM

Thanks for the advice, all. L4E, I’m cutting more off the leading edge than anywhere else. There are some bumps in the middle, too, so it looks like maybe I am rocking back during the cut – good tip, bob101 (and awesome looking pooch!).

I didn’t check the “co-planar-ness” so there’s a project coming up soon. That Wood Whisperer video is awesome – another great tip, L4E.

Thanks again. I’ll keep you posted!


-- happiness is a sharp plane iron

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3073 days

#7 posted 01-05-2011 06:02 AM


All the advice is good, but I believe Lorren is closer to the truth and you seem to be thinking the same way. If you could cut 10’ boards ok earlier, unless you dropped your jointer, nothing much has changed except your technique. Get some scrap stock about the size of your cherry, and practice on it, and REALLY look at the wood, think about it and REALLY watch what you’re doing. The moves in jointing long vs short stock are subtly different, aand you will develop a feel for it. Just like sharpening, planing, bandsawing or scrollsawing; each task has little tricks you have to learn. Before you start messing around with what may be a perfectly good machine, try to work out the bugs in your technique—then look at the jointer.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View jaydub's profile


63 posts in 3137 days

#8 posted 01-06-2011 04:05 AM

Lots of great advice here, gents. What I like about it is that while there are great set up and technique points, a lot of them are also about practice and feel. I get a good feeling when I remember that.

Got back at it today, and things came out much better. Ran some scrap birch to just about dead flat, and even ran the cherry legs through again on some nice light passes. Not perfect yet, but I’m ok with that – gives me something to keep striving for.

Thanks a bunch.


-- happiness is a sharp plane iron

View jcwalleye's profile


306 posts in 3095 days

#9 posted 01-06-2011 05:57 AM

I got the same jointer a little over a year ago and spent a little time setting it up. It cut as expected for a while. Then I started noticing problems jointing the faces of boards and even edges when the fence was set at the widest. Spent a couple hours readjusting the blade height and now the jointer is cutting square again.

The blades from the factory may be so sharp that they wear down quickly when new, particularly if the work is concentrated to one part of the blade. And I could be completely wrong about that. Since re-adjusting though, I use different parts of the blade and the jointer has stayed in alingment.

Another thing, those jointer knife alingment tools wern’t working for me at all. Ended up using a straight edge, propped on edge with one those spring clips used in offices.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

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