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Is it okay to break the 12" stock rule on a jointer for taller stock?

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Forum topic by Spindlecraft posted 11-10-2017 02:23 AM 340 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Spindlecraft

2 posts in 31 days


11-10-2017 02:23 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer belt sander truing up perfect edges pine acrylic polycarbonate shaping modern

So, I’ve been making (or attempting to at least) these LED desk lamps.

They’re fairly simple to make. I simply cut down my stock to about 6” x 6”, and also the sheets of acrylic to match. I drill a 2” hole through each of the middle pieces, and then a partial hole on the top & bottom pieces, and I fit a 7/8” dowel between them to hold the bottom piece to the rest of the unit.

Once all of the pieces are cut to size, and the holes are drilled, I glue 4 slabs together. This is where I start running into problems.

In gluing, all 4 sides are not always perfectly flush. There are tiny little imperfections / ridges on all sides, which is okay. In the example shown here, I simply ran each side along my belt sander until all layers were flush.

The problem however is the subsequent ones I’ve tried to make. Every time I run them through my belt sander, I end up with bowed/skewed/crooked sides. I don’t know if I am just applying uneven pressure, or if there’s something wrong with my belt sander, but the edges are not even at all.

So – I thought maybe a jointer would be a good solution to get those sides perfectly flush. So I bought a used jointer on craigslist… and in reading through the manual, it said not to run stock that is less than 12” long through it. Now – I don’t know if that is specifically for thinner boards, but being that I have the lamp turned on its side, my fingers are sitting a good 6” above the blades. Is it still considered unsafe? And is there a better way to get the sides of my lamp flush?

Any advice/thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


4 replies so far

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sawdustdad

334 posts in 718 days


#1 posted 11-10-2017 02:40 AM

A short board is a major safety risk on a jointer. It can fall into the cutter, with potentially disastrous results and perhaps a major injury. DO NOT DO IT. Plus, a jointer will likely chip the plexiglass badly.

That is a neat light, I like it. I think the answer is to build a jig to support the assembly so you can sand the faces without changing the geometry.

What type of sander(s) do you have?

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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Spindlecraft

2 posts in 31 days


#2 posted 11-10-2017 02:48 AM

I have a cheap little Skil belt/disc sander combo that looks like this:

Would be curious to hear what a jig might look like to make that work.

I feel silly now for buying a jointer, when this was literally the only thing I needed it for…


A short board is a major safety risk on a jointer. It can fall into the cutter, with potentially disastrous results and perhaps a major injury. DO NOT DO IT. Plus, a jointer will likely chip the plexiglass badly.

That is a neat light, I like it. I think the answer is to build a jig to support the assembly so you can sand the faces without changing the geometry.

What type of sander(s) do you have?

- sawdustdad


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sawdustdad

334 posts in 718 days


#3 posted 11-10-2017 02:59 AM

you might build your assemblies in a long format, say 38 inches long by 6 inches wide, that you then cut into 6 individual lights. That way, you could potentially joint the two long faces, then cut the sections apart on a miter saw so that the “cubes” have flat, square faces, minimizing sanding which could be done with a hand held random orbital sander.

Not sure exactly which plastic you are using and how it will machine on a jointer, so you’d have to try it to see. Some plastics are more brittle than others.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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sawdustdad

334 posts in 718 days


#4 posted 11-10-2017 03:05 AM

Rethinking the miter saw suggestions—unless you have a large saw, you won’t be able to cut what amounts to a 6×6.

You’d likely need to use a band saw to cut something that size.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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