jointer technique

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Forum topic by Mainiac Matt posted 04-05-2012 02:52 PM 1963 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mainiac Matt

8088 posts in 2353 days

04-05-2012 02:52 PM

When I join a board (face or edge) and then lay it on a flat reference surface (such as my TS) I’m noticing that the first inch or so of the leading edge and the last inch or so of the trailing edge are standing up off the reference surface by ~ 1/32”.

This drove me nuts recently while gluing up a panel for a chest top. On the last two boards, I simply couldn’t get the ends to line up tight without applying clamp pressure.

I recently tuned up the jointer and the cutters are correctly aligned to the plane of the outfeed table and the infeed and outfeed table are parallel.

So I’m thinking that this may be a technique issue.

I typically apply firm (but not hard) downward pressure over the front of the board as it enters the cutters, and then try to maintain firm (but not hard) down ward pressure over the first couple three to four inches of the outfeed table as I feed the rest of the board.

I try to apply enough pressue to prevent chatter, but not so much that I flex the board.

Any recommendations or ideas are appreciated.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

7 replies so far

View ChrisF's profile


8 posts in 2299 days

#1 posted 04-05-2012 03:03 PM

It might be that “firm but not hard” is good but in the wrong place. Without going to my jointer to test this…...perhaps your hands are too close to the front and back ends of the board as it is engaging and then coming off the blades. I usually keep my hands away from the first and last 4-8 inches on a board, depending on the length as this becomes harder if the board is shorter than 12 inches. With safety ALWAYS being 1st, the further your hands are away from the leading and trailing ends, but not too far, might eliminate the loss. Again, be safe with it and keep the wood under control but the hand placement might be the key.

Okay, now Im going to the shop. I gotta know.

-- I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10530 posts in 3453 days

#2 posted 04-05-2012 03:21 PM

The same phenomena plagued me, too. I adjusted and readjusted and readjusted the cutters relative to the tables, all to no avail. Finally, I committed to crawling under the beast and loosening the adjustment bolts on the in feed. The out feed has no adjustment on mine. (Its a 40 year old, cast iron monster) After verifying the blade height relative to the out feed, I laid a 4’ straight edge across both tables, called the wife to hold the straight edge upright and tell me when my under the table ministrations had achieved perfect alignment, out feed to in feed. Viola, no more snipe!
As to technique, I apply no pressure on the leading edge until about 1/2 way through the cut then I apply light pressure on the out feed end, but only enough to help pull the piece through. I use a pusher with a small tab on the back to push the work. I try not to apply ANY downward pressure with the pusher.
Hope this helps. I’ve been there and understand your frustration.

-- 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 BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3377 days

#3 posted 04-05-2012 03:50 PM

I believe this (highly exaggerated) could be what is causing your problem.

When you first start cutting the board it’s cutting flat, once it hits the outfeed table it starts riding up taking less of a cut but still cutting flat and straight just on an angle which you won’t see as an angle. Then when the board is off the infeed table it drops down for the last little bit and you see the snipe. On both ends. If this is what is happening I would expect to see the snipe more pronounced at the end of the board verses the begginning of the board, more being a relative term. May only be a few thousands but ~0.005” you can see and feel. At least I can.

How long is the snipe? In this scenario I wouldn’t expect it to be too long at least not at the end of the board.

Could also be that your tables aren’t flat and may have a high spot along their length.

You need a good ground straight edge to check out and align the tables well, in the 2 or 3 foot range.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8088 posts in 2353 days

#4 posted 04-05-2012 04:05 PM

For edge jointing… I use my hands on boards ~4” and wider… I keep my thumb on top of the board and use my extended index finger and knuckle on my curled middle finger to keep pressure on the fence. I ride the board untill my hand is beyond cutters by ~3” and then keep my hand stationary and slide the board through my hand.

For face jointing…. I almost always use a pair of plastic paddles and again, I ride the board till the paddle is past the cutter, then as my right hand comes up behind, I pull up my left hand and reposition…. kind of like hand over hand, but peddling backwards. I don’t apply downward pressure untill the paddle is over the outfeed table.

This is an really old Craftsman/Walker-Turner and is in very good shape. Both tables adjust with handwheels and the gib locks are on the back side. I set the Gibs pretty tight so the tables don’t sag and always tighten the gib lock after adjusting the table. I usually have my depth of cut set at either 1/32” or 1/16”. When I last tuned her up about 3 months ago, I borrowed a 36” Starret rule and the outfeed was inbetween one and two sheets of paper within parallel.

It seems like a catch 22 in some ways…. especially when face jointing…. you want the board flat on the outfeed table as your reference surface, but you don’t want to flex the board out of it’s “no stress” shape.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8088 posts in 2353 days

#5 posted 04-05-2012 04:09 PM

I’ve never used the term snipe for anything else but planers…. but it is kind of like that in that it’s on the lead and tail edges.

I’d say the “snipe” is over the first and last 1” to 1.5”

Fortunatley, the clamps and glue easilly sucked it up and I’ll be trimming ~3/4” off each end on my newly minted cross cut sled b4 cutting in a long tennon for the bread boards.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2982 days

#6 posted 04-05-2012 09:10 PM

Problems like that irratate the snot outy of me. I’m too dang lazy to do all that looking around, I make my boards too long, joint them, then cut the ends off to get the right length.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3343 days

#7 posted 04-06-2012 01:34 AM

My problems jointing were the same as yours, but when I started using push pads/blocks to move the wood my problems went away.

Funny though, not I can also successfully join without the push pads, so maybe it’s like getting to Carnegie Hall…


-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

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