Jointer resource?

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Forum topic by marcb posted 01-19-2009 07:21 PM 1430 views 2 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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768 posts in 3846 days

01-19-2009 07:21 PM

I am just about ready to fire up my Jointer for the first time.

I have never used one of these machines myself. I’ve had a friend run a few parts for me in the past (I soley hand jointed for a long time, but larger parts take a lot out of me).

I have read all the horror stories and some suggestions, but I was wondering if there was a definitive resource on using a Jointer safely.

17 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3994 days

#1 posted 01-19-2009 09:40 PM

Here are a couple of videos on using jointers. Ehow,com

and Marc Spagnolo's The Jointer is Jumpin' Video

Hope this helps. The jointer is a tool that you should never lose respect for as it is one of the most dangerous tools that we choose to work with.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View RichardB's profile


70 posts in 3661 days

#2 posted 01-20-2009 06:24 AM

Push blocks! And keep your hands away. Bloodstains are really hard to get out of unfinished wood. Remember it’s not all that different from the woodchipper that the treetrimmer uses. But also remember that millions of high-school kids have used jointers successfully for decades, too.

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3614 days

#3 posted 01-21-2009 04:10 AM

Im usually a bit hesitant to give advice on tool usage as there is always more than one way to skin a cat, but the jointer can be a career ending machine if not used correctly. I was trained by an old guy who who began his career before WW2 so I have no reason to doubt what he said. He still had his fingers.
Heres a few things I learnt over the last 15 years, and I still have all my fingers.
Dont wear loose clothing, long sleeves or jewelry. Keep your shirt tucked in. Thats basic but I have to remind people about it all the time.
Watch where your fingers are. its easy to let them drape over the edge of a board especially the small one, try to keep them facing forward not down.
Keep your machines fence and tables adjusted correctly and your knives SHARP!
I prefer those spring loaded “donkeys head” style gaurds but whatever yours has USE IT AT ALL TIMES NO EXCEPTIONS!
Keep your stock moving over your knives at a slow steady rate. DONT STOP AND START.
Dont plane small stock, use your handplane for those peices.
Usually common sense is your best guide. If you feel nervous about an operation then your instinct is probably correct and you should find another way.
This is the way I was taught, others may disagree.
Begin on the infeed side (obviously) until your stock is past the cutter head at least 12 inchs, then move your hands to the outfeed side, keeping your stock moving at all times, using a hand over hand motion. this prevents the far end of your stock from rising up and off the outfeed table and all hand pressure is directed FORWARD AND AWAY FROM THE KNIVES not towards them as it would be if you push from the infeed side.
If you hold two boards together on edge you should see the ends tight together with the smallest crack of light showing in the center.
With practice you should be able to glue up straight fron the jointer.
As I say this is the way I was taught others may do it different but this way has served me well during my career so good luck to you and just remember THINK FIRST.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3846 days

#4 posted 01-21-2009 06:53 AM

Thanks for all the pointers.

I have had zero accidents with power tools so far by sticking to 1 rule, fingers don’t go near the spiny part.

I have to finish the cart that it will be mounted too and wire in the switch, after that I’ll be jointing with the best of them.

View bob101's profile


321 posts in 3623 days

#5 posted 01-22-2009 04:12 AM

Always have respect for your power tools, but don’t be afraid of it. In my work as a paramedic most industrial and workshop accidents I see are from carelessness and just plain stupidity like pushing pieces threw to fast , poor tool maintenance, and not paying attention to what you are doing. second always be aware of your hand placement, and dont try to remove all your stock in one pass I personally make multiple shallow cuts, and trry to use push pads as much as possible. I also try to stick to one simple rule (actually 2 ) in my shop, when visitors show up to gab the tools are turned off, and no test pilots allowed to touch my tools, I dont want any blood on my stuff!

-- rob, ont,canada

View 8iowa's profile


1586 posts in 3934 days

#6 posted 01-23-2009 04:25 AM

Some woodworkers use a jointer extensively for milling rabbets and surfacing wide boards. To each his own, but I now use the jointer only for jointing edges in preparation for gluing. This keeps my hands far away from the cutters. I use a dado for rabbets, and a hand plane and winding sticks to remove twist and cup from a board before the trip thru the thickness planer.

Nick Engler described the jointer as a “meat grinder”, grabbing ahold of you and drawing your hand further in.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3938 days

#7 posted 02-09-2009 03:23 AM

So, how you doing with the jointer marcb?
- JJ

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3571 days

#8 posted 02-11-2009 09:55 PM

I have a bunch of jointer related stories around my site. The Basics story is at the link below. Take your time and get used to this machine, It is invaluable in the shop but can be a real pain in the hinder if you develop bad habits.

-- Tom Hintz,

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3938 days

#9 posted 02-11-2009 10:03 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks, Tom. You have a great web site. It is a gold mine of information and I’ve used it for a while.
- JJ

View PurpLev's profile


8541 posts in 3821 days

#10 posted 02-11-2009 10:30 PM

Tom – thanks for the link and the resource, great write up, and easy to follow!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3758 days

#11 posted 02-11-2009 11:22 PM

trry always to read as much about machinery which causes you to have any anxiety.When I bought my new sliding saw I didn not switch it on to use it for nearly two weeks .First I ran dry runs through it and fitted extra footcut off switches and safety stop switch and also remodeled the guard making my own new fence and overhead guard copying biesemeyer and I would advise with a planer jointer to do some dummy cold runs with the machine off for a while til you get ready to cut it is not desperately dangerous.And if you work out everything beforehand it should provide you with peace of mindAlistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3846 days

#12 posted 02-14-2009 04:01 PM


It’s going OK. Still getting the hang of how/where to put pressure, etc. I’ve gotten a little snipe on my practice runs, but for the most part the wood is nice and smooth.

Here is a picture of it with a piece of walnut I was practicing with.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3846 days

#13 posted 02-14-2009 04:02 PM

Last weekend while I was up visiting my parents my Dad gave me a book he found. It’s about How to use all the tools in your woodshop and was published by Craftsman in 1955. The fun part is that they of course used all of their current woodworking tools for the illustrations and examples, and the above unit falls right into that time line.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3731 days

#14 posted 02-14-2009 04:07 PM

I can add one thing to Kiwi’s remarks. Never wear gloves and keep the guards on. I can tell you from experience.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3614 days

#15 posted 02-17-2009 03:46 AM

Very good point about the gloves!

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

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