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At my wit's end with Jointer calibration

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Forum topic by mcg1990 posted 04-02-2015 08:07 PM 1568 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mcg1990

159 posts in 759 days


04-02-2015 08:07 PM

A while ago I posted regarding my set-up issues on a G0586 8” Jointer. At the time, though, I had no gauges with which to measure anything and was just jamming in shims left right and centre. I do now, and I’ve tried again, but I’m still failing.

I’ll write down my process. Please point out any errors if you see them:

1. Brought the infeed table level with the outfeed, and I used my dial indicator to get it spot on.
2. Checked for coplanar along entire depth of the tables using dial indicator. I found that the is a skew – the outfeed table – next to the fence, at the cutterhead – is approx. 0.005” low.
3. Loosen gibs, shim with soda can aluminum. It required two pieces, but now tables are level at the cutterhead.
4. Take straightedge (not an expensive one, I suppose I need to buy one) to check for coplanar along lengths of the bed. It showed the outfeed table was drooping at it’s furthest point. Shim with one piece of aluminum on each side. I test again with my feeler gauges and there are now no gaps.

At this point I considered it done, but I went back and checked everything over. It was all perfect until I retightened the gib screws at which point the outfeed table – at the cutterhead, near side (away from fence) – dropped down by 0.01”. I loosed, added two shims, retightened and it was fixed.

I know this sounds incredibly ridiculous, but at this point I have 2 shims on each side at the top of the dovetail ways, and 1 shim on each side at the bottom. Surely this would all just cancel out to 1 shim on each side at the top? Well, I don’t know how either, but the measurements said it was correct.

I now go about checking and adjust the blades. Zeroing dial indicator at the outfeed, finding the high dead centre, rotating cutterhead ‘til the indicator hits the top of the blade and setting to zero. I did this all around just fine. It was time consuming, but in the end I got them all to +/- 0.001” of the table, so +/- 0.002” to each other.

I re-tighten and re-check everything. All seems fine. Run some wood over it… I get a wedge. A big wedge. I. Do. Not. Understand.

At this point all I can point at is my straightedge. I could never dream though that even if it’s not quite as accurate as others out there, how is it creating such incredibly poor results? I refuse to believe that every woodworker who owns a Jointer also owns a $100 straightedge.

So, across two separate online stores I currently have in my baskets: Assorted brass shims, 36” Veritas Steel Straightedge, new jointer knives, jointer knife setting jig.

If any of you can shine a light on something and save me from throwing $200 at my Jointer please, please share your wisdom.

Thanks


24 replies so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 644 days


#1 posted 04-02-2015 08:32 PM

I have not had these problems with my (Delta) joiner.


at this point I have 2 shims on each side at the top of the dovetail ways, and 1 shim on each side at the bottom. Surely this would all just cancel out to 1 shim on each side at the top?

Although I can’t explain why you need both shims (set of 2 and set of 1) but this seems right based upon various calibration / adjustments I have done.

but in the end I got them [knives] all to +/- 0.001” of the table, so +/- 0.01” to each other.

If this is correct then here is your problem. If each knife is 0.001 wrt the table then they should be 0.001 wrt each other. Perhaps you meant +/- 0.001” to each other?

How long is the joiner? From the front of the infeed table to the back of the outfeed table? I don’t think a 36” straight edge is long enough. The longer the straightedge is the easier and more accurate the table alignment will be.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13522 posts in 1324 days


#2 posted 04-02-2015 08:37 PM

I used a cheap 4’ level with no feeler guages or any other measuring device. Got my infeed and outfeed coplanar which was really easy on mine. Set a little speed square on the outfeed so that it was standing up and just over the knives. Set each knife so that across the length as I turned the head manually it would slide the square forward a small amount, about 1/4”. Set each knife as such. Once all knives were set that way, I lowered the outfeed so that the knives would just kiss the square but not slide it forward. I have not touched the outfeed since. As long as the infeed stays coplanar when raised and lowered you’re golden. Now it’s down to technique. Always joint with the concave side down and don’t push down so hard as to straighten the curve. If you push it down too much you will make a nice smooth copy of the same curve. If it is very curved, do several passes of just the end and then turn it around and do the same at the other end. As you begin have even pressure on both ends. As you get about 1/3 of the board across the cutter place much more pressure on the outfeed side.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1667 posts in 2091 days


#3 posted 04-02-2015 08:39 PM

If you are coplanar and the knives are set to the out feed table height, that leaves technique. Jointing is done to make a flat board on one side and and edge square to that face. If you are asking it to do more than that you are asking too much.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View mcg1990's profile

mcg1990

159 posts in 759 days


#4 posted 04-02-2015 08:49 PM

Sorry WoodNSawdust – made a mistake. I meant to say 0.002” to each other.

I’ll keep working on my technique and see if I can get any better results. Thanks

View soob's profile

soob

223 posts in 676 days


#5 posted 04-02-2015 09:26 PM

I am confused about how you’re using a dial indicator to check whether the tables are coplanar. Shouldn’t you use your straight edge for that?

Also, if you’re getting a wedge, that’s not necessarily bad. Obviously it shouldn’t turn a flat board into a wedge, but if you make enough runs that could happen even if it’s set up right. The jointer makes surfaces flat. It doesn’t make the board an even thickness. That’s what the planer’s for.

View mcg1990's profile

mcg1990

159 posts in 759 days


#6 posted 04-02-2015 09:29 PM

Pass 1:

Pass 2:

Pass 4:

Pass 7:

I checked and rechecked everything. It’s all coplanar, knives are set one thousandth of an inch above the outfeed table. Again, the only thing I can think of is that maybe my straightedge isn’t precise enough to show a dip in the outfeed table if there is one.

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 985 days


#7 posted 04-02-2015 09:32 PM

I do have a high precision 36” straight edge that I use for jointer setup. Some will say they are not 100% necessary and that may be true but it worked well for me. Expensive, yes, but you will get a good result. I also use a dial indicator to set my knives. They are set about .001 or .002 above the outfeed table. Other than knife replacement I have only set the tables once. I check form time to time and they are still correct. I also do not move the infeed table.

You have a dial for setting knives which is more accurate than the jigs, save your money there.

Did you buy the jointer new or used? Are the knives new? My jointer will start cutting like that when the knives get dull.

View mcg1990's profile

mcg1990

159 posts in 759 days


#8 posted 04-02-2015 09:37 PM



I am confused about how you re using a dial indicator to check whether the tables are coplanar. Shouldn t you use your straight edge for that?

Also, if you re getting a wedge, that s not necessarily bad. Obviously it shouldn t turn a flat board into a wedge, but if you make enough runs that could happen even if it s set up right. The jointer makes surfaces flat. It doesn t make the board an even thickness. That s what the planer s for.

- soob

Re: Dial indicator. I had the magnetic base on the outfeed table with the indicator on the infeed – either sides of the cutterhead. It was though this that I found there were off alignment. Perhaps coplanar wasn’t as precise a word as I could have used.

Re: wedge. Yeah, I understand what you’re saying, but if I have a board that’s approximately flat and square, surely there’s no good reason for a wedge to be cut?

If the infeed is set to 1/16th, why would it not, as in the picture, just slice off 1/16th from the underside of the entire board?

I recently jointed (poorly, obv) and planed 7 2”x8”x8’ boards, and planing them took a horrific amount of time as I had to forever take cuts to get the thickest part of the board down to the thinnest. I was using pine, so whatever, but if I had a rough sawn board of Oak, for example, there’s no way I should have to waste that much material just to get a square board.

I know I’m doing something wrong here. I just don’t know what it is.

View mcg1990's profile

mcg1990

159 posts in 759 days


#9 posted 04-02-2015 09:39 PM



Did you buy the jointer new or used? Are the knives new? My jointer will start cutting like that when the knives get dull.

- joey502

Bought used, and the knives are not new. However they’re sharp to the touch.. at least, I wouldn’t run my fingers lengthways along them. I’m going to buy a second set anyway so I can always have a set when the others are getting sharpened. So I could start my problem solving at a new set of knives I suppose.

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 985 days


#10 posted 04-02-2015 09:44 PM

I have mine set to take right at 1/32 per pass. I can not say why or when I settled on that number but I get nice results from it.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13522 posts in 1324 days


#11 posted 04-02-2015 09:45 PM

It sounds to me like you are trying to joint the convex side.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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firefighterontheside

13522 posts in 1324 days


#12 posted 04-02-2015 09:47 PM

Face jointing is more tricky than edge jointing. It’s hard to do it without pushing down so hard that you flatten the piece against the table. Try edge jointing two boards and then put them edge to edge and see if you are getting straight edges.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View levan's profile

levan

472 posts in 2447 days


#13 posted 04-02-2015 09:49 PM

It appears like you are taking super light cuts. How much are you taking per cut?
Unless the board is perfectly flat to begin with, that’s pretty much what you can expect with light cuts.
From the picture, it appears that one more pass gets it. Try cutting 1/16” per pass.

best wishes
Lynn

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View soob's profile

soob

223 posts in 676 days


#14 posted 04-02-2015 09:50 PM

Re: the dial indicator, that sounds unnecessarily complicated and prone to error. Check the alignment by setting the straight edge across both tables and pressing down on the outfeed side so it registers off that. Check for flatness by trying to slide a feeler gauge (or a piece of paper) under the straight edge at various points.

As far as technique goes, I am no expert on it beyond what works for me, but make sure you’re pushing down gently, not too hard, and at the outfeed side only as soon as that’s possible.

View soob's profile

soob

223 posts in 676 days


#15 posted 04-02-2015 11:05 PM

Okay, as far as setting up the jointer. I did one recently and it worked out well, so maybe it will do it for you. The series I did it in was this:

1) Square outfeed table to cutterhead: Set outfeed table to level with cutterhead (not blade). Place the straight edge on the cutterhead and make sure the outfeed table is “coplanar” with it (that is, that when the straight edge is sitting on the cutterhead and the end of the table, the straight edge sits flat on the table for its whole length. Verify that this is true on both ends of the cutterhead.

2) Square the outfeed table and the infeed table: Raise the outfeed table so it’s above the cutterhead, now make it coplanar to the infeed table (that is, make it so when the straight edge is sitting on the cutterhead end of the outfeed table and the far end of the infeed table, it touches the entire way across). Obviously this works best with the longest straight edge you can find, but do it the way I suggested if yours isn’t long enough to go all the way on both tables. You want it to sit on the full length of the infeed table and as much of the outfeed as possible.

3) Move the outfeed table to the working height, and reinstall the knives so they’re level with the outfeed table on both ends of each knife.

4) Enjoy.

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