View Full Version : Proper operation of my jointer.

Dewayne Reding
07-09-2007, 7:52 PM
I have the Orion built Craftsman Pro 6" jointer. Looks about like any other common 6" jointer. I've never used a jointer, and the directions are pretty weak concerning actual operation. I believe I am adjusted correctly now. (outfeed table level with cutter blade). I really don't know how to feed the board, and I am getting a little inconsistency in the cut, to include a bit of snipe at the end of board. OK edge overall, but not good enough for a glue up. Enough of the cut is good to make me think it is me, and not the jointer that is screwing up. Say I am feeding a 1x6 24 inches long for the sake of discussion. Apply pressure to board against the infeed or outfeed table? And how big of a cut should I take. Any other tips? Thanks

Ron Jones near Indy
07-09-2007, 8:23 PM
Check with your library. They should have a woodworking text that will have a chapter devoted to each machine. The pictures and reading material should give you a basic starting point on this and most all other stationary and hand power tools as well as the neander tools.:) If the library doesn't have one ask if they can get one from interlibrary loan. After you see it, you might want to buy one for future reference. I know you are wanting a one or two line answer so that you can start working, but this is a better option. Safety is heavily emphasized!

Robert Miller
07-09-2007, 9:19 PM
I use my jointer quite frequently , so I'll see if I can answer your questions.

First we have to make sure that the jointer is set up properly.


You want to set the outfeed table first. I use a speed square to do this, but you could also use a known flat board. Set the speed square on the outfeed table with the sqaure slighlty over the knives. Rotate the machine by hand ( it's unplugged right?) Adjust the outfeed table until when you rotate the knives it drags the square forward very slighlty toward the in feed table. It should barely scrape the square bottom, This way you will know for sure that the table is even with the knives and will insure that you eliminate the end snipe caused by a too high/low outfeed table.
Lock the outfeed and leave it alone until you change the knives again.
The infeed table is what you are going to use to set depth of cut. I cut no more than 1/16 at a time for a smooth cut. Do not try to hog out 1/4 inch at a time.
Next set a machinest square or combination square to set the fence at 90 degrees to the tables.
You are now ready to make a test cut. Verify that the knives are not touching either table by rotating the machine by hand all the way around the knives.
Plug in the machine.
If you do not have push blocks , make them or buy them now. Do NOT use your hands on top of the board to push the board through the jointer. If it grabs the board, it will pull your hands over the jointer faster than your brain will register that it just shaved off your palms.:eek:
Make sure your blade guard is working properly. A great push tool is a foam concrete float you can get from the box stores. They cost 5 bucks and have a handle on them. The foam/rubber bottom will grip the board and give you a better cut keeping your hands well away from the cutters.
Put pressure on the front of the board with the float and feed it slowly into the cutter. It's kind of a fluid motion. As you feed more onto the outfeed table maintain pressure evenly over the outfeed table.
If you have adjusted this properly, you should have a perfect cut.
Draw lines across the board with chauk or pencil and it will show you if your knives are evenly and where the low spots are if you have any twist in the board.
The jointer is a great tool, but a powerful one.So concentrate and do not wear loose clothes etc.
Do not joint any board shorter than 12 inches.
Hope this helps.

Jim Heagney
07-09-2007, 9:42 PM
You have received very good advice from Robert Miller especially regarding the safety aspect. You must use push blocks. Be safe.

Regarding the operation, I would like to add the following.
Take light cuts (1/64" - 1/32") while learning how to use the machine.
Do not apply so much downward force that you bend a bowed board straight. If you do you will not remove the bow.

Getting good results from a jointer takes some practice.

Take your time, work safely.

Dewayne Reding
07-09-2007, 9:50 PM
Thanks to you both. I have a great deal of respect for all of my tools. I was making several errors. During blade setup I was attempting to span my straight edge across both tables when adjusting my blades, and bring the blades up to it. I was using a tiny square and wasn't really in plane with the outfeed table. Believe I got them right now. I was also taking too large a cut for the final fit. I need some practice on the fluid motion part. On an edge joint, at times I continue to put pressure too close to the ends of board. Anyway, I just successfully jointed a few boards well enough for a glue up for a night stand top. Thanks!

Scott Lingle
07-09-2007, 9:58 PM
Along with the book idea, Taunton press has both a book and a DVD called Mastering Woodworking Machines with Mark Duginske. I don't have the book, I opted for the lazy route and got the DVD :). It was $20. It was well worth it. For the jointer he covers tuning and knife adjustment as well as the proper techniques for preparing stock using the jointer. There is a preview video at their website (I don't know if the jointer is on the preview as I haven't watched it - but the jointer is the 1st chap on the DVD). I actually purchased it originally to tune up my father's old Grizzly jointer. That jointer is running like a champ now. Another bonus is that there is a lot of other interesting topics on the DVD. Good luck with the jointer.


Rick Dohm
07-10-2007, 12:56 AM
I found the following very helpful myself:



Rick Dohm