using a jointerA high-quality woodworking jointer is a powerful and useful tool that you’ll use in just about every one of your woodworking projects. The following tips and tricks will help make sure you get the most out of it as possible.

Inspecting Fence

Before you start using your jointer, you need to inspect the fence to ensure it’s not warped. You should perform this simple inspection at least once a year.

Inspect your fence by:

  • Laying a two feet long board along its length.
  • Watching for gaps or bulges where the board sits against the fence.
  • Inspecting very closely to make sure you spot small deficiencies.
  • Running feeler gauges across the surface of the fence to detect the severity of the problem.

If your fence is warped even slightly, it can cause serious problems with your jointer accuracy. Take it to a machine shop to have it flattened.

Eliminating Ripples

Is your jointer creating “ripples” and making your joints nearly unusable? The problem is usually an uneven knife or a quick feed rate. The former is a relatively easy fix. Place a small board under your jointer and adjust the knifes until they all touch the board evenly.

However, if your knives are already level, you’re probably feeding the board too quick into the jointer. Remember this simple tip: let the machine do the work. Your hands are mostly there to guide the board through the jointer. Shoving or pushing isn’t necessary.

Stay tuned for part two of this series for even more useful tips.