Tuning Up Your Jointer and Thickness Planer

pressure_fence_jointerWith the legs, aprons, shelf and table top parts rough cut to length, it’s time to refine them with the jointer (and planer if you’re using rough lumber). Here I am to the left using the stationary jointer in my own shop.

Crisp details are especially important with a table like this one because nothing gets hidden behind routed edges or fancy profiles. This creates a clean look, but it also demands some careful workmanship. And nothing will improve your work faster than getting good with a jointer and thickness planer. That’s why you should consider tuning up these machines before anything else. Dull tools are the quickest route to trouble.

Tuning Up Your Jointer

Got a jointer with knives that aren’t as sharp as they should be? Now’s a great time to get your jointer tuned up. Some jointers are made to take replacement knives with no need for adjusting the length or position of the knives. Other jointers, however, need a little finessing to position all knives so they cut in exactly the same arc. Watch the video up next to learn a simple way for adjust jointer knife position without the need for any purchased tools.


Tuning Up Your Thickness Planer

Thickness planers need even more maintenance than jointers. Does wood stick in your thickness planer or do shavings bung up and ruin the smooth surface of your wood? Watch the video below and learn how to get your planer cutting sweetly. Better results are worth the time it takes tinkering with your machines. To watch either of these videos in full screen, click the small box icon that appears in the bottom right-hand corner of the video window, when your cursor is over the window.

Before going on to the next stage, you should have:

  • Wood for all parts cut 1” longer than the finished sizes you’ll need.
  • Jointer and thickness planer tuned up and ready to perform accurately.