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How Does a Jointer Work? Expert View

When you are working on a woodwork project, you will require a tool that gives you the extra ability to render a perfect square on a piece of wood.

How Does a Jointer Work? Expert View
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When you are working on a woodwork project, you will require a tool that gives you the extra ability to render a perfect square on a piece of wood. You can achieve this goal in various ways of course, but nothing beats the consistency and accuracy of jointers. That does not make it easy, though – you will need to understand how it works so that you can utilize it to its best potential.

Otherwise, glossing over understanding it will lead to you becoming frustrated when your projects do not turn out the way you want.

What is a jointer?

Jointers, also called flat tops or buzzers, are woodworking tools that are useful in giving a board of wood a flat surface along its length. It will operate the best along the narrow edges of boards, as it prepares them for future gluing into panels or use as butt joints. They are not the same as planers though; the bed of a planer will flatten the opposite face of the wood and make its thickness uniform.

The setup of the machine has a width that allows you to smoothen the board, as well as making the faces of a board-level and sufficiently thin to fit a table without any problems.

  • Easy blade replacement and adjustment
  • Extra-large table

Parts of a jointer

Even though surface planers and table saws are good when you need to cut a piece of stock to a specific thickness or other specification, none of them can actually do their job effectively until one edge is completely flat – that is where jointers step in.

Jointers are made up of two sections: the cutting head, and feed tables. The rotating cutter head, which has a maximum of three sharp, fine-tuned blades between two flat, small tables. When working on a board of wood, you push it across the first table, also referred to as an in feed, and then move it past the cutting head and on to the second table, also called out feed table.

The cutting head and out feed table are the same height, while you can adjust the height of the in feed table – this will determine the quantity of wood you are cutting off the board. The jointer also has a fence section, which helps you to get some extra accuracy when you place a square edge on the board. You can also adjust this fence by up to 45 degrees.

When feeding the board into the system, you should apply a little downward pressure when you begin to feed it in, to allow yourself to control the board effectively.


Remaining safe while using a jointer

Even though all good jointers always have a blade guard that is loaded with springs and covers the cutting head, you need to still exercise caution when you are handling the boards of wood.

One of the important precautions is keeping your clothes and hands away from the blades to reduce the chances of injury – especially when you are handling thin pieces of wood. For instance, you can use some wood paddles or a push stick to ensure your hands stay away from the blades.

When you are straightening a board along one of its edges, it is better to start small – begin by cutting small amounts of material using the cutter, instead of cutting a large chunk in one take. You want to put less stress on the motor of the jointer and the cutting head as well, so this slow process will produce a more refined edge that is more predictable.

In addition, you must never forget to read all the safety instructions that come in the instruction manuals. You need to also invest in getting some hearing protection devices, as well as safety glasses.

When standing in front of the jointer, it is a better idea to stand on the side that is opposite to the fence, and position the edge you want to cut in a face-down position against the fence. Place it on the in feed table, and then start the jointer. The motor will not start at full speed immediately, so wait for it to do so before you start cutting.

Porter Cable PC160JT

  • Easy blade replacement and adjustment
  • Extra-large table


Note that you should never start cutting the planks of wood when the cutting head is not at full speed – otherwise, you risk high chances of injuring yourself and putting unneeded pressure on the blades. It is also a good idea to keep some extra knives just in case the ones in the jointer are blunt and need replacement.

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