o produce boards with M square, straight edges, flattened faccs and smooth bevels, nothing beats a jointer. With this machine, you can transform a rough-sawn surface into a smooth one. or plane a cupped board flat. When a board is a bit too wide or thick, the jointer can remove stock in tiny increments, yielding the final dimension or fit that you're after. If your jointer has a rabbeting ledge, you can use it to cut both rabbets and tongues.
The size of a jointer is based on its maximum width-of-cut. While jointers arc made in sizes up to 24 in., 6- or 8-in. models arc most popular.
When you're using a jointer (see lead photo), the work-piece runs against a fence and over a spinning cuttcrhcad diat is located between the infeed and outfeed tables.
Straight and flat. The jointer can transform boards that arc rough or uneven, planing smooth, straight surfaces and square or beveled edges.
2 Types of jointers
These dovvnscaled machines have width capacities between 4 in. and 6 in. and much shorter infeed and outfeed tables than stationary jointers. The universal motor on a bench-top jointer is louder than the induction motor on a typical floor model, and it's not suited for continuous or heavy-duty use.
However, benchtop jointers are good for light- to
Stationary jointers are the true workhorses in this machine category. These floor models are the best jointers for handling longer and heavier boards. Professionals usually choose stationary jointers over benchtop models for the capacity, stability and durability of the larger machines. A stationary jointer is a smart investment for any wood worker who does a substantial amount of dimensioning, especially in hardwoods.
Unless you specialize in small-scale work, a 6-in. or 8-in. jointer will probably serve you best. If you frequently joint or plane long boards, extra infeed and outfeed length (called "bed length") is a good idea. Check the "Bed Length" column in the chart.
It doesn't really matter whether your jointer has two, three or four knives. Although all the knives cut, they are never at precisely the same height, so only the highest knife produces the finished surface. As a result, higher cutterhead speeds generally produce finer surfaces. Two knives are more economical to buy and resharpen, while three- and four-knife heads stay sharp longer.
Look for flat, well-machined surfaces on infeed and outfeed beds. An adjustable outfeed bed makes it easier to change and adjust knives. Bed-height adjustment is usually easier with handwheels than with levers or knobs.
Like the beds, the fence should be machined flat, with a smooth finish that will allow the workpiece to slide easily against it. A center-mounted fence is usually more stable than an end-mounted fence.
Except with benchtop models, a factory-made base should be included in the price of the jointer. Look for sturdy steel construction. The base should include a dust chute and/or dust collection port.
This feature, which is found on many stationary jointers, enables you to mill rabbets and tongues on your jointer. (See photo, right.)
A ledge for rabbets. On a jointer equipped with a rabbeting ledge, you can quickly and easily mill rabbets and tongues. On a good-quality machine like the one shown above, the flat, finely machined tables and fence enhance precision and performance.
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