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Those Troublesome Jointer Knives

Since replacing your jointer knives can be a real pain, I've always taken great care in making sure mine stay sharp and chip free. Unfortunately, taking great care is not always so easy.

Hitting a Nail with your Jointer

A friend of mine had a old door that he wanted to make wider. We decided that we'd just joint an edge on his door and add a another piece of wood. Simple enough I thought.

When the door arrive I noticed a think coating of poly on the door. I wouldn't normally (okay ever) do it but the door arrived and I didn't feel like removing the varnish. Using my 6" Jet Jointer we made the first pass on the jointer. After about 2 feet, the knives made a metallic clank. Upon inspection of the door, we noticed a small finish nail on the edge of the door. Upon inspection of my jointer, I had a nice big chip and a nice deep scratch on the outfeed side. Always inspect your lumber before you joint it or plane it. My friend said, "How did that get there?" Considering the age of the home, any number of things can happen to a door in 90 years so don't assume anything.

Now if you've ever jointed a board on a 6" jointer I'm sure you're thinking how difficult was it to keep a door perpendicular to the bed of the jointer. In short, it is very difficult. If the piece is big I think it is easier to bring a smaller tool to the piece rather than bringing the piece to the tool. After a few passes we realized that this method wasn't going to work. We either had to make an extra tall fence or use my hand planes. As it turned out, the door wasn't flat anyway so a tall fence wouldn't be referencing a flat surface anyway.

Using an Old Stanley Plane to Finish the Job

Always eager to use my planes, we switched to my old trusty Stanley. After a few minutes the door was in good shape. As it turns out, the Stanley plane I was using was produced within a year of the building of the house that the door belonged to. There is something satisfying about that.

Now I'm off to change my jointer knives.



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