How to Use a Benchtop Jointer – 5 Great Tips

A benchtop jointer is a must-have for woodworking. You’ll be able to maximize your jointer’s usefulness by following tips from the professionals. And you’ll also get better results when you use a jointer.

You’ll find a lot of great tips in the video below:

There are also a lot of other tips that can make a great difference when using your jointer, including:

  1. Adjust the Outfeed

The jointer’s outfeed should be adjusted. Outfeeds can become misaligned, leading to cuts that are inaccurate. Even a slight misalignment can lead to:

  • Heavier cuts on the back
  • Concave surfaces

You can adjust the outfeed to high or low. Adjustments are easy. Fine Woodworking provides a complete setup guide on how to setup your outfeed. The best method I’ve found is to:

  • Slightly lower the outfeed table
  • Turn the jointer on
  • Set the unit for a light cut
  • Feed scrap wood through the unit
  • Raise the table slowly until the bottom of the feed table touches the wood’s jointed area

Check the settings, make another pass and adjust as needed.

nails screws and a ruler

  1. Joint Downhill for Best Results

You always want the best results. Right? Edge-jointing requires you to feed the grain downhill. You want to feed the wood in the direction of the wood’s grain for best results.

If the grain runs in several directions, you can choose the direction that the grain runs in most often.

Workshop Companion has a great set of pictures and instructions that will teach you the best method of jointing.

  1. Flatten the Cup Properly

The cup needs to be flattened. You’ll find that this adjustment is difficult to make as a novice, but it’s easy once you have the right directions to follow. You’ll want to grab your warped boards and take a half cup out of a board.

You’ll do this by:

  • Flattening the side facing inward
  • Face-jointing the side
  • Running the convex side through a planer (flat side down)

Woodworkers Guild of America has a lot of great information on comparing a planer and a jointer. The good, or bad, news is that all true woodworkers will need to invest in a jointer and a planer at some point.

Planers and jointers are the two essential pieces of equipment you need for serious woodworking.

While you may be able to get through smaller, less complex projects without the use of these machines, they make your project more professional from the start. Jointers and planers will turn a novice’s project into a professional, finished project.

  1. Learn the Art of Edge-Joins

Edge-joins are difficult to learn, but if you plan on using your benchtop jointer often, you need to learn how to create edge joins properly. The art of edge-joins is simple once you understand what your job is in the first place.

Your fence has a lot to do with the problems faced when making an edge-join.

So, first, try and adjust your fence so that the it’s as square as possible. A fence that is out-of-square will cause a lot of problems with your final product. Now, once you’ve adjusted the fence, you’ll want to follow these steps:

  • Face the board’s good face away from the fence
  • Run the next board with the good face away from the fence

If you do this, your two boards should joint properly. This will allow you to make an exact joint that you can be proud of when presenting your final product. If the boards don’t square perfectly, don’t be afraid to repeat for more width after using some glue to correct the problem.

DIY Network discusses how to adjust your fence properly.

  1. Focus on Safety First

If you want to use a jointer properly, you need to focus on safety. Above all else, you need to be as safe as possible when using a jointer. All woodworking tools can be dangerous, so the first step a novice must follow when using a jointer is to focus on safety.

Do It Yourself has a great list of tips you can follow, including:

  • Goggles and ear plugs should be used to protect your eyes and ears from damage.
  • Use a push block to help avoid any injuries that might occur due to wood kickback.
  • The size of the wood must also be considered. If the wood is too small, the jointer may be too powerful. Choose wood that is longer than 10 or 12 inches for best results.
  • Wood must stay against the fence. If you fail to keep the wood against the fence, you may become injured as a result. The fence will keep the wood straight and make the cutting process more fluid.
  • Always use cutter guards. Some users will remove this guard, and it’s a bad idea to do so. The cutting guard will protect your hands and limbs from damage while cutting. You won’t risk contact with the blades when the guard is in place.

While these tips may seem like they’re meant for a novice, they’re tips that all professionals will follow, too.