Setting Jointer blade

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I recently was given a really inexpensive table top jointer. The case is plastic and the jointer top is aluminum. The brand is central machinery the blades are 6 1/8" wide. My friends dad past away a while back and he gave the jointer to me.


I have looked up the owners manual and the directions given on how to set the blades are very vague. It has set screws to adjust the blade height. This is my first jointer if anyone know how to do this please post or if anyone know a good YouTube video that is very similar to my set up let me know thanks. I've included a few pictures.





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Glen I would recommend finding a Manuel for that machine.So that you can make sure that you have the correct knives.It should also cover how to set them.

If you cannot find one scrap the machine and get something that's serviceable.

You don't want a Pos horror freight jointer throwing a knife and cutting your face off.:(

Its just not worth it.


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Even that video makes it way more complicated than it needs to be.

First, take everything apart and clean it.   Take out any jack screws, and springs, and put them in a plastic ziplock bag-to save in case anyone in the future might want them for some odd reason.

Put a knife in place, making sure it doesn't stick out too far on one side.   Take the slack out of the two outer gib screws against the knife.  You don't want to tighten it at all.  Feel for when the slack is out.  You want to be able to slide the knife up and down, but having just the right amount of friction so that it will stay where you put it.  It's just taking the slack out of the little bolt.

Find a straight strip of the hardest wood you have.  I use Boxwood, which is about 3 times as hard as Hard Maple, just because that's what I have.  The strip is about 6" long, an inch or so wide, and about 3/16" thick.  It needs to be dead straight.

Start with the knife too high.  Push it down with the strip of wood on edge, making sure it never dips below the plane of the outfeed table.  If you hold it down on the outfeed table, and the tension is right on the gib screws is just right, it's not possible to push the knife down too low.

With the wrench on one of the middle gib screws swing the cutter head back and forth, feeling the ends of the knife, until it barely rubs the bottom of the strip of wood.  When it is just right, and you can feel it rubbing the wood, but it's not lifting it, tighten that gib screw that the wrench is on.  The knife won't move with one screw tight.  If it still feels good, tighten the end screws, and then the other screws.

If in this process you push one end of the knife down too far, use something to pull it back up a little too high, and go again.  I keep a little metal hook tool handy, but have changed knives so many times that I don't remember the last time I used it.

If you don't have the properly straight little strip of wood to use, you can use a combination square blade right on the ends of the knife the first time.  This will of course dull those spots the first time, but it will give you a machine that can make straight wooden strips for future use.  I use a couple of pencils with rubber erasers to feed such a small strip of wood over a jointer, taking the lightest of passes, to make the strips straight.

I can install a straight jointer knife in less than 30 seconds, without getting in a hurry.  I wouldn't mind having one of those Byrd heads, but all the extra time it would take to change cutters would drive me crazy.

The same system is used for any such cutterhead, like on handheld power planers.  The length of the knife makes little difference other than the difference in the number, and type of gib bolts.

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On 15/04/2017 at 10:29 AM, lewisc said:

Pull the blades out, get them sharpened and try this:

I used two small spirit levels with magnets on the bottom. 

This is how I set my knives for years, until I bought a Byrd cutter head.  This method is simple, and works great.

In fact, when I sold my straight knife jointer, I have them to the guy who bought it.

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I thought about it today that I wasn't really clear in my explanation.  I do a lot of things without really thinking about it.

The strip of wood is used on edge.  The end on the outfeed bed away from the cutterhead always stays in contact with the outfeed bed.  If that end stays down, it's not possible to push a knife down too far. The knife is started forward of TDC  (top dead center). With the wrench on a middle bolt, rotate the knife backwards until it lifts the strip of wood.  As the strip of wood is lifted, push the knife down with it. Stop at a point that you think is close to TDC, and to the same on the other end.  You can rock the cutterhead back and forth, and move the strip of wood if you slice off a little arc.

Without holding the strip down hard, but still in contact with the bed, rotate the knife back some more until you think you have pushed it down flush with the outfeed bed.  You can feel it rub the wood without it lifting the strip. You can feel less than a thousandth of an inch.  The last feeling needs to be done going backwards with the knife on a fresh spot on the strip of wood.

As soon as both ends of the knife will rub the strip without lifting, tighten the bolt that the wrench is on.  If after checking both ends it's still good, tighten them all down, and that one is done.  It really does take less than 30 seconds once you get a feel for it.

It takes a lot longer to type it out than to actually do it.  I have all sorts of micrometers, and yes, I have checked this and it's dead on probably better than most can do with a gauge.   I  don't use a dial indicator any more because I don't like putting the little metal dome on the cutting edge.

If I'm starting an important job, I'll take the knives out, and sharpen them on my waterstones so that they are WAY sharper than they come, or any sharpening service can sharpen them.

It's seems so simple, but it might not sound like it.  If there are any questions, I'll be glad to try and answer them.  Try this before you spend money on some device.  No device is any faster, or more accurate, than this method.

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