Thursday, 2 February 2012

Jointer Tuneup

Hello All

  This post may be of more interest to the woodworkers than to the wood admirers. But as always I will try to keep it interesting. So let's get on with it shall we.

   I was suddenly having a little problem with my machined lumber ending up with a banana shape to them. You couldn't really notice to look at the board but when you would get to joining the boards together I noticed something funky was going on around here.

  I narrowed it down to my jointer (see photo below) a machine that one uses to flatten the surface of a board by passing it over the cutter head in between two coplaner tables. Coplaner a definition: "a set of points in space is coplanar if all the points lie in the same geometric plane". Easy eh? Think like parallel to each other kinda like.
   After the surface is flat you hold the flattened face up against the fence of the jointer and run the edge of the board over the cutter head repeatedly until your edge is square in relation to the flattened face. Simple eh? Yes I'm from Canada eh.

  I showed my shop assistant Jack (yellow lab) the offending piece. He is quality control. Jack gets up and wanders around sniffing this and that and he wags his tail letting me know all is good. Then he returns to his area and lays back down to nap.
  Jack's moves reminded me of a boss I once worked for. He was known as the 'seagull'. He would come into a room, make a lot of noise, crap all over everything we had done, then leave.

I handed the banana shaped board to Jack. Jack hates crooked wood.

  I found the problem lay in the 'ways' (located at the joint running at an angle under the black thingy on the green surface in photo above). The ways are the part that the table slides up and down upon. The ways can become warn over time. I think in my case the poor machining by the manufacturer is to blame. Also the table could be warped which is a real hard one to solve.

  It's tear down time baby, get those sleeves rolled up. Jack let out a big sigh and laid his head back down. Don't need his help anyway.

  First unplug the machine from it's power source, very important. Off with the blade gaurd, the fence, the stop screws from the side that keep the table tight to the ways, then the part that the fence slides upon.

  Bring on the straight edge. After placing the straight edge on the front table I raised the rear table until it met the straight edge. Hmmm... I see the front end of the rear table is low on both edges and the rear end is low on one corner. Need to fix that for sure or nothing will be straight.

   I consulted the woodworking oracle called The Jointser Manuol. These imports need better proof readers for their manuals. In black and white was the answer, I quote, "must shim ways brass the to get rear table upon making co-plunesness.  HUH ??????

  After consulting a Taiwanese to English phrase dictionary it became apparent that I would have to improvise for shim stock as I didn't have any brass material. Aluminum should last me a while as I rarely move the table up and down. I needed to find some aluminum. Cans are aluminum I remembered. Now where will I get one of those. You can see in the next photo a source was located.

  So I cut the aluminum into a few narrow pieces and put one on each side at the upper ends of the ways. This will raise the front end of the table. Next place one at the bottom on one side to bring the rear corner of the table up then tightened the locking screws on the ways. The two tables are now co-plunesness.... I mean coplaner.

  I replaced the parts that were removed earlier, made certain the cutter blades were correctly set, checked the power switch was set to off and then plugged the machine back into power.

  I could hear Jack stirring then he headed over to me. All the work is done, just the glory left. I grabbed a board, flipped on the switch and ran the board across the cutter. It made a nice even buzzing noise as the sharp blades took a thin layer off the board. One jointer working fine I reported to Jack as he cocked his head to one side and wagged his tail. Thanks for all your help Jack.

  I see by the clock it's around 2:30pm, Jack is reminding me it is walk time. As is the custom we'll go down through the edge of the abandoned orchard for his daily constitutional. It's a nice day maybe we will take the long way back and have a look in the forested area beyond the orchard. We had a big windstorm a while ago, may find a fallen prize back there.

Thanks for your time.
Oh, and Jack says thanks too.

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