Woodworking Safety Guide

Safety Manual: Jointer

comments (2) April 1st, 2009 in blogs

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Wrong Way, Right Way: Use paddles to protect your hands as you push the workpiece through the jointer. And make sure the blade cover is working properly.

The jointer does one important thing very well. It creates a perfectly flat surface, either on the face of a board, or on the edge (with the face of the board riding against the jointer's fence). When milling rough lumber, the jointer represents the first step, producing one flat face and one straight edge for reference. The board then moves to the planer for thicknessing and the tablesaw to be cut to final width.

To work properly the outfeed table should be set at the exact same height as the blades. The position of the infeed table determines the depth of cut, and multiple passes can be taken to produce a completely flattened surface.

The following is a list of safety precautions to take into account when operating a jointer.

1. Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

2. Wear ear and eye protection, and do not wear jewelry, long sleeves, or loose clothing.

3. Use paddles, push blocks, and push sticks to keep your hands 6 in. away from from the cutterhead at all times.

4. Never joint stock less than 12 in. long.

5. Check the depth of cut before turning machine on.

See how Fine Woodworking's editors rated Jointers in the Tool Guide. Compare models and post your own ratings too.

6. Adjust depth of cut to less than 1/32 in. for material with knots, 1/16 in. for clear material.

7. Never edge joint material less than 1/4 in. thick, 3/4 in. wide or 12 in. long.

8. Never face joint material less than 3/8 in. thick, 3/4 in. wide or 12 in. long.

9. Keep knives sharp and the machine adjusted properly.

10. Always have the blade guard in place.

11. Stand to one side of the jointer, not directly behind it.

12. Allow the cutterhead to reach full speed before starting a cut.

13. Keep your eyes and undivided attention on the machine while using it.

14. Never feed material with your thumb or fingers on the end of it; keep them on top of the material.

Do you have more jointer safety advice to share or a scary jointer story? Post a comment below and help your fellow woodworkers stay safe.

posted in: blogs, safety, Jointer, tool manual

Comments (2)

JimBerns JimBerns writes: Strange that the list from Fine Woodworking jointer safety does not mention to inspect the wood you are jointing for loose knots and other defects!

Loose knots, pitch hollows and other defects are one of the most common causes of kickbacks!

The list also does not mention to keep people away from the area behind the jointer !

Jim Berns

Posted: 8:39 am on December 7th

genalorainne genalorainne writes: What I don't like in jointers is that a bad technique often looks like simply mechanical problem. When you establish it's not your technique that's causing the problem, well there's that. Fixes of mechanical issues are often related to extreme precision and not always successful. When the jointer's fine, it can be very VERY helpful though.
Posted: 2:50 am on July 30th

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Woodworking is a solitary hobby and it requires tools and techniques that are inherently dangerous. These two factors make workshop safety a top concern for any woodworker. When working in the shop it is important to protect your eyes, ears, and lungs, and take great care when using hand and power tools. These safety manuals prepared by the editors of Fine Woodworking provide the foundation of safety knowlege every woodworker should know.