Monday, January 27, 2014


A simple power tool, that's been around for a long time.  My Grandfather had one, which was passed down to my father and then to my brother.  It's just a flat iron table with a rotating cutter that pokes up thru a slot in the table.  They have been around, in sizes affordable by home hobby shops since the 1920's. 
   But I never really appreciated their usefulness until yesterday when I tried to use some ordinary lumberyard two by fours for a project.  I ripped some pieces out of the two by four.  Next day I found what had been fairly straight pieces, had curled like potato chips.  Cheap modern lumber, sawn from fast growing weeds, instead of proper pine trees. 
   Each piece warped, one side was concave, touched the benchtop only at the ends.  I  jointed the concave sides until they were flat.  Don't joint the convex side, it will rock back and forth spoiling the cut.  Didn't take long, even the piece that had a quarter of an inch of daylight showing under the middle.  Eyeballed the grain, and ran each piece thru my jointer, a humble elderly 4 inch Sears Craftsman, with the grain falling to avoid chip out.  And, they did come out flat, flatter than I will ever do with a hand plane. 
   This gave me all my pieces, flat on one side and bowed on the other.  I just ripped off the bow with my radial arm saw.  If I owned a thickness planer I would have used that to plane off the bow.  But thickness planers are new fangled tools that didn't reach the home hobby shop until the 1960's.  I still don't have one, partly cause I don't have space for one, and partly 'cause I haven't seen one on Craig's list that wasn't 50% plastic. 
   Anyhow, with just a jointer, you CAN make stock straight and flat starting with something all twisty and curly.

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