Using a jointer without the fence?

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
I just picked up a nice little 10" shortbed jointer, like this one (gloat over). While the cutterhead is 10", with the fence installed it has a max capacity of 8". Is it dangerous to face joint a wide board without a fence? Like if one edge wandered off the cutterhead and then wandered back on?
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
It is unsafe to use without a fence. I would make a fence to work against. You can make it out of a hard wood if needed. Joiners .... I have a healthy fear of.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
Another aspect of the fence is to provide (when properly adjusted) a rigid face perpendicular to the jointer knives so as to make the edges of the stock square with their face. But yes, it is VERY dangerous as you may have a tendency to drift off and expose those omnivorous cutter knives to your fingers. The fence gives you a second tactile plane of reference with which to work.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
Let's see.

1. Table saw cut = maybe 1/8" kerf taking a finger or two.
2. Table saw cut from dado blade = cut as wide as the dado, maybe across your palm and as deep as it can go before you jerk your hand away.
3. Jointer cut = as wide as the cutter (10" in this case), spinning as fast or faster than a table saw with multiple cutters and removing completely whatever they touch. That's what they do.

Jointing a board face with that board no longer captive between a fence and the cutter guard, that board is going to be floating around and your hand is going to be right on top of it, with or without paddles or push blocks. A trip to the emergency room waiting to happen. And permanent, maybe disabling damage.
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
Yeah so I mean I figured it wasn't safe. But I've seen it done and as Chris attests above, some people are happy to do it. I guess my question was: what is the way in which using a jointer without a fence will cause an injury? Does it increase the kickback risk? It's an easy problem to fix... I'll just put a straight 2x4 where the fence mount screws are for jointing wide boards.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
Yeah so I mean I figured it wasn't safe. But I've seen it done and as Chris attests above, some people are happy to do it. I guess my question was: what is the way in which using a jointer without a fence will cause an injury? Does it increase the kickback risk? It's an easy problem to fix... I'll just put a straight 2x4 where the fence mount screws are for jointing wide boards.
I never said I would do it! And Ive never known anyone to attempt it.
 

Martin Roper

Martin
User
If the blade guard covers the entire width, I don't see the problem with using it with push blocks. I think the jointer is safer than a table saw or band saw where you're pushing work toward a blade.
 

ErnieM

Ernie
Corporate Member
I've been doing it for years when I don't have halfway decent edges to register against the fence. The jointer doesn't need the fence to flatten a face. That said, there are, no doubt, some potential safety issues with jointing without a fence (or ignoring the fence as I sometimes do). As Dennis said, it is possible for
the wood to drift and expose you to danger. If you're not completely comfortable with jointing without a fence, DON'T DO IT! In my opinion, jointers are one of the more dangerous machines we have in our shops. I applaud your asking this question, as it's better to get some educated opinions than to learn the hard way by doing something you may later regret.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
There are 3 tools I have enormous respect and a healthy fear of, my jointer, my table saw and my 3.25hp router. ANY error or lapse in focus will result in some type of terrible injury. If I had a high end shaper, it would be the fourth.

That said, the most common injuries I get are utility knife cuts, drill bit breaking and gouging my (always my fault) and sander or grinder raspberry injuries. All are minor but still, at this age one would think I would be more careful. :rolleyes:
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I just picked up a nice little 10" shortbed jointer, like this one (gloat over). While the cutterhead is 10", with the fence installed it has a max capacity of 8". Is it dangerous to face joint a wide board without a fence? Like if one edge wandered off the cutterhead and then wandered back on?
Looks like there's plenty of room on the back side to clamp a wooden fence to limit the stock from wandering while facing.
 

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top