How to Set Up a Jointer for Maximum Efficiency

A jointer is one of the most important tools you can own for your woodworking projects. It can help you to straighten and flatten stock.

If you’re new to woodworking, it can be difficult to know where to start with this tool. But you don’t have to start from scratch – there are some simple steps you can take to get the best results from your jointer.

In this post, we’ll show you how to set up a jointer so that your projects will be successful.

How Does  a Jointer Work

Jointer cutterhead

A jointer consists of a cutterhead and a table. The cutterhead is attached to a motor that rotates at high speeds while the table is stationary. The table is where the wood is fed through.

When the wood goes through, it comes out straight and flat on both sides. It’s important that the two sides are parallel to each other, so the board can be joined to another board for building cabinets or furniture.

Fine-tuning the jointer is important for making sure that your wood is cut to the exact dimensions you need. It is easy but takes some practice to master.

How to Set Up a Jointer

how to set up a jointer

To guarantee yourself a jointer that makes smooth and accurate cuts, the first step is to make sure that you align the infeed and outfeed tables, square up the fence, set the knives, and properly set the height of the outfeed table—in that order.

1. Check the tables for parallel alignment

Place a straightedge across the infeed table. Mark the edge of the straightedge where it meets the infeed table. Then, with the straightedge perpendicular to the infeed table, draw a line on the infeed table. Repeat this process on the outfeed table.

Any misalignment can be adjusted by loosening a few screws and sliding them back into position. If the two lines are parallel to each other, the tables are parallel.

2. Square the fence for square cuts

The fence should be square to the tables so that your cuts are square. A fence that’s not exactly 90 degrees to the tables can cause you a lot of grief. With a drafting triangle, the job takes less than a few minutes.

Loosen the bevel lock, set the fence, and press the triangle. You will see no gaps when you inspect the area. Retighten the lock.

To ensure you get it right, take the same approach you did to set the 45° angle.

3. Set the knives

You can adjust the knives to cut the wood at the exact thickness you need. Some people prefer to have the knives flat and parallel to each other, while others prefer them at an angle. The trick is to make sure that both sides of the board are cut at exactly the same angle.

4. Set the outfeed table

If your jointer has a fixed outfeed table, you can skip this step and set the knives to their highest position without risking damage.

If you can move it, then you need to adjust the outfeed table to the same height as the tops of the knife blades.


Even though it might seem that there are a lot of steps to follow, the procedure is not difficult.

In fact, if you take your time and read through the manual carefully, you should be able to set up your jointer in no time.

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