Jointing With a Table Saw

Alternative way of jointing wood without jointer, but with a table saw.

You might have seen a jointer and might have known that a jointer has one specific function, i.e., to make wood or timber flat without any twist or warp. So, you might be wanting to have one in your workshop. Yet, power jointers are expensive and may range from two hundred dollars to several hundred dollars in price. However, as a beginner in woodworking, you might be on a tight budget, and buying a jointer might be your last priority. If such is the case with you, you might as well engage in jointing using a table saw.

But even if you have a jointer, learning jointing using the table saw can also be a handy skill worthy of learning. And as you learn to use the table saw for jointing, you can clean up abrasive material and edges of plywood, plexiglass, and particleboard. You only need to build your jig for jointing. Then, make an offset part in the jig to mimic a similar effect as that of the offset tables of the jointer.

Steps on Jointing with the Table Saw

The jointer is the specific equipment for jointing. However, if you want to engage in jointing using the table saw because you don’t have a jointer at present, you can employ the following simple steps on using your table saw for jointing:

Step 1: Build a Jig

As mentioned above, you better start building your jig using a melamine sheet 3/4″ thick. Of course, you can use any material, but in my case, I prefer melamine. It should be 3″ in width, enough for you to clamp it to your rip fence. The horizontal piece should be 4″ wide. The jig’s length would dictate the piece’s length that you can joint. You can also make your jig 6″ longer than your rip fence. 

You can clamp it to your rip fence in such a way that it is within the approximate center of the fence. Choose the right saw blade for ripping the wood. You can use a 40-tooth saw blade with an alternate top bevel design. 

Remember to use a thin kerf saw blade for this purpose because the kerf will determine the material you can take off with every pass. Set your saw blade to the proper height, slightly higher than the material’s thickness. Slide your jig and fence toward the saw blade. Then, mark the position of the blade’s back on your jig.

Step 2: Cut the Offset

After cutting the wood, you can detach your jig from the rip fence. Then move, to the saw blade’s left side, the fence. You must position the fence with care to create that offset. Make sure that you unplug the saw while you set the rip fence. 

Afterward, you can align the saw blade’s right side with the jig’s right edge. You can use your finger and feel the setting up instead of only spotting it. Then, make some minor adjustments to the rip fence position until you get it right. 

Once the fence gets appropriately positioned, you can add a feather board. Then cut the jig. When cutting, refrain from letting the jig pull the rip fence off. You can use the feather board for this purpose. Refrain from cutting once the saw blade reaches the pencil mark you’ve made before. Then turn off your saw. 

Once you’ve unplugged the saw, you can inspect the offset. Ensure that the saw blade’s right edge is ideally even with the jig’s right edge while the jig is tight against the rip fence. You did not achieve enough offset if the saw blade projects further past the jig. So, you must move, to the right, your rip fence and engage in another cut. 

If the jig projects beyond the saw blade, then you’ve created a larger-than-necessary offset. It will help if you rip the offset off again and undergo the positioning steps to make a new offset.

Step 3: Jointing 

Now that you’ve made the offset, you can now proceed with jointing. You can move, to the right side, your rip fence. Once you’ve unplugged table saw, you can clamp your jig to the rip fence with the blade’s back aligned with the offset. 

The saw blade’s left side must align with the jig’s left edge, allowing the saw blade to turn freely. Then adjust the rip fence’s position until you get it correctly set. Afterward, you can make a test cut. Then, check the inspect your results. 

If there is a bit of sliver, it might be that the jig is a bit too far from the saw blade. You should make minor changes in your fence position until you remove the sliver away, allowing the saw blade to spin sans hitting the jig. After tweaking the fence position, you can start jointing.


Would You Still Need a Jointer If You Can Use Your Table Saw?

As a beginner in woodworking, you need to invest in the essential tools and equipment. Yet, if you’re on a budget, you might forgo buying some tools. So, you might be asking whether you need to purchase a jointer when you can engage in jointing using the table saw. The thing is, if you engage in edge jointing, you won’t need a jointer. You can use your table saw for this task.

Nevertheless, if you need to square and flatten all four sides of your workpiece, you will need a jointer and a thickness planer. Your work will be easier if you have a jointer and a thickness planer likewise. Thus, if you have all the money in the work, by all means, you should invest in a jointer and thickness planer. Complete your tool arsenal to raise your level of craft a notch higher.

What Do Jointers Do?

As a beginner in woodworking, you might be asking about what the jointer does. You might also think that the jointer is a piece of equipment that joins wood boards together. Yet, jointing is not the process of joining wood pieces. It gets done as a preparation for making joints. 

If the edges are not straight and flat, you can never create perfect joints. Thus, you will need the jointer to make the edges straight and flat. Using it, you can create square sides on your timber. 

The jointer takes the function of the hand plane. The jointer, in actuality, is a power plane. You can use it to flatten and straighten the faces and edges of timber boards. Yet, it is fraught likewise with some limitations, which is part of the flattening and squaring process.

What’s the Difference between a Jointer and a Table Saw?

If you’re a beginner who wants to dip your hands in woodworking, you might be asking about the difference between a table saw and a jointer. Both devices necessitate a table. The jointer features a design that allows it to take thin layers of the wood surface to make the wood surface flat, smooth, and straight. 

It is not for cutting boards down to smaller sizes. However, it produces a board’s edge finish perfect for jointing two board pieces. Without a doubt, this is the primary function of the jointer. You can also use it to smooth down a board’s face to do away with uneven surfaces.

On the other hand, the table saw comes in both open base and enclosed base styles. You can find high-quality table saws in both styles. 

Nevertheless, the cabinet style comes with slight advantages over the other style regarding dust control and stability. 

Both styles, however, feature common parts like locking rip fence, tabletop, miter slots, rails, and many other standard components of table saw.

The backbone of the table saw is the rip fence. It serves as a foundation based on which you calculate the cut. Hence, the fence mustn’t fail even under pressure. 

Fences vary depending on the models of the table saw. Therefore, before buying a new table saw, you need to inspect and check the fence that comes with it. Test if it locks in position when you apply pressure at different points of its sides. A quality fence will exhibit no movement when you apply pressure on its sides. 

Another factor to consider is the trunnions. The trunnions allow you to lower, raise, or tilt the saw blade. In most table saws, you will find two trunnions for adjusting the saw blade’s height and angle adjustment. Plus, you will find in benchtop models a handle that lets you raise the saw blade. You’ll also see a lever for tilting the saw blade. 

The saw blade is another thing you should carefully consider when using a table saw. It should be of premium quality and appropriate for the materials you will cut. It will help if you consider, for example, the tooth count of the saw blade and the configurations of the teeth. Likewise, check the arbor hole and the material the saw blade is made.


Conclusion

As mentioned above, you don’t need to buy a jointer if you only engage in edge jointing, for if you have the table saw and know how to utilize it for jointing, having a jointer is already an excess. Yet, if you would do squaring and flattening on four sides of your wood piece, it will be best to have a jointer. 

Moreover, if money isn’t an issue for you, having all the specialized woodworking equipment like the jointer at hand is a plus factor. You can enhance and raise your woodworking activities a notch higher. Nevertheless, if ever you decide to stick to your table saw, it will be best to follow the abovementioned simple steps to use the table saw for jointing.

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