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Jointer Safety Accreditation Notes #5

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Revised: June 2018

Note: Accreditation should be viewed as the start of a learning experience, not the end. Continue to learn as much as you can about setting up and using each item of equipment. By increasing your knowledge, you will reduce the chance of an accident and get better results. If you are unsure of any aspect of use, ask an experienced operator.


1. Hearing protection must be worn.
2. No gloves.
3. No loose clothing or other items.
4. Long hair must be covered and not loose (tied up or hair net).
5. Do not stand directly behind the timber on the in-feed side and make sure that other members are not in-line further back.
6. Do not place your hands or any other object within the cutting area of the jointer unless the power is unplugged.
7. Get assistance with long lengths of timber.
8. Power cords on the floor pose a trip hazard and cords may be damaged. Hang cords safely overhead where possible or at least away from thoroughfares.
9. lf in doubt ask.

Jointer Components

1. Infeed / outfeed tables
2. Infeed table adjuster
3. Cutter head
4. On / off switch
5. Dust collector port.
6. Cutter guard.

Before you start

1. Check any used timber for metallic inclusions with a metal detector – commercially bought timber may have remnants of metal staples.
2. Thoroughly clean any dirty timber with a stiff brush.
3. Check the ends of timber for grit inclusions – preferably dock ends of timber.
4. Timber should not be placed or stood on its end on the floor once you start checking the timber as above. Timber can pick up grit from the floor and damage cutter blades.
5. Check that the required push sticks are to hand.
6. Check that the swing cutter guard moves freely or sliding guard is set to expose only enough of the cutter to accommodate your timber.


1. Before operating ensure that the main dust extractor is turned on and the blast gate is open. For best results, the blast gates for the other machines not in use are closed. The switch for the extractor is on the wall near the corner of the lathe area. (note: you should ensure that the dust bins on the extractor are not full before you use any of the machines)
2. Check that the side fence is locked and square to the bed of the jointer.
3. Before you start decide how to manage long pieces of timber on the jointer. Deep cuts on long hardwood can make the jointing process unmanageable.
4. Face jointing requires downward pressure on the timber. Walk back rather than lift back the hand applying downward pressure as the latter briefly releases downward pressure. A jointed face must be pressed against the side fence for edge jointing. Hands or fingers must not overhang the sides or ends of the timber being jointed, push sticks are safer.
5. Do not stand immediately behind the timber that is being fed into the jointer and ensure that no one else is on the same line. A piece of wood can be ejected like a bullet with serious consequences.
6. Timber less than 300mm long must not be jointed. Timber less than 12 mm thick must not be face jointed. Thin timber may deflect over the cutter head or shatter. Timber less than 20 mm high must not be edge jointed. Don’t joint timber with loose knots. Face jointing short pieces or edge jointing narrow pieces of timber is not safe practice as fingers can easily get too close to the cutters. Push sticks should be used.
7. If timber has a bow, joint with concave side down. Start by passing a short length of one end over the jointer, and then repeat for the other end. Repeat as required to reduce the extent of the bow before jointing. This procedure minimises waste when jointing bowed timber. Multiple shallow cuts are safer than large cuts. Large cuts, especially on wide timber, increase the risk of the timber being forcibly ejected backwards. Shallow cuts reduce tear out. Do not exceed 1 mm depth of cut, a quarter to a third of this depth is better.
8. Do not touch the out feed table adjuster, it is set to the height of the cutter blades.
9. The cutter head rotates towards you on the in-feed side. To minimise tear-out the timber grain (bottom face) should be sloping towards you on the in-feed side. Essentially, the cutter head must plane with the grain, not against the grain.
10. Do not leave the machine running when you move away. Turn the machine off and use the dust collector hose and a brush to remove all chips from the machine whilst you are working and particularly when finished. As this may require working around the cutting area, unplug the jointer first. Clean up around the machine.

On line help

Read the Powermatic jointer manual
Watch a demo on how to use the jointer: Get the most from your jointer


Poor surface finish may be due several things:- feeding the timber in with the wrong grain direction; cranky grain; blunt blades; or damaged blades
Problems with the jointer should immediately be reported to the SHED BOSS, the SIG COORDINATOR or the appropriate ACCREDITATION TRAINER. A note should be made in the Shed Diary and describe the incident in the INCIDENT BOOK in the cabinet at the front door. A sign DO NOT USE should be placed on the jointer.
Unusual or sudden noise, stop the jointer immediately and report as above.

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