Face Joint Wide Boards

Natural edged slab wood can be turned into some amazing projects. But taming the rough slab can be a chore. A planer needs a jointed surface on one face of the plank before it can do its job. A jointer works great for this, but a typical slab will exceed the capacity of most jointers. A planer does one thing, it makes boards thinner. Unlike a jointer, it cannot straighten a board. A common work around for this scenario is to build a sled for you planer, set the slab on the sled and shim it up so it won’t rock. I find the approach time consuming and frustrating. The shims never want to stay put so securing the slab is iffy at best. And I’m not a fan of using screws to fasten the plank and then passing it through the planer.  I prefer to use good old fashioned winding sticks to find and mark the high spots then use an electric hand planer to joint one side before sending it through the planer.

Face Joint wide boardsWinding Sticks Catch The High Spots. Sight across the tops of two winding sticks to find the high spots on the slab. Use contrasting woods for each stick. Pick a flat spot as your reference. Slide the second stick along the length of the board marking the high spots as you go.

Face Joint wide boardsChalk marks the high spot. Mark the high areas to be removed. Chalk is fast, easy and visible.

Face Joint wide boardsJoint The Board With An Electric Hand Plane. Remove the high spots with an electric hand plane. Check your work with the winding sticks or turn the slab over on a known flat surface and check for rocking or gaps. Continue until the face is reasonably flat and the slab won’t rock.

Face Joint wide boardsPlane The Rough Side Smooth. With one face reasonably true, go ahead and plane the other surface smooth. Take light passes until the whole board is surfaced.  With the top face smooth and flat, thanks to the planer, flip the board over and surface the other side.

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2 Responses to “Face Joint Wide Boards”

  1. John Kornet

    You didn’t answer my question. I want to joint a 8″ board on my 6″ jointer. George Vondriska demonstrated a technique to do so a while I ago and I have forgotten it.

    • Customer Service

      Hello John,

      I don’t recall the specific technique demonstration that you are referring to, but the technique supplied in the article link that I provided is a proven way to joint any size board.  Another way that you can do it, and perhaps this is what George demonstrated, is to remove the guard from your jointer (BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN DOING THIS) and joint as much of the board as you can on the jointer.  This will create a ridge along the portion of the board that was not cut by the jointer.  After you have achieved a flat surface along the portion that fit on your jointer, place the board on your workbench and use a hand plane to flatten it down so that it is flush with the surface that was machined on your jointer.  Even with a mediocre hand plane, you should be able to get this flat enough.  Then run it through your planer with the jointed side down.  Then flip to clean up the face jointed surface.

      Hope this helps,
      Paul WWGOA Video Membership