how do you transport a jointer
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How Do You Transport a Jointer? (Unique Options)

Woodworking experts know that a jointer is an essential piece of machinery in creating flat surfaces and squared edges for boards that allow them to join to other boards properly. Transporting a jointer can be a tricky business because they tend to be heavy and unwieldy. 

To successfully transport a jointer, roll it up a ramp or use lifting machinery to place it on a large vehicle. Smaller jointers could be picked up by a strong team that is confident they won’t drop it. It’s best to hire professional help if you don’t have the tools or skills to move it safely.

In this article, we’ll consider the best ways to transport them and what options to consider when you need to relocate them. We’ll also touch on some of the various types of jointers, how they work, and their intended use.

Transporting a Jointer

You may need to move a jointer when moving to a new house, moving to a new workspace, or when purchasing a used jointer. Transporting a small, portable unit will be simple, but anything weighing more than a few hundred pounds can be more of a challenge.

Moving heavy machinery is not a simple business, and one should carefully plan for this undertaking. The downside of failure to take the proper precautions could be severe injury or damage to the machine. Additionally, you also need to consider whether the vehicle you intended to transport the jointer with can bear the weight. This next section will cover some of your options when deciding how to convey your jointer.

Disassemble the Jointer

Most jointers can be partially disassembled, which will help with transportation. Disassembly would involve removing the base, the motor, and the tables, and would make each of the parts more convenient to carry and load. 

Forklift

If you have ready access to one, you can use a forklift to lift a heavy piece of machinery onto a truck or trailer. You can generally rent one of these and, assuming the jointer is in an accessible place, the operator can use it to lift the jointer onto a vehicle safely.

Roller Skids or Skates

Any kind of wheels make a heavy item easier to move, and attaching roller skids or skates to the jointer allows it to be more easily wheeled to a new position or up a ramp into a truck or trailer. For a very heavy jointer, you could bolt it to the skids for greater stability. 

Moving Dollies

A moving dolly or pallet jack with the right load capacity can be very helpful in moving a medium-size jointer.

Image by Tiger Lily via Pexels

Straps

You can use straps to assist with lifting and also tie down the machine once you’ve moved it to a vehicle. A jointer mustn’t move inside the transport as that can cause damage, so straps will be invaluable in securing it. 

Professional Movers and Equipment Riggers

When in doubt, or if you lack the skills or materials to transport your jointer safely, your best option might be to use a professional moving company. They will be able to ensure the safe transportation of your machine and will have the right tools to ensure it gets to its new location unharmed.

Heavy Equipment Movers

As the title mentions movers, we’re not just talking about any old residential type mover. Depending on the size and weight of the jointer you may need a heavy equipment mover to get involved. Some may be able to get it rigged before picking it up and having it transported yet others may require you to hire a rigger beforehand.

What is an Equipment Rigger?

In general, an equipment rigger is a company or person who uses block, tackle, hoists, chains, and pulleys to move maneuver and position heavy equipment for transportation. Riggers often work in tandem with heavy equipment movers for over-the-road transport.

Depending on the size and weight of the jointer you are moving it may mean hiring a professional rigger.

Basic Jointer Types

There are many different types of jointer available, and one needs to assess their individual needs, available space, and other factors when choosing between the following examples. As with other woodworking tools, like planers and lathes, the bigger and more capable the machine is, the larger the price tag.

Tabletop or Benchtop Jointer

A tabletop or benchtop jointer is a small, portable jointer secured to an existing table that comes without an outfeed table. It is highly portable and can weigh as little as 60 pounds, making it ideal for use in small workshops.

Closed Jointer

The closed jointer is the most common type of jointer and also the safest. The base of the machine is closed, protecting you from its blades while also protecting the motor from collecting dust. They are generally heavier machines, and those with a cast iron base can weigh more than 2,000 pounds.

Open-Stand Jointer

An open-stand jointer has an exposed motor, making them louder than other models. They also have some safety concerns as the blades are exposed. They can be slightly lighter than closed versions because they use less metal in their construction, and they are usually less expensive.

Hand Jointer

A hand jointer is a handheld device that allows you to trim wood anywhere, and transporting them is clearly not an issue. They are handy and versatile but can’t perform the same kind of woodworking tasks as a regular jointer.

Jointer-Planer

A jointer-planer is a machine that converts from a jointer to a planer, using the same cutters. They have been prominent in Europe for some time and are becoming increasingly popular in the US, as they can save workshop space and are cheaper than investing in both machines. They are, however, very heavy and awkward to move (source).

The Functions of a Jointer

A jointer is a woodworking machine that helps ensure smooth edges that users can easily fit together. It also flattens wood that is warped or twisted, making it an essential tool in accurate, quality woodworking. 

A jointer’s construction consists of two long, narrow, adjustable tables — infeed and outfeed tables — with rotating blades recessed between them. The jointer has an adjustable fence at the back of the table that guides the stock and a blade guard over the cutting head. The fence shifts to the side as you pass the workpiece over it.

A jointer is different from a thickness planer, which woodworkers use to smooth or level carpentry boards. Sometimes the two tools are combined in the form of a jointer-planer (source). 

There are various factors to consider when choosing a jointer. These include the following:

  • Power: bigger motors work faster and are more expensive
  • Size: depends on the space you have available
  • Dust collection: an important feature to keep your workspace tidy
  • Knife adjustments: either two or four blades depending on your requirements
  • Blade width: varies from 4” to 24”
  • Portability: various weights available depending on moving needs
  • Cutting depth: how much cutting required to get a smooth finish

Generally speaking, the width of the blades determines the size of the machine and is how experts refer to their jointers. Most home workshops would use 4-inch or 6-inch machines, while machines in industry range up to 24 inches. 

How a Jointer Works 

A jointer is generally used to perform the following tasks:

  • Flattening a board’s face
  • Straightening bowed or twisted wood
  • Making tapered legs (for a table or chair)
  • Squaring edges
  • Trimming doors
  • Making rabbets (also known as rebates) in timber

The user would typically feed a board from the infeed table, with the aid of a push block, across the revolving blades of the cutter head to the outfeed table. 

The level of the infeed table is adjustable for the amount of wood the user wishes to remove. As the stock moves over the rotating blade, it will trim the edge, and the user may need to run it over the blade numerous times if the edge is very uneven. 

Raising the outfeed table will result in the trimming of more stock and, conversely, lowering it will result in the removal of less stock. Usually, the depth of cut will not exceed a quarter of an inch because any more runs the risk of kickbacks, which can be dangerous for the user and cause you to lose control of the wood. 

The user must push the stock through the jointer in the same direction as the wood’s grain. If they cut it against the grain, it can result in chips along the edge that is supposed to be smooth. You will then need to turn it over and rework the wood to get a smooth finish.

Image by Free-Photos via Pixabay

Tuning a Jointer

To ensure the optimal function of your jointer, you will find it necessary to tune it regularly by performing the tasks discussed below.

Ensure Parallel Alignment of Tables

If the tables aren’t exactly parallel, they could result in concave or convex cuts. This can be checked by laying a level across both tables and checking for any deviation. It can usually be corrected by tightening gib screws on the table.

Square the Fence

The fence needs to be precisely 90 degrees to the tables and should be set correctly at the beginning of every session, using a drafting triangle. 

Set Knives

The knives often don’t come perfectly set when you purchase a jointer, but you can correct this using a setting tool.

Adjust Outfeed Table

The outfeed table needs to be at exactly the same level as the tops of the knives (source).

Final Thoughts

A jointer is an integral part of a serious woodworker’s shop and is also a significant financial investment. If you are to transport it safely, you need to consider the weight of the machine and the distance you need to move it. 

After weighing up these factors, as well as the tools and support you have access to, carefully consider whether this is a job you can accomplish yourself or if you need to hire professionals to perform the task.

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