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Project Lab: How to spend $50 attempting to fix a $5 jointer and live to tell about it

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The woodshop improvement project continues.

Previously, I made an actual miter saw station instead of just throwing my miter saw wherever there was room. And I turned an old typewriter table into a proper stand for my wooden bandsaw.

More recently, I’ve been organizing — and getting rid of stuff.

Like this: A jointer I got for $5 on Craigslist.

Jointer

Watch me fail at fixing this $5 jointer so you don’t have to.

A jointer is a tool used to flatten wood, with flat wood being much easier to put together than wavy, warped stuff. Any time you’ve wondered how the pros on TV make woodworking look so easy, it’s a safe bet to assume it’s because of flat boards.

While there are a few ways to achieve this, the jointer is purpose built for flattening, so it’s a nice tool to have around the woodshop.

I scored this one so cheap for a few reasons. It had no motor; it had no pulleys; it’s small; and part of it was broken. But I was confident that with a little cash and a bit of hard work, I could overcome those things.

How wrong I was.

Blades

Not even technology could save me.

Several problems contributed to the ultimate failure here. But $50 in parts and gadgets later, the blades proved just too difficult to set accurately. Lining them up correctly felt like trying to put a clock back together in the dark. Except less fun.

This cranky machine is going away soon, so it can’t hurt me anymore. And I did learn a lot from this adventure. But you don’t have to repeat my mistakes to learn those same lessons. Protect yourself by seeing the full results in the video above.

Before it’s too late…

Wisconsinite Andy Reuter writes and shoots video about whatever DIY project is holding his attention at the time. For more, follow him on Instagram, find him on Twitter, or subscribe to his channel on YouTube.

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