Jointer Knife "Stretcher"

Want to push a few more boards through your jointer before sharpening the knives? Try my two-step honing process. It’s simple, safe, and easy. Once you know how to set the cutterhead, you’ll find honing a secondary bevel on a knife like touching up a plane blade. I can hone my knives three times before they need to be pulled and reground.

First, unplug your jointer and lower the outfeed table so that it’s just below the knives. Rotate the cutterhead so the tip of the first knife points approximately to one o’clock and then lock it in place with a few wooden wedges. To repeat the same exact angle for the remaining two knives, make a reference mark on the outfeed table and two marks on the ruler—at the reference mark and where the tip of the knife touches the blade. Now wrap a piece of paper around your finest stone and take about a dozen passes along the knife. (At this point, you should see a shiny microbevel running along the edge.)

Remove the wedges and use the marked straightedge to position the tip of the next knife to the same angle, wedge, and hone. Repeat the process with the third knife. Finally, reset the outfeed table so that it’s level with the tip of the knives at the highest point of rotation.

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