RWW 112: The Square Edge Trick

So maybe this is nothing new to some of you, but this is a little trick I have been using to bring the edge of a board into square with the face.  I found that it actually can act like training wheel until you can develop your inner square and just stick to the jointer plane.  So bring your jointer and bring a block plane and let’s square up the edges of your boards.

12 Responses to “RWW 112: The Square Edge Trick”

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  1. Rob Bois says:

    That’s not training wheels, I’ll show you training wheels. For a guy like me that uses the power jointer for edge jointing 99.9% of the time, I have the Lee Valley magnetic jointing fence that slaps on the side of my jointer plane to keep me square. I don’t hand joint enough to develop an inner square, so I shamelessly cheat (I’m sure St. Roy just felt a disturbance in the force). Great vid Shannon, maybe I’ll start hand jointing a little more often now.

  2. Ben Lowery says:

    How much camber are you using on the jointer plane blade? The Schwarz recommends something like .006″ arc-to-chord, along with a flatish middle portion for a bevel down jointer. (For your bevel up jointer, you have actually have to use more camber to get the same effect. See for details on the math)

    I’ve been squaring edges with a blade cambered to those specs and I don’t have any problem getting a square edge with zero light showing, at least in 5/4 and smaller.

  3. Yaakov says:

    Well, I have been doing using my little block plane like you described. Good technique!


  4. Yaakov says:

    BTW, that was a cool mix of Moztart and The Who. Bravo!

  5. Rich Fairbairn says:

    I’ve always been a power tool woodworker, just last year I have purchased hand tools and have been trying to square up boards with nothing but disappointment.
    The edge of the board always comes out on an angle.
    Your video tip will come in handy. I believe this is the answer to my edge jointing by hand.
    Thanks for sharing your tip.

  6. Shannon, Shannon, Shannon. You are really cheating yourself here. Don’t you know the best solution to problems like these is…another tool. You simply need another jointer plane that you can keep a cambered iron in.

    Kidding of course. A very nice solution indeed! It goes to show that there are always different means to the same end and that problem solving skills are just as important in woodworking as developing the skills with the tools.

  7. Nice video. I didn’t have a decent block plane for a while and do a similar thing with the jointer plane itself. A lot of times without changing the depth setting on the jointer (assuming it isn’t too deep), you can change how much you adjust the angle on the jointed edge by the width of the “furrow” you take off.

    For the final pass, you balance the jointer across the furrow you just cut. If you took a narrow pass, you will be making a big angle adjustment. If you took a wide pass, it will be a narrower one.

    Also, I regularly just slide the blade around a bit from side to side using a bit of finger pressure. To do this, you have to keep the iron held in at just the right pressure and be careful it doesn’t slide around when you don’t want it to.

    My jointer is the same as the one in your video with a straight iron.


  8. chris says:

    I am trying to square up 2 inch wide sections that are 6 feet long for workbench top. Any suggestions on how to square these longer and wider edges than your video shows?

    • Shannon says:

      Actually I find the wider edges to be easier as you can reference the whole plane on half of the board and make a pass, then check with a square. Keep making passes on the high side of the board until you have a consistent plane then alternate a pass on the left, pass on the right, etc until you have a continuous end to end shaving. Most jointer planes have at least a 2″ wide blade so you can handle a pretty wide edge with this method.

  9. Fabio says:

    Hi Shannon,
    firstly I’l like to get the chance to thank you – I’m a hobbyist hand tool woodworker from Italy and your videos are extremely useful to me!

    I came up with a similar way to square an edge: I use a block plane straight, fully on the edge and then tweak the lateral adjustment to get a bigger bite from the side that needs to go down. This seems easier for me.
    What do you think? Is there something wrong with this approach?

    • Shannon says:

      Not at all, its just one of a bunch of ways to square an edge. Just make sure you move the adjuster back in or you will have problems on a wider surface. Also by taking a deeper cut on one edge you might run into issues on more difficult grained wood and get a bit of tearout. Now a problem usually just something to be aware of. I find its helpful to have 4 or 5 different techniques in your bag of tricks since each board is different.

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