How Can I Remedy My Jointer’s Poor Debris Clearance?

How Can I Remedy My Jointer’s Poor Debris Clearance?

I have a Delta Jointer that is about 20 years old. It works very well for flattening stock.  However, I am bedeviled by the fact that nothing seems to stop it from throwing 90 percent of the chips back at me even though it is hooked up directly to my shop vac. The picture above shows the results of simply planing a piece of 2x stock. Notice most of the chips are on the infeed end of the table and on the floor immediately beneath. I have opened the cabinet and the airway is clear.  I have also tried blocking all the “air escape” points with tape and caulk, all to no avail. Is this just an insolvable problem without a large dedicated vacuum system other than a shop vacuum?” – Roland (Bud) Weisser

Rob Johnstone: Wow, how frustrating is that? This is not a problem I have heard of before and, unfortunately, the version of Delta that made your tools is a couple of ownerships past. It would not hurt to get in touch with Delta, but I would not hold out much hope. Looking at the pictures, I wonder if you have tried taking the upper unit off of the base to see if you’ll find something that is hidden from other views — but if that is not successful, I’ve got nothing else for you.

Tim Inman: Something is plugged up in Denmark, as they say. I’ll bet if you do some deep cleaning, you’ll find a mouse house or just plain-old clogged wood chips up in there someplace. Otherwise, its going to be a broom for this one.

Chris Marshall: Bud, I don’t think an obstruction inside the jointer is the main issue here, but plugged-up chips could be a secondary problem. Instead, I think dust-collection is your real culprit. Jointers create a lot of chips, especially when jointing board faces. The shop vacuum isn’t drawing enough air volume through the jointer’s dust collection compartment to pull the debris in the other direction and down the dust chute. That’s because shop vacuums draw a small volume of air at high pressure through a small-diameter hose. There’s not enough moving air to capture the debris, so the cutterhead is just throwing the excess chips and shavings onto the infeed table while your shop vac is struggling to keep up.

If you connect your jointer to a portable dust collector instead, which draws at least 350 CFM or more, I’ll bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised. A dust collector moves a high volume of air through a large-diameter (4-in.) hose, and that combination means it won’t be overwhelmed by the amount of chips your jointer is making. So, to fix this problem, it’s time to open your wallet. If the tool budget is tight, watch Craigslist or eBay, and I’ll bet you can find a used dust collector for $150 or $200 (I can find a half dozen in my area at this price on Craiglist as I write this reply). Then you can use it as a chip and dust collector for other debris-heavy tools too, like a benchtop planer or your table saw. I think you’ll be happy you did.


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