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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently acquired an oldie but goodie Delta 6" 37-280 jointer that was never really pushed too hard according to the original owner. After some adjustment of the the in/out feed plates, the cutter knives and fence I fired it up for some tests.

Disclaimer* - I've worked in a few woodshops in the past and as I recall whenever we worked the jointer, the jointed edge usually came out looking fairly smooth after a couple passes - similar to how an edge may look and feel after passing a tuned block or bench plane over it a couple times.

So today after the first few passes with my test piece of pine I was bummed to find rather obvious consistent tracks running parallel to the length. I tried flipping the feed (grain) direction just to make sure it wasn't the wood - but still got tracks. (see pics).

My questions are in order of how I would go about narrowing things down to figure out next steps - and ultimately clean up this tracking issue so I won't have to spend hours sanding them out.

1. Can seemingly sharp knives without any obvious chips, divots or gnawed edges cause this tracking thing or do the pictures look fairly normal for jointer output?
2. If knives are guilty here, is there a secret in being able to tell from the tracks if the culprit is a one knife affair or multiple?
3. Is it dangerous to take out one knife at a time, and then make a pass in between each removal in hopes of finding the bad knife? I don't mind manually sharpening each knife myself but I'm not even sure what I'm looking for here to begin with.

Thanks in advance.

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The raised "tracks" are a sign of chips in the blades, missing metal. You need new blades or will need to sharpen those yourself or by a sharpening service.
Precisely removing equal amounts of metal by grinding requires special equipment, so it's best to have them done professionally. I buy mine here:

Replacing them at the correct height also requires some special knife setting jigs or mechanical skills. There are You Tube videos showing how:
 

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Small jointer knives can be sharpened fairly easily & there are several gimmicky tools out there.

However, the knives are inexpensive, the choice is yours. I recommend buying 2 sets.

Nicks are often in the same place on all the knives, thats what produces the track. Shifter them left or right so they overlap us a little trick.
 

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Make a sharpening jig and sharpen them yourself. Learn how to reinstall them in the head so they're flush with the outfeed table. It's not hard to do, just a bit tedious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The raised "tracks" are a sign of chips in the blades, missing metal.
I was hoping it would be the blades as opposed to some other serious flaw in the machine. I admit I've never ran into a blade defect as subtle as these causing such a ruckus. It makes sense tho. Thanks.

Precisely removing equal amounts of metal by grinding requires special equipment, so it's best to have them done professionally. I buy mine here:
I did not know this and considering the limited experience I have with sharpening I'll probably price out sharpening vs. starting fresh with new sets. Appreciate the link.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
However, the knives are inexpensive, the choice is yours. I recommend buying 2 sets.
Gotcha. After reading the you guys' comments I think I'll price out new ones versus a re-sharpening. I have a low tolerance for gimmicks as well.

Shifter them left or right so they overlap us a little trick.
...interesting :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Make a sharpening jig and sharpen them yourself. Learn how to reinstall them in the head so they're flush with the outfeed table. It's not hard to do, just a bit tedious.
Yea - the Delta manual does a good job showing how to align everything including the feed tables and the fence - all of which make sense and were really easy to do. If I end up going down the DIY route for sharpening your suggestion of a sharpening jig makes a ton of sense. Thanks!.
 

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For me, planer blades seem to get nicks soon after I install them. At first I would shift a blade left or right to eliminate the nicks, but making adjustments was time consuming and lasted a short time before the new configuration would get nicks too. I have learned to live with the fine lines that come from the nicks.

My friends here at WoodworkingTalk taught me that the best solution is a simple card scraper (cabinet scraper). A card scraper cleans up the nick lines on wood quickly. In the past, I sanded them off. Sanding goes quickly (even in hard hardwoods), if you aren't ready to try a card scraper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For me, planer blades seem to get nicks soon after I install them. At first I would shift a blade left or right to eliminate the nicks, but making adjustments was time consuming and lasted a short time before the new configuration would get nicks too. I have learned to live with the fine lines that come from the nicks.
Thanks for sharing that!

My friends here at WoodworkingTalk taught me that the best solution is a simple card scraper (cabinet scraper). A card scraper cleans up the nick lines on wood quickly. In the past, I sanded them off. Sanding goes quickly (even in hard hardwoods), if you aren't ready to try a card scraper.
I forgot about card scrapers although I've seen them being used in the past. Since this is a new addition to the garage I'm gonna try and start clean with re-sharpens or a new set depending on price. That said tho - it may end up being one of those things - like with your experience - where it never seems to come out perfect.
 

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As already suggested, buy a couple of sets, so you won't have downtime waiting for sharpening. After you've spent some money and time resharpening and resetting knives, you might want to consider a Shelix head.
 
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