'tis better to have tools you don't need than to need tools you don't have

Published: Dec 20, 2011

An easy way to set your jointer fence to square

A welding tool comes to the rescue

Available from Harbor Freight Tools in 4.75", 6.75", and 7.5" models from $4 - $8

Simply put, setting the fence on my Grizzly jointer square to the bed is a giant pain in the butt. Trying to juggle the fence, the locking lever, and a square is often an exercise in frustration.

I've recently started to learn welding. I just learned about using large magnets to hold your workpieces perfectly square (or at 45°) until you can tack the pieces together.

Looking at these, it occured to me that this would be a perfect solution to my issues with my jointer fence. The powerful magnets grab the bed and fence, holding them firmly at exactly 90° while I tighten the lock.

The magnets come in several sizes, I bought a couple of each since Harbor Freight had them on sale. The one shown here is the largest/strongest model, 7.5" with a 75# pull.

Another big plus helps overcome another big frustration of the Grizzly jointer: you can get the fence perfectly square, but tightening the lock moves the fence slightly. Even if the fence is being tightly held, the force is strong enought to move it. But, I found that by simply putting a .005 feeler gauge between the magnet and the top compensates for this design flaw. Yes, I could have done this with a square, but I'd have to grow that third hand first. With the magnet, not only does the feeler gauge compensate properly, but the magnet holds the feeler gauge in place.

The best part? The biggest, most expensive ones were only $8.

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