STEP 6: JOINT THE REFERENCE EDGE WITH A JOINTER PLANE
You will use a long jointer plane to “joint” (i.e. true-up or flatten) the first edge of your board, to provide a perfect 90 degree angle between the reference face and edge. You can either use a metal jointer plane, like the Stanley No. 7 or Stanley No. 8 jointer planes, or a quality wooden jointer plane.
Place the board in your workbench vice, with the reference face toward you.
The process used to joint a board’s edge is essentially the same as I used to flatten the reference face in step 4. The main difference is how you hold the plane. To achieve a reference edge that is 90 degrees to the reference face, pinch the jointer plane with your thumb and index finger, and use your other 3 fingers (hopefully you still have that many digits…I’m talking to you table saw users) as a fence to maintain the 90 degree angle:
Push the handplane lengthwise, producing moderately thick shavings, until the board’s edge is flat. Adjust your plane so that your shavings are ejecting from the middle of the jointer plane.
You’ll gauge the flatness by placing your straight edge on the board’s edge:
Look under the straight edge to see if there are any gaps. It is common to create a valley from improper planing techniques. Just refer back to step 4 for a review on how to avoid valleys:
Periodically use a small combination square or try square to check for the 90 degree angle along the entire edge of the board. Don’t ruin your combination square by dragging it, but just take incremental measurements.
Use your pencil to mark where your high spots are:
Then tilt your jointer plane to take down the high spots with a pass or two, then take another full pass or two. Then recheck until the entire edge is square to the reference face.
When you first get started, this process can take a little while to figure out, but you’ll eventually be able to quickly achieve a true edge that is square to the reference face. You can also look into making an “edge shooting board” to speed things up when truing edges. I haven’t had much luck with the fence attachments for handplanes. Use your pencil to make a traditional “V” mark on the edge to indicate that this is the reference edge:
Now you will see a perfect 90 degree angle, from which you will circumscribe the other faces & edges.