Why is it so hard to get both ends of a jointer’s fence to be square?
I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that no matter what mechanism is used, the engineers leave some play in it for ease of manufacturing, and/or lower cost of manufacturing. If the tolerances were set tighter, the components would have to be of higher quality and precision, or else the fence might not move at all! High quality, precise parts are harder to make and cost more money.
So what are we to do? Buy a really expensive jointer, or deal with finicky yet affordable fences. I’ve opted for the later of the two options because spending lots of money is not my strong suit. Also, expensive jointers usually take up a lot of room, which is another strike against the idea.
All that said, I think when it comes to getting the fence square, I’ve finally got it down, and can get it square, and at BOTH ends, in only a few minutes. By using two squares and spring clamps, I can monitor the squaring progress of both ends of the fence at the same time. The spring clamps allow the square to move to a new position, but still apply enough pressure to hold the fence steady while you tighten everything down.
You can see my technique in action here. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Also let me know if you come up with a better technique of your own!