Well, it was time to get a larger jointer so I started comparing the 8” parallelogram models. The Grizzly 490, Shopfox W1741, and Delta DJ-20 were all in the running. I was planning on ordering the Grizzly, then came across a little-used Delta. The price was right and everything was in great shape, so I brought home the Delta.
Moving the Beast:
Compared to my tablesaw with cast iron top, this jointer was easy to transport. The fellow selling the jointer offered to load it onto my trailer with a forklift, which made my life easy. My trailer has a steel ramp, so I picked up a couple moving dolly’s and planned to roll it down the ramp into my shop. My wife had a great idea to use a big nylon strap (from a tie-down) to ease the jointer slowly down the ramp. The strap was anchored to the trailer on one side, and looped around the jointer, and back around the trailer again. Just the two of us were able to unload it down the ramp.
After lifting the jointer with a forklift (by the infeed/outfeed table no less) the tables were still perfectly coplanar! With a 4’ straightedge, I couldn’t insert a .002” feeler gauge anywhere along the table.
However, I did notice two problems. First, the board seemed to vibrate / chatter just a touch as it was milled. I suspected that the outfeed table didn’t have clearance from the cutterhead. Sure enough, the outfeed was even with the cutterhead. So I raised the outfeed table the recommended .015” above the cutterhead. My second problem was my cuts were wedge shaped side-to side. I suspected the blades might be set unevenly. Most jointers come with inexpensive knife setting jigs that register off the cutterhead. That’s fine if the cutterhead is perfectly parallel with the outfeed, but I prefer other methods of setting knives. The jointer came with a Jointer Pal magnetic jig, which makes it pretty easy. As I suspected the knives were set a tad uneven which was creating the taper. I looked in the box of accessories, and lucky me – there were two sets of extra jointer knives freshly sharpened! It took me about 45 minutes to properly set the new knives.
What a difference. No more vibration. Feed effort is almost non-existent.
I polished the beds with turtle wax polishing compound and a nylon pad. Then I sprayed a couple coats of Topcoat sealant, and the boards really slide now.
The jointer is made in Taiwan, which was said to have better quality control than the plant in China. This version didn’t come with a dust port installed, so I picked one up at Western Tool Supply. Four sheet metal screws, no big deal there.
I also enclosed the top of the dust chute with a piece of 1/4” plywood. I cut dados in the ply so it would register on the dust chute, and secured it in place.
Mobile Base: No integral mobile base so I will add my Rockler mobile base.
My jointer has a modification to the depth of cut indicator. A dial indicator was added for extra precision, if needed.
Compared to my 6” Jet, the Delta is much longer. The Jet is 46” long, and the Delta is 76” long.
The 8” width capacity is great, but the longer beds help handle the longer boards too.
1.5 hp for the delta (110v), compared to 3/4 hp for the Jet. Power is more than adequate for face jointing 8” boards. No drop in RPM noted. The Jet would bog considerably when face jointing 6” boards.
The Delta has a nice soft-start and it just whirls gently to life. No belt slap or vibration.
You can get a 3 hp motor in the Grizzly 490, but I don’t think I will ever need more power than the Delta provides.
It is taller, and longer than my old jointer, which is helpful. I don’t love the adjustments, but once set it is solid and precise. Like most tools, I don’t trust the pre-set stops. I just prefer to set it with a square.
The fence has a tab that rides the outfeed table. I put a piece of slick tape (Nylo-tape) under the tab so the fence glides easier on the table. Powermatic jointers have a plastic insert to help with this issue, but I saved 3 grand with a 5 cent piece of slick tape so I feel okay about that.
Overall I can say I am very happy with this machine. Keeping the beds coplanar on a parallelogram jointer is much easier than the dovetail way style machine.
The blade guard is a little stiff. When I adjust the spring tension it either won’t close, or is too stiff. I’ll have to look into that issue. Maybe a new spring, or aftermarket guard?
Cuts like butter, and the feed effort is, well, effortless.
I picked up some square tube from my local steel shop to make my mobile base more heavy duty. I attached the steel to the corner bracket kit I was using on my old jointer. It makes a solid mobile base, and works quite well.
-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush