All Replies on Does everyone who has a 6" jointer wish it were an 8"?

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Does everyone who has a 6" jointer wish it were an 8"?

by HarveyDunn
posted 02-20-2014 05:36 AM

44 replies so far

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10477 posts in 3769 days

#1 posted 02-20-2014 05:40 AM


Surfacing boards by hand with bench planes is really no
big deal if you are physically able.

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406 posts in 2809 days

#2 posted 02-20-2014 06:00 AM

Absolutely. Building a bed frame from rough stock, the biggest problem is that I need 6” wide boards for the side rails and my jointer doesn’t have the capacity to do it. Even though it says 6.125” in clearance, the real usable space is more like 5.5”. I am currently looking to go from a 6” to an 8”. I think a 6” is a good starter, but I would rather have either an 8” or 10”. The only thing to consider is that anything that is above a 6” is usually 220v or higher.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

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1290 posts in 1755 days

#3 posted 02-20-2014 06:07 AM

Your shop teacher is not totally correct, not everything needs to be ripped and re-glued.
There are many beautiful pieces made of wide boards.
First it has to be stable, second you need to plan for change of seasons.

In answer to your question, I have a 6” and yes I wish I had a 12 ”..
But I am very good with a plane, so I do my wide boards that I wish to keep wide with handplanes.
Sometimes it’s laborious, mostly it’s not. It depends on how hard the wood is to work.

I think when I am having a tough time that the 12” will be too. Because it’s the wood.
If you plan on using wide boards, get a scrub plane, a jack, and a fore plane. Of course you already have a smoother.

I got most of mine used..

-- Jeff NJ

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117204 posts in 3699 days

#4 posted 02-20-2014 06:37 AM

I have a 12” and sometimes wish it was a 16” jointer, but seems we always want more doesn’t it.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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4863 posts in 3170 days

#5 posted 02-20-2014 10:17 AM

Get an 8” and never have a regret, in this case bigger is better.
Buy a 6” and you will regret it, guarantee, until the day you sale it to buy an 8” or larger.

-- Bert

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260 posts in 3007 days

#6 posted 02-20-2014 11:50 AM

I had a 6 for a couple of years, but recently found a great deal on a used 8” so i bought it and sold the 6. I much prefer the 8. Not only because of the increase in width, but also the length and the general mass of the tool. Stability is essential.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

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8122 posts in 3497 days

#7 posted 02-20-2014 01:31 PM

Sort of…there are a lot of boards that fall between 6 and 8”, but it was never really in the budget and don’t have much space. If you’ve got the money and the space, there’s very little downside to going with more capacity.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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4863 posts in 3170 days

#8 posted 02-20-2014 01:40 PM

In addition the price difference between a used 6” and 8” is generally quite small.( $150.00 to 200.00)
Find a good 8” long bench used jointer and you will be happy for many years.
I bought a 8” Powermatic for $400.00, I instated a Shelix head and a 3HP motor.
I doubt that I shall ever have to replace it again.

-- Bert

View MJCD's profile


543 posts in 2493 days

#9 posted 02-20-2014 01:45 PM

For me, it’s a matter of budget dollars – I’m at the point where my 6” is a limitation, but it took me years to get here. Also, it’s a question of woodworking focus. Many woodworkers primarily with plywood or pre-surfaced dimensional lumber – for them, an 8” jointer would be a waste of money.

Where 8”+ becomes important is working with rough hardwoods – my lumber source typically stocks at 6” to 10” pieces, and these need to face-planed prior to thickness dimensioning; also, if you work with narrower boards, it’s helpful to join them, then face-plane once side, prior to thicknessing.

If you have the money and the space, go 8”; if your tight on either one, seriously review the use of the extra (and important) 2”.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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Lee A. Jesberger

6863 posts in 4101 days

#10 posted 02-20-2014 01:49 PM

Agreed, a wide jointer is more versatile.

Here’s a link to how we have successfully used wide boards (16” + ) without ripping them. This is especially useful in period furniture, as is the case in the piece we were building at the time. This piece is about 12 years old now, has been moved several times from one home to the next, and is fine.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View SpartyOn's profile


36 posts in 2268 days

#11 posted 02-20-2014 01:55 PM

I took a woodworking class and the instructor told us the exact same thing – you don’t need anything larger than 6 inches because you shouldn’t be jointing anything wider than that. I had just gotten into woodworking and took that statement as the gospel and went out and bought a 6” jointer. I’ve regretted it. Fortunately it was used and I didn’t put much money into it. I plan on selling and upgrading soon.

View Dano32's profile


1 post in 1678 days

#12 posted 02-20-2014 02:11 PM

New here, and new to the hobby, hi fellas.

I was going to post a separate topic, but this is really what I wanted to discuss – my particular question:

I can go with a 6 inch Grizzly with a 1.5HP motor and spiral cutterhead, or I can go with an 8 inch Grizzly with a 3HP motor and straight knife cutterhead.

What’s more important – the wider capacity, or the better cutterhead? I am leaning towards the 8 inch, because I can always upgrade the cutterhead later, right?

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4863 posts in 3170 days

#13 posted 02-20-2014 02:25 PM

Wider capacity now, and upgrade the cutter head latter.
I put a Shelix cutting head on a 8” Powermatic, cost me $600.00.
Less than a month ago I put a Shelix on my Ridgid planer for $400.00

-- Bert

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2726 days

#14 posted 02-20-2014 02:29 PM

I had a 6” grizzly and it was a fine machine. But when I saw a used powermatic 8” for 450 I jumped on it. The main difference for me is the length of the beds. The 8” is probably twice the mass of the 6” grizzly. The longer beds are definitely welcome.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3035 days

#15 posted 02-20-2014 02:44 PM

FYI, while I have a G0593 8” Jointer w/ Spiral Cutterhead, I have successfully jointed boards as wide as 10in with this jointer. Sure I have to remove the safety cover, but one should not be running hands “over” this area anyway. I set the cut as minimal as possible 1/32—1/64in and rotate the piece horizontally 180 after each pass.

When I get close, I stop and put the piece on the workbench and hand plane the upper ridge to level, and then run the entire board through my lunchbox planer. This works like a champ. I would imagine this could be done with even wider boards, though I have not tried that wide to date.


-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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3320 posts in 2898 days

#16 posted 02-20-2014 02:56 PM

I have a bench top 6” and using this with boards 3’-4’ or longer is dangerous – tip hazard. I know this guy that has a 12” and the blade opening is so large, it is dangerous unless you are flattening some large and long boards.

I would enjoy a long 6” jointer – 8” at the most.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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5207 posts in 1842 days

#17 posted 02-20-2014 03:05 PM

Couldn’t disagree with your teacher more. While there are times when a built up panel will offer more stability, unnecessary glueups can start to look more like something purchased prefab from BORG. A single wide panel that has been properly dried and flattened, as well as given sufficient space for seasonal movement within the project it’s being used for will almost always look better than a glued up panel. If someone is pressed for time more often than not on projects, an 8” jointer can help, though as mentioned previously isn’t a requirement.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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3320 posts in 2898 days

#18 posted 02-20-2014 03:33 PM

Your instructor has issues. I love to use up to 20” wide boards, I just flatten them by hand – my shop is not big enough for larger boards or longer than 8’. The only reason to rip the boards like he professes, it is done in very high production runs and for total uniformity – and end grain cutting boards because it looks better on a small board. The theory behind this is that you have less scrap and less movement. Unless you are using production and usually automated machinery, you end up wasting more in your cuts and planing. The other thing to note is that this does not account for movement and the stuff cracks and splits in a few years – or less. Kind of goes with the theory that once it is out the door and paid for, the deal is done.

Lets face it, it is a lot more work to learn (and teach) how wood moves and to learn (and teach) how to use a combination of power tools and hand tools – when you reach the limits of your power tools or space. It is kind of comical to note that when I needed to make a long narrow cut on a piece of 8’ plywood, I used a hand saw to rip it.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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825 posts in 1706 days

#19 posted 02-20-2014 04:00 PM

I do edges on my 6-inch jointer, and use the 12” planer for wider surfaces. I have not felt needed a wider jointer.

I will upgrade other tools before i fret over finding an 8” jointer, and I may never get to the jointer upgrade. I also live in an area that seems to have very few used woodshop tools ever offered for re-sale, so its mostly new stuff i have to consider.

However, I do generally adhere to the philosophy of buying all the horsepower – or in this case – capacity – you can reasonably afford, and then just learning how to use whatever you end up with, at least for the time being.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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3339 posts in 1919 days

#20 posted 02-20-2014 05:11 PM

As has been noted, for me the big difference between 6” and 8” is the electrical supply. If you have 220, I’d go with an 8”. Even if you normally use 6” or less for glue ups, its is not hard to find uses for pieces wider than 6”.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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1835 posts in 2111 days

#21 posted 02-20-2014 05:31 PM

I don’t need a jointer. I use my 13” planer to straighten out cupped or twisted boards by laying them on a “bed board”, shimming underneath, run through till flat, flip the board over and run through the planer normally. Works so well I quit looking at jointers. It does take a few minutes longer, but we’re talking hobby shop, not production shop. I use handplanes to joint edges about as quickly as a jointer.

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328 posts in 1853 days

#22 posted 02-20-2014 05:39 PM

OSU55, I’ve been looking at various sled designs and I do find the idea tempting. Do you need a different strategy for each board problem – a strategy for bowed boards, a strategy for cupped boards, and a strategy for twisted boards? I saw someone who hot glued squared-up rails on to the side of his boards. I can’t remember the scenario he was working with…possibly it was a cupped board, and he sent it through high side up.

What do you use as you indicator that the first face is flat enough? The pencil trick (scribble all over the face; when a pass removes all of the pencil marks, it is flat).

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4373 posts in 2431 days

#23 posted 02-20-2014 06:28 PM

I disagree with that teacher also.

I have a 16 inch wide jointer/planer, love it, at times I wish I’d went ahead and got the 20 inch.

I’ve been reading a lot of woodworking forums for a lot of years. I’ve seen a lot of post where someone wishes they had bought a wider jointer. I don’t recall ever seeing someone say “I wished I had bought a narrower jointer.

I build a fair amount of raised panel doors. My stock is mostly 4/4 ruff cut. I like to make the panels with as few pieces as possible. This usually means 2 or 3 pieces. If 2 pieces I’ll have the joint in the middle of the panel, if 3 pieces I’ll use 3 pieces of equal widths to keep a balance looking panel.

Lets say I’m making a panel with 3 pieces. I face joint one side and edge joint 2 edges. I glue this up keeping the face jointed side and even possible. When the panel is dry I face joint the whole glued up panel on the previous face jointed side again then run through the planer to flatten the other said. The result is a perfect flat panel and I didn’t scrape or sand any misaligned joints. I can make (counting the rails) door up to 20 inch wide very easily and accurately quickly. This does 98 percent of my cabinet doors.

I guess if you’re a box maker then a 6 or an 8 would be fine. Also longer table are always nice to have on a jointer which you usually get with a 8 over a 6 inch jointer.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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288 posts in 2310 days

#24 posted 02-20-2014 06:48 PM

I look at this type of decision from this perspective;

If you need to use a jointer often enough that hand planing is not practical or, perhaps more importantly, not enjoyable, then it’s time to get a jointer.

Looking at it from that point of view, just add in the variable of width and power most often required.
If you want an 8” for that project that comes along once every 3 years,. do you need 8” or will 6” be perfect for 3 years at a time?

In contrast another philosophy I have about machinery..
“Bigger is better, Heaviest is best” (and safer!)

I always get the biggest heaviest machinery I can afford and have space for.
Larger machines mean more control surface = safer.

from a cost stand point, that means all my machinery is used old heavy stuff that will last more than a lifetime.

-- Without the wood, it's just working

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1029 posts in 3187 days

#25 posted 02-20-2014 06:51 PM

If you work with rough stock I’d strongly suggest an 8”, preferably larger. If you will buy your lumber already surfaced, then a long-bed 6” jointer should meet your needs for the most part. I don’t mind occasionally using a hand plane to establish a flat face on a board that is too large for my jointer, but I wouldn’t want to do it for every board. An 8” jointer accommodates a much higher percentage of my stock than a 6” jointer would.

-- PaulMayer,

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3320 posts in 2898 days

#26 posted 02-20-2014 07:09 PM

I have used a sled with good success and I have run the same face several times without changing the height, both have worked.

Getting back on topic -

I would have to take issue with someone telling me that it is bad craftsmanship. He would not like some of my pieces. The great thing about this—he is entitled to his perspective and to all of those that agree with him – send me those wonderful 12 – 20” wide boards. I would be happy to put them to good use.

I agree with Paul -

-- David in Damascus, MD

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4454 posts in 3864 days

#27 posted 02-20-2014 09:59 PM

I have a 6 inch and wish it were wider.
Sure it works for 90% of what I have needed – usually I am not face jointing wide boards.

Is your instructor really taking the position that all those Chippendale Highboys made with wide mahoghany boards are “bad Craftsmanship”?

Certainly glue ups resist warping more, and you can alternate grain rings – but the idea that using wide boards of slab furniture is poor craftsmanship seems way off.

I would ask him “Why he thinks this is so”

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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1215 posts in 2806 days

#28 posted 02-20-2014 11:38 PM

I only had room for 6”. I was working with S4S stuff at the time but even then I wished I had a longer bed for edge work and really didn’t use it much anyway. Lately I have been buying rough stock and cry every time I have to rip a 7” board in half because I lose the natural grain patterns in the process if I’m not super careful or not fussy. I actually built my new shop with a door from the cold side to the heated side to accomodate a bigger jointer! Not so sure I’ll continue with the hobby so still debating the upgrade decision. If I do I think I’ll bypass the 8” and go as big as I can afford.

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1029 posts in 3187 days

#29 posted 02-21-2014 01:32 AM

I would not rip a 7 inch board so that it would fit on a 6 inch jointer. I would remove the blade guard and face joint it leaving a 1 inch strip on one side of the board and I would clean that up with a hand plane.

-- PaulMayer,

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3261 posts in 2797 days

#30 posted 02-21-2014 02:07 AM

I was taught to rip everything to 3-4 inches wide. We flipped half the pieces to change the grain and then glued it back with white Elmer’s glue. We did this because this is what we had to work with and the narrow boards with the ring alternating was supposed to be more stable. We were taught to do this and possibly you teacher was taught to do it this way about the same time I was taught. I think you need to get the longest bed you can afford and house. Short beds are a pain. There are long bed 6 inch jointers but when you go there, the cost between the 6 and 8 inch is minimal.

View ChuckC's profile


842 posts in 3057 days

#31 posted 02-21-2014 02:22 AM

I’ve wanted an 8” jointer forever. I’ve been getting more into hand planes and now I’m wondering if I even want my 6”.

If you are going strictly power then bigger is better but a 6” is no slacker either.

View OSU55's profile


1835 posts in 2111 days

#32 posted 02-21-2014 12:58 PM

I evaluate each board, typically by laying each on the sled, on each face, and evaluate the vertical motion. I want edges higher than the center so the edges can be shimmed and not deflect. I can usually tell by light reflection off the surface that the face is flat. Sometimes I’ll use a pencil or chalk. The final evaluation is to flip the board over and see how it lays. If you have a planer and some wood, give the sled a try. I use a piece of coated particle board shelving about 6 ft long and 13” wide. I have a 1/2” high piece of wood screwed to the rear end face for a stop (plane blade force). I have another 1/2” high piece about 6” long the I attach to the sled with double face tape at the other end of the board (feed wheel force). I use a thick putty knife to break the taped piece loose and reset for each board.

I actually do not use glue or anything to hold the shims, but the hot glue would work well. I use hi tech popsicle sticks stuck under the board. Give it a shot. At most you’re out the cost of the sled board and a few hours experimenting, versus laying out $500 or more for a jointer. PM me if you want to discuss.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2898 days

#33 posted 02-21-2014 02:04 PM

If a board is badly cupped, I will rip it to save thickness. One thing you may want to consider when ripping and gluing up boards, I use my jointer (2 blade desktop Delta) to get the edge close and fairly straight. When done, it looks flat and shiny and all is good – right? Well, not so much.

When you put another board on it’s edge and a light behind it, it can be illuminating.

Another thing to try, move the board above, across the edge, does it slide in any direction easily – if it does, the two edges do not meet evenly. If the the entire edge of the two boards touch, the friction does not permit sliding. This is where your jointer hand plane comes in handy.

Your power jointer makes little scalloped surfaces, a hand plane makes a smooth flat surface. There is another thing that you might find interesting, using hand planes, the edge doesn’t have to be square but both edges must be parallel. If they are not square to the surface, the edges will move when you clamp them. Either way, when the boards are edge to edge, put a good straight edge against the top (facing you), if they are not straight, one of your edges need to be fixed – do this before you glue them up, this is where this is fixed, not later.

When you are done with the glue up and have lined up the grain well, and have flattened the top, your glued joint should all but disappear.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Steve's profile


52 posts in 1721 days

#34 posted 02-21-2014 02:09 PM

With a little magic and a lot of hard work I just recently turned my 6” into a 12” and I would never go back.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2806 days

#35 posted 02-21-2014 02:18 PM

pmayer, I approach my jointer like I would a coiled rattle snake! So the thought of removing the guard makes me tremble. That might just be me.

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731 posts in 1716 days

#36 posted 02-21-2014 02:20 PM

I have a 6” and wish it were an 8” but mostly I wish I hadn’t wasted my money on a Sears Jointer. It is a real piece of dung. I have been trying to use it for 25 years now and it eats up belts, tables are impossible to set correctly and now the blade screws are frozen and I can’t even change them. And this was Made in USA but the manufacturer has long since gone under.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

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317 posts in 1769 days

#37 posted 02-21-2014 02:25 PM

I have a 6” and sometimes I get wood that I wish I had an 8”, but the 6” has been adequate for my work and my budget.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2898 days

#38 posted 02-21-2014 02:31 PM

I have the little power jointer for 2 reasons, it was used and cost $25.00 and I could carry it down the steps. When I get a garage, a new jointer and planer will be in the works, maybe a bigger bandsaw ( I would like to use a 3/4” blade for resawing).

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Alan72's profile


215 posts in 2154 days

#39 posted 02-21-2014 02:34 PM

I replaced my 6” with a 8” jointer this past summer. It was one of my best decision I made last year for shop equipment upgrade. I use my Jointer almost everytime I’am in the shop. The two extra inches makes a big difference.

View CharlesA's profile


3339 posts in 1919 days

#40 posted 02-21-2014 02:34 PM


The woodslicer folks insist that their 1/2 blade outperforms their 3/4 blade for re-sawing, for what it’s worth.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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3320 posts in 2898 days

#41 posted 02-21-2014 02:41 PM

Thanks Charles – I have their blades, I have found (on my bandsaw) that the 1/2” and even the 3/4” blades tend to drift a bit to follow the grain. I went through a whole bunch of boards (from the scrap pile) last night to get this thing aligned and am close. I need to make some veneer banding and use the pieces that I cut during the alignment process.

It is probably something that I am just missing then the whole thing will come together.

I mispoke, I want to use 1” blades.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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893 posts in 2797 days

#42 posted 02-21-2014 03:03 PM


I started out with a 6” and planned to upgrade later but never needed to.

what are your needs right now? For a student just starting out, money always seems to be the issue.

Hard to justify spending 1200? for a bigger jointer when a decent 6” jointer for 500.00 will take care of 99% of your projects. Use the money saved to buy a planer.

View 49er's profile


171 posts in 1726 days

#43 posted 02-21-2014 03:15 PM

I got a 6 inch Powermatic back in 1979 and then got a 16 inch a few years ago. I will keep them both. If I want to mill the face I always use the 16 inch Unitronic but the 6 inch is nice for edge work on smaller stuff. It is so nice to take a long flat board and make it dead flat. Something the 6 inch machine does not do well.

-- Correlation is not causation but I did loose my Doctor !!!

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533 posts in 1736 days

#44 posted 02-22-2014 02:45 PM

My jointer is one of the crappy 6” tabletop models. It’s on my list of tools to upgrade after the planer. Fortunately I also have a drum sander which has a 16” capacity. I know it’s slow and not a perfect solution but it gets the job done. Even cutting and regluing gives you another seam that needs to be cleaned up. I am making some wood whisper cutting boards right now and the 8/4, 7” boards were bigger than my jointer. Ten minutes through the sander and I had a perfectly flat surface.

-- Schooled in the advanced art of sawdust and woodchip manufacturing.

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