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Great Idea but Poor Design

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Review by jmichaeldesign posted 10-13-2010 05:29 AM 3846 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great Idea but Poor Design No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I read reviews on this machine on multiple sites before I decided to purchase and came to the conclusion that it would serve me well. I had what I thought to be realistic expectations from this machine. I had expected a machine that would work well for boards up to 5, maybe 6 feet long. I expected it to be under powered, but usable. Many reviews spoke of the difficulty of getting the jointer tables coplanar. I planned on setting the jointer to take a 1/16” cut and leave it there all the time to avoid the tables coming out of alignment. I knew that switching form jointer to planer would be a bit annoying, but I was willing to accept that. All in all I really expected to make some realistic compromises with this machine, but the size of the machine and the price made me decide to buy it.

I received the machine and started putting it together. It went together quite easily and took about 2 hours to assemble. Once I started to set up the machine I started having issues. The knives needed to be set. The first was easy to set with the jackscrews used to fine tune the height of the blade. Upon trying to set the second knife I started to have issues. The front jackscrew would come all the way out of it’s threads before the blade was high enough. I was able to get the blades set, it just took a little more messing with than it should have.

I noticed while adjusting the infeed table that if I grabbed the far right end of the table, I could easily move it up and down about 1/8”. I tightened the adjusting knobs for the infeed table on the back of the machine, but couldn’t seem to get one of the rods that holds the infeed table tight. I removed the front cover from the machine and used a wrench to tighten the rod from the front. This started to help, but the rod snapped before the table was tight. Upon inspection I found that one of the square washers that aligns the infeed table in the diagonal slots that keep it aligned was installed crooked preventing a large bushing from seating tightly as it should.

I emailed Jet about the parts assuming that with a new rod I could get the machine running. I also asked about the issue with the jackscrews. Their tech had me measure the distance from the top of the outfeed table to the cutterhead assembly. The outfeed table was higher in front than in back making it necessary to set the front of the knives a bit higher than the back. I can only assume that the outfeed table was incorrectly machined as Jet sent me a new outfeed table as well as the replacement for the snapped rod.

I started to try and reassemble the machine, but soon found that replacing the outfeed table requires taking the machine almost completely apart. Also while I was working on it, I found that one of the springs that provides tension to the outfeed roller for the planer was loose. I was going to reattach it, but the cast piece it was supposed to connect to was broken, so I couldn’t.

At this point I requested Jet send me a replacement and I would ship them back a pile of parts as I felt that I shouldn’t have to spend this much time repairing a new machine. They said I could either talk to the retailer I bought it from, or send it to them at my cost to be evaluated. I decided to return the machine and go ahead and spend more for a separate planer and jointer.

This machine is a great concept, and in its defense isn’t underpowered too badly. The planer works great and leaves a better surface than I expected, but as a jointer it is completely useless. The parts are so poorly designed and poorly assembled that getting it to make a straight edge seems like it would be a constant battle. It seems like if Jet had aimed for $500 price point they would have been able to make a machine that would be worth well over twice as much as what they are offering right now for only a slightly higher price.

I know some people have reviewed this machine quite well, and I don’t dismiss their experience. I think the poor quality of manufacture and assembly have created a product that is completely hit or miss.




View jmichaeldesign's profile

jmichaeldesign

66 posts in 1501 days



12 comments so far

View lanwater's profile

lanwater

3094 posts in 1653 days


#1 posted 10-13-2010 07:08 AM

Pardon my french but I am glad you returned that piece of junk!
I looked at it in the store and it appeared very flemzy.
A friend of mine have and seems to curse everytime it comes up during conversation.
I bought a dewalt planer and acquired the delta 6” jointer.

After a false start with the jointer, I am now a happy camper.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Xtreme90's profile

Xtreme90

184 posts in 1911 days


#2 posted 10-13-2010 01:10 PM

Not to shoot down planer/jointer combos, but I have always been one who likes dedicated tools for thier dedicated job.

-- "I don't cut wood. I machine it!" G.M. The wood machinest

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2374 posts in 1601 days


#3 posted 10-13-2010 04:10 PM

Thanks for the review and welcome to LJ’s. I seriously considered buying this machine; it seemed like a great solution to my small shop/small budget problem. After reading some of the reviews on this site though, I came to the same conclusion as you, the Jet seemed to have a lot of potential, but was poorly and cheaply made and wasn’t worth the effort.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5386 posts in 1950 days


#4 posted 10-13-2010 05:09 PM

The concept of an affordable planer with an even more affordable 10” jointer has a good deal of appeal. It is good to see the bad experiences with these machines as well as the good. They look like such a good idea, especially for a small shop. But design and construction flaws should be known before folks plunk down hard earned cash on a machine…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View rbterhune's profile

rbterhune

175 posts in 1940 days


#5 posted 10-13-2010 08:39 PM

I too drank the cool-aid on this one. The concept is great, especially for new, hobby woodworkers such as myself.

Machine #1…I ordered a 10” machine and found one of the rods you spoke of broken in the box. The same machine had a warped fence and tables that are not coplanar. After doing some reading I found Jet’s ‘fix’ for the coplanar tables…the adjustment being only the little bit of wiggle room afforded by the bolt running through the hole in the machine. Guess what, the tables were still not coplanar…I sent it back thinking I’d try another machine.

Machine #2…still had a warped fence and the tables were still not coplanar. At this time I saw Charles Neil’s You Tube review. I emailed Charles to see if he had similar problems and explained the ones I was having. He was upset and had Woodcraft pull his review.

Machine #3…still had a warped fence and the tables were not coplanar and the rods looked “worn” where the infeed table had chewed on it. By this time Charles had put me in touch with a big whig at WMH/Jet…they said they would let me come into their factory (Nashville, TN…where I live) and would set one up personally for me. I thought about it and then decided I had had enough. By the way…Charles Neil is a GREAT guy. He had no idea who I was, yet he went through all that trouble to help out a new guy. Thanks, Charles.

Again, great concept with terrible follow-through….why bother if you’re not going to do it right? Also, why not put a freakin adjustment on the outfeed?

I have a Jet ProShop saw and love it, so I still have a soft spot for Jet tools…but this particular tool…horrible!

View Cato's profile

Cato

641 posts in 2031 days


#6 posted 10-14-2010 12:20 AM

Sorry to hear of your experience with the machine, especially since you had already been prepared to deal with less quality for the price. Learning/pain/frustration curve we all go through at some point.

Not just Jet, but almost everyones low end tools will often yield low end performance.

Not that you always get what you pay for, but the manufacturers will often make a budget machine, for the casual hobbyist and its crap.

Bumping up a tier in price can put you into a well made easily adjustable machine that does what its supposed to day after day for years.

Cars, tools, lots of machinery same concept.

View Julian's profile

Julian

880 posts in 2244 days


#7 posted 10-14-2010 12:41 AM

I dont know what reviews you read before purchasing that thing, but the ones I have seen don’t talk well of it at all. It looks like a toy and not something that will work. Case in point.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View dbol's profile

dbol

135 posts in 1717 days


#8 posted 10-14-2010 02:43 AM

I too was swearing at my jet jointer planer. I on the other hand think the jointer works fairly well. I can get the boards very flat. then I put them through the planer and they now wobble. I wish I read the reviews. The Charles Neil review is why I ended up getting the thing. I should have got seperate machines used somewhere.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1827 days


#9 posted 10-14-2010 02:10 PM

I have the 8 inch version of this. I am not 100% pleased with the product and would not recommend it to another, but I have understood it well enough to get my money’s worth. I have spoken to Jet tech support a few times on the plane and I think those guys are also ready for the company to revamp it. I think if they would have made the table out of iron and made the inner workings more solid, they would have a pretty well designed and efficient machine. Material quality is a very big issue with the machine.

I chose the smaller model because the majority of complaints were directed to the 10 inch version. They both have the same motor and I believe the larger table has more of a tendency to be warped and 10 inch boards put more stress on the motor. Not that the 8 inch models do not get complaints, there are plenty of complaints to be had, but the 10 inch version does seem to field more.

I get decent results from both the planing and jointing operation, but it was not without the expense of time and really getting to know the machine. If I had to do it all over again, I would have invested in the Grizzyly iron table bench top jointer and the Ridgid planer. If the Ridgid jointers were on sale at the local HD like they were in ones out of state, I would have already bought that one.

Thanks for the honest review. Hopefully Jet will listen and work on revamping their product.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View jmichaeldesign's profile

jmichaeldesign

66 posts in 1501 days


#10 posted 10-14-2010 06:53 PM

I ended up finding a used grizzly jointer and a used ridgid planer for the same cost as this machine. I haven’t had a chance yet to do more than give them a quick test. I’m just glad to be done with this POS. Anytime I could have spent working on projects for the last month was spent messing with this machine.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5386 posts in 1950 days


#11 posted 10-15-2010 06:41 PM

I’ve done some Googling after reading this review to find some interesting information.

The most important thing I hope people walk away from seeing this is. Just because a tool has brand name X, Y, or Z stamped on it doesn’t mean it is worth a hoot. I have seen reviews praising, and slamming each, and every manufacturer I can think of from the lowly Harbor Freight all the way up to Powermatic and Laguna… The entire price spectrum…

IF you can I would try to lay hands on a particular tool before buying it to check it out.

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View lighthearted's profile

lighthearted

142 posts in 2032 days


#12 posted 10-16-2010 07:13 PM

I sadly made the same mistake. Now this piece of crap is collecting dust in my shop.
I have since purchased a dewalt planer which has been great, and I am shopping for a real jointer.

-- Chris http://thelightheartedwoodworker.com/

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