|Review by jmichaeldesign||posted 10-13-2010 05:29 AM||4174 views||1 time favorited||12 comments|
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.