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JET JJP-12HH, 2-month review

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Review by mstenner posted 01-21-2011 11:33 PM 8752 views 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
JET JJP-12HH, 2-month review JET JJP-12HH, 2-month review No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

After two months with the JJP-12HH, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned. The bottom line: this is a great tool and I’d recommend it for the serious amateur. I wanted a lot of capability in my small (12×15) shop and am very happy.

Shipping & Unpacking

This is a large and heavy tool (my wife says I’m no longer the “biggest tool in the shop”), and it comes almost fully assembled. You will need to get the crate where it’s going intact. Do not expect to bring in pieces. Also, I highly recommend asking the shipping company exactly what service they are providing and what that means. I got “threshold service” which meant they bring it past the threshold of your house. What I didn’t understand is that I don’t get to choose the threshold. Lesson learned with no real harm done.

Once the crate was in the shop, getting it unpacked and onto the rolling base (the recommended JET-brand base) can be done by one person with some patience and leverage. Others have complained about the thick “goop” protecting the beds, and I understand why. It is indeed a real pain to remove with kerosene (the manual-recommended solvent). The machine comes with a cord (3 wires) but no plug, so you’ll need to supply your own.

Setup and Tuning

I didn’t need to adjust anything for planer-mode, and honestly don’t know how I would, although I gather it is possible. Tuning the jointer was a bit of a pain. I know, it’s always a pain, but I’ll say this. Although I haven’t set up any other jointers, I have (in my profession capacity) tuned laser cavities and other complex fussy devices with lots of knobs and tight tolerances. This thing could have been engineered better to make the process easier. For each table, you have two screws at the front with locking nuts. At the back you have a plate with three bolts holding it down, and four allen set-screws to adjust its position. For clean adjustment, that’s too many degrees of freedom. Also, they’re all very close together, which makes the table angle pretty sensitive to that adjustment. Don’t get me wrong. You can do it systematically and get the thing dialed in to perfect. I got mine to within 0.001” everywhere in about an hour. I gather that the HH (helical head) model is actually a bit easier as there’s no tuning of individual knives and the cutterhead itself is fixed.

Switching between modes is very easy and the jointer seems to be very repeatable. That is, the act of switching doesn’t screw up your jointer tuning. The only downside is that you lose your planer height setting when you switch to jointer mode. I will probably get a digital height gauge to help, but the scale and knob are really very good, so you could certainly get away without them.

Planer Use

The thing is fantastic. The longish bed along with the VERY firm and widely set rollers mean that there’s really no snipe. I’ve planed 8/4 maple 8” wide and 6’ long, and from the moment it grabs the wood, there’s really nothing for you to do but walk around to the other end and grab it when it lets go. The capacity is 12”, which is slightly smaller than a lot of lunchbox planers, and I’ve run into that, but it hasn’t been problematic. By the way, it’s VERY close to 12”, no more, no less. There are little guard rails on the sides of the planer bed to help track and align the wood if you put it in at too much of an angle (which works great) but they do set a hard limit on what will fit.

Height adjustment is very smooth, very easy, and very precise. It’s easy to take some calipers to a just-planed board, decide you need to take off 0.037, and then (using the scale on the handle) raise the bed by exactly that much.

Jointer Use

I’m similarly pleased with the jointer mode. Sure, the bed is not super long. You’ll want some rollers if you’re doing long and heavy boards. After quite a lot of both face-jointing and edge-jointing, though, I”ve got no complaints. Some have complained about the fence. It is indeed flimsy-seeming compared to the rest of the device, but it has stayed solid and square for me.

Helical Cutterheads

These things are magic. I have basically stopped paying any attention to which direction I feed in. I see no tearout whatsoever. Also, within the first week I dinged a couple blades (a knot came loose while planing some aromatic cedar) but a couple minutes with the included torx driver and I’m up and running with perfect results. Magic. Worth the extra $1000? Your call, but I’m happy with my choice.

Dust Collection

I think the thing claims to need 400 CFM or something like that. I plan on a better DC system some day, but figured I’d plug my tiny shop vac (with 5-gallon dust deputy) in and see what happened. It works great. although getting the hoses all set up was a bit of a pain. I see the occasional chip left on the bed, but it works really well. I’m sure with a real DC system the thing would be perfect. As others have noted, the host points in different directions in the two modes so you’ll have to plan for that. Also, you need to come up with a solution to keep the hose out of the path of the planer outfeed. This is not a big deal, though.

Mobile Base

The thing works well on a mobile base. I’m very happy I did that. I need to move it a bit to plane more than 5 feet or joint more than 6, and the base makes it easy. When it’s locked however, the thing is rock solid, even when dragging a 10-inch wide piece of maple over the jointer, which takes a surprising amount of force.

Heat

OK, here’s my only other “problem”. You cannot run this thing continuously, as the motor will overheat. To JET’s credit, it’s designed to cut out gracefully. It just shuts off and won’t turn on until it cools. After a break, though, just push the button and you’re back in action. From a cold start, you might get about 45 minutes in one go. It’s hard to say for sure though, because who works that way? I called JET to make sure a) I wasn’t doing anything stupid and b) there wasn’t a problem with the machine. After careful debugging of my electrical system, they basically said “this is for a serious hobbyist and not a professional shop, and is not intended to be run all day”. That seems reasonable to me. The guy even offered to duplicate my circumstances in their shop if I decided to push it. That is, he was willing to run the same wood (type, width, length, cut depth) for the same amount of time as me just to see how well their machine took it. That impressed me. Since then, I’ve just tried to mix up my routine a bit more. There’s always other stuff to do.

Conclusion

Overall, I’m very happy with this thing. My two annoyances (jointer tuning and heat) are easily surmountable, and the performance and capabilities of this thing are fantastic. I stressed about the purchase for a while, but ultimately I’m thrilled and would do exactly the same thing all over again.

If you find this helpful or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to post.

-- -Michael




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mstenner

57 posts in 1807 days



17 comments so far

View MarionSSS's profile

MarionSSS

28 posts in 1344 days


#1 posted 01-22-2011 01:04 AM

Thanks for the review – just thinking about dumping the Grizzly 12” that’s on back order for this machine.

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Steven H

1114 posts in 1713 days


#2 posted 01-22-2011 01:47 AM

Where is this machine made?

View mstenner's profile

mstenner

57 posts in 1807 days


#3 posted 01-22-2011 03:17 AM

MarionSSS, that was the other major option I considered. For me, the fact that it takes up more space and requires the fence to be removed in planer mode (so I’ve read) turned me off.

Steven H, it’s made in China.

-- -Michael

View MarionSSS's profile

MarionSSS

28 posts in 1344 days


#4 posted 01-22-2011 06:18 PM

I just sprung for this machine from Toolnut – they gave me an awesome price – $2649 shipped with liftgate service.

I see you have the “the recommended JET-brand base” – what is that? The guy at Toolnut said there wasn’t a base listed for it. I have this base on order from Grizzly – it was going to go under the Grizzly J/P – it’s rated at 1300 lbs. and I’ve used the Shop Fox units before and like them:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Super-Heavy-Duty-Mobile-Base/G7315Z

It looks like the sides of the Jet are slightly rounded – was that a problem for your straight sided base? What are the dimensions of the base – I haven’t found them listed anywhere.

View mstenner's profile

mstenner

57 posts in 1807 days


#5 posted 01-23-2011 12:38 AM

MarionSSS, I got this base:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006S7CE/ref=oss_product

It’s nothing special. Really the only cool thing is how easy it goes together and adjusts. No tools. But seriously, the guy who’s dropping a few Gs on a planer/jointer combo is not afraid of a wrench.

The base is only curved on the front, and only by about 3/4”. The tool base is about 21 1/2” wide (side to side) and about 18 1/2” deep on the edge. In the middle, it’s about 19 1/4”. I have my mobile base set to 22×20 (it adjust in inches, no fractions). Each corner of the base has a welded metal triangular pad that’s 7” on a side, so it’s not fussy about the exact placement of the feet.

I hope you enjoy your new toy. I’m about to go downstairs to do some planing right now!

-- -Michael

View Beezle's profile

Beezle

28 posts in 1334 days


#6 posted 01-23-2011 07:33 AM

Thanks for reviewing this machine. I am looking at these myself right now. I was thinking just a jointer for a while, but I would love a helical head planer too, plus this is a 12” jointer, which I would find useful.

I will likely bug Grizzly too, but I am wondering why they seem so out of stock lately. I bought a machine a few months ago that I would have preferred come from them, but I wasn’t willing to accept an open, constantly changing date. Projects must go on.

View gb_ibmguy's profile

gb_ibmguy

7 posts in 1432 days


#7 posted 01-24-2011 03:47 PM

Nice Review!

I bought the non-helical head unit in September during the ‘last chance sale’ It replaced my INCA 550. So far, I have to agree, it is a fantastic unit! Haven’t used it much, winter set in fast.

I went with the HD ShopFox base and it works quite well. Makes it easy to park it out of the way.

GB

View elrond3737's profile

elrond3737

15 posts in 1329 days


#8 posted 01-30-2011 04:02 AM

Huh? I was told that the Jet was made in Taiwan. Maybe I was told wrong… Looks like a great machine. Congrats.
I like the Jet better because of the change over but also the euro-guard. Also, it is nice to see several video review on the web of it. I haven’t found one for the Griz 12”. I think…think… I have it narrowed down between the Jet an Laguna. Laguna is going to come down in price and I know a guy that has one and it is sweet.
Thank you for the review.

View mstenner's profile

mstenner

57 posts in 1807 days


#9 posted 01-31-2011 03:22 PM

elrond, I looked all over the web and manual trying to find where it was manufactured (in response to Steven H’s question). Ultimately, I just went down to the shop and looked at the tag. On the label with the serial number it says “China”, not “made in China” or anything like that, but I’m assuming that’s the “made in” label.

Regarding guards, I had vary little experience with them, and overall, I like this guard a lot. It’s a little awkward when face-jointing to shift my grip past the guard, but it does keep you from pushing down directly over the cutterhead. I’m developing a technique where I place my left palm flat on the board with fingers pointing straight forward. As my hand approaches the guard, I lift my fingers but keep pressure on the heel. When my hand goes over the guard, I apply pressure with my fingers on the other side. It’s a pretty smooth transition.

P.S. the Taiwan/China politics are very strange (technical, it’s “Taiwan, Republic of China”) so maybe it really is made in Taiwan and has a “China” label.

-- -Michael

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elrond3737

15 posts in 1329 days


#10 posted 01-31-2011 08:30 PM

Taiwan/china. Normally Taiwan made stuff says Taiwan… It sells better then China if all things are equal. Thank you for your review again. good info.

View dafus's profile

dafus

6 posts in 1118 days


#11 posted 08-27-2011 02:06 AM

I’ve had the JJP-12 for some time. Mine was a display model, and it was delivered by pickup truck. I have no idea of whether these affected things, but I do know that mine was woefully out of adjustment when I got it positioned in my shop. I have not addressed the planer table adjustment—I think it’s probably ok—but the jointer tables were nowhere near being aligned with either the cutter head or each other. My experience makes me awfully envious of your spending “about an hour” to adjust the tables within 0.001” everywhere. I have spent many times that, and I’m still not within 0,001”. The manual is no help, and I got none by calling Jet. So if you have an orderly way of taming those six degrees of freedom, I would greatly appreciate your sharing your approach.

-- This signature intentionally left blank.

View KyleT's profile

KyleT

15 posts in 770 days


#12 posted 02-17-2013 04:02 AM

I know that you posted this review along time ago, but I’m wondering how this machine has held up for you over the past few years? Have the jointer tables stayed aligned well? I understand that standard maintenance and adjustments are needed, but has anything stopped performing the way it should? Have you jointed any really long or heavy boards? do the jointer tables have any noticeable sag?

Thanks for the great review!

View mstenner's profile

mstenner

57 posts in 1807 days


#13 posted 02-18-2013 01:26 AM

KyleT,

I’m glad folks are still finding this review useful. I do have a rather important update. I’ll hit that and then address your specific questions.

Regarding overheating… over more time and digging up other posts on the interwebs, I became rather convinced that I got a bad motor. I called Jet, gave them the list of diagnostics, told them others who purchased around the same time had similar issues, and they didn’t put up a fight. They asked me to send in the tag from my motor. I was able to do that without pulling the motor so I was fully operational the whole time. They then sent me a new motor. I’m guessing it was a refurb as it does not have a tag. Another amusing note: the wiring on the new motor was different… it is not trivial (electrically or mechanically) to swap motors on this thing. I was afraid I’d have to bring the motor out the bottom, but you can do it out the panel on the back. I strongly suspect there was simply a bad batch of motors, though, so I doubt any new purchases will have this problem. Bottom line, the thing now runs like a champ (never had it overheat since) and I have big-ass motor with a slight overheating problem on the shelf. In my opinion, my previous observations about overheating simply do not apply any more, except as perhaps a quality control issue, and even there Jet handled it well.

Over the years, the machine has done very well. The jointer tables are quite stable. I’ve only had to do two big realignments (about an hour of work), and one of those was after a move. Four strapping young men carried this thing by hand by lifting it from the jointer beds. No shocker that it needed a little love after that.

As for long or heavy boards, how’s this: I made a split-top roubo workbench (all the cool kids are doing it) and jointed and planed both halves with the Jet. They are (AFTER planing) 4” thick, 12” wide and 6’ long. They’re laminated ash and hard maple (my local lumber yard didn’t have enough 8/4 ash that day) so they’re REALLY heavy.

I continue to think the shortness of the beds is a minor problem… not in performance, but in convenience. If your board is more than twice the length of the beds, then it won’t balance at the beginning and end. You need rollers for setup and you have to apply more downward force to keep it from pulling the board up off the cutterhead. For that reason and others I tend to cut parts to rough length before jointing (it saves wood, too). The planer produces virtually no snipe, so I really see no downside to this practice. Your typical 4/4 board shorter than four feet requires nothing at all to prevent snipe. Longer or thicker and you just want to support the board on infeed and outfeed. Again, no big deal.

Also, I just turned my cutter inserts for the first time a few months ago. I saved up some leftover prefinished jatoba flooring a coworker gave me and waited until I was ready to turn the inserts. I ran all the jatoba through (taking off that crazy-hard finish) and then it was REALLY ready for a swap. Before that I had made a bunch of cutting boards (including maple and jatoba) and ran them through the planer cutting end-grain (thin passes). I did lots of normal stuff too, but those jobs were downright abusive. I’m very pleased with how those things perform. At this rate, I’ll get nearly a decade out of one set of inserts.

I’ve never experienced as much post-purchase stress as right after I dropped $3000 on that thing, but a couple of years later and I feel like it was a great purchase.

-- -Michael

View Swindlehurstguy's profile

Swindlehurstguy

8 posts in 569 days


#14 posted 02-26-2013 08:46 PM

Michael, thanks for all our input, Ive had my Jet for about 6 weeks now, and I am really happy with it. Here in South Africa they are around R34000 divide by about 8.9 to get the USD price. Like many on the forum I toyed with the Hammer helical combo machine, but it was almost USD 2200 more so I opted for the Jet which I was told compared well. Sure, I’ve had Felder stuff before and know that the Germans don’t miss much when it comes to the way they build machines, but in all honesty, I have been really pleasantly surprised, the Jet is quiet and mine has never overheated, even though I’m working with 3hp 220 volts, I have planed a fair ammountof Eurpean Beech and Imbuia with no ill-effect whatsover. All in all I recommend the Jet. We are of course somewhat limited as for choice here which is unfortunate but I expect that the Jet will deliver for some years to come.

View MarionSSS's profile

MarionSSS

28 posts in 1344 days


#15 posted 03-28-2013 02:34 AM

I hadn’t noticed an overheating issue but I really hadn’t checked. I have noticed that after it’s been running for more than a few minutes, it really starts to smell. Now I’m wondering if that maybe is the motor overheating? I’ll have to check next time I use it – the smell gets really overpowering if I’m using it continuously for awhile.

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