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It's got rough spots but it works well.

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Review by Tim Dorcas posted 02-12-2009 04:33 AM 2566 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
It's got rough spots but it works well. It's got rough spots but it works well. No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

For the past 5 months I have been looking for a new jointer. When I first started woodworking 4 years ago (has it really been long?), I purchased a Mastercraft 6” Bench Jointer. While it has served me well, it only worked for shorter pieces and it seemed to tear out everything except soft wood. Given that I am now a commited woodworker for life, I decided I really needed to get a “real jointer”. I went to all of the woodworking shops in my area but I couldn’t really find a deal. While I wanted a jointer, I could not justify the $450 – $750 price that everyone was asking. While doing a quick search of Kijiji, I found an old King 6” jointer at a decent price. I quickly went to pick it up, put new blades in it but after two days of trying to adjust the knives, I gave up. No matter what I did, one blade was always higher than the others.

The day before Christmas I decided to purchase a Veritas Bevel Up Jointer with a fence. Strangely enough, they didn’t have any and wouldn’t have new stock until mid January. After this, I gave up.

About a month ago, a flyer came in the mail from KMS Tools (one of my new favorite places to shop for tools). They had an incredible special on their Maxwood 6” Deluxe Jointer for $299. Maxwood is their house brand – although they are doing away with this line. This jointer normally sells for $549 which is a pretty good price but the $299 is incredible. While I am aware of the “dangers” of buying off brand equipment, I decided this was too good a deal to pass up. I drove the hour up to Red Deer and purchased it.

When I got home, I immediately went about putting it together. First let me say that the instructions are terrible. I actually went online to find instructions for several other manufacturers in effort to figure out how to put everything together. I was able to figure out most of it but by no means was it easy.

In the end, there were two issues. 1) The belt was too tight. Every time I tried to joint a piece of wood, it would trip the circuit breaker. 2) The fence was skewed.

I know I could have adjusted the motor to fix the belt issue and have been done with it. However I really didn’t want to start fussing with and everything else that needed adjustments. In the end, I bought a couple of feet of linked belt and used it instead. Using the correct length, I immediately fixed the tension in the belt.

It is hard to explain how the fence was skewed except to say that two holes were not in alignment and this caused the fence to not be straight. To fix this I used one of the holes and just had to tighten the screw against the fence assembly itself. This is clearly not ideal but it worked. There is still a bit of a skew but only about a 1/2 inch. This is acceptable.

Once this was fixed, I spent more time getting everything aligned. Getting the fence perfectly square was an exercise in patience. It seemed that every time I tightened up the fence adjustments, it would come out of square ever so slightly. It took me about 45 minutes before I finally nailed it. With everything working and aligned I could finally use it.

You might think that with all of these issues I might be unhappy. You would be wrong. With everything adjusted, this jointer works great! Taking light passes and a slow feed, I can now get reference edges in all of my rough lumber. I checked both tables and the fence for flatness and everything checked out. I knew going in that this might take a bit of work and there was a certain amount of risk but for the price the results have been worth it. The 1 hp motor seems powerful enough to handle what I have thrown at it so far. I only take light passes so this should be fine. The surfaces are smooth and square. Tear out is minimal even in difficult grain. Recently I have been recycling wood pallets. The extra long bed has been very helpful here. With the exception of the fence all other adjustments are good. That said, I do wish adjusting the fence were easier. One other note: I do like having the power switch high.

I am giving it three stars assuming I had to pay full price. In comparison to some of the other jointers I have used in the past, the fit and finish is not quite the same as some of the General’s or Delta’s I have used. That said the jointer is working quite well doing what it’s suppose to. At the discounted price, I would it give four stars. You get a lot of jointer for the money.

Hope this helps!

Tim

PS – I would be interested to know if anyone else has this jointer or even what jointer this based on.

-- www.craftedbytim.com - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & www.craftedbytim.com - I make. You buy.




View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 2613 days



5 comments so far

View mrsawdust's profile

mrsawdust

48 posts in 2321 days


#1 posted 02-12-2009 06:12 AM

Tim,
looks like a rugged piece of machinery. the price was certainly right. good luck with it.
mike

-- mrsawdust, pittsburgh,pa.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2403 days


#2 posted 02-12-2009 09:23 AM

nice review. very informative. thank you!

looks like a you got a lot of jointer for the money.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Pankratio's profile

Pankratio

15 posts in 2111 days


#3 posted 03-20-2009 08:27 AM

Hey Tim! I’ve got this jointer and it’s sitting in it’s boxes in my garage. Tomorrow I’ll be taking the plunge and attempting to set it up. Wish me luck!

Nic

-- I am the man in the arena. Q-Woodworks

View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 2613 days


#4 posted 03-21-2009 03:10 AM

Nic,

Good luck! Let me know your success with the fence.

Tim

-- www.craftedbytim.com - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & www.craftedbytim.com - I make. You buy.

View Pankratio's profile

Pankratio

15 posts in 2111 days


#5 posted 03-27-2009 09:31 PM

Howdy Tim!

The fence was, as in your case, a little skewed. Also, when I initially bolted the fence’s bracket-etc up, the RHS (from the working side of the jointer) bolt/washer wouldn’t sit flat against the cast iron ugliness that is that connection. I ending up grinding a bit of a flat into the washer in order to be able to really torque the bolt in.

That’s when I saw just how skewed the fence is. All the adjustment in the world won’t seem to move the fence anywhere nearer than 1/2 out of parallel from the table. It’s not terrible, but not good either.

I’m currently machining a tapered iron shim to make 100% contact between the two mating surfaces, going from 1/8 to 1/32.

I would somewhat prefer to simply grind down the mating surface on the fence’s assemble, both to make it easier to reinstall (without a silly shim) and I think it would be more stable overall if it wasn’t hanging out that extra 1/8, even if my shim is perfect. It looks like there’s plenty of clearance around the belt, etc to make it’s reach-out a little less. I’m just not quite that confident I could make a perfect mating surface out of it.

And boy, were you ever right about the tensioning! That adjustment was a nightmare. My partner in crime scraped of a layer and a half of skin reaching inside that exhaust port!

There is another thing – I’ve got a jointer now, all set up and green, wired in and everything, and I have a part left over? It’s this little rod with some clips on the end. I’ll snap a picture of it when I’m home tonight. Perhaps you could tell me what it’s for?

Many thanks, and yes, I referred to my indianuity and your blog much more than that lousy manual.

Take care,

Nic

edit – I got mine from KMS also. Their forklift was out-of-commission (we vancouverites get all scared whenever we see a few snowflakes) so had to lift the table of the thing onto my roofrack by hand. The guys in the shop at KMS are pretty knowledgeable, but the younger folk that run the warehouse have a lot to learn about customer service!

-- I am the man in the arena. Q-Woodworks

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