Do I really need a Jointer?

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Forum topic by JK0702 posted 03-01-2016 02:06 AM 2240 views 1 time favorited 84 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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138 posts in 2098 days

03-01-2016 02:06 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource

Can you guys give me your insight and experience on the need for a jointer. I’ve debated back and forth as to the need for such a tool. It seems so many are for sale on CL, reenforcing the notion that guys get them, don’t use them, and then want to sell them. I have a garage workshop and do woodworking as a hobby, not as a money making endeavor. I have a planer and a unisaw that usually get me where I need to be with my lumber. I do plan on making some tables where i will need straight edges, and in some cases join the pieces together.

Your thought please, what are the advantages of having a jointer? I would prefer to get a stand model, and not a bench top model (if I get one). Both planer and TS are Delta, which I like. What make Jointers do you prefer, and which ones should I avoid? Thanks for your input.

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

84 replies so far

View unbob's profile


808 posts in 1871 days

#1 posted 03-01-2016 03:13 AM

I think its a must have machine, one reason is safety. I feel its dangerous to run a warped board through a table saw.
I found an older 8” Grizzly on CL for $250. 6” jointers in my area go dirt cheap, 8” jointer was a better choice for me. Thinking of finding a 12” now,

View cebfish's profile


155 posts in 2655 days

#2 posted 03-01-2016 03:17 AM

I did’t think i needed one until i got one. if your working with rough cut lumber its a must

View Holbs's profile


1843 posts in 1996 days

#3 posted 03-01-2016 03:20 AM

Pro’s: dedicated machine that takes 5 seconds to do it’s job.
Con’s: takes up 3 to 4 feet (or more) real estate in a shop.
Table saw > planer > jointer. It’s a nice machine to have if you have one, but you can live without one (many do).

I have had a dinky 6” and currently have a 8”. Love the machine. Granted, I paid $100 for the 6”, and then $55 for the 8”.
I would advise any “hobby” wood worker to get a used one if the wallet says OK. You will see the most common ones on Craigslist such as the craftsman or older 4”. I say, get one in the $50-$150 range to see if you want to retain it or plunk down $$$ down the road to go to the bigger 8” big boy brands. Here is a picture of my 6” and 8” side by side. You can see the real estate these machines take up.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View JBrow's profile


1348 posts in 887 days

#4 posted 03-01-2016 03:21 AM


Like you, woodworking is a hobby. I have a jointer for three reasons.

1) Using a hand plane is beyond my ability and too much work.

2) The jointer can make one face of a board flat. Once flat, the planer makes the faces parallel to the needed thickness.

3) The jointer is used to mill a straight edge square with a face. The straight square edge makes ripping the board on the table saw safer, squaring the end of a board possible, and yields tight and strong joints on glued-up panels that come out of the clamps flat.

A jointer with a larger width capacity will flatten wider boards. Jointers with long beds make it easier to joint or flatten a straight edge on long stock.

I have successfully used a Craftsman 6” jointer with a 36”long bed on many projects for years. It has a cast iron fence and bed with 3 knives, dovetail ways, and sets on a leg stand with casters. However I am saving for a larger Powermatic jointer.

My advice is to buy the best jointer you can afford and that will fit in the space you have.

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Scott C.

158 posts in 2018 days

#5 posted 03-01-2016 03:24 AM

I’ll echo unbob about running warped lumber through the table saw.

Working with straight/flat lumber makes everything else down the line much easier and ultimately allows you to take your quality up a notch. Definitely a floor standing model, bench tops just don’t have enough table length. 6” is good enough, but don’t be surprised if you grow out of it and eventual want to upgrade to an 8”. If you have the floor space and cash, I’d go 8”.

-- measure twice, cut once, swear and start over.

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1119 days

#6 posted 03-01-2016 03:26 AM

First get one on CL and not some cheap bench top one. Get a 6’’ the most out there with a good cast iron tables and fence, dont know your demographics but 150-250$ be patient.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View Aj2's profile


1361 posts in 1765 days

#7 posted 03-01-2016 03:26 AM

One reason to get a jointer is you will be able to face rough lumber esp twisted stuff.Sometimes you may even get freewood and having a jointer will get it ready for building something quick and easy.
If your just out in the shop on weekends then a jointer maybe a nice time saver.
I see you are in HB.Im in Inland Empire.Aj

-- Aj

View JK0702's profile


138 posts in 2098 days

#8 posted 03-01-2016 03:28 AM


I wish I could find the prices on CL that you speak of. I’m in Southern California and everything is $450 plus, and that’s for 6” jointers.

Any other input on the Powermatic jointer? I’m just now learning it’s an up and coming brand. Haven’t heard much about it until recently.

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

View JBrow's profile


1348 posts in 887 days

#9 posted 03-01-2016 03:44 AM


Powermatic has been around for a while. It appears to me that their target market is the small cabinet and custom pro shops. Powermatic seems to like to build with cast iron, making their equipment heavy and expensive. I have had a Powermatic table saw for 15 years and it has been a reliable and accurate machine. It was made in the USA. I have a newer Powermatic hollow chisel mortiser which works extremely well. I am not sure, but I think it was made in Taiwan.

I am confident Powermatic makes good jointers. However, there are other manufacturers whose jointers also provide value.

View JK0702's profile


138 posts in 2098 days

#10 posted 03-01-2016 03:48 AM

Let me know when you get that 12 incher. I’ll take the Grizzly 8” off your hands. Just finding an 8” here is tough. I’ll have to be patient.

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

View JK0702's profile


138 posts in 2098 days

#11 posted 03-01-2016 03:49 AM

Thanks, JBrow!

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

View JK0702's profile


138 posts in 2098 days

#12 posted 03-01-2016 03:50 AM


What kind of jointer do you have? Did you get it on CL?

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1282 posts in 1697 days

#13 posted 03-01-2016 03:58 AM

Powermatic is an up and coming brand???? Maybe back in the 50’s-60’s…..... It’s been a quality manufacturer of both wood and metal working machines. The green was made in McMinville, Tennessee. I have a PM50 6” jointer I bought in 85, and beat the crap out of it since. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking…...... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#14 posted 03-01-2016 04:10 AM

A jointer or jointer plane is important for getting you material ready to mill. I’m not a fan of jointers with short beds ,like bench top jointers ,they’re only good for material 3’ long or so. It’s a great tool to have but you can get by with a jointer plane ,but they can cost 50% of what a jointer cost.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View runswithscissors's profile


2725 posts in 1992 days

#15 posted 03-01-2016 04:47 AM

The ones for sale on CL are usually there because people want to move up to something larger, like from a 6” to an 8”. You are right to get a floor or stand model, as the bench tops usually prove to be inadequate for everything but really short boards. Most have universal motors, also, which are real screamers. An induction motor is much better.

There are other ways to get truly flat and square boards, but they mostly involve compromise and makeshift operations. If you can’t make your material perfectly flat and square, it’s very difficult to make stuff, such as cabinet doors and table tops, that isn’t warped or twisted. And you can’t rely on the material from the lumberyard to provide the desired level of trueness. Also, don’t confuse a jointer with a planer (in spite of Sears referring to their jointers for years as “jointer-planers.”) A jointer can make one flat face and one square edge. It will not make parallel faces nor boards of a consistent width throughout their length.

There are those who prefer hand planes to do their jointing. That is a route you might consider.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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