Parallelogram beds on jointer?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by eflanders posted 12-29-2016 02:58 PM 1828 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View eflanders's profile


318 posts in 2053 days

12-29-2016 02:58 PM

I have a very old 6” powermatic jointer that I am looking to upgrade. I see several of the makers now offer parallelogram beds. What is this and what advantage do they offer from standard beds?

9 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3850 days

#1 posted 12-29-2016 03:15 PM

I use a jointer as a set-and-forget type tool
so I don’t see much advantage to investing
in a parallelogram style.

I think it’s just something being offered so
makers can have a range of price points. In
practical use, I am skeptical of its value and in
any case I would probably almost never touch
the adjustments except when fussing with
knife changes.

View eflanders's profile


318 posts in 2053 days

#2 posted 12-29-2016 03:22 PM

Loren, that’s how my jointer has been for decades, set-it, forget-it. So if I’m understanding you, the advantage to the parallelogram beds is for making adjustments to cut depth easier?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3850 days

#3 posted 12-29-2016 03:23 PM

Yeah, that’s my impression. Somebody who owns
one might have greater insights in the matter.

View MrUnix's profile


7050 posts in 2401 days

#4 posted 12-29-2016 03:44 PM

They make getting the tables adjusted properly easier, as you just need to adjust some cams instead of shimming. But as Loren said, jointers are usually a set and forget kind of tool, so making the tables co-planer is usually a one time deal, and usually not even needed. I’ve had machines with machined ways that were over 50 years old, and were still dead flat and co-planer. What I do find unusual is that it is much easier and cheaper for the manufacturer to make a parallelogram machine than it is to machine the ways on a more standard wedge bed design – but they charge you more for the parallelogram machine!


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3016 days

#5 posted 12-29-2016 04:07 PM

Well I had a different experience that the group. I started with a 6” Jet jointer. I got it all dialed in within .002” of coplanar, and I though I was done. Six months later I re-checked it and it had moved. The locking knobs on those smaller jointers are pretty small and flimsy.

Then I switched to a 8” parallelogram jointer. It is much easier to adjust. On a dovetail way style jointer, if the corners don’t come out right you have to use brass shims to make corrections. On parallelogram jointers, you have adjustment on all four corners. Not only that, but they stay perfectly flat and won’t budge.

The people who love dovetail way jointers are the lucky ones who didn’t have to shim their machines to find square / coplanar. I haven’t talked to anyone who has upgraded to parallelogram and regretted it. My current jointer is also larger and heavier. It has large lock-down levers, and sturdy components. So I think build quality factors in as well.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5177 posts in 2696 days

#6 posted 12-29-2016 04:17 PM

The parallelogram models also have a more consistent gap between the cutterhead and the tables. That said, I’m in the camp of not paying more to get that feature. Like several others replied, it’s typically set and forget. I guess i one of the lucky ones who hasn’t had any problems in the 15 years I’ve had mine (a Jet 8”). That said, if the cost difference were eliminated I wouldn’t rule out the parallelogram…I just won’t pay extra for it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View rick1955's profile


264 posts in 1633 days

#7 posted 12-29-2016 07:20 PM

I’ve been working on jointers for many years and all kinds and sizes. Dovetailed ways jointers have to ground with both tables attached to the base. You cannot replace a dovetailed ways jointer without having the whole jointer ground. On a parallogram jointer I can replace a table and tune it in easily. Even simpler and my favorite way to mount jointer tables were the four small incline on each table as used on Oliver, Crescent, and a few other jointers. Similar to parallelogram tables I believe they were even simpler to make.

Parallogram jointers originated in Europe and have around at least 50 years

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2313 days

#8 posted 12-29-2016 08:19 PM

I move the infeed table on my DJ-20 ALL the time…

It’s far faster and often more accurate to take big early passes, getting more material flat to the table sooner. The late passes, and operations like beveling a door edge, are better going light.

But then again, I can easily and quickly move my table, ‘cause it’s a parallelogram with a lever… ;^)

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3016 days

#9 posted 12-29-2016 09:43 PM

Most jointers are easy to set the cut depth. Whether it’s a handwheel or lever, both work fine. The previous comments were in regards to setting the tables for coplanar, and the fence square.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics