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Looking for a jointer -- should I go wide or long?

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Forum topic by SauceMan posted 04-12-2017 07:49 PM 1395 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SauceMan

35 posts in 243 days


04-12-2017 07:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer

Hi all!

I’m thinking about getting a jointer and would love some advice. Though I’ve completed some woodworking project, I’m thinking of stepping up my hobby and building some furniture for the home with a bit more attention to detail. I’d love to make a desk next out of some lumber I bought from a local hardwood store (shout out to MacBeath). One thing that I’m missing right now is a jointer. Since it’s a hobby and I’m working with a limited budget, I’m likely going to go with something used.

By looking around at options, I see that choices in my price range can include 6” bench top, 6” floor standing or 8” bench top jointers. If I’m going for a bench top jointer, I see little reason not to go for an 8” if I can find one. So here’s my question:

I understand that the length of the bed is critical to good jointing. Though I’ve read about people making extensions for jointers out of various materials (rollers, MDF, or steel to name a few). On the other hand, a nice, long 6” jointer (e.g. ones from Delta or Sears/Craftsman can be had for relatively cheap) removes the need for that, but limits me to 6” unless I want to get creative. I’ve read about a sort of buyer’s remorse people have for not getting an 8”, and as it stands, I have some nice boards at home I’d like to use and they’re all 7 1/2” – 8”.

Would you guys suggest going with a 6” floor standing model and live with the limited width and less convenient storage? Or trying one of the 8” bench top models and extending its bed?

Sauce


23 replies so far

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3202 days


#1 posted 04-12-2017 07:56 PM

Go with the biggest you can afford. That would be 8” in this case. Any jointer needs external supports for longer boards, Roller stands are pretty cheap to buy, If your near Louisville I will give you some rollers.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

9606 posts in 3481 days


#2 posted 04-12-2017 07:58 PM

I am only aware of one 8” bench top jointer
currently available… a JET combo model
which is said to be not very well made.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7451 posts in 2162 days


#3 posted 04-12-2017 08:01 PM

The bench-top jointers are pretty universally panned.

On a stationary jointer, wide is usually going to get you long. So it all comes down to money from that point.

Many great woodworkers get by with a 6” jointer, and I myself can only think of a couple instances when I had wished that I could face plane wider than 6”.

So get the longest 6” jointer that you can afford.

The carbide insert spiral cutter heads are really nice, but they jack up the price quite a bit. Sometimes you hear people moan about setting up their traditional straight jointer knives as a justification to get the carbide insert heads, but it’s really not THAT hard. Also, for the typical hobbyist, unless you run a board with a hidden nail in it across the jointer, it’s probably going to take you a long time until you need to have your blades sharpened and you have to reset them.

Don’t overlook the second hand market, as there are often solid machines for <$300

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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SauceMan

35 posts in 243 days


#4 posted 04-12-2017 08:25 PM

Hi all,

Thanks for the fast responses. So yes, the JET one was the only one I saw as well…

If 6” are adequate, I can get a 1995 era 6” Delta jointer for about $150. Claims it’s low hours. Looks like the 37-190 model.

Would you guys recommend it for my first jointer?

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SauceMan

35 posts in 243 days


#5 posted 04-12-2017 08:48 PM

oh, and @papadan, thanks for the offer for rollers. I think the cost of a trip from California to Louisville would kinda make it pointless :)

I have two of these: https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/flip-top-portable-work-support
Not exactly rollers, but I imagine they could do the trick?

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

4692 posts in 1554 days


#6 posted 04-12-2017 08:57 PM

A Delta 37-190 would be a much better option than any bench top jointer. If the one you can get for $150 is in good shape, go for it, if/when you decide to get something larger a floor standing jointer will always hold its value better than a bench top model as they really work that much better. More mass, longer bed, larger induction motors are all attributes that make a bigger jointer perform better than a smaller one.

View Jimintomahawak's profile

Jimintomahawak

57 posts in 309 days


#7 posted 04-12-2017 08:59 PM

I own a bench top. Big mistake on my part. Anything over 32-36” will not stay flat. Making extensions probably won’t help, I guessing…. the table isn’t strong enough to support more than a couple pounds without deflecting. Table is aluminum.
Go for a beefier machine if you are jointing longer boards.

-- Laziness drives creative thinking...

View fivecodys's profile

fivecodys

838 posts in 1470 days


#8 posted 04-12-2017 10:23 PM

I have a 6” Jet that I bought new about 17 or 18 years ago.
There has only been a couple of times that I could have used something wider.
I bought what I could afford back then and what I had room for in my small garage shop.
Just my 2 cents. Your results may vary.

-- Chem, Central California

View RogerM's profile

RogerM

786 posts in 2233 days


#9 posted 04-12-2017 11:39 PM

Go with the widest you can afford. Strongly suggest at least an 8” joiner. The Delta DJ 20 is an excellent choice.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View SauceMan's profile

SauceMan

35 posts in 243 days


#10 posted 04-12-2017 11:42 PM

Thanks again for all the replies. While I keep an eye out for full size 8” jointers, I have a question for the folks who say 6” is plenty:

I recently bought some lumber that was 7 1/2” – 8 1/2”. How should I deal with it on a 6”?

1. I’ve seen videos of people trying to joint wider pieces in two passes.
2. I can rip it down the middle, joint both halves, and have to glue two 4” pieces together. (I’m looking to make a couple of desks first, so I need a total of 24-30” depth).
3. I can just trim them down to 6” and put the rest in my scrap bin. Feels like a waste of wood though.

Any thoughts?

As for the DJ 20, what’s the going rate for a used one of those?

Sauce

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3115 posts in 3065 days


#11 posted 04-12-2017 11:48 PM

I don’t think it has been mentioned but 8 inch joiners usually run on 240v.

I have a 6 inch 90’s model Jet that works very well. I wish I had an 8 inch, but just don’t have the room for one.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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SauceMan

35 posts in 243 days


#12 posted 04-12-2017 11:52 PM

240V is no problem. I got a dust collector recently and ran two separate 240V circuits.

View realcowtown_eric's profile

realcowtown_eric

608 posts in 1770 days


#13 posted 04-14-2017 03:50 AM

I’ve had both in the shop at the same time.
and many cabinetmaking friends.

While I did use the 8” a few times,99.9% of the time the 6” served me and all my friends fine.

To me the 6” would be the most pragmatic, just structure your fabrications around it (not hard to do at all)

And I would score the used market (craigslist/kijiji etc ) for a floor model.

I sold my 8” and I don’t think i would go out of my way to try and find another. It didn’t earn it’s floor space for me (and it was a beauty too)

Eric

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

116560 posts in 3411 days


#14 posted 04-14-2017 04:11 AM

Welcome to Ljs
Over the years I started with 4” then 6” then 8” now 12” like shops bigger is always better but we all have budgets if 6” is what you can afford to get the best one you can. Table top jointers are useless unless your only jointing material 30” long or less.
Here’s a way to make 6” or 8” jointers face plane wider boards.

http://lumberjocks.com/tenontim/blog/26637

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7653 posts in 2747 days


#15 posted 04-14-2017 10:17 AM



Thanks again for all the replies. While I keep an eye out for full size 8” jointers, I have a question for the folks who say 6” is plenty:

I recently bought some lumber that was 7 1/2” – 8 1/2”. How should I deal with it on a 6”?

1. I ve seen videos of people trying to joint wider pieces in two passes. YES, I DO THIS AS NEEDED AND IT WORKS WELL. I HORIZONTALLY ROTATE 180-DEGREES BETWEEN PASSES. I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY JOINTED 10IN WIDE BOARDS ON MY 8IN JOINTER. AT THE END, I USE A #5-6 HANDPLANE TO SMOOTH OUT THE 1/32-1/64IN DIFFERENCE, AND THEN SEND IT THROUGH MY PLANER. FWIW, I SET MY JOINTER DEPTH TO THE MINIMUM…1/64IN IF I CAN GET IT. MORE PASSES REQUIRED, BUT LESS RIP-OUT. THIS WAY YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE A SHIM.

2. I can rip it down the middle, joint both halves, and have to glue two 4” pieces together. (I m looking to make a couple of desks first, so I need a total of 24-30” depth). A WASTE OF GOOD WOOD, IMO. THE ONLY TIME I WOULD RIP IN THIS CASE, WOULD BE IT I NEEDED THE SAME WIDTH FOR A PARTICULAR PROJECT.

3. I can just trim them down to 6” and put the rest in my scrap bin. Feels like a waste of wood though. AGAIN, SEE ABOVE #2.

...
Sauce
- SauceMan

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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