Induction vs. universal for Jointer?

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Forum topic by ChrisCarr posted 12-04-2010 06:31 PM 1851 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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196 posts in 2320 days

12-04-2010 06:31 PM

I am interested in buying my first jointer but am shaking on a few aspects of it. I can’t afford to spend much so I was looking at a 6 1/8 inch jointer from harborfreight for $200. The description didn’t say but when I downloaded the manual I realized the motor was universal. Why do they put these things in stationary machines that run a lot?

Is there any reason why I shouldn’t get that bench top jointer because of its universal motor?

Product link:

Its also die cast aluminum which I have heard stories doesn’t always come flat out the box like something cast iron does. Any truth to that?

Thanks for your help LJs.

17 replies so far

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 2626 days

#1 posted 12-04-2010 06:39 PM

Have you taken a look at Grizzly yet? Here is a link.

For a small benchtop jointer this one is pretty good.


-- Williamsburg, KY

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4407 posts in 3382 days

#2 posted 12-04-2010 07:05 PM

Chris, I think you’ll be sorry. Besides that, you’ll go deaf from listening to that thing. Save up and buy a good jointer.


View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2320 days

#3 posted 12-04-2010 08:37 PM

I like that grizzly one and its a good price. But I hate to buy online…no way to see it.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 12-04-2010 08:45 PM

I would not waste my money on a bench top jointer, their beds are to short unless your only making items that you don’t need to joint boards 2 foot or shorter. For $ 250 you can get a good used jointer with more power and a bed that’s twice as long.

-- Custom furniture

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 2481 days

#5 posted 12-04-2010 09:10 PM

If the tool has a universal motor, it is meant for portable use, for example drill, vacuum, miter saw…..etc.
If you really need it for job site, then it will work. If it’s just a station tool in shop, then induction would be the best because of the Longevity.

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2392 days

#6 posted 12-04-2010 11:48 PM

There is very little risk to purchasing from Grizzly. Nearly all my wood working buddies have Grizzly tools. I don’t have any of their tools, but would not be reluctant to buy any thing they have; if I had the money. I just got lucky and got a Rikon 6” jointer from Woodcrafter for $150, but that was a $350 machine. The tool god must have been smiling down on me that day. If I had not tripped into that deal, the next day I had an appointment to go look at a used Grizzly I found on CL.

Jim is making a good point about the length of the bed, but I would rather have the Grizzly with the cast iron bed than anything with aluminum. Also, some folks don’t have room for a full size machine.

Also look at the weight. the HF, Delta, Woodtec, Porter Cable bench top machines all weigh about 50Lbs. The Grizzly weighs about 100 Lbs.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View HokieMojo's profile


2103 posts in 3149 days

#7 posted 12-04-2010 11:53 PM

I don’t understand Chris. You are almost going to buy a junky jointer because you can see it over a better quality one that you can’t? You can always call grizzly first to see what the return options are or to discuss your concerns. I’ve got a 10 yr old grizzly that I’m refurbishing (it was left outside) and think it has been quite a good value so far.

View 8iowa's profile


1540 posts in 3182 days

#8 posted 12-05-2010 12:25 AM

I concur with Barry. Don’t purchase a jointer powered with a universal motor. A used jointer with an induction motor would be vastly superior.

Universal motors certainly have their place with hand held tools, but are a poor choice for stationary tools.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2320 days

#9 posted 12-05-2010 03:52 AM

Would a bench jointer with infeed/outfeed roller support fix the bed length problem? Space is a real issue as well, I don’t think I can fit something big in my small “bedroom size” workshop.

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 2626 days

#10 posted 12-05-2010 04:13 AM

I actually have the grizzly right now on my bench. I am upgrading just because I need a longer bed. I have jointed 3 foot boards though it was a little tough.

I’ve got a grizzly 1023SL table saw and love it. My buddy has 6 pieces of grizzly machines and they are solid.

Chris, I buy 90% of my stuff online. I just research and ask opinions.


-- Williamsburg, KY

View knotscott's profile


7146 posts in 2797 days

#11 posted 12-05-2010 06:50 AM

This one from HF goes on sale pretty often in the low $200’s and is a more substantial machine than the HF benchtop you linked to. It may not be top shelf, but I’ve read many reports that it’s very functional. Has a belt drive induction motor, has longer beds, and weighs a lot more than the benchtop.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3097 days

#12 posted 12-05-2010 06:54 AM

They use universal motors because they are CHEAP. Everyone knows cheapest is best :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Loren's profile


8161 posts in 3069 days

#13 posted 12-05-2010 11:18 PM

Jointers aren’t that complicated. There are a lot of older Craftsman
jointers available used that don’et have long beds – it’s an old
“King Seeley” design and I’m not sure if the outfeed is adjustable,
but they are cast iron and don’t take up much space. I’ve never
had one but I’ve seen plenty of shots in magazines of pro furnituremakers
who have them. You can get them cheap on Craigslist – less than
$100. You set the knives level to the outfeed table and that’s it.

Outfeed adjustment on a jointer isn’t needed that often anyway,
and only usually for special setups.

A big jointer is a tool for big work. If you don’t do big work, you
don’t need big machines.

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2320 days

#14 posted 12-06-2010 05:05 AM

Is furniture considered “big work”?

View Loren's profile


8161 posts in 3069 days

#15 posted 12-06-2010 09:14 AM

Chairs aren’t big work generally. Some tables are, some aren’t.

Big work is milling 8 ft x 3 ft entry doors out of hardwoods. Those
8 ft. timbers are heavy and have got to be pretty straight.

Big work is an 8 ft wide, 8 ft. tall china cabinet or trophy case. People
who buy big houses with big rooms sometimes want such things.

Modest work is a china cabinet only 78” tall. Such a cabinet can
be built with modest tools of modest capacity in a modest space
without too much trouble. That 18” difference between a 78”
piece and an 96” piece may not seem like much on paper, but the
increase in weight and awkwardness put the two in completely
different categories as far as the PITA factor of virtually every aspect
of milling, assembly, and transportation of such pieces.

Most furniture you would want to build as a hobbiest just doesn’t
fall under the category of the big millwork architects sometimes ask
for. The big machines are meant for such work. I’m not saying
large capacity machines aren’t nice to have, but unless you do millwork
professionally you probably don’t need them unless your goals are to
build especially massive projects.

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