Suggestions on a jointer for a beginner?

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Forum topic by jm64 posted 01-22-2011 03:20 PM 18802 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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36 posts in 2924 days

01-22-2011 03:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer

I’d like to add a jointer to my tool collection. Would appreciate advice from LJ’s on:
- width. I see a lot of 6 inch jointers for sale used, will this be wide enough for a beginner?
- cons to a benchtop model? I have a small space to work in?
- brands to beware of? Most postings on craiglist tend be be Delta, Craftsman, Rigid.

Appreciate the help.

-- Joe, Cumming, GA

18 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3156 days

#1 posted 01-22-2011 03:36 PM

IMO, you find a lot of 6” jointers for sale because most folks “out grow” them and move to larger sizes. I got lucky last summer and found a Grizzly G0593 8in used on CL at a decent price for 3 years old (not the deal of the century but did save me $350).

How quickly you need a jointer will determine whether you pick up one of these USED 6” models while waiting for a deal on a larger model.

To be honest, I have used the full 8” capacity of my jointer, but do admit that the majority of my jointing could have been done with a 6” jointer. With the proper planning you could very well get by with a 6” model for quite some time though the extra width is always a plus factor.

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

View adam77's profile


39 posts in 3719 days

#2 posted 01-22-2011 03:42 PM

The had the ridgid 6” from home depot and loved it. Never had any isues and i think its on sale right now.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4003 days

#3 posted 01-22-2011 04:08 PM

Your statement, “I have a small space to work in”, will likely be a limiting factor. In my 192 sq. ft. here in Gainesville, all tools have to be mobile, and are moved to “center stage” whenever they are used. Jointers larger than 6” are very large and heavy. Many 6” jointers are bad enough to have to move around, especially for those of us who shouldn’t be shoving heavy machinery around on the floor.

Jointers are not the panica – end all method to prepare a surface. Many of us here on LJ are “rediscovering” the use of hand planes. I now only use my 4” jointer for edge jointing.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3316 days

#4 posted 01-22-2011 04:32 PM

Let me respond to your inquiry about bench top jointers – - DON’T.

A common pattern is for beginners to buy very modest tools initially, out grow them quickly, and acquire better equipment. This pattern makes the initial purchase of the modest tool a waste of money. With no tool is that truer than with jointers.

Perhaps if you start with a 6” you will want to step up to an 8” later, but maybe not. I’m still using a 6” and I have no plans to step up to an 8” or larger. Part of the issue is that the step from 6” to 8” usually means going from 110 volts to 220 volts.

8iowa’s point about hand planes is also valid and applicable to me. On those occasions where I need something bigger than a 6”, I have the hand plane option and I rather enjoy using a hand plane. In fact, I often use a hand plane on a board that I could use on my 6” jointer.

I would steer to towards Grizzly. All their jointers have built in wheels and they are solid and dependable. If space is an issue you may want a shorter table, but I would recommend the longest table you can handle in your shop.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View brtech's profile


1054 posts in 3164 days

#5 posted 01-22-2011 05:21 PM

I’d say look on Craigslist for a good used 6” floor model. I got a nice Jet one for $220 with a mobile base. It’s in good shape, and works well. I agree with richgreer that the benchtop ones aren’t enough tool for common tasks. Of course, you can always buy new, and if you can afford an 8” helical scan, then do it.

View jm64's profile


36 posts in 2924 days

#6 posted 01-22-2011 08:41 PM

Thanks for all advice. I’ll keep looking for a deal and let you know what I end up with.

-- Joe, Cumming, GA

View Kevin's profile


466 posts in 3447 days

#7 posted 01-22-2011 10:43 PM

220 for a jet is a pretty good deal there brtech. I would start with a 6” jointer as well. I started out with a 4” benchtop that was handed down to me, but outgrew that quick. It’s hard to joint 5’ boards by yourself on those.

Unless you are really into jointing/facing wide boards on a regular basis I would suggest a 6” like others have said. $500 bucks gets you a nice 6” grizzly jointer with a mobile base including shipping. You may be able to find a really nice used one close by that is cheaper, just examine it and test it to make sure it’s in good condition.

Best of luck,


-- Williamsburg, KY

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3567 days

#8 posted 01-22-2011 11:25 PM

I have a general international 8”. I consider myself still a beginner but played around enough to know I would get frustrated with anything smaller – especially since I want to delve into making furniture, cabinets. etc. It takes space for sure, but it’s worth it.

View JuniorJoiner's profile


488 posts in 3682 days

#9 posted 01-22-2011 11:28 PM

my advice would be to look for a vintage model on craigs list or a used site. older 6 inch benchtop jointers were precise cast iron machines made to do a lifetime of work. they are usually available reasonably priced, just needing a tuneup. the benefit is cost saving, no plastic parts, and if you decide to upgrade, the machine will still have value.
I suggest looking for an older walker turner, delta, beaver, craftsman, etc, brands that used to make a decent product. I use an Inca, but they are hard to find and expensive.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3889 days

#10 posted 01-22-2011 11:45 PM

A 6” jointer is adequate for almost all work. I’ve had bigger jointers
and unless you’re making beds or other large furniture pieces, you
won’t need a really long bed that often.

I’d stay away from benchtop (or variable speed) jointers. They run
on universal motors that are noisy and wear out more quickly than
the old belt-drive.

Look around and you should be able to find a solid, used belt-drive
jointer with a metal cabinet or stand for $100, used. I wouldn’t
fixate on the brand much, but do check the tables for straightness
with a level. Look for Delta, Rockwell, Craftsman.

I’d say get 42” or longer beds if you can find one with them and
the price is right, but a shorter-bed craftsman or Delta could still
be a good deal.

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 3055 days

#11 posted 01-23-2011 12:18 AM

Check out the site. Enter your region and select the machinery and equipment categories on the left side of screen. I have seen great buys on equipment from tech schools and public schools.

A 6 inch jointer is adequate for most needs. I do woodworking professionally and I do all mine on a six inch jointer. Sure 8 inch would be nice, but it is not a have-to-have item. I use other techniques on wood to avoid facing on jointers, which is not the safest operation to perform and I don’t recommend it unless absolutely necessary. A 6 inch should be more than enough for cleaning the edges of your wood. I am partial to Powermatic and Jet jointers, but they can be pricey. Grizzly jointers have received great reviews. You can also accomplish a lot with a router if used properly.

Good luck.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View jack1's profile


2117 posts in 4269 days

#12 posted 01-23-2011 01:46 AM

I’ve had the rigid for over 6 years and am very satisfied, besides it has a lifetime warranty. I’d like a bigger one sure but I don’t need it for most work. Get a floor model whatever you decide since they are heavier and cut better.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View iamwelty's profile


262 posts in 3357 days

#13 posted 01-23-2011 01:51 AM

jump on a Ridgid, if you can still find one

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View MrDan's profile


209 posts in 3529 days

#14 posted 01-23-2011 01:58 AM

I’m in agreement with most of the above posters. Stay clear of bench tops and if you’re limited on space, money, or electrical options (220V) don’t bother with a 8”. A good 6” will go a long way. I looked on CL for one awhile back but when I finally found what I thought was a decent one, turned out the fence was warped. So make sure you bring a reliable straightedge and a try square if buying used. I ended up buying the Ridgid 6” at Home Depot for $139 new. It was on sale and if you bring in a HF 20% off coupon, they will honor it. (they honor competitors coupons) So you might be able to get a great deal like I did if you time it right…

View Sarit's profile


550 posts in 3381 days

#15 posted 01-23-2011 10:55 AM

I’m debating between a 6” and 8” myself. I think I will go with 6 and buy it used, unless I can get that ridgid for 139. Right now I see a used ridgid on CL for 150. My reasoning is that there are other ways of flattening boards over 6 and if I really need a jointer for that operation, I can always have my local woodcraft do it for a modest fee. Plus if I decide to upgrade, I will prolly get my money back on CL.

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