All this talk about jointers has me thinking (and shopping)

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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 04-27-2011 07:25 PM 2398 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1643 posts in 2597 days

04-27-2011 07:25 PM

So my current jointer is a 60yo 4 3/8” Craftsman. Its a good tool and in great shape. It does a fantastic job on smaller stock, say up to 20-30”. Anything past that takes A LOT of effort on my part to keep the board level and true. If I remember correctly, the total length of the machine is something like 25”. Since my projects tend to be smaller in scale, the short length jointer has rarely posed an issue. However, my oldest son needs some bedroom furniture, my SIL just bought a house and will need furniture, and my wife and I’s 10th anniversary is next month and I’d like to build her a large blanket chest. All that said, its time to add a bigger jointer into the mix.
Floor standing, 6” machines are the choosen genre and I’m looking to stay at or as far below $500 as possible. Powermatic and some of the pricier makes are not in consideration unless I trip over a good deal on craigslist. Honestly, I’d love to hold out for a great CL bargain, but the anniversary is quickly approaching and other elements of life are keeping me especially busy for the next couple months. I’ll most likely be buying new.
Here are the models my initial research have identified as contenders and my thoughts about them.

Grizzly G0452 and G0654- I can’t really tell any notable difference between these two products. I’ve heard almost universally good things about Grizzly machines and have heard good things about these machines specifically. What I LOVE about these machines is the pop-down caster system that comes standard. Mobility is a necessity in my tiny workspace. BUT, these tools are on the cusp of breaking my budget selling right at $500 (with shipping). I’m really tempted to forego the hassle of endless shopping and price stalking and just buy a Grizzly. But there are other models to consider first.

Craftsman 21705 – From the pics on, this jointer looks nearly identical to the Grizzly G0654. The base and bed are the same as the grizzly. The key differences I could identify outside a few asthetic details were the Craftsman does not include the pop-down casters. However, the craftsman has a 1.5hp motor where as the grizzly’s motor is rated at 1hp. I’ve used a few weaker 3/4hp jonters that seemed plenty powerful, so I’m not sure the additional .5hp is even necessary or appreciable. The craftsman also has a high-mounted on/off switch, which I kind of like.
Sears prices this machine all over the map. Its reg price is a laughable $619. But its habitually “on sale” for anywhere between $350 and $500. If I happen to catch it under $400 when I’m ready to buy, it may be the winner. The fact that I have a Sears store 5mi away from my house makes it an attractive option too. In store pick-up negates any shipping costs and any need to return it can be done easily. Sears also offers a 10% military discount which I qualify for. But its only supposed to be applied to reg priced items. If it can be applied to sale pricing, that might get me to bite.

Ridgid JP0610- This is another machine that seems well received by just about everyone. No special or standout features from what I can tell, but an overall solid and reliable tool. I’ve almost bought this machine a few times in the past. Once when it was on sale for $199 at HD. Talk about a lost opportunity LOL. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to consider this machine, it appears to no longer be available from Home Depot who typically priced it at $429. With a 10% military discount, it drops to an attractive $390. Other retailers that still sell it are priced well into the $500-600 range. lists the jointer as “temporarily unavailable”. Maybe they restock in the next couple weeks and it can get back in the race.

And now for the dark horse.

Harbor Freight/ Central machinery 30289 – Three things keep me interested in this machine.
1- It can be had for less than $300. I’ve heard a few accounts of savvy sale hounds and coupon wizards getting this for under $200.
2- Its bed is 4” shorter than the other machines at 42”. Not a show stopping detail, but I have a small workspace. The benchtop models are WAY too small for my needs, but most 6” floor standing machines are slightly too big for my shop. So the 4” shorter bed is actually a minor attraction for me.
3- The reviews. This tools gets some good press on the blogs and consumer reviews.
Its a machine I want to ignore, but can’t. HF’s reputation for hit/miss quality is remedied for me by the fact that I have a HF store about 25 min from my home. Returning the item if necessary wouldn’t be too hard. If I were dependent on mail order, I’d probably pass on this machine regardless of the price.

Anyway. I’ve rambled enough. I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have. Is there a worthy machine that I might have overlooked?


14 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2640 days

#1 posted 04-27-2011 07:42 PM

I see you said your space was small but the longer the bed the straighter the joint. It is easier to manage long stock on the long tables too. just something to think about. The horse power doesnt matter much as long as you are jointing a 3/4 inch edge but when you go to the face of a piece of oak the lower end horsepowers load up. When you put a 5 or 6 inch cut on the face, that is a lot of work being produced.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10260 posts in 3612 days

#2 posted 04-27-2011 07:47 PM

I’d buy used and probably vintage, but that’s my way
with machinery.

In terms of furniture making, what scale of work do you
want to do?

A longer bed is really nice for bigger work.

View dbhost's profile


5705 posts in 3196 days

#3 posted 04-27-2011 07:49 PM

Even on Craigslist, PM machines tend to be EXPENSIVE… There is one on the Houston CL for $950.00, and that is for the 6” model!

The Central Machinery 6” isn’t a bad machine per se, but be prepared when buying ANY large machine from Harbor Freight to ask a LOT of questions about how to assemble it. The Chinglish instruction sheets are hard to make out sometimes… Also get after it with straight edges and squares as you are setting it up. I have rarely if ever heard of it happening, but even PM sometimes ships a dud with an out of flat table face, or a warped fence… The only real complaints I have heard about this machine is the fence itself is an old design, similar probably to your 60 Y/O machine, and can be a challenge to adjust. If you are like me, you only ever joint at 90 deg anyway… so changing the fence once set is not a problem… I understand knives / cutter heads for the Rockwell / Delta machines fit these, so more than a few guys have upgraded them with either helical cutter heads, or carbide knives. Aside from the fence non issue, one area to be watchful on in any HF power tool is the switch. Most folks upgrade them to a safety switch anyway…

I seem to recall the Ridgid is actually the shortest bed length of the mentioned models, they are nice machines, with REALLY nice fit and finish to them, just short tables.

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View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2597 days

#4 posted 04-27-2011 08:46 PM

You make a good point about the additional HP. I failed to consider the additional rigors face jointing would put on a machine. Definitely makes the craftsman’s additional hp stand out as a value added feature.

As far as longer beds and straighter joints are concerned, I suppose I (wrongly?) discount the value of the 46” bed of the craftsman/grizzly seeing its advantage as minimal over a 42” bed. Maybe using a 25” jointer all this time has skewed my perception into viewing 42” as “gigantic”. Another consideration is that I store my machines in a somewhat unorthodox fashion. I “park” each machine side by side along the wall when not in use. Most people place them lengthwise against the wall, end-to-end. Thus, the shorter bed would not encroach into my workspace as much when stored. Granted, 4” of real estate would be a small price to pay for noticably better results.

Thanks for giving me something to think hard about. LOL.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2640 days

#5 posted 04-27-2011 08:48 PM

I have plenty od space so I am not a good judge of how large YOUR machine needs to be. I do like the long beds though.

View levan's profile


472 posts in 2944 days

#6 posted 04-27-2011 08:52 PM

Since you like your present jointer, with the exception of the length of the bed. I would suggest looking at a way to put extensions on it. We have a 12” jointer at the shop, with a 8’ foot bed and about 8’ torsion box extensions on each end. I have jointed bds. 20’ and better with it.

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View rance's profile


4255 posts in 3125 days

#7 posted 04-27-2011 09:05 PM

If larger work is a one-time thing for you, you might consider just taking your wood to a buddy’s shop. If you have to do this 3 times, THEN consider a purchase, and not necessarilly a new tool.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2597 days

#8 posted 04-27-2011 09:21 PM


The newest floor standing machine I currently own was built in 1970. I have a soft spot for vintage tooling. Of course, economics is probably my biggest reason for buying golden oldies. When I decided I wanted to become a more proficient woodworker, I really couldn’t decide which $500 machine to buy first. And I was afraid I’d sink $500 into a new machine, only to learn I don’t need it or bought the wrong one for my needs. After some research, I realized I could buy five dinosaurs for less than one new (or newer) machine. Having past experience as a car and aircraft mechanic, I felt confident I could perform the necessary maintenance and repairs. I have a BS, TS, DP, jointer, and shaper. I think I paid $300 for the machines and another $50-100 in parts to get them to spec (not including blades).
All that said, I’m not adverse to the old iron. If a nice 1960s Delta jointer presented itself today, I’d be tempted to snatch it up. I think the only reason I’m not more seriously considering the vintage route this time is that I need the tool soon. I’m not sure I have enough time to stalk craigslist and rehab a machine and complete my projects by the end of May. Thats what i get for procrastinating.

As far as scale and complexity goes, I’ve reached a point where I feel I can handle larger and more diffcult projects. Step stools, candle boxes, and end tables are examples of what I have been building. Granted I always try to challenge myself on those prjects with nice joinery, inlay, or some other bell/whistle.
Moving forward, I’m looking at large built-ins, dressers, headboards/footboards, etc. I’m looking forward to giving it a go.

Heck, listening to myself just then, maybe I need an 8” Jointer? LOL.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4902 posts in 3925 days

#9 posted 04-27-2011 09:22 PM

If you buy Grizz you’ll get continued customer support and parts. Buy HF and get a clerk and a chance to return the item for another that might just be as problematic. Hate to say it, but the C’man stuff doesn’t interest me in any way ‘cause of the continued bad press most stuff gets. The old C’man tools were quality, and I have several. I’d look for good used machinery if possible. Any chance there?


View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2597 days

#10 posted 04-27-2011 09:39 PM

I’ve read some accounts from frustrated people assembling a HF machine. If I decide to go that route, I’ll try to keep my sense of humor and have a stiff drink nearby just in case.
Perhaps I’m over-simplifying, but how hard would it be to hire an English speaking technical writer to prepare these instruction manuals? Preferably a person who speaks english as their first language. Crap fasteners and hardware are another pet peeve. Would profits suffer THAT badly if they included even “B” grade hardware and a decent instruction manual.

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2658 days

#11 posted 04-27-2011 09:47 PM

Like Loren mentions up top, I’d go with a vintage but brings some friends to move it. I saw an 8” oliver at a surplus yard with a $350 price tag on it. I was struggling for my wallet so hard that I didn’t see the “sold” immediately beneath the price. If you’re in the right area of the World, a used jointer can be had for a good deal. Plus, you get the additional 500 lbs of stablity:)

For the new ones in that price range, I’d probably go with the Rigid. I’m not a big Rigid guy but there are too many people around here happy with theirs. I tend to really trust the tool opinions on this site. Unless it’s a heated SS v PM argument, no one’s got any reason to lie.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 2558 days

#12 posted 04-29-2011 09:22 PM

I bought a Ridgid I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

View TechRedneck's profile


768 posts in 2821 days

#13 posted 04-30-2011 11:18 PM

I have the 21705, got it for some ridiculous price about 1 1/2 years ago. Use it a lot and like it. Once you have it tuned it is a great tool for the money.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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