Need to purchase my first jointer

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Forum topic by Kinbaum posted 05-22-2011 05:36 PM 8672 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kinbaum's profile


14 posts in 3042 days

05-22-2011 05:36 PM

I have been doing research over the past few months and I am ready to purchase my first jointer. As with the rest of my woodworking power tool purchases, I hope it will be my last. I am primarily building cabinets and medium sized furniture. I have narrowed my choices down to the following because I want quality and have a budget of a bout $800 – $1000:

Jet JJ-CSDX, 6 inch long bed jointer with Quick auto set knives

Powermatic 54A, 6 inch long bed jointer with Quick auto set knives

The majority of my large tools are JET; ie. tablesaw, bandsaw and drill press. I have had great success and luck with JET. I have never owned Powermatic but hear they are the best. The only reason I am considering the Powermatic is because it has a 66” bed vs the JET’s 56” bed and it is only $100 more.

For roughly the same price as both of these jonters I also looked at an 8” Grizzly. Although I have never owner any of their tools.

I know that either the JET or Powermatic will be a great choice. I always try to hear other people’s opinions before I pull the trigger.


15 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4123 days

#1 posted 05-22-2011 05:47 PM

I think I would go Grizzly and get an 8”. I have a nice 6” (General) and have regretted not saving for an 8”.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View woodman71's profile


162 posts in 3350 days

#2 posted 05-22-2011 06:04 PM

I would say that this has been on here a lot six or eight if you have a 1000.00 and can wait and save your money I would get a eight because as time goes on you are going to wish you had the eight had six and last summer upgrade to a eight but I cant speak on what your needs are now our as woodworking skill increase good luck

View twiceisnice's profile


95 posts in 2853 days

#3 posted 05-23-2011 03:18 AM


View TJU's profile


72 posts in 2682 days

#4 posted 05-23-2011 03:43 AM

I had the jet for 4 years and after I shimed the outfeed table it worked great. I eventually upgraded to an 8”. Most boards are over 6” wide. I had the HSS knives and I thought they were good and easy to sharpen. I have found that a spiral head is nice to have but it is not as important on a jointer as it is on the planer .


-- Although the voices aren't real they have some pretty good ideas.

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 3231 days

#5 posted 05-23-2011 05:52 AM

I too was considering those two models along with the Grizzly 656p 8” model. What made me decide to go with Grizzly again was it took JET over 2 weeks to get back with me on a question I had.

Needless to say I am extremely happy I went for the 8” Grizzly model. The long bed really is nice and having that extra 2” of jointing capacity helps a lot also even though I usually joint face around 4-5 inches. The grizzly doesn’t bog down at all.

I’m sure JET and PM 8” models wouldn’t bog down much either.

Anyway, I opted for the Grizzly 656p instead of the JET 6”, but if 656p or better model isn’t in your list then I’d go with the PM with the longer bed.

Good luck,


-- Williamsburg, KY

View Delta356's profile


463 posts in 2880 days

#6 posted 05-23-2011 06:10 AM

You cant’ go wrong with Jet or Powermatic, and Grizzly. I’m also in the market for 6” jointer. I looked at the jet and Powermatic. They seemed to look really good. At the woodcraft I looked at these , they had a Delta. It looked really nice and I liked that the switch was on a pole, which makes it more safer to turn it on and off. Also the way Delta Designed the fence system is really nice, (rack and pinion).


Here are some links of reviews and pricing of the Delta 6” X5..

Hope this helps.

Thanks, Michael Frey
Portland, OR


View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#7 posted 05-23-2011 07:18 AM

Knife setting gimmickry wouldn’t figure in my decision if I was
shopping for a new jointer. You don’t have to change regular
jointer knives very often at all unless you are using the jointer
very heavily or abusively by jointing plywood or dirty wood on
it. Modern thin gimmick knives may be less durable. Old-school
knives are quite tough and long-lasting.

Whatever you choose, you’ll adjust your working methods to
the tool. Many cabinet makers these days don’t use a jointer
at all. Surprising, but true.

If you’ve got the space for a long-bed get one. Big jointers are
space-hogs. Extra width is nicer than long beds in my opinion,
but a lot depends on the sort of raw material you have available
and the scale of the work you’ll be doing. A modest 6” jointer is
adequate for most hobby cabinet and furniture work. If you get
into doing millwork for money, get a long-bed 8 or wider.

View KBX500's profile


35 posts in 2588 days

#8 posted 05-23-2011 07:29 AM

“Many cabinet makers these days don’t use a jointer
at all. Surprising, but true.”

Loren, what are they using to square up edges ?


View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#9 posted 05-23-2011 07:46 AM

Table saws, usually. Some guys will gang up face frame parts
and square them on a planer. They buy lumber s4s, throw out
rejects that twist too much. In many shops, messing around with
the jointer isn’t perceived as profitable. It’s wasteful, but labor
costs money and fussing with squirrelly wood slows jobs.

I don’t work this way myself, but living in Los Angeles I’ve seen
many shops where a jointer just wasn’t used but cabinets were
being made. This is not a matter of fine woodworking, but
of making a living for guys working in these shops.

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3424 days

#10 posted 05-23-2011 09:19 AM

I have the Powermatic 54HH with the helical cutting head. This machine has been flawless the whole 4 or 5 years that I have been using it. I set it up the first time when I got it and haven’t had to touch anything since. see the link below for my review of this machine with photos and video if that would help.

-- Tom Hintz,

View Kinbaum's profile


14 posts in 3042 days

#11 posted 05-23-2011 02:44 PM


If I am using a straight knife planer, does it make sense to have a helical head jointer? Would the Powermatic 54A serve me well as a compliment to a straight knife planer? The 54A model has the straight knives. I guess I could always add the Helical Heads later if need be. I am a weekend woodworker and doubt my jointer will see more than a 50 – 100 board feet every few months.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3100 days

#12 posted 05-23-2011 03:08 PM

I’m very happy with my Grizzly G0604X, which is their best 6” jointer. On occasion I wish I had an 8” jointer, but to get an 8” you usually need 220 volt power which I don’t have in my shop (yet).

I’m going to be in the minority on this point of view, but I don’t see the need for a helical cutting head. Straight knives cut just as cleanly. The downside is that straight knives need to be sharpened but they will go quite a while between sharpening. Helical heads cost more, and I would advise you to put that money into getting an 8” (if you have 220) and/or getting a longer bed. If you have the room in your shop you want the longest bed you can get.

Also – Grizzlys come with a built in mobile base that works very nicely.

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

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3488 days

#13 posted 05-23-2011 03:27 PM

If I were loking for another jointer I would not look any smaller than 8”. I did have a 6” Grizzly and it was a good little jointer, however too small. I also dont see the reasoning behind a spiral head. To me it is another gimmick to sell a tool, much like a granite top. The jointer is NOT a tool for final finishing a piece, it is used to get a piece of lumber to final DIMENSION. The jointer is no replacement for sanding or scraping, so why would we spend the extra cash for a spiral head?

Grizzly jointers are well built, and most in the same factory as the Jet, Powermatic, Steel City, Delta, Etc. They are ALL built in China. My suggestion, and only because I am a believer, is to get on Craigslist and look for an old piece of arn, lets say from about 1950, rebuld it and dont look back. It will cost about the same as a new shiney piece of aluminum and plastic that you can buy today which is disposible and you will have a jointer that will last another 60 years.

By the way, my jointer is a Crescent from 1925, still running srtrong. I paid $300 and all I did was sharpen the blades and plug it in.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2719 days

#14 posted 05-23-2011 03:32 PM

I’m a JET guy but I’ve got a Steel City jointer, simply because I couldn’t pass up the deal. When I was looking for jointers, your JET was at the top of my list. I seem to recall that the PM was out of my desired price range at the time. If the PM is withing reach, I’d be giving it a hard look.

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

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3312 days

#15 posted 05-23-2011 09:53 PM

If you can afford it, get the Powermatic. If not the Jet would be an excellent choice.


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