Noob getting Jointer & Planer - need advice please

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Forum topic by cuttwice posted 12-06-2011 08:01 PM 2428 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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60 posts in 2650 days

12-06-2011 08:01 PM

I’m finally setting up the shop I’ve been lusting after for a couple of years (OK, maybe not exactly the shop I’ve been lusting after, but as close as my resources will allow), and I’m going to have room for a jointer and planer.

It seems the more critical of the two machines is the jointer (at least, it seems that way to me – I’m tired of chasing a reference edge!), so I’ve been thinking that’s where I’ll invest most of the money for this pair of machines. After reading numerous posts here and elsewhere from those who bought 6” jointers and wish they’d spent the money for an 8” model, I’m going to try to reach that far. I also read an article in FWW recently that extolled the virtues (and long-term economy) of helical cutterheads, so I think that’s worth it too.

I realize that leaves me in the fairly spendy machine market segment, but I hope it will be worth it in the long run. I’m also stuck buying new, I think, for two reasons: first, I’ve been trolling on Craigslist in my area (Long Island, NY), and haven’t found much that’s interesting, and second, while I’m not a terrible wrench, I have my doubts about whether my gifts extend to rebuilding a machine that has some serious flaw I can’t see before the check clears.

I think I’m down to a Grizzly G0490, and I’ll get a replacement Byrd head for it, which will cost me about $100 more than the Grizzly spiral head, but gets me shearing teeth instead of straight ones.

Having administered that beating to my wallet, I’m thinking that the most planer I can reasonably afford will be either a DeWalt DW735 or a Grizzly G0689 lunchbox planer (it seems to me that after that price range, there’s a substantial jump in price that I can’t swing, but I’d be happy to be corrected about that if anyone has an alternative recommendation).

So, that’s the plan. Here are the associated questions:
1 – Do you all agree that this is a reasonable plan, as far as the emphasis on the jointer is concerned? Am I getting in too deep for a first machine?
2 – I’ve read good reviews here, but any input on this jointer in particular? Is the parallelogram worth the extra $170?
3 – The tech guy at Grizzly said he thought the replacement process for the cutterhead, while time-consuming, wasn’t particularly technically difficult, particularly if I got new bearings and pillow blocks with the new head. Has anyone tried this with one of these machines, and if so, how did it go?
4 – I’ve read a lot of good remarks about the DW735, but can’t find much about the G0689 (which is roughly $200 cheaper). Does anyone have any experience with this planer, or any input about how it might compare with the DeWalt?

Thanks very much in advance for any comments.

- John

21 replies so far

View michelletwo's profile


2727 posts in 2980 days

#1 posted 12-06-2011 08:14 PM

Are you going to be buying all rough wood? Will everything be 8-10 ft long? i’ve got a 6” jointer and have made very tall furniture and had no problem. My personal opinion is that much$$$ in a jointer way beyond what I would spend. heck if you don’t make stuff real long, but once and a while a plane would suffice. You can always make an extension table for the 6” and joint edges . You can take the cutterhead cover off & get 8” wide cuts on most 6” jointers. Or heck, you can joint flat work on a router table. many ways to skin a cat here.
I have the for me. Does a great job. From my dealings & readings the griz may snipe a bit….or more than a do get what you pay for in machinery,this info was worth what you paid for it!!! :-D

View ShaneA's profile


6909 posts in 2562 days

#2 posted 12-06-2011 08:18 PM

John, I think investing in a good 8” jointer makes sense. Maybe you can come across a good deal on a 15” planer with an induction motor. The dw735 can get pretty spendy by the time you add accessories. Good luck.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10350 posts in 3393 days

#3 posted 12-06-2011 08:26 PM

I work a lot of rough stuff into furniture, also. My 6” jointer serves me well, as does my lunch box planer. I would certainly recommend the Byrd heads for both units.
As to obtaining a flat reference surface on wider stock, as michelletwo posted, there are myriads of ways to do it. None of which nearly approach the difference in cost between the 6” and 8” jointer.
To add to his post too, you can use the planer and job specific sleds to flatten up to 13” wide.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View cuttwice's profile


60 posts in 2650 days

#4 posted 12-06-2011 08:32 PM

Hi Michelle -

Thanks for an interesting perspective – you may well be right, and I’ll think about that. I could spend the extra money on wood, which might also be useful! :)

BTW, love the sig line, and I’m just bowled over by your work (sorry, couldn’t resist) – beautiful designs and gorgeous execution!

Thanks again for replying,
- John

View Loren's profile (online now)


10254 posts in 3612 days

#5 posted 12-06-2011 09:25 PM

If you’re looking at 8” jointers you are also looking at 220 volt machinery.

I recommend skipping the disposable 110 volt planers and getting
a used Belsaw or similar. There’s not much to go wrong with them,
parts are easy to get and they are usually driven by overpowered motors.
Add to that they can be got cheaply. Powermatic bought the company
in the 80s and some Powermatic planers share the same basic guts.

The universal motors on the lunchbox planers are also really loud, which
I dislike personally as it makes you think twice about flipping on the
planer at 10pm to do one quick pass.

You drop a lot of cash buying machinery new. Generally resale value
plunges to the 50-80% range as soon as the machine gets off the truck.

In your area you have great access to used machinery. Lots of pro
shops shutting down and pro furniture guys doing various upsizing
and downsizing in major metropolitan regions like yours.

View doyoulikegumwood's profile


384 posts in 3956 days

#6 posted 12-06-2011 10:13 PM

Well let me trow in another thought i have a buddy that has a grizzly combo machine
He absolutely loves it. a 12” jointer that converts to a 12’ planer and for their cheapest one the price is on par with what you have mentioned. I know I would love a 12” jointer.

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2831 days

#7 posted 12-06-2011 10:44 PM

I sure do like my 8 inch powermatic joiner.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View cuttwice's profile


60 posts in 2650 days

#8 posted 12-07-2011 10:39 AM

Thanks all for your replies. Shane, yours is the view that brought me to the 8” machine in the first place, but Michelle & Gene make an interesting point – I’m going to think for a day or two about whether (and how soon) I’ll need the 8” capacity.

Loren, you’re right that 220 doesn’t bother me. The saw I’m upgrading to is a 220 machine, and I have the sub-panel to support it. I’m also well aware of the premium for buying new equipment, and the bargains that can be had if one can find old machines that have already depreciated. However, as I said in my original post, despite the putative great access to used machinery, I haven’t had much luck finding good candidates in my area. Cragslist hasn’t been much help (I’ve been trolling for a few weeks without success), and while there are a couple of tool suppliers in our area that handle used gear, they tend to offer really big commercial machines that are three phase (which I don’t have at my house) or machines that would require skills I don’t have to maintain or recondition. My shop is in an old barn that’s around 100’ from my house, I have and wear hearing protection when using most machines, and the closest neighbor is a school for the deaf, so I’m unlikely to bother those folks. In short, the noise isn’t an issue for me, so there’s less penalty for a “disposable” planer with a universal motor. You’ve reminded me that I do have a friend that builds high-end custom furniture, though, and I’ll see if he has any thoughts.

Doyoulikegumwood, your friend’s solution intrigued me (and I imagine a 12” jointer would be interesting, though I’m really not sure I need it), but I have heard that combo machines sometimes suffer from a “neither fish nor fowl” syndrome, where the requirements of accessing both sides of the cutterhead make both functions of those machines a bit clumsy to operate. If your buddy’s happy with his and doesn’t find that to be so, maybe the combo is worth another look. Thanks for the thought.

Helluvawreck, I’m sure I’d like your Powermatic 8” jointer too, but unfortunately, the Powermatics I’ve found have been a) new and b) prohibitively expensive. I’m afraid I’m going to have to live with my envy a bit longer! :)

Thanks again all for your thoughts. It’s great to have such a resource close at hand!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10350 posts in 3393 days

#9 posted 12-07-2011 04:46 PM

Not to belabor the point, however, I guess I will anyway.:-)
Most of my air dried rough stock (Mesquite) is cut with my chainsaw and a guide. I usually cut slabs 3” thick and not the best for flat, believe me.
From the chain saw, the stock goes to the planer. Using a sled and wedges, a true flat surface is obtained.
Then to the band saw to get one semi smooth and flat edge. At that point I can either resaw the slab or joint it if necessary.
The point is, my 6” jointer could be a 4” and still accomplish the tasks necessary to bring rough stock to useable cabinet or furniture material.
Were I you, I would get a 6” jointer and spend the difference + on a 15” planer. As ShaneA mentioned, a DeWalt with the necessary add ons can get pretty spendy, anyway.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2814 days

#10 posted 12-07-2011 08:00 PM

I am currently getting glass smooth jointing from my Powermatic 8”. Straight knives, old school.

I’m not saying that helical wouldn’t be better—I believe it would—but for me, in a professional shop, I’ll put that money elsewhere. I have a second set of knives, so there is always a sharp set available if some kind of knot-knick event occurs. (BTW, the bed is 65”. If the prices were equal, a shorter bed 8” vs. a longer bed 6”, I’d take the longer bed 6”.)

I used to have a 20” Jet planer, but I could never get it to cut as beautifully as my old 15 did, so I sold the 20 and got a 15. Straight knives.

So, from my perspective as someone who is very concerned about depending on my tools, my money would go, indeed, for an 8” jointer and a 15” planer.

Just as a yardstick, from the Grizzly catalog:

GO 656P 8” jointer $775
GO 453 15” planer $1050

Jet via Amazon:

708458K 8” jointer $1239
708538 15” planer $1710

(no shipping included in these numbers.)

I may not have all my apples in a row here, but for the purpose of illustration this will work.

If I lost those two extant tools—they were teleported to Loren’s shop, for example—I would look at this kind of budget to replace them, to put me back where I was, which was adequate.

If my pockets were jinglin’, I’d certainly look at the upgrade to helical/spiral adventures.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View ShaneA's profile


6909 posts in 2562 days

#11 posted 12-07-2011 08:04 PM

Another thing about the jointer or combo machines that is important is the bed length. Longer, to me is way better. The combo machines are pretty short if I remember correctly.

View brtech's profile


1028 posts in 2887 days

#12 posted 12-07-2011 08:19 PM

I’ll be a contrarian.

First of all, having both, I would give up the jointer before I gave up the planer. You can feed a non flat piece of stock through a planer using a sled to get a flat side, but you can’t use a jointer to get planes parallel to one another.

I also think that a used lower range 6” jointer is the right first jointer to get. I have a Jet floor model I got for $220 on CL. It has regular knives. Yes, I get a bit of snipe, but nothing I can’t deal with. Learning how to effectively use a jointer takes some time.

The planer is pretty simple to use. Yes, the lunchbox planers are noisy, and somewhat underpowered. The latter is pretty easy to deal with – take smaller cuts. I’m not a production shop, a few more passes isn’t a problem.

I got my Rigid 13” for $200 on CL. Works great.

So, for $420 I can take rough lumber to S4S at the thickness I need.

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2657 days

#13 posted 12-07-2011 08:27 PM

I’ve got a PM 6” and a DW735. I’ve never found the need for anything more. Although I like having a jointer, it’s a big piece of equipment and I prefer to edge joint with a plane. I reserve the jointer really for only very rough stock. That being said, if I had it to do over again, I’d go Loren’s route and buy a nice big stationary planer. Find one that you can drop an aftermarket carbide into if you like. Buy yourself a nice jointer plane and save up for the jointer. Maybe you could find a nice vintage 8” that would also accept a carbide head. I think vintage is money well spent.

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

View cuttwice's profile


60 posts in 2650 days

#14 posted 12-07-2011 10:05 PM

Gene, your point is well taken, though I’d love to read some more about the sled and wedge technique for jointing with a planer. Anyone have a suggestion about where to go to do that?

Lee, ShaneA, brtech, and Bertha, thanks for the perspectives. It looks like I may have to recalculate my priorities. Got a stable door to build, so I’ll mull while building it.

Thanks again all…

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2657 days

#15 posted 12-07-2011 10:10 PM

Here’s something to mull while you’re mulling:

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

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