Benchtop Jointer - Should I Buy One

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Forum topic by cutworm posted 06-29-2012 01:03 AM 6485 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1074 posts in 1830 days

06-29-2012 01:03 AM

I just don’t have the room for a full size jointer and am considering a benchtop model. I read mixed reviews on them so it makes the decision difficult. Is one better than others? What are their limits? Any input will be appreciated.


-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

19 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2614 days

#1 posted 06-29-2012 01:05 AM

Unless your jointing short boards 2ft or under I would not consider a bench top jointer because of their short beds.

-- Custom furniture

View SouthpawCA's profile


262 posts in 2270 days

#2 posted 06-29-2012 01:35 AM

I have a Craftsman bench top jointer—- I’ve been trying to sell it for $50 obo with no takers. If I were you I’d put whatever money you were going to spend on it into a jointer plane. It takes up a lot less room and you get a much better edge.

-- Don

View NiteWalker's profile


2728 posts in 1614 days

#3 posted 06-29-2012 08:08 AM

If it will suit your needs, go for it.
I build small boxes so a benchtop would be perfect for me. I’m eyeballing one of the granite models by craftsman or steel city.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

16657 posts in 1604 days

#4 posted 06-29-2012 11:57 AM

I’d think about a hand plane, but with that said, I had a Delta benchtop planer for years and it served me well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View lumberjoe's profile


2883 posts in 1285 days

#5 posted 06-29-2012 12:18 PM

I considered one as well for a lot of the same reasons. I came to the conclusion it was a waste of money. Right now I am flattening boards with a router. For the edge, get a piece of MDF shelving at a big box store. I got an 8 foot one. Put your board on top with just a little bit of the edge hanging over. It doesn’t need to be exact, just make sure the whole board is over the edge, and you don’t have too much (your router will hate you). Throw in a flush trim bit (straight bit with the bearing on the bottom). Adjust the router height until the bearing rides on the flat edge of the MDF. Route the edge off. Run the board through your table saw with the flat edge up against the fence.

To flatten the face, I made a router sled. do a search here and on google. They are easy to make. It’s amazing what you can do with a router

-- Unplugged Woodworkers -

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6790 posts in 3016 days

#6 posted 06-29-2012 12:28 PM

If you buy S2S lumber, meaning the faces are already surfaced, you can use your table saw to joint the edges of a board using a rip sled. It is much faster than using a jointer, and on long boards, it is actually more accurate.

Plus, your jointer blades will need to be changed much less often.

Of course you need to be using a good blade, but you should be anyway.

Here’s a free rip sled plan we use in my shop:

-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2014 posts in 1406 days

#7 posted 06-29-2012 02:29 PM

This quite possibly might be a stupid question, but can’t you use a table saw sled to edge joint both edges of a rough piece? Clamp it down and run it once and you end up with once edge straight, then flip it over and the second pass parallels the other edge. Maybe a 2nd super-thin pass on the first edge again just to be safe. I would think the downside would be more waste than if you’d used a jointer.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View lumberjoe's profile


2883 posts in 1285 days

#8 posted 06-29-2012 02:38 PM

Ed, a lot of people do. That was my original plan for the MDF. I found with a router I get a lot less waste. I also think it’s a little easier and safer. loading up a 7 or 8 foot long board attached to another board on the table saw can be tricky and require some infeed and outfeed support to ensure you get a straight cut. Slicing off the other side after one is clean seems easier for me as it is just a board riding the rip fence and nothing else attached to it.

Plus the router bit leaves an ultra clean edge with no saw marks at all. that is just me though, other ways work well for other people

-- Unplugged Woodworkers -

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2345 days

#9 posted 06-29-2012 02:41 PM

Many years ago (early 1970’s) I had a benchtop jointer. Wasted was only good on wood scraps and did not have enough weight to be stable.
The powermatic jointer I have now is a very much used tool in my shop and with the 6 ft bed I have accurately jointed 8 ft boards.

View PurpLev's profile


8520 posts in 2685 days

#10 posted 06-29-2012 02:43 PM

I would not recommend that.

If you do not have enough space for a floor model – get a handplane (#7), in fact a #7 is safer, and can handle larger boards that the benchtop jointer cannot.

give hand tools a chance

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 2733 days

#11 posted 06-29-2012 03:29 PM

Dont buy a delta I had one and it spent more time getting fixed than it did jointing boards.I bought a 6 in. grizzly and it is realy nice.I should have bought it right away.

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View Dusty56's profile


11777 posts in 2725 days

#12 posted 06-29-2012 04:04 PM

Please save your money and buy a real jointer !!
I had the Delta benchtop jointer , and it was totally useless.
They are now selling the same model relabeled as a Porter Cable brand.
I’ve also used my router with a good straight edge to follow , like lumberJoe does…works fine : )
Keep an eye out for an old Delta 4” jointer , if you’re just looking to joint edges , or any of the older cast iron models on Craigslist. Bring a straight edge with you and check the tables and fences for warps or twists.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View David's profile


110 posts in 2384 days

#13 posted 06-29-2012 06:01 PM

I bought an old school Rockwell Delta 6” jointer for $100 on craigslist a while back and have been happy with the performance. Its solid cast-iron and built like a tank. Its not great for long heavy boards (greater than 5’ or 6’) in which case I’ll just use an old stanley # 8 hand plane and a good straight edge. Once I get one edge straight I’ll run the other through my table saw with a good sharp blade. Its not ideal, but i’ve got a small shop that’s out of room.

-- dcutter

View cutworm's profile


1074 posts in 1830 days

#14 posted 06-29-2012 07:43 PM

Thank you to all for the great advice. I was afraid that would be the answer but still had hope. Guess I need to start looking at how to squeeze a little more room. Very good solid opinions here.
Thanks again,

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View knotscott's profile


6324 posts in 2412 days

#15 posted 06-29-2012 07:58 PM

My shop is roughly 1/3 of our two car garage, the majority of which takes up about an 11×15’ area, which is fairly small. By giving the workbench double duty as an outfeed table, mounting my router table to the TS, and tucking the jointer under the left wing of the TS, and placing the whole thing in the center of my shop, I’ve been able to squeeze in a 6” floor jointer. Dunno if your space is condusive to a plan like that, but it’ll give some food for thought…

I did the layout on Grizzly's online shop planner neat IMO.

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

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