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cast iron or granite?

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 650 days ago 1398 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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shelly_b

841 posts in 714 days


650 days ago

I am looking at jointers and the steel city has some that loom like a good deal. They have some that are granite and some that are cast iron. Neither look like the nfeed and outfeed tables are supported well and i saw reviews that the iron ones were not flat. It seems to me the granite would stay flat better as i wouldnt think it would bend at all…any suggestions? They are around $500-$600 and have the spiral cutter head so seem to be good deals but there are no reviews for the stone and one for the iron…i also like tue idea of not battling rust


17 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1110 days


#1 posted 650 days ago

The granite tools have played to mixed reviews. Sounds like a winner going in, but read the reviews on other granite tools from Steel City before you purchase.
Personally, I’ll stick to cast iron, as much as I drop things.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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knotscott

5367 posts in 1972 days


#2 posted 650 days ago

There are pros and cons with each material. Granite is flatter, heavier, and won’t rust, but it’s more fragile. Cast iron is the devil I know, and I’m more comfortable with it. With proper care and good manufacturing, there’s no reason that either can’t work well.

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

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Manitario

2254 posts in 1479 days


#3 posted 650 days ago

I had a granite TS that I loved, I’d consider getting a granite jointer, however the reviews that I’ve read about the Steel City brand have been mixed. Now if another company came out with a granite jointer I’d be interested….

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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Charlie

1001 posts in 882 days


#4 posted 650 days ago

I have a Steel City granite table saw (35990G). When they make something out of granite, they have to do some things differently (like supporting it). I was putting some frame and panel doors together today. Had one on its side on the wing of the table saw and had to persuade it together a little bit. Thought to myself, “I probably don’t want to be pounding on this on my table saw.”

Probably shouldn’t be pounding on your table saw if it’s cast though either. In some respects it’s more fragile I’m sure. I think you’d have to REALLY mistreat it to break it though. I fuss over the cast iron tops on my jointer, band saw, etc. I set coffee cups on the granite. :) It’s easier to keep the granite slippery. I think I waxed it once since I got it. It’s still very slippery. My shop is only heated when I’m in it. The granite will not rust. Period.

In general… everything else being equal… I wouldn’t be afraid of the granite. I kinda like it. Forget about using MagSwitch featherboards or anything like that though.

Oh, and my experience with Steel City tech support and/or customer service has been spectacular. They are responsive even when asking dumb questions and they go out of their way to help.

Just my 2 cents. :)

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Tedstor

1369 posts in 1229 days


#5 posted 650 days ago

Without ever owning a granite machine, here are my thoughts.
Granite seems like an ideal material for jointers beds and fences, where flatness and rust resistance is paramount. Granite is certainly less durable than CI in that it can break if the machine were ever tipped over or a if the stone took a hefty blow from a dropped tool. It might be a good idea to investigate the cost of a replacement bed, should the original ever break. Heck, maybe a local granite shop could make a replacement? In any case, I’d look into it before buying. Of course, CI can also break under extreme circumstances and has the mentioned pitfalls of rust/warpping. But all said, CI has a long(er) track record of ‘bulletproofness’.

I’m not sure I see any advantage to granite on any other woodworking machine though. I love my magnetic jigs, featherboards, and bases. While less useful (if not useless) on a jointer, they are indespensable on the tablesaw and bandsaw.

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

841 posts in 714 days


#6 posted 650 days ago

Everyone has good points. The thought of not worrying about rust really makes me want it. I don’t know that we will be able to keep my shop heated 24/7 this winter and I hate to think of what is going to happen if my CI sweats! I have never had anything granite, but my thought is that it has to be straight b/c it is stone and not possible for it to warp right? The biggest complaints I see about jointers is the beds not being straight or being warped. I am a bit worried since I know it is much more fragile, but I also know that you can get granite cut offs for very cheap. The biggest problem with that is I am not very close to any big cities so would probably have to travel at least an hour to find a place that cuts granite…I have a cabinet job coming up soon so my decision needs to come quick!! I like the thought of not having to worry about my boyfriend and his friends putting their drinks on it. I don’t know how many times I have went to my table saw and yelled “Who put their drink on my CAST IRON table saw?? Do you know what that does???” Then give the lecture that it will rust overnight:/

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jim C

1452 posts in 1694 days


#7 posted 650 days ago

Cast Iron.
I like the option of magnetic guides, stops, hold downs etc.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

398 posts in 1790 days


#8 posted 650 days ago

I’ve always wondered about the supposed superior flatness of granite. The rock itself isn’t inherently flat. It has to be machined that way the same as cast iron. Is it the potential of warping with heat? Is this really a possibility given the relatively low temperatures we experience? In other words we don’t heat enough to turn the metal red. Therefore, is granite really “flatter” than cast iron?
My tools are cast iron. I live in a moist humid environment. I periodically coat all surfaces with paste wax and don’t have rusting problems.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5367 posts in 1972 days


#9 posted 650 days ago

Cast iron is more prone to warping. How’s its made and cured are critical manufacturing steps. Proper curing can take a long time….months. Cheaper manufacturers have a tendency to not let cast iron cure long enough before final machining, which increases the likely hood of warping after it’s milled and made part of a tool. Granite is machined flat and doesn’t need to be cured….it holds its shape. If that shape is flat and square like its supposed to be, it stands a much better chance of staying that way.

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

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jim C

1452 posts in 1694 days


#10 posted 650 days ago

Cast iron, when properly processed, becomes a “dead” metal that doesn’t move or warp at all. A version of this processing is called a “meehanite” casting, which is used in and on machine tools. (Look it up on Wikipedia)
We used meehanite in the building of high precision stamping tools and dies, and no matter how much material we milled and drilled out of it, it stayed consistently flat and stable.
Having said that, I’m sure the chinese don’t follow the rules of processing cast iron for uniformity, so it could be a stability problem on any tools manufactured over there.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

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JesseTutt

795 posts in 707 days


#11 posted 650 days ago

I have heard too many bad things about Steel City to consider purchasing anything from them. You did not mention what size jointer you want, take a look at Grizzly.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

841 posts in 714 days


#12 posted 648 days ago

I would prefer an 8 in but for the price of the 6in steel city with granite and spiral cutter head it looked like a good deal. They have the same one made in cast iron but the in and outfeed tables don’t seem to be well supported at all so i was afraid they would warp…which was why i considered the CI. I have looked at grizzly and will hopefully get one of their 8in. My other question would be what are parolellogram beds? I have never heard of this and have no idea what difference this makes other than in the price…

View SoCaAl's profile

SoCaAl

5 posts in 1162 days


#13 posted 648 days ago

I prefer cast iron so I can use a magnetic featherboard or guide. Just my $0.02

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1599 posts in 2058 days


#14 posted 648 days ago

Cast iron. How can you use a magnetic guide on granite?

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

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cutmantom

269 posts in 1631 days


#15 posted 648 days ago

parallelogram beds are attached to the machine via short arms with a pivot on each end, i think the advantage is supposed to be easier adjustment

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