Question on Jointer/Planer

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Forum topic by Mark Smith posted 10-31-2012 05:13 PM 2098 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark Smith

509 posts in 2238 days

10-31-2012 05:13 PM

I’d like to get a jointer/planer, but haven’t even used one in years. I’d like to get one of the machines that’s in the $1,000 range. I probably won’t use it a lot, but it’s a nice tool to have in the shop. The questions:

The helical heads look really nice but appear to only come standard on more expensive machines. If I buy a machine without them is it something that can be added after market to the less expensive machines?

Ideally I’d like to have both a planer and a jointer, but right now the budget will only allow for one. So I’d like a jointer that can also plane at least 6” wide, but 8” wide would be nice. I’ve never planed a board on a jointer and it’s obvious they don’t have the mechanical feeds like a regular planer. Do you just hold the board down by hand and run it over the blade? If so does that work well?

What’s the best machine to fit the needs I described above?

Thanks for any help.

25 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3356 days

#1 posted 10-31-2012 05:29 PM

Mark: An actual planer gets one side of a board parallel to another. That’s its purpose. A jointer doesn’t really plane anything in that sense, and thus the jointer/planer name is a misnomer (it just makes one plane). You would use a jointer to make one face flat for a reference edge. From there you can use a variety of tools to square and thickness a board.

-- jay,

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2484 days

#2 posted 10-31-2012 05:32 PM

A jointer and a planer kind of go hand-in-hand. You joint a face and an edge. Now you have 2 flat reference surfaces. When you run it through the planer with the jointed face down, it makes the opposite side (the side that’s up) parallel to the jointed face. Then you put the jointed EDGE against the rip fence on your table saw and make the opposite edge parallel to the jointed one.

If you were to simply joint one face and then flip the board over and joint the other, you may have 2 flat faces that are not parallel to each other. They’re just flat. You can EASILY fit a 6 inch jointer (Grizzly G0452P) AND a planer (Dewalt DW734) into a $1000 budget.

An 8 inch jointer is easily doable for $1000 or less but you wouldn’t have much left for a planer. Probably not enough left for a planer.

There’s a method to pushing a board through a jointer. You use push pads, but generally, yeah, you hold it down and push it over the blades until there’s enough past the blades to essentially be pulling it over the blades.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#3 posted 10-31-2012 06:14 PM

Since you’re in Tracy I would just watch those Bank
Owned Machinery liquidations if I were you and
pick up a bargain. They auction off a lot of
jointers, FOB them from a warehouse in Tracy.

I’ve got by fine for years without helical heads. I’m
sure I would like them if I had them, but I’m not
inclined to make such an upgrade when what I
have works well for me. To my reasoning the jointer
doesn’t need an upgraded head because it doesn’t
do the finishing cut anyway, the planer does.

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2238 days

#4 posted 10-31-2012 09:26 PM

Charlie, I looked at the Dewalt Planer and I’d like to have it, but I saw some not so good things about it on this website and others. Dewalt is clearly a good brand, but is that planer sturdy enough to actually do the work? Some of the complaints appeared to be about the blades that came with the planer, but those are easily upgraded. And I’ve also seen the cheaper jointers too but again I’ve bought cheap tools before and in the end it cost me more money when I’ve had to get rid of them to get a better tool. I thought I may be pushing it going down to a thousand dollar jointer even.

Loren, the place is Tracy is almost next door to me and I’ve bought several things from them. Actually just got a huge lot of wood in one of their auctions. I did get a nice 14” Jet bandsaw in one of their auctions ($237 and it was near brand new) but they don’t auction off a lot of smaller power equipment. Most of what they have is heavy industrial stuff and if you get too big of an industrial type planer (even if the price is right) you have to hook it to an external dust collector. I have internal dust collectors and under the uniform fire code you can’t hook the bigger planers to those. So far I haven’t seen anything go through their auctions that I could use. Also not all of their equipment is in Tracy. They run the auction out of Tracy, but I’ve seen the equipment in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. When you’re looking for a bargain those shipping costs can ruin it.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2484 days

#5 posted 10-31-2012 09:43 PM

I have the DW734. I’ve been using it to process all the maple and walnut (and some poplar) for my kitchen cabinets, walnut island top, etc and it has not disappointed me. The maple is hard and the walnut was old stuff that’s been air drying in a barn loft for 20 years. I’m still on the blades it came with and they show no signs of being in trouble. And you’re right. Getting new blades is not a big deal.

A lot of this depends on what you intend to use the stuff for. If you’re going to start a business you need more budget. If you’re going to build pieces that need these machines a couple times a week, then I think you’ll be fine.

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2238 days

#6 posted 10-31-2012 09:50 PM

I’ve got a business, but I’ve also already spent a lot of money on tools so I’m at the point where I have to start being a little more frugal. Of course it would help if I could actually sell something. :) I need the planer right now only because I bought a lot of wood at an auction that needs to be planed. The wood I normally buy from my supplier is already surfaced on three sides and the table saw takes care of the 4th. I also have one of the Jet drum sanders and that does a good job too. So right now I have a lot of planing I’d like to do, but that will slow way down in the future unless I happen to pick up good deals on rouch sawn lumber.

The problem with this website is for every story where somebody says something works great for them, there’s a story from somebody who says the item is a piece of junk. It can be hard to keep score. I’m leaning toward going ahead with a Dewalt planer and a less expensive jointer. If in the end it doesn’t work out, maybe I can sell both and only lose a few hundred bucks in the deal.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2484 days

#7 posted 10-31-2012 10:10 PM

I don’t think I’ve read anything here saying that Dewalt planers are junk. I know a couple of professional woodworkers who use the DW735 (with or without the Byrd helical head) and they are solid performers. I wouldn’t exactly call them industrial-grade machines, but they are durable for what they are.

-- John, BC, Canada

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3678 days

#8 posted 10-31-2012 10:13 PM

A jointer is a good choice if you only can buy one or the other (planer.) You can plane the flat side of boards up to the size of the jointer. It also alllows you to plane the edge for jointing. Its a good tool to take the twist out of a board. I happen to have a 6” jointer, an 8” would be nice, but I generally use my Dewalt 735 for surface planing. My suggestion would be to watch Ebay and Craig’s list. you should be able to buy a good used one for under a $1000. I like the heavy floor type, long-bed jointer. Mine happens to be a Powermatic 54A. It has standard knives, but works great. Smeone mentioned machine auctions for used equipment. That would be a good choice too.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2882 days

#9 posted 10-31-2012 10:25 PM

not a lot of money to spend but want to mill rough sawn lumber? then keep your eye on the used market.

you’ll see a lot of 6” jointers on the market…fine for some, not big enough for a production shop though IMHO (bed length is important…6” variety are usually about 4’ long, 8” about 6’ long…I wish I would have had the room for the latter when I bought the former).

planers…people here only opine about their personal experience which contains a lot of variables. e.g. what kind of wood they use, how often they use the machine, whether they might have a “lemon” (check out the “rebuild” shops to see how many of those come out of the factories) and what expectations they have for a $400-600 machine that does what a $5,000 machine does in a commercial shop. I own a Delta 13” and have learned to deal with the snipe and other flaws that come with any of the “portables” (light passes which explains why they built that roller into the top ). I have a friend that hated his D734 and traded up to a D735 and loves it.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#10 posted 10-31-2012 10:30 PM

For planers, the used Belsaw planers can be a great bargain.

Typically they are overpowered and the design is solid.
Powermatic bought Belsaw’s planer design and for awhile
made them as Powermatics. The design is simple,
accurate and easy to maintain. They also will run saw
blades and moulding knives.

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 2441 days

#11 posted 10-31-2012 10:31 PM

Love my DW735 and Grizzly 6” jointer. No complaints as they do their jobs well and blade changing is a simple matter with either machine. Got my Dewalt on sale at HD, and bought the Grizzly used on Craigslist for $200.
Best money I’ve spent because I mill my own wood and usually work with reclaimed lumber which most lumber yards refuse to cut down for me.

There’s another thought… Lumberyards will mill your wood to spec pretty cheaply. Like a couple of bucks per cut. That was my experience here in California but they wouldnt do it when they found out it was reclaimed since it could potentially have nails to damage their expensive machines.

Seriously though, if you cant get both for $1000 or less, you arent trying hard enough. You can DO IT!!!

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2238 days

#12 posted 10-31-2012 10:47 PM

John “junk” was just me editorializing. Bottom line you can find stories on here telling good things and stories telling bad things about the Dewalt. I think I’ll get the DW735 and see how it works. I’ll look closer at the Grizzy Jointer. I see some good and bad things in doing research, but it appears to be tilted about 75% to the good for the less expensive Grizzly equip.

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2238 days

#13 posted 10-31-2012 10:49 PM

And although I am going to use this equipment for a commerical shop, I’m a one man shop who intends to make mostly small things. So even working as fast as I can I won’t be using any tool on the scale of a regular working production shop. This is my retirement job, I don’t want to work that hard. That’s why I don’t want to pay $5000 for a planer that may sit in the shop taking up space and hardly ever get used.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3011 days

#14 posted 10-31-2012 11:02 PM

Get a 6” Jet jointer and a Dewalt 735 planer. I paid less than $600 for the pair used.
You can always upgrade later.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2882 days

#15 posted 10-31-2012 11:12 PM

Mark…if you intend to go even small time commercial and have access to rough sawn lumber, your planer will not gather dust other than saw dust.

Do some math on your projected volume and figure out whether you mill your own stock or buy S4S (a huge premium on the latter but part of that is due to the milling disclosing the hidden flaws that render a board useless plus it has to be treated more carefully as it moves through the distribution chain). If you have enough volume then mill your own but plan on spending some money (initial cost plus periodic knife changes and other maintenance).

A third option is buying rough stock and having it custom milled for you by somebody that has the equipment (cabinet shops that won’t see you as a threat e.g.)

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