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Jointer and Planer Recommendations

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Forum topic by twelvepoint posted 517 days ago 2480 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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twelvepoint

38 posts in 567 days


517 days ago

Hi there, first post here, but I’ve been lurking for a while. Just wanted to say this is a great community with some incredible projects folks have been working on.

I know this topic has been probably discussed to death, and I’ve done a lot of searching, but I think everyone has their own situation, so a recommendation for one individual isn’t always right for another.

So my deal is this: I have a 2 BR condo in Cambridge, MA. It’s half of a 2-unit building, built in the late 1800s. When my wife and I moved in, it was in terrible repair, having been a neglected rental unit for some time. Over the last few years we’ve replaced floors, trim, remodeled the bathroom and done a lot of other little work to correct the abuse and slowly transform the place. It hasn’t been all my own doing, but I’ve gained some skills and confidence along the way and I’ve done some more adventurous projects like building cabinets, and last year I did an interior panel door. I still have a lot of cabinetry work left, particularly when I get around to doing a kitchen remodel. But basically, I’d say my projects have been mainly “contractor-grade” so far, but I want to get more into the fine woodworking realm and keep building skills.

I currently have a small basement shop with a table saw, slide miter saw, drill press, a small workbench and most of the basic hand and power tools. I recently got a hanging air filter and will be getting a cyclone dust collector in the next few days.

For projects, I’ve been purchasing S4S lumber from the local supplier and big-box store. I have been noticing that it’s pretty marginal quality, and it’s really evident on cabinet doors and it’s hit-or-miss whether they’ll end up warped or not. So I’m thinking about taking the plunge and getting a jointer and planer and using rough-sawn. My space is extremely tight with limited egress, so that’s a big factor with what I can purchase. However, I want to get machinery that I won’t need to replace because I didn’t anticipate things correctly. Besides cabinet doors, I need to make a couple more interior doors, so I think I’d need something that can handle 6” stock that’s 78” long. Eventually, I’d like to do a dining room table, so I imagine a wider jointer would be very important. We’ll probably get another place someday and I’ll get to do this all again! Basically, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of projects.

As far as jointers go, I can get good deals on 6” jointers all day long on Craigslist and I think (correct me if I’m wrong here) a bed that’s 48” long would be adequate for stock up to 8 feet long. I’m looking at 8” jointers too, but at that point I am definitely running into weight and space issues. (I do have some options to use a friend’s 8” jointer if I need.)

The other option I’m looking at is the Rikon jointer planer combo (http://www.woodcraft.com/PRODUCT/2082339/32797/RIKON-PLANERJOINTER-MODEL-25010.ASPX) This is 10”, so I’d get a much larger width than I could get with a traditional jointer, plus it gets me a planer as well. The total table length is only 40” though. I’m wondering if that would be ok if I were able to use a few roller supports, and/or enlist a helper for the few occasions I’d need to joint longer pieces. I don’t have the experience to make an informed choice on this.

The other issue, should I go with a stand-alone jointer, is the planer. Again, due to space, a portable planer would be preferable, so I can put it on a shelf when not in use. It seems that while 6-8” is common for homeowner/hobbyist jointers, you can get 10-12” planers pretty cheap. So I’m not sure why people would get a planer that can accommodate much wider stock than they could joint? Is there a reason for this?

Thanks, and I apologize for the long post!

-Chris


22 replies so far

View MJCD's profile

MJCD

452 posts in 975 days


#1 posted 517 days ago

The Planer is an easy recommendation: the DeWalt DW735 – it’s the industry standard, for excellent reasons. It’s portable (at 92lbs) and a workhorse.

The Jointer is another issue: I recommend finding a Powermatic 6” (yes, 6”): everyone wants an 8”; however, the 6” will handle 90% of what you will be working with, is relatively inexpensive, relative to the 8”, and you can get a mobile base for it at little cost (it’s a lot more mobile than the 8” would be). If you get the opportunity somewhere down the road (more room), go for the 8 at that time: but push the 6” until you can prove to yourself you need the extra inches – this makes the financial side more palletable.
MJCD

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View tsdahc's profile

tsdahc

75 posts in 956 days


#2 posted 517 days ago

I also recomend the Dewalt 735 planer, it just works, blades are decently priced and you can generally find them on CL as well for a small amount less then new. I got mine with the infeed outfeed tables, stand and wixely guage for $400 in good condition. I perfer the standalond jointer and planer compared to the combos. They way I look at it combo machines, at least in the lower end, are a compromise of the two machines, while they will do both jobs theres some compromise. Mainly switching between functions and width for the planer. Right now I can run the jointer then imeediatly move to my planer only set up I do is the depth setting. For jointer I had a grizzly g1182 6” for 2 years, good little jointer, 48 inch tables. If i was running anything over 6 ft I had to use support tables as it would tip a little on the mobile base. I picked it up on CL for $175. Last month I scored a powermatic 54HH 6” helical head joiner with 72” tables and wow, this thing is amazing. I can joint 8 ft boards with no tipping, its quiet and leaves an amazing finish. The one problem I always had with my griz (and this is not just a griz issue but with the straight knives) is on wood with switching grain direction. I work with alot of maple and it often times has grain reversal with the figuring. The straight knives would give me a little tear out. The helical head on the other hand Ive have yet to have any issues. I even ran a piece of figured walnut through against the grain just to see what would happen and it came out perfect. So I second the powermatic jointer too but I add if you can find a helical head one go for it. Yes an 8 would be great but like you I am space challenged (and 220 challenged) but I can see this powermatic jointer and me together until it dies, no reason to get rid of it, its that good.

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

796 posts in 715 days


#3 posted 517 days ago

The width of a jointer limits how wide of a board you can face joint. Face jointing is necessary to remove any cup or twist or to smooth the face of a board. There are various ways you can “joint” a board wider than the width of your jointer, but I have each method lacking in precision or time consuming and never as precise.

Alternatively, you can rip wide boards to slightly less than the width of your jointer, joint a face flat and then edge glue the boards back together. Using this method when you edge glue the boards together you must keep one face of all of the boards flat. If one of the boards creeps up or down you may be back to the problem of needing to flatten a face wider than your jointer. This is the method I employ.

Now that you have one face of a wide board flat you can use a wider thickness planer make the other surface flat and parallel to the first with a thickness planer. This is why you want a thickness planer wider than your jointer.

I find that I am at the point in my woodworking journey that my 6” long bed jointer (Delta) is not wide enough. So I am starting to drool over the 10-12” jointers. If only I was rich!

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View twelvepoint's profile

twelvepoint

38 posts in 567 days


#4 posted 517 days ago

Thanks for the advice. Descriptions of your personal experiences help a lot!

The #1 issue I have right now, and for the foreseeable future, is having flat stock for panel cabinet doors. I think that could be handled effectively with a 4” benchtop jointer.

My #2 issue – not critical, but on my radar – is making a few interior doors. For these, I’d need a 6” jointer that can handle 6 1/2’ lengths, which would require a bed that’s 4 feet or more.

Beyond that, I’ll probably want – at some point – to do some tabletops and counter tops from joined pieces. That will probably be the point where a 6” jointer will be inadequate. At that point I’m really going have space issues and problems moving it into a basement, and my options would be either to roll up my sleeves and hand plane, or look into the 10” or 12” jointer/planer combos. I’m not sure I should be basing my jointer decisions around work I don’t even have planned, and for a tool I currently have zero experience with, but on the other hand, it’s good to have stuff you can grow into.

View SamuraiSaw's profile

SamuraiSaw

442 posts in 569 days


#5 posted 517 days ago

IMO, avoid benchtop jointers. They are useless and frustrating. A 6” jointer is your best bet.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas.... www.awwtx.com

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

472 posts in 1135 days


#6 posted 517 days ago

Chris,

To save space in my shop, I built a table that places the planer over the jointer. The jointer is on a mobile base and I slide it out as needed. The setup works beautifully, and takes about the same floor space as a combo machine.

You wouldn’t have to do something quite so long (about 90” in my case) if you have shorter jointer, but the width of the 8” jointer on a mobile base is about the same as the 13” planer. The height of the planer bed is about 52”. And that planer needs infeed & outfeed tables to control snipe, so I built them onto the table, solving another problem.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View MJCD's profile

MJCD

452 posts in 975 days


#7 posted 517 days ago

Mark:

REALLY NICE setup – I will gladly steal this from you! At my height (6-6), the planer will be at the perfect height. Currently, I have the Planer and a Rigid Oscillating Sander on a mobile stand (lower than what you show here, but on wheels). If I raise the Planer/Sander height, keep the wheels, and place the jointer underneath, I’ll be much better off.

Nice touch on integrating the Dust Collections.

MJCD

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

898 posts in 629 days


#8 posted 516 days ago

About planer jointer combos: Both Rikons (10” and 12”) got quite good reviews in the 2013 “Tool Guide”. So did the 10” Grizzly. If you need to go larger, both the Grizz and Jet 12” got good reviews.

I’ve seen almost universally poor reviews of Jet’s cheaper, smaller combo machines, the 8” and 10”. I certainly wouldn’t consider one without looking at Amazon and the customer reviews. Amazon has the Rikon, too, and it probably includes free shipping.

I bought the Jet JJP12-HH combo (even though I’d settled on the Grizzly) because an incredibly excellent deal came up. I like it very much, and with a Wixey remote digital readout, resetting planer depths (after having switched over to jointer) is almost a non-issue. And I agree totally with the spiral or helical heads mentioned above. (The deal I got was in Auburn, WA, from a Jet/Powermatic outlet that handles scratch & dent stuff; I had to haul it—about a 4 hour round trip drive for me, but my understanding is that they do not include free shipping from that site, which would be pretty costly to MA. You can watch for a similar deal on the Seattle CL. They do come up occasionally).

It does seem odd that most people have a planer that goes wider than their jointer, even though there are work-a-rounds, which are always makeshift. But no matter how wide a capacity you get, sooner or later you’ll wish you had another inch or two.

Oh, if you decide to go with one of the larger combo machines, they will require 220v. Don’t know whether that is a problem for you.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

472 posts in 1135 days


#9 posted 516 days ago

MJCD -

It was a pretty cheap solution, too. Built entirely from 2×4s!

I really don’t know why I haven’t seen anyone else do this before. Besides being a big space saver, the infeed/outfeed beds from one machine act as great staging spots for running stock through the other machine. Plus, grain orientation for stock coming off the jointer is exactly what you want for feeding through the planer. Just lift it up, no thought required.

Someday I’ll need to upgrade to a 20” planer and have to ditch this setup. I’ll miss it.

They are on separate 4” blast gates wye’d off a 6” drop. If were to change anything, I’d just use a single gate before the wye. My cyclone (a CVMAX) is way oversized for a single 4” gate to be open.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View MJCD's profile

MJCD

452 posts in 975 days


#10 posted 516 days ago

Mark:

I’m thinking of upgrading from my PM 6” – I’m doing much more in the shop than at any other time – I’m semi-retired. PM wants $1,000 for the helical upgrade, and I prefer to not do the retrofit – the machine is 6+ years old, and investing in this size (it’ their low-end in many ways) at this machine-age is not my interest. I’m looking closely at the Felder AD531 (12”) jointer/planer combo.

That said, the jointer has served me well; was an excellent investment – it’s handled many a project; and will be again when I put it on Craig’s List.

My 1.5HP Delta DC is well-suited to my 4” runs; though, I’m now struggling with progressively more machines on the line: Bandsaw, Miter saw, TS, RT, Planer: all need access to the runs. My next efficiency is to eliminate the Miter Saw – takes-up a lot of gray space.

MJCD

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View GT350's profile

GT350

265 posts in 586 days


#11 posted 515 days ago

I have had the Jet 6” jointer for more than 10 years now and I really like it, I wouldn’t mind having the 8” jointer for flattening the faces but the 6” works great for me and it fits the space much better than the 8”. I have an older delta 12” planer and that is the one I always really needed to be wider. After glueing wide panels together I always wanted to run them through the planer lightly. I solved the problem by getting a Jet 16/32 drum sander and now the planer is plenty wide enough and if I want to smooth a panel or door I just run it through the drum sander. The best part is that it is on wheels and just rolls out of the way.

View twelvepoint's profile

twelvepoint

38 posts in 567 days


#12 posted 505 days ago

runswithscissors, thanks for the reply. I’m entertaining getting the 12” Jet combo. It’s about twice what I THOUGHT my jointer/planer budget would be, but something like this (or the rikon, etc) are the only way I’ll ever get 12” jointing happening in my little basement shop.

With the whole jointer planer thing, I’m definitely torn between the philosophies, “get what you need now, learn to use it, and upgrade when necessary” and “buy the best tool you can get.”

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

898 posts in 629 days


#13 posted 505 days ago

Just to confuse the issue, you can build a 12” jointer using the cutting head from a lunchbox planer. Google “homemade jointer.” The guy did a really nice job. The one part I might change would be to use an induction motor rather than the planer’s universal. More power, more torque, more durable, less noise. You’d have to do some adapting for correct pulleys, but should’t be hard to do.

Being torn between philosophies ain’t for sissies.

View twelvepoint's profile

twelvepoint

38 posts in 567 days


#14 posted 505 days ago

That homemade jointer is incredible. I wonder if there’s the potential for some slop with having the infeed table riding on metal rods thru plywood, with no bearings. I also wonder if the plywood infeed and outfeed tables are “good enough” or if they’re going to warp eventually.

Still, a really cool project.

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1489 posts in 2365 days


#15 posted 505 days ago

Personally, I’m not a fan of the universal motor powered benchtop planers. They operate at well over 90 decibels. Your fanily and your condo neighbors are not going to appreciate your woodworking hobby. While jointing and planing with induction motor tools is not exactly quiet, at least they do not have the more objectional high frequency noise levels.

Many years ago when I started woodworking in a two bedroom appartment, I limited my woodworking to hand tools. Without the space or budget for stationary power tools, I found a local lumber yard that could do planing for me. I was as happy as a lark and made some nice projects, that are still in use.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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