Eeny meeny miny moe which planer and jointer should I get and go? lol.

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Forum topic by Hotpuppy posted 12-12-2013 03:31 PM 2094 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 1167 days

12-12-2013 03:31 PM

Okay, so I have the same problem that every new woodworker faces. I realize I need a jointer and a planer. I’m initially drawn to some cheap junk in the planning phase and then I wise up and realize that it isn’t going to do what I want. I’d love to say money is no object, but the reality is that MONEY Matters. What I spend on tools won’t be spent on lumber… I need to find the happy spot.

For the record, my taste in tools goes from exotic to cheap. I own and use some Horrible Freight cordless tools…. they have a place. I also own a Delta Unisaw (new), Millermatic 211 and Hurco CNC Knee Mill. My other welder is a Miller 320a/b. I like big, reliable, vintage tools when I can find them, but I need reliable and accurate for woodworking.

I ordered a SteelCity 40300H 13” helical head planer and the matching 6 inch benchtop jointer. I thought these would do the trick and not raid the bank and credit line. Amazon is always a great vendor to work with. Unfortunately, they use FedEx. If you absolutely need it destroyed by tomorrow – send it FedEx.

FedEx must have dropped the jointer on it’s end after dragging it here from the warehouse. The castings were broken. Shame on Fedex for rough handling, but the reality is that a jointer shouldn’t ship small pack. SteelCity doesn’t package the tool well. No idea how it worked it was destroyed.

A couple of pictures for your amusement.

The 40300H faired better, but was still damaged. The 4 screws were bent and it was a real workout to raise/lower the head. Cut quality was okay…. very very smooth, but I could see little tiny marks where it looked like someone had surgically stolen a few wood fibers. I have no idea what that is called or what causes it. I ran a bunch of scrap through it to see how it did. Chip collection was awful. I had it hooked up to a Ridgid shop vac. I think the vac got 70% and the other 30% wound up in, under, and around the planer. Had it not been bent and hard to adjust I would have kept it.

My conclusion was that the spiral head design is not a helical head. The cutters can’t really be indexed more than once, and that chip removal is inadequate. I was worried that the adjusting mechanism was suspect and that it had no head lock. The depth stop was nice, but only went to 3/4. Guess they didn’t figure on any thicker woodworking…

I initially was going to exchange it for a 40200H and then I realized that this could go on for a while with FedEx and UPS damaging a poorly packed 65 pound steel object in a foam and cardboard box. These would have been fine via freight.

I cancelled them and Amazon is great about refunding you when you don’t like something.

15 replies so far

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69 posts in 1167 days

#1 posted 12-12-2013 05:57 PM

I split this to make the post not a mile long….
I then started looking and I need some feedback from folks in reality already…..

I need to build some cabinet panels that look like doors, maple frames. Next will be a vanity in the bathroom, another vanity, an airstream trailer full of furniture, if I’m still feeling froggy a set of kitchen cabinets, a pair of bedside tables, and maybe the storage part of a storage bed. Chances are I’ll be feeling froggy…. I hate buying tools a second time….. but I hate wasting money on stuff I don’t use.

I am a big fan of shaker inspired designs. I like clean, modern lines. I can live with not being able to feed table tops through my planer after I glue them up.
For the jointer:
1) Ridgid – pros it will work, it’s simple, lifetime warranty… can go pick it up from Home Depot. They probably won’t drag it to the store from the distribution hub. I have a good relationship with the staff at my Home Depot. I shop there all the time.

2) Grizzly GO654 or GO452P – pros they look well built. About the same price, can be upgraded for $300 to a shelix head when I develop to where I can whine about snipe, tearout, and figured wood. :) Cons – Grizzly seems to be 80% hit and 20% miss. Some people have had very bad shipping experiences…

For the planer:
1) Dewalt 735X – pros – nobody says anything nasty about it…. it has a chip ejector that could be classified as a weapon of mass dusting. It could in theory be upgraded to a shelix head… lots of videos and support for that.

2) Ridgid R4331 – pros – cheap. Lifetime warranty. Probably all I need for now. Cons – it is what it is…. no upgrades. Will wind up replacing it one day.

3) G0453P – pros- big, can be upgraded, lots of videos on how to work on it, heavy, can be upgraded to shelix for $600. Cons – cheaply built. Requires oil every 8 hours (WTH), requires gear box oil change after 20 hours (which means no precision machining in gear box and you are removing wear in from bushings), It is what it is … a cheap substitution for a planer costing 3x to 4x as much…. It is more than I need and would handle anything I can throw at it. My budget will cry for the next several months as I pay it off.

1 – of the two jointers I listed which one do you prefer and why?
2 – Most of my work will be under 4 feet, do I really need a big jointer? would a benchtop unit work? If so, which one is decent? Many of them look like cheap crap.
3 – What am I giving up by going to a lunchbox style router?

My gut right now is:
- The grizzly jointer and the dewalt planer. Start with straight knives and consider an upgrade later if I need it. I’m not opening a furniture company and I don’t plan to dumpster dive for lumber. I admire those that recycle lumber, but lumber isn’t really that expensive to me. You want expensive, go shop for metal.

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3572 posts in 1141 days

#2 posted 12-12-2013 09:07 PM

You might outgrow a lunchbox planer, but given it’s size, you won’t have to get rid of it when you upgrade. With 12” – 13” of capacity they’re almost as good as a larger 15” – 16” planer, provided you don’t try to plow off 1/4” at a time. I’d stay away from the Ridgid jointer, it may have a lifetime warranty, but you’ll probably need it. The Grizzlys started out as crap a long time ago and keep getting better. Like you, most of the complaints I’ve heard are shipping related, everyone who has a tool that’s been set up properly seems happy with what they’ve got.

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69 posts in 1167 days

#3 posted 12-12-2013 09:41 PM

I think I have read everything I could find in the last couple of days on this.

I decided to order the Dewalt 735x and the Grizzly G0452P.

The deciding factors were:
- I found a couple of people who mentioned that the GO453 had steel rollers that would mark wood making it difficult to take thin cuts off. I’m not running a sawmill… so making finesse cuts is important to me. That made it really simple to go for the Dewalt. I put off the shelix head until after I have some experience with it. I will make a stand for it to bring it level with my other tables for extended in/out feed if needed.

- for the jointer it came down to rejecting an 8 inch as a bit too big and bit too expensive for where I really am right now. The 6 inch will do what I want. I rejected the benchtop as not quite being big enough. I think the GO654 would be just fine…. but the GO452/P has a nice adjustable fence. That was a big deal to me. I like using a wheel or dial to fine-tune the fence. I considered the GO604X and concluded that paralellogram was nice, but it lacked the fence adjustment. Most people said basically you get your table setup and you leave it alone on the outfeed side. That sounds very realistic to me. I plan to run the blades they send with it and when they die I’ll consider the shelix head and see where I’m at with woodworking.

I think the ridgid was a good unit, but the Grizzly is the same money, delivered to my house and has a much nicer fence arrangement. One site’s reviewers pointed out that the Ridgid’s knobs made it easy to adjust the fence, but they scraped their knuckles on them…. Ease of use, quality of performance, and safety are all 3 important to me. The Grizzly can also be upgraded later on if that turns out to be something I want.

As for unloading… I’m lucky enough to have a forklift so it will be alright. :) The forklift will make short work out of whatever they send to me.

I did check craigslist… couldn’t find anything I liked. A pawn shop had a Dewalt 735, but they wanted $400 which is crazy for a tool that you can only assume was abused and misused.

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532 posts in 1344 days

#4 posted 12-12-2013 10:04 PM

Byrd Shelix cutter heads, and enjoy a much quieter experience with near zero tear out. I opted for the G0490 8” pointer and installed a Byrd Shelix in it myself. I opted for a Powermatic 15HH planer (ouch on price that left me walking funny) but for the reason you noted. I owned the equivalent Grizzly planer with a Byrd before and the outfeed wheel stamped a pattern into the wood that then had to be sanded off, that’s stupid. The Powermatic 15HH has a smooth outfeed roller.

Check out my blog I posted a video with some decibel readings for those machines, the planer is quieter than the jointer. I predict new bearings in the jointer soon, should have replaced the stock ones when I installed the Byrd.

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69 posts in 1167 days

#5 posted 12-12-2013 11:14 PM

Bearings are one of those areas things where quality isn’t usually that much more money than China. There is a real difference in EU/JP/US steel vs China steel.

Anyhow, I plan to look hard at the shelix head when the time comes. In the meanwhile the straight blades will serve me well and I see no reason to throw them away out of the box. Might as well enjoy a little time under no-excuse warranty coverage. :)

The Grizzly is a really nice looking planer. There were a few things I didn’t like though and thought were stupid…. they were design things that probably only matter to me…
1) Feed rollers using bearings that require lube every 8 hours. Hmm, wonder how long sawdust takes to get in there….
2) anti-kick back pawls that require replacing the whole thing if one breaks… I hate non-serviceable components.
3) Remove dust hood then top cover to get at the blades. Means the dusthood was an afterthought in the design and they opted to skimp on the sheet metal.
4) gear box hangs on one end of the cutter head and the whole thing is removed as a unit. Not how I would have done it.
5) Gear box requires gasket replacement….
6) Gear box drain/fill plugs are in locations that require a hose/funnel. (per video)
7) Gear box requires teflon tape to seal… really? that’s just being 1/2 cent cheap and it’s what I expect at Harbor Freight. Bet it’s a non-standard thread too.

There are a number of other things that made me go Hmmm… I’m sure it’s a great planer for taking rough lumber down to working size… but it doesn’t look like it would be worth investing in a shelix head to produce patterned lumber. At least not for me. Again, I’m sure it’s a nice piece of equipment. I expect similar sorts of things on the jointer, although I’m sure it’s a copy of another design. Amazingly, Xerox is not a Chinese word. But they are darn good at it.

I’m looking forward to getting everything setup and running so I can start building cabinets and stop building fixtures and equpiment.

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532 posts in 1344 days

#6 posted 12-13-2013 01:25 AM

Lets both chip a planer blade, I’ll fix the Byrd in 30 seconds then start razzing you about the 2 hour 40 step straight blade alignment process until you start throwing tools at me. ;-) If you then immediately chip a blade again…well that could get ugly.

But seriously if you are just doing edge jointing you can get buy with straight blades for quite a while, just keep moving the fence around if you chip a blade. If you are planning to joint boards flat however one chip and work comes to a halt for that whole blade swapping fiasco.

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532 posts in 1344 days

#7 posted 12-13-2013 01:38 AM

Regarding the Grizzly planer unfortunately there’s basically only that design whether its Grizzly or Powermatic or fill in the blank manufacturer made in the same factory. Unless you step up to a 3 phase industrial planer.

Feed rollers as I recall you just drip a few drops of oil in a hole in the top of the planer. That kick back replacement thing sounds like CYA to me. Agree there’s no quick way to access the blades. The gear box, have a hydraulic press handy if you want to swap in a Byrd. They say you can “tap” the cutter head out of the bearing and some have reported doing that but no amount of beating would free mine. Fortunately my brother had a huge press and a CNC Mori lathe, we R&R’d it without any trouble.

Gear box gasket…DON’T get me started…its some kind of cheap plastic I’m surprised it survived being installed in the first place. I cut my own gasket out of gasket material.

The planer is what it is, go up in price to industrial and things change right. Cheaper has its own set of problems. Fitted with a DRO these planers are nice just depends on your individual needs.

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69 posts in 1167 days

#8 posted 12-13-2013 04:04 AM

100% agreed on the blade change. I am pretty sure that the first blade change on the Grizzly is going to be a byrd cutter head for $300. Specifically for that reason.

As for the bearings, I plan to replace them. Beyond that it’s amazing what freezing and heating can do to free metals up. I expect that any Chinese bearing is trash by the time I lay eyes on it. I fully expect to put a byrd cutter head on the Dewalt at some point. I just want to make some $2000 cabinet parts before I start making $4000 cabinet parts. :)

I belong to a neat club in Houston called TXRXLabs and that gets me access to the machine tools I don’t already own. It’s a maker space or hacker space. They have a nice assortment of tools, I just like to leave my projects scattered around the workspace until 1am in the morning when I decide it’s time to finish wood. :) That doesn’t go over so well in a shared workspace. Shrug – that’s why I have my priorities in order.

- 1200 s/f house with 200A single phase service.
- 1500 s/f workshop with 400A 3 phase service 10 feet away. Deck with hot tub separates the two buildings.
- 900 s/f Tijuana building mooching 100A from house located behind house and connected to “garage/workshop” (balances home/shop to ensure 2 to 1 ratio of what matters).
- 1600 s/f parking area
- 8 foot fence to side to keep neighbors good neighbors.
- No zoning, no deed restrictions, no HNOA (Home Nazi Owners Assoc), commercial neighbors in 2 directions. :)

Here are a few fun pictures –
A picture of persuasion with lots of opportunity:

A little project in the foreground, and a big project in the background

A little 3×5 metalworking bench with 1/2” plate steel top. :)

A big project hanging around in the driveway lol.

I took the frame of an Airstream out from under it so I could redo it. It was much easier to work on hanging sideways. Flipping it over wasn’t as easy but hey nobody died and nothing was damaged. :)

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69 posts in 1167 days

#9 posted 12-13-2013 04:12 AM

More woodworking style:

1950 Delta Unisaw on a cart I made with an extension table made from recycled cubicle worksurface. 1.25” MDF with laminate surface. Price was right and I had a bunch of it leftover.

Welding cart I just wrapped up tonight. Need to add another few bits to it.

The pieces sticking out are to wrap cords around. It will hold a bottle of welding gas, Millermatic 211a, Miller 35A plasma cutter, and Hobart MIG that I rarely use but keep loaded with flux core.

These few projects actually say alot about how I like things to look. Sort of timberframe meets shaker. I’m very excited about woodworking… when I was younger I always thought it was beyond my skills. My Grandfather was a carpenter and my step-Grandfather was into woodworking… they very rightly kept me the heck away from the tools. :)

Anyhow, I have seen some really need projects in various books and magazines that will keep me amused long after I build out my first 2 years of projects. :)

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69 posts in 1167 days

#10 posted 12-13-2013 04:16 AM

I was originally looking at one of these:

or one of these

Jet 8 and 10 inch jointer/planers. I concluded that it probably wouldn’t do either task well and that I needed to pony up for bigger tools. Lots of bad reviews on quality on them. ;(

View darthford's profile


532 posts in 1344 days

#11 posted 12-13-2013 04:21 AM

“No zoning, no deed restrictions, no HNOA (Home Nazi Owners Assoc”

My brother we are on the same frequency there. I bought a new construction house on acreage last year and my neighbors are on acreage that solves quite a few problems. Plus I have the only tractor with a backhoe so they suck up to me. lol Zero CC&R’s or deed restrictions.

Sounds like you are zoned commercial/industrial, you certainly got me with the 3 phase power I have 200 amps of single phase at the house and I’ll have another 2×200 amps when I build the shop next spring because I have to put in another transformer. Right now I’m crammed into my 3 car garage.

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69 posts in 1167 days

#12 posted 12-13-2013 04:29 AM

I’m in Houston… and for whatever bizarre reason we don’t have zoning. Deed restrictions are alive and well, but my property is old so they are long since gone. I was lucky to get 400A 3ph. I had to whine and bitch when I build the building. The city inspector argued with me and fought me… I had a 10hp 3ph air compressor at the time and told him I wanted a shop full of 3 phase tools and so a phase converter was out of the question.

They ran a second line down the street and did some transformer voodoo for me… I’m the only 3 phase customer on the street. One day I’ll have to share… but for now it’s mine… all mine.

I have a 240v leg and two 120v legs. My 3ph gear has all purred happily on it, although when I lose a leg bad things happen. My long term plan is to put the house on the shop’s meter to get rid of the second bill and the demand charge. I get commercial rates in the workshop because it doesn’t have a kitchen and bedroom. Grrr. comes with a free pint of vaseline each year.

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532 posts in 1344 days

#13 posted 12-13-2013 04:37 AM

Ahaha Is that a Unisaw mobile base or a frame off a 6 ton truck? lol I like your style. Here’s some pics of my new gear over the last couple of months.

G0696X 12” table saw

G0514X2B 19” bandsaw

Shop Fox W1743 Mortiser

G0490 jointer with Byrd Shelix cutter head

Just picked this up yesterday, a 1950’s 280 pound cast iron 14” radial arm saw, 2HP 220 single phase

I picked up this G0703 cyclone dust collector earlier this year

Here’s the Powermatic planer and Delta woodworking drill press with Albrecht keyless chuck


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69 posts in 1167 days

#14 posted 12-13-2013 04:41 AM

Very nice…. That frame is 4” square tubing 11ga that I had laying around… it looks good and I don’t think it will bend. :) the wheel mounts are made from some 3/8” angle I had leftover from when I made a metal brake. The brake ain’t pretty but it’s pretty functional… and it was cheap.

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69 posts in 1167 days

#15 posted 12-24-2013 07:45 PM

Here is the 735x sitting on a mobile support table I made for it. Just finished the painting and glueing the worksurface on this morning. It’s within 1/4” of my mobile outfeed table (48×48) and table saw. I say 1/4” because the floor has some variation it….

It is out of the way right now while I work on other stuff. That’s the beauty of having it mobile is that I can move it to where I need it when I am ready to use it.

The idea was that if the tools and tables shared a common working height I could use them together. The floor variations are maddening, but I think if I put some space between them it won’t be a big deal. I use 2 locking casters on each table for the most part. The table saw is the exception because it is heavy enough to stay where I put it.

I also made a couple of mobile bases for my miter saw stands. They are barely light enough to lift, but I had some extra casters. This makes it convenient to move them as needed without the risk of hurting my back.

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