Question on Planers/Jointers

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Forum topic by Philip posted 01-06-2014 03:53 PM 1456 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2503 days

01-06-2014 03:53 PM

I’ve been looking around lately at planers and jointers trying to decide when to pull the trigger or what to get.

In my perfect world they would come out with a benchtop combo 13” planer/ 10” jointer that has a segmented cutterhead and granite tables instead of aluminum. One can dream right…

In the meantime I have read a lot of reviews and hesitate to spend any money on something I will regret. I have also found that my original dreams of woodworking where I need the biggest equipment there is- is pretty laughable now. I’m just not going to make anything that requires a 12” jointer and a 30+ inch planer. It’s amazing what some careful planning can do. All the projects I have completed thus far have been done without a planer OR jointer. Anywho, I digress..

What is the benefit of getting the more expensive DeWalt planer vs the cheaper model they have? Is it the dual speed and extra 1/2” cutting capacity or is there something more I’m not seeing?

Also, should I get a benchtop jointer or use the good old handtools for jointing an edge?

Any insights y’all have are appreciated!


-- I never finish anyth

22 replies so far

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2038 days

#1 posted 01-06-2014 04:17 PM

Think the main dif’s between the DW 735 and 734 are, the cutter head on the 735 is supposed to lock automatically upon thickness adjustment, it is 2 speed, and it has a separate motor that ejects the chips. I have the 735 but those with the 734 seem to be real happy with them. I don’t think there’s any difference in the quality of the cut, but can’t say for sure. Like I said, not much for complaints on the 734.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3612 days

#2 posted 01-06-2014 04:18 PM

People who use it seem to like that higher end Dewalt planer
a lot. It’s heavier, which may make for slightly improved
performance. I had one of the DW733 planers for many
years and it was a very satisfactory tool, though at the
top end in terms of weight of what I’d call a portable

I think you’ll get better value in a jointer by looking for
a used 6” jointer (benchtops max out at 6”) with an
externally mounted motor. A modestly sized cast
iron jointer is not too heavy and you can mount the
jointer and motor together on a piece of plywood
if you need to store it when not in use.

The current crop of benchtop jointers use proprietary
universal (brush type) motors. I believe investing in
machinery that runs on induction motors is wiser
in general. That said, the benchtop planers run
on universal motors and deliver a lot of performance
for the money and generally seem to hold up okay.

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3541 days

#3 posted 01-06-2014 04:29 PM

I agree with Loren re the Dewalt planner it does seem to get good reviews. As for bench top jointers ,I have found that there beds are just to short for and material over 2ft long ,so if your going to do work that only requires short matierial a bench top jointer might be ok other wise think about a floor model jointer with a longer bed,there are some good buys on used jointers on Craigslist in my area.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View toddbeaulieu's profile


814 posts in 2969 days

#4 posted 01-06-2014 04:36 PM

Hi Phillip. As my hobby progresses a pattern has held up FOR ME. At first I read hundreds of posts and reviews and ask questions on the forums. I get stuck because I can’t afford what I want. But then again, I really don’t KNOW what I want. I can only guess. So I get something used. And I work with it. And I learn from it. And I work and learn some more. At some point I start to get a better idea for what I really need. Sometimes it’s what I already have. Sometimes it’s a bigger size. But unless you have the budget and can afford something really nice, I really recommend that you start with “anything” and go from there. With a jointer and a planer, if you buy them used (especially a jointer) you’re going to pay the lowest price it will ever be at. In other words, if you find a 6” jointer for $150 and outgrow it two years later you’ll easily sell it for $150. So you’ve lost nothing.

I started with a 6 inch. It worked well. Then I stumbled across a really clean 8”, that after selling my 6”, was a $200 upgrade. Then I sold that to a friend and paid another $400 for a sturdier version. But I never could have guessed what I needed on day one, having never used one and having no idea what I’d end up building with it.

I found an old DeWalt 733 for $100 and have been using it for 3+ years now. It’s loud as hell! Would I like a fancy four poster that’s wider? Heck yeah, but this works. Someday I’ll likely upgrade to a bigger, used one, but I’ really glad that I started with this one.

Don’t over think things like this. Find a good deal that you know you won’t lose money on and you’re up and running… and learning.

Good luck!

View JayT's profile


5588 posts in 2175 days

#5 posted 01-06-2014 04:46 PM

My 2 pennies worth. Skip the benchtop jointer—they just aren’t worth the headaches. For the same money you could find a used 6in cast iron floor model with longer tables that will serve you better in the long run or for less money you can get a decent #6 or #7 hand plane and joint by hand. Personally, I use hand planes for jointing, both because I like using them and space restraints.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3299 days

#6 posted 01-06-2014 04:56 PM

I have to agree with Todd. You never know what you will be doing 3,5,10 or more years from now. Our interests change as our skills develop, so it’s pretty difficult to know what we will need down the road. I can’t buy used stuff here, because almost none are available, but you should be able to find some good deals on used tools there. A good way to go because you have the potential of getting great tools at a much lower price than you would have to pay for new lesser quality stuff.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jmartel's profile


7803 posts in 2114 days

#7 posted 01-06-2014 05:00 PM


Jet makes an 8” Jointer that’s a benchtop, and a 10” Jointer/Planer that’s a “benchtop”. Pretty bad reviews on them, but they do make them.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3612 days

#8 posted 01-06-2014 05:05 PM

yeah, I’m aware of those sorts of tools…. bad versions
of compact machine designs from Europe I have owned several
versions of… My INCA 10” jointer/planer combo can
technically it can set up on a benchtop because
the motor is mounted on the side, but the machine
is about 200 lbs of injection cast aluminum and steel
so it’s not really in the portable class.

A recommended machine, btw. The Rikon 10” combo
is a not-as-nice copy, with motor mounted underneath.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2778 days

#9 posted 01-06-2014 05:36 PM

I started with a used 6” Jet Jointer that I paid $375 for. A few years later I sold it for the same price. They are widely available and work well. I needed the extra width, so I upgraded to an 8” machine but maybe a 6” jointer will work for you.

I have the 735 planer, and I find it a capable machine. I am not tempted to upgrade to a 15” machine, because it really doesn’t change how I build a wide top for a desk or table. I have been tempted to upgrade the cutterhead to a helical unit. The planer does have an auto cutterhead lock, so you avoid the extra step of locking down the cutterhead after each height adjustment. The 735 does have very convenient depth stops. The internal blower is nice, because you can run the planer with or without a dust collector.

I would say grab some decent used equipment, and if you don’t really like it – not to worry you can probably recoup your costs later.

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

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2503 days

#10 posted 01-06-2014 06:13 PM

Great advice all, thanks! So the last bit that begs the question- can you change out the head to a helical one on benchtop models?

-- I never finish anyth

View jonah's profile


1658 posts in 3263 days

#11 posted 01-06-2014 06:24 PM

Even if you can, it would not be worth it. There are good arguments why you really don’t need a helical head on your jointer if you have a planer. Most if not all work ends up getting sent through the planer or cut on the table saw after being jointed, making any benefits of a helical head rather moot.

You’d be much better off springing for a better planer. I think the DeWalt 735 is the least expensive planer that would be worth upgrading to a helical head. Smaller, cheaper ones would likely not be worth such a large investment.

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2010 days

#12 posted 01-06-2014 06:28 PM

Philip – Steel city makes a 6” benchtop jointer with a Accu-Head helical cutter head. I chose to pass on it because I agree with everyone else that the benchtop tools has too many limitations to be worth the investment.

-- paxorion

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2778 days

#13 posted 01-06-2014 06:57 PM

Helical heads are available from Holbren for many planers and jointers.
If you run a few hundred B.F. through your planer per year it may or may not be worth it. If you plane a thousand b.f. or more per year, or use figured wood it may me worth considering.

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

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3685 days

#14 posted 01-06-2014 07:06 PM

I have the Makita 2012NB planer. It’s smooth and fairly quiet. I made an 8’ long jointing sled for the planer, so I don’t need a jointer.
Here is a video on the jointer sled. “”

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View toddbeaulieu's profile


814 posts in 2969 days

#15 posted 01-06-2014 07:10 PM

I can believe that a sled would let you “joint” lumber on the flat, but there’s no way you’re gonna run large rough sawn through on edge to get things started. Sure, you can do that with another sled on the table saw, but I really like my 8” jointer and use it almost every day. It’s just so stinking handy!

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

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