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Are Old Iron Jointers Worth It?

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 11-20-2014 12:40 AM 1763 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1400 days


11-20-2014 12:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer

Hey guys,

I am a professing believer in buying used machinery. All of my current machinery is used and performs pretty well. Most of my craigslist-bought equipment really handles almost anything I ever throw at it… except my jointer. I have a 6” JET, and while it does the job fine and it was free, it comes up short relatively often. The beds are short, the adjustments are finicky, it only has a 6” capacity, etc.

When the time comes for buying a new jointer, I am a little torn on what direction to go. I love buying used and it is typically not too big of a headache. The hitch is this: I see a decent amount of good used tablesaws, bandsaws, and even planers on my local craigslist that are nearby, top quality, high capacity, professional shop material. What I don’t see are many jointers that match up to the other machinery. I love to talk about auctions and such, but honestly, that is pretty out of reach for a weekend hobbysit sort of woodworker. While a 20” Oliver would be a steal at $1000 at an auction, the issues is then transporting yourself to the place of sale and then transporting yourself back with the equipment. Then, you have to find out if it actually works, and likely replace or fabricate some parts. What I am thinking is that even a steal of a deal on a jointer from an auction might not be worth it. Most auctions I see are in the midwest at the closest (I am in Texas). So we are probably talking hauling a trailer 2000 or so miles round trip, plus renting a forklift to unload when you get home, plus paying for fixing the thing up. I just don’t know if the used old iron jointers really are as much of a steal as all of the other heavy machinery.

What are your thoughts on this?
If you are an auction guy or gal, how do you justify it and is it worth it?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster


16 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

8313 posts in 3113 days


#1 posted 11-20-2014 01:01 AM

I did not buy my big jointer at auction but I’ve bought
several machines at online auctions with pleasing results.

You should be aware that the Oliver “clamshell” cutterhead
is considered unsafe these days. This does not mean
that all cutterheads of similar clamshell appearance
have the same design problem.

Large jointers are often listed for sale at reasonable
prices on owwm.org, often by a seller who has
acquired an even bigger one.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 951 days


#2 posted 11-20-2014 01:02 AM

I regularly check cities within 2hrs on a daily basis when looking for equip. Might extend your search out a little further to see what you come up with. It’s worked out for me a couple times.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Loren

8313 posts in 3113 days


#3 posted 11-20-2014 01:10 AM

The seller who doesn’t know if the machine works
is somewhat uncommon. The likely situation with
a large industrial jointer is that there’s somebody
who can be got on the phone and tell you what
you need to know about its condition.

To be sure, bargains can be got from sellers who
are liquidating equipment and know little about
it.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13503 posts in 1322 days


#4 posted 11-20-2014 01:11 AM

I’m very happy with the grizz jointer I bought used from craigslist, but I agree that there are more of other tools that come along regularly. I’m happy with a 6” long bed jointer. I don’t do a whole lot of face jointing, mostly edge. The only face jointing I do is for rails and stiles and I rough dimension them first so the 6” is plenty big. Something better will come along eventually, but consider searching craigslist in other communities also. A good deal may still be worth a long drive.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7705 posts in 2308 days


#5 posted 11-20-2014 01:32 AM

Do you need it? Or just want it? Can you afford it even used if it needs maintenance or repair? The bigger toys are often for commercial boys who deduct the costs against the income. It’s how I think . Even heard the same advice given by the Wood Whisperer. That being said Ive seen specific tool wanted adds on Craigslist?

Ever consider a good hand-plane? LOL!

good hunting!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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ElChe

630 posts in 802 days


#6 posted 11-20-2014 01:44 AM

If it is really old iron and has babbitt (spelling?) bearings, they’d better be in really good shape! And well lubricated. And be prepared to keep lubricating them. Those old jointers are scary looking. I can just see myself getting dragged into the clam shell like the woodchipper towards the end of Fargo. I too struggled with my Jet jointer until I spent a day shimming the outfeed table ways to match the infeed table and then setting the knives to the out feed table. Amazing what careful shimming, scotch, cigars, and patience does for getting a frustrating setup on a Jet jointer to work.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1186 days


#7 posted 11-20-2014 02:02 AM

I have a 8” Delta DJ-20 and wanted to upgrade. I found a nice 12” Crescent that had the babbit bearings changed to ball bearings and was in perfect alignment. The biggest problem was moving it, at nearly half a ton, moving it myself was a daunting task, luckily I only had to slide it off the trailer and into my shop. I’m a firm beliver in heavier being better and as old jointers go, you’d be hard pressed to find a same sized new one that weighed more than an old one.

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

69 posts in 769 days


#8 posted 11-20-2014 02:04 AM

There are trade-offs, potentially. New machines don’t necessarily carry the same quality as the old iron, but can make up for it with new technology. I can give a simple and somewhat relevant example from my own experience. My first jointer was a rather old, used Craftsman 6”, got it for $100 and it ran like a champ. One day when changing the blades out (I believe) I put the wedge that secures the blade in backward. Thank God for the pork-chop guard – when I fired up the machine, the poorly secured blade flew loose jamming between the blade cylinder and the cast iron table, cracking and ruining the table and thus the jointer.

Now, mainly, it was my goof-up, but the poor design (fairly common among machines of that era as I understand it) that ALLOWED this in the first place has since been replaced by a few better, safer designs. I can’t say that current machines have better build quality than the old ones (I honestly think the old Craftsman was more solid than the new Powermatic I replaced it with), but new designs definitely have something to offer in a lot of cases. So my advice is to consider all aspects of the machine you consider buying, not just how solid it is.

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 802 days


#9 posted 11-20-2014 02:06 AM

I want your Delta jointer BigBlockYeti!!! Oh, even scarier than the clamshells are the old jointers with square cutter heads. You can drive a Prius through the gap between the blades on those.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1400 days


#10 posted 11-20-2014 02:58 PM

Great feedback guys. I will widen the search area to see what I can find on nearby CL. I could make a 500 mile trip in a day, it is just the thought of taking vacation to pick up a tool that sort of scares me. And buying sight unseen.

I think one of the things that makes old iron jointers so ominous is how hard it is to move them. I am just a guy with a shop, so I don’t have a forklift or anything. How do y’all go about moving jointers once purchased, whether on CL or at an auction?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3023 posts in 1263 days


#11 posted 11-20-2014 03:22 PM

If you’re going for an 8” or bigger, that is a lot of weight. I found an old 6” jointer, and I took it apart to move it: fence, table, motor, stand. Each was manageable with some finagling. My biggest surprise was how dang heavy the motor was.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13503 posts in 1322 days


#12 posted 11-20-2014 03:22 PM

At least one like mine could be taken apart fairly easily. Take the fence off, unbolt jointer from stand and remove belt. Then you will have 3 manageable pieces to load. Try not to lift the whole thing by just grabbing onto the beds.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

69 posts in 769 days


#13 posted 11-20-2014 03:23 PM

You bring up valid reasons NOT to go this route, I must say. I can’t pretend to have any familiarity with your psyche and thus can’t really put myself in your shoes, but for me this is a hobby, and thus my tendency is to equip myself modestly. That is, of course, a relative term.

You’ve got to be objective and honest with yourself about your needs, your wants, and your means both financial and physical. Then, draw your own conclusions. If you find yourself seriously questioning the wisdom of this move, then I think you already have your answer. Best of luck to you!

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View levan's profile

levan

472 posts in 2445 days


#14 posted 11-20-2014 04:56 PM

http://m.publicsurplus.com/sms/all,tx/browse/search?posting=y&slth=&page=0&sortBy=timeLeft&keyWord=&catId=-1&endHours=-1&startHours=-1&lowerPrice=0&higherPrice=0&milesLocation=-1&zipCode=&region=all%2Ctx&search=Search

I would be watching these auctions. Nothing in your area now, but could be soon. Most items are out of high schools and have not been abused.
best wishes Lynn

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View Loren's profile

Loren

8313 posts in 3113 days


#15 posted 11-20-2014 05:44 PM

When I picked up my 16” jointer the seller loaded
it into my van with a forklift.

I removed the tables and pulled the pedestal base
out using an engine hoist. An engine hoist has a limited
range of travel so I had to stack some pallets under
the jointer base after I had moved the van forward.
Then, one pallet at a time I hoisted it a little, removed
the pallet and let it go down another 5 inches
or so.

A gantry hoist over a trailer or truck bed would be
preferable. You might find a gantry hoist not
too expensive to rent for a day.

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

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