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Thread: Jointer questions here and there, jointer questions everywhere!

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  1. #1

    Jointer questions here and there, jointer questions everywhere!

    So the (mostly) general consensus to my previous topic/question seemed to be that a jointer would be the best tool to add to my collection. However, I have a few questions I wanted to get everyone’s opinion on:


    1. It seems like everyone recommends a 8” version if I can afford it; how often do you all joint boards wider than 6”?


    2. There seems to be mixed feelings on spiralhead cutters – some think them a great investment and others think them to be a waste of money. If I’m getting things correctly, the advantages are durability, cut quality, and noise level… correct?


    3. It was suggested to me to think about jointer/planer combination machines. While you gain jointer capacity, you lose (some) planer capacity and infeed/outfeed table size. What’s the greater tradeoff?


    4. It seems like you can reasonably manage the functions of a jointer by creating sleds for the planer and table saw to mimic the face and edge jointing capabilities of the jointer. What are everyone’s thoughts on that solution?


    I appreciate everyone’s time and opinion on these items.


    Thanks much!

  2. #2
    1. there are ways to mill lumber that is wider than whatever jointer you may have. for example, it is possible to face joint an 8 inch (or wider) wide board on a six inch jointer and i have done so many times. the reasons i upgraded to an 8 inch jointer are: (1) i less often have to resort to such tricks, (2) the beds of my 6 inch jointer were simply too short, and (3) my 6 inch jointer was underpowered. if my 6 inch jointer would have had a 2hp motor and 6 foot long bed, i'd probably still have it.

    2. i think a spiral/helical cutterhead on a planer is more than worth the extra expense, but for how i mill rough lumber i don't think it's worth the extra expense to have that kind of cutterhead on a jointer. like most folks i suppose, i use my jointer to joint a face and then an edge after which i use the planer to get it to proper thickness. i don't see the benefit of having a spiral/helical head on a jointer because i'm almost certainly going to run both sides of the board through the planer for consistency sake if nothing else. thus, it doesn't really matter to me if the jointer's cut is less than perfect (or less than what i'd get with a spiral/helical head).

    3. i considered a combo machine before upgrading my old jointer and planer, but passed because i just don't trust them. too new (at least some), too many moving parts, and i don't really know anything about them. also, the beds on them are too short for my liking. not the best reason i know, but it is what it is.

    4. you can certainly go that route, but understand you are going to sacrifice time and accuracy and to some extent the ability to work with boards of certain sizes.

    good luck

  3. #3
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    I can't speak to questions about spiral cutters or combo machines - haven't used the former and the latter was a Hittachi from 1984. No idea what is state of the art. As for the jointing and most importantly the flattening capability of a jointer - I say that there is no better tool. Every project that involves lumber longer than 12" is well served by a bit of flattening on the jointer. (Yes, there are hand tools to do this but you aren't asking about hand planes.) I regularly glue up door panels, table tops, cabinet sides with lumber that has been all pre flattened and when I unclamp my glue up I need only smooth or sand with a good RO sander - no wide belt needed. The obvious advantage of an 8" or 12" over a 6" is that you can work with wider stock. Too often I am compelled to rip some nice 7" wide boards into narrower stock in order to insure that my glued up panel will be flat at the end. If I had a wide belt sander this wouldn't be such an issue . But talking about jointers here. Most panels or tables or box sides require stock wider than 6" (5-7/8") whereas 8" or less is often just right for a small 2 board door panel, drawer front, or 3 or 6 board table top . It is simply very useful to flatten wider stock over needing to rip and reglue. Sadly, I could only afford the space for a 6" jointer. I make it work but it can be frustrating. I encouraged you in the last post to check out the Powermatic 54A. It is a 6" jointer with a decently long 66" bed. It uses quick change, double sided cutters which is a nice feature. Hope this helps.

    Sam
    Sam

    ~ Hard to take a guy who looks like this seriously but his 2¢ is worth all of that ~

  4. #4
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    Hi James. I have a 6" Jet that I picked up for a good deal used. At the time I didn't have the funds for an 8" nor do I currently have a 220V circuit in my shop. I can tell you honestly that a large majority of the rough lumber I buy is wider than 6". This isn't an issue when making rails/stiles for face frames or small pieces but it really is an issue for large panel glue-ups. I really like the look of wide boards in table tops and similar panels, so much so that I've taken to flattening wider stock by hand. Ripping boards down, to fit on my jointer, is both time consuming and aesthetically a bit disappointing.

    Spiral cutters also offer the ability to rotate individual cutters to get fresh edges...

  5. #5
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    What makes a big difference in the answers is knowing what type of work you plan to be doing, the woods you'll be using, any space or budget limitations, and if time is a priority or not.

    Norm used a 6" DJ-15 for a number of years before he got an 8" DJ-20, but he also notes that he buys the flattest boards that he can so that he doesn't have to face joint. The advise I often see is to get an 8" jointer with spiral cutter head, or even 10" or 12" if you can afford it (or a combo machine), but I find it difficult to justify spending 5x of what I paid for my table saw for a jointer only to have it overwhelm a dust collector costing 10x less than it. Not to mention size and weight issues with some of those monsters. I'm pondering these same questions and haven't answered them for myself so I look forward to the discussion.

  6. #6
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    I went from an 8" General Jointer and 14" planer to a 12" Hammer A3-31 combo.

    Best move I ever made.

    The wider jointer allows you to surface wider material, or skew the material for difficult grain.

    The cartridge knives do a great job on the wood and don't require adjustment.

    The planer is excellent, zero snipe, powerful 4 HP motor, and I have the digital height gauge on mine, excellent.

    The combo is less expensive than comparable separates, the jointer it replaced is about $4k, the planer near $6K, and it saves space and has more jointing capacity.

    They only thing I regret is not buying a Euro combo instead of the separates, could have saved a lot of money.......Rod.

  7. #7
    I went from a 6" to an 8" jointer (and most recently to a 12", but too new to me to make intelligent recommendations on that..... on the other hand, 'intelligent' recommendations is a somewhat relative and subjective thing.... but that wont stop me)

    There were frequently times when my stock exceeded the 6".

    Significantly fewer times when it exceeded 8". In fact, for purchased lumber this 8" was sufficient.

    And not that expensive - I just sold my 8", in like new condition, for $450. I dont like being flippant with other peoples budgets, but you might pay $300 for a used 6" - I think the extra cost would be worth it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    I never found the need to go back to owning and maintaining a jointer.

    I use planer sleds and straight line rip jigs. They work fine and they're simple and cheap.

    I bought a new Powermatic 6" jointer in 1970 and used it in my cabinet shop for 3 or 4 years. I was buying S2S stock, and ran the edges thru the jointer.

    Then I found out it's more cost efficient and easier to buy lumber S3S. A good blade and a decent table saw set-up beats a jointer for me, especially on long stock edges. Oh and even a cheap rip blade won't ever chip out an edge like a jointer knife can.

    Recently I got a deal on some beautiful rough planks. I ran it thru a lunch box planer on a sled and straight lined the edge on the table saw with a jig.

    Even if I had a source for lots of cheap rough lumber,I would still flatten it with a planer and a sled. Every time I run a piece thru I smile cause it's power feed flattening. Holding down long heavy stock to a jointer table is hard work. I mostly mill 8' or longer stock.

    Sleds can be lightweight.
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...ot-Planer-Sled

    You don't have to get complicated on the shims.
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...-hot-melt-glue

  9. #9
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    Andrew - that was an eyeopener for me . Now I know one way to solve an occasional serious deficiency in my little shop. Still, with respect - I would not trade in an 8" jointer for the sled option. The sled would augment the jointer not replace it. BUT - I don't have an 8" jointer so...

    Sam
    Sam

    ~ Hard to take a guy who looks like this seriously but his 2¢ is worth all of that ~

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Granger View Post
    1. It seems like everyone recommends a 8” version if I can afford it; how often do you all joint boards wider than 6”?


    2. There seems to be mixed feelings on spiralhead cutters – some think them a great investment and others think them to be a waste of money. If I’m getting things correctly, the advantages are durability, cut quality, and noise level… correct?


    3. It was suggested to me to think about jointer/planer combination machines. While you gain jointer capacity, you lose (some) planer capacity and infeed/outfeed table size. What’s the greater tradeoff?


    4. It seems like you can reasonably manage the functions of a jointer by creating sleds for the planer and table saw to mimic the face and edge jointing capabilities of the jointer. What are everyone’s thoughts on that solution?


    I appreciate everyone’s time and opinion on these items.


    Thanks much!
    1. I say get the largest jointer you can, period. Take a look at the thread I started on "quest machines" a large percentage of people were pining for large jointers. Usually over time people end up with the largest jointer they have room for and are willing to afford. From a cost, size and usefulness point of view I think an 8" makes the most sense for most hobbyists but even at 8" sooner or later you will probably want a bigger one!

    2. I don't know about mixed feelings on spiral heads, it seems to be pretty much agreed that they are great. Now when you start talking about Euro machines and industrial old iron the cut from them can approach or exceed the quality of most spiral heads but you are in a completly different class of machine. When talking about the average Asian imported jointer other than price the helical heads are pretty much universally a positive. Durability, the ability to replace one or two cutters or rotate them if damaged, quality of cut, noise and a biggie for most people, not having to set the knives.

    3. For me the J/P vs seperate J and P comes down to money and room. If you have the money and room for both get both. You do have to consider the quality of each machine. For example I would MUCH rather have a Hammer 12" jointer and planer than a Grizzly 8" jointer and 15" planer. Getting and giving capacity between the two depends on how you work. Unless you plane glue ups AND you don't find yourself skewing your boards through the planer (less of an issue if you have a spiral head) you would never need more capacity in a planer than your jointer. Quite frankly I think the best allocation of funds is to have jointer and planers match in size BUT I also beleive in having a sander that can handle ones glue ups so you never need a very wide planer.

    4. I would rather edge joint on a router table than a table saw. Facing can also be done on a planer. I can also haul 4 tons of sand with my car but it is going to take a lot more work (trips) and trouble than a truck and trailer. Planer in my opinion are to be used sparingly for the unusually large board, assuming you have more planer than jointer capacity, obviously if one doesn't they would just use the jointer. Doing all your face jointing on a planer will get really old really quick. There are five machines I can't imagine working with wood and not having, the jointer is one of those five. The other big negative for sleds is having to move them and the board back for the next pass, any energy saved by not hand feeding the board is more than lost by having to move the sled and the board. Think about hauling an 8' piece of 10" wide 8/4 stock AND the sled it is on. Some people mention buying S2S or S3S lumber but I just don't see it. Lumber moves after milling and should be milled in two steps even in ones own shop starting with anything pre-milled more than straight lined lumber just doesn't make sense in MY opinion, by the time it acclimates to my shop it won't be flat anymore, so I have less material to work with.
    Last edited by Van Huskey; 02-23-2012 at 4:41 PM.
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  11. #11
    It's all about your budget. If you can afford it, get a 16" jointer with a spiral head and a 20" big cast iron planer with a spiral head. If your short on space then get a 16" J/P with a spiral head. If that is not in your budget get a 12" J/P with a spiral head. The next step down -- get the 12" J/P with standard knives. etc. If you are on an extreme budget then the Dewalt lunch box planer with a sled.

    I own a 12" J/P with Tersa knives. It is great. I use this for almost all of my planing and the 4 kife configuartion planes even swirling grain without much tearout at all.

  12. #12
    1. It seems like everyone recommends a 8” version if I can afford it; how often do you all joint boards wider than 6”?
    Wider than 6"? Often enough to upgrade to an 8". Wider than 8"? Hardly ever but, that's me and you're you ;-)

    2. There seems to be mixed feelings on spiralhead cutters – some think them a great investment and others think them to be a waste of money. If I’m getting things correctly, the advantages are durability, cut quality, and noise level… correct?
    Correct on all counts but you left off how much cheaper they are in the long run. I've had mine for a little over 2 years and at my previous knife sharpening/replacing schedule, have paid for the spiral head and then some.


    3. It was suggested to me to think about jointer/planer combination machines. While you gain jointer capacity, you lose (some) planer capacity and infeed/outfeed table size. What’s the greater tradeoff?
    No experience to share here.
    4. It seems like you can reasonably manage the functions of a jointer by creating sleds for the planer and table saw to mimic the face and edge jointing capabilities of the jointer. What are everyone’s thoughts on that solution?
    If you cannot afford at least an 8" jointer, get a better planer and make yourself a planer sled. I used one for over a year till I saved up for a larger jointer (lost money on the 6" but, that's a repeating story you will hear again and again). i still use it for the rare time I joint wider than 8".
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 02-23-2012 at 6:25 PM.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    The 8 inch is a good size. The 6 inch is a bit too small. I've found I could use that extra inch on more than 1 occasion. The 12 inch is great but they tend to get expensive for even the used ones.
    Don

  14. #14
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    I had a 6" grizzly jointer and upgraded to the 12" SCH grizzly JP. The bed length is about the same as I had before. I use it for jointing only. So I've never used it as a planer, actually.
    I have a Hammer bandsaw as well. The Grizzly quality wise is every bit as good as the Hammer. I wonder if those who complain about Grizzly quality have ever used one at times! Probably not.

  15. #15
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    I went from a Jet 6" to a Griz 8". Both long beds. The Jet impressed me with the fit and finish. You can find the Jet used for $300 or so. The 8" jointers go for $400 and up. Delta DJ-20s for up to a grand, used.
    I finally sold the Griz when I restored a 1930s Wallace short bed.
    I won't go back to a 6" as a lot of stock is wider than that.
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