Delta Portable Jointer - so so even at $40 and with modification

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Review by AaronK posted 07-16-2010 03:44 AM 18122 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Delta Portable Jointer - so so even at $40 and with modification No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Bought it used off craigslist for $40. I spent about 4 hours on it getting it to what is its most usable form without major modification. I work slow, but figure you’ll probably have to spend at least half that time if you have the same problems I did…. and the other two reviewers here on LJ did too. Here’s what needed to be done:

1. shim infeed table to be coplanar with outfeed. Fortunately the tables are not warped, as far as I can tell.
2. adjust the blades to be level and the right height.
3. Bolt to the existing warped fence a double-thickness shop-made MDF fence.

The new fence is extended to a few inches longer than the beds. Unfortunately, and the reason for giving this only 3 stars is that the fence is a major pain to adjust into square with the tables and it’s wobbly, so it needs constant rechecking. This is a major aspect of power jointers and is the weakest aspect of this unit. unfortunately there’s no way to secure a new fence without considerably more and intrusive modifications.

On the plus side, knives were easy enough to adjust, and it has plenty of power to face joint 6” f cherry and maple I’ve thrown at it. adjustable speed might be useful. oh, also I dont have too much slop in the infeed table as was mentioned on the other reviews, so at least that’s good.

If you can pick this up cheap and are willing to spend some time setting it up, it will work passably for smaller scale work… since i’m cheap and figure that setup teaches me about the machinery and can only do smaller work at the moment, I don’t mind so much. So to sum up, it WORKS but it needs constant adult supervision.

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10 comments so far

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#1 posted 07-16-2010 06:32 PM

I’ve got the Porter-Cable version of this, all your points are spot on. Can’t believe they paid the engineer that designed the fence.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4350 days

#2 posted 07-16-2010 06:41 PM

that’s right – i wanted but forgot to mention that this has been rebranded as the Porter-Cable benchtop jointer.

I would have liked to bolt a fence at fixed 90º to the outfeed table, but the sides of that table arent even 90º to the top and there’s not enough room to make it a simple job. I can’t imagine anything less stable than it is right now – a single pivot point!

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4573 days

#3 posted 07-17-2010 12:17 AM

I have one of these POS and it has about 2” of dust on it from sitting idle for tooo many years now.
They should rename it as the model of ultimate frustration
I was also a newbie when I bought it and thought that all of the problems I was having were my own fault. Consider yourself lucky to have lost only $40 ! I could have bought a real jointer for what I paid for my POS…..Haven’t bought a single new Delta product since. On the other hand , I am the proud owner of two antique Delta jointers , a 4” and a 6”....all cast iron and still rock solid : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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4823 posts in 4620 days

#4 posted 07-17-2010 09:33 PM

One point that needs to be made about these table-top jointers….the noise will drive you crazy. Better to consider a jointer with an externally mounted motor, usually mounted below and belt-driven to the arbor. You can plane away all day while the baby naps upstairs. Don’t consider these bench-tops unless you’re off working in a shed, all by yourself.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4350 days

#5 posted 07-17-2010 11:12 PM

i was actually impressed with how quiet it is! the noise is nothing compared to my universal motor-driven table saw and the insanely loud 12” “portable” ryobi planer.

View poopiekat's profile


4823 posts in 4620 days

#6 posted 07-18-2010 12:54 AM

Aaron, sorry for the contradicting post. I had a Delta just like the one in your picture, and indeed it had a universal motor. If the Delta benchtops are quiet now, I’d consider replacing my ancient Power-Kraft, which purrs like a kitten. The noise, (and the short bed) were the the only things I found objectionable about my Delta, which was prob 20 yrs ago. Ditto on the Ryobi planer, man those things are loud.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4350 days

#7 posted 07-18-2010 10:41 PM

i wouldnt call it quiet by a long shot, but I was able to use it for short periods of time without hearing protection – especially on the lower speeds.

eventually i’ll be able to upgrade my equipment to nice induction motors. it must be nice to not have stuff roaring at you all the time.

View dannymac's profile


144 posts in 3901 days

#8 posted 07-19-2010 05:12 PM

I bought this jointer new, dam must be almost 10 years ago now, my only problem with it has been jointing some of the longer lengths i’ve needed, other than that i’ve never had any difficulties with it. ofcoarse i must say i tend to baby my shop tools, work tools i work them till death but my shop tools i treat as prized possessions. good luck with yours

-- dannymac

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4117 days

#9 posted 07-20-2010 02:51 AM

This little Delta jointer honestly is oneof the reasons I haven’t given Delta more than a passing glance, that and the bench top table saw, and CMS that a college friend of mine had that Delta pimped their name out to… I remmbert he oldsolid Rockwell / Delta stuff which was great, but the newer stuff I have seen of theirs has turned me off pretty badly… And this coming from a guy with a LOT of Harbor Freight in his shop!

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View Blackbear's profile


137 posts in 3104 days

#10 posted 06-13-2012 07:02 PM

I also have the porter-cable version of this. All the comments about the crappy fence, slightly mis-aligned tables and such are right on. I’d add that the blades don’t last long either. I did get some good projects out of it, it was an OK jointer for a complete beginner.

I bought mine about 14 months ago and it recently died (motor won’t start, no noise, nothing). It may need new brushes on the motor or it may be burned out, I don’t know yet. All I know is this isn’t really acceptable for a 14 month old jointer that cost ~$200.00 USD.

All that being said, if you are really new to woodworking and aren’t sure if you are really going to love it and stick with it, an inexpensive bench top jointer is still probably the way to go. You can always sell it and upgrade. Just maybe look at a jointer besides this model?

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