The Blue Elephant In The Room

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Review by Ian_S posted 02-27-2011 09:01 PM 35589 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The Blue Elephant In The Room The Blue Elephant In The Room The Blue Elephant In The Room Click the pictures to enlarge them

When I decided to upgrade to a 12 Inch Jointer at the end of 2010 I researched many brands and models. Usual suspects like Powermatic, Delta, Grizzly, General, Shop Fox and even some of the Euro models at the urging of a respected colleague. The Euros were way out of my price range (I refuse to take out a loan to buy a machine as my colleague suggested). While researching the remaining brands I found this video of an Oliver on youtube . The Oliver Machinery that some of us may remember from High School shop is no more. The name was purchased by Sunhill Machinery, an importer of Chinese tools and this jointer is one of their branded imports. That said, I began comparing Oliver to the other brands and liked what I found. Two things stuck out to me as pros for the Oliver. This entire machine is cast iron, base and all, it tips the scales at 1700 pounds. Most important to me, this machine has an American made Baldor 3hp motor.

On Feb 2, 2011 I purchased the Oliver from Machine King in Matthews, NC. I found Machine King through the Oliver website. I contacted 8 of the dealers listed. Five did not give me the time of day, one referred me to their website and one gave me a price that was almost the same as a Euro machine. Then I talked to Justin from Machine King. Within the hour he had called me back with his best price ($4050.00), including delivery to my shop in Kingston, NY. Then Oliver was delivered on Feb 15.

It took my friend and I three hours to uncrate the machine and move it from the ground floor to my second story shop. The building I rent in has an elevator and the owners operate a metal fabrication shop on the ground floor. I borrowed their dollys, jensen bars and an engine hoist to move the jointer.

Assembly tasks included: bolting on the fence, cutterhead guard and attaching a plug end. I was pleased to find that the knives and beds were correctly aligned from the factory. I cleaned off the protective oil, hook up the dust collection and fired the machine up. Assembly time three hours.

This machine does not vibrate. At all. Forget nickels, you could serve coffee with your grandmothers fine china on this machine while it is running!

The bed of the machine is 92” long. The infeed bed is adjusted by a large wheel mounted on the back of the machine. The wheel is very easy to use and moves the bed smoothly. I got the three knife cutterhead because I couldn’t justify $1000 premium for the Byrd cutterhead. I put the jointer to the test on 300 linear feet of 6” to 10” wide rough cut (very rough cut) spalted hard maple. I am very impressed with the quality of the cut. The fence is 60” long and 5-5/8” high. The fence on my machine has a spot on each end where it twists about the thickness of a business card. Due to the length of the fence I have not found this to be an issue. I notified Oliver of this and they noted it in my file. The jointer has a two year warranty and I will keep an eye on the fence.

The main reason I took one star away is dust collection. I have a Penn State Industries 1200cfm dust collector with 6” pipe running to all machines with blast gates at all branches. The way the machine is designed makes it almost impossible to efficiently collect dust from the machine. There are large openings at the adjusting wheel for the out feed bed as well as a mix of cavernous openings for dust to get stuck inside the machine. Four small 10”X12” pieces of 1/2 plywood and a few strategically placed shop rags and dust collection now meets my standards. Dust collection modification time 2 hours.

At the end of the day I am very happy with this machine and would recommend it to anyone.

-- Ian, NY

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10 posts in 3458 days

19 comments so far

View sawdustphill's profile


53 posts in 3471 days

#1 posted 02-27-2011 10:37 PM

Last year I replaced my delta 6” jointer, I researched the oliver ,and decided to buy thier 8” model
but some things came up and cut my funds short. so I had to settle for the grizzly 8” I still regret
not buying the oliver. “CONGRADULATIONS.


View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3841 days

#2 posted 02-27-2011 10:46 PM

Im curious Where is this Jointer made?
The jointer use a Baldor motor which is made in US

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3945 days

#3 posted 02-28-2011 01:00 AM

It is always fun to see what the professionals use to mangle their wood, but it always makes my shop look insignificant. The US motor is interesting….....I think the most powerful motor in my shop resides in my Delta DC.

Thanks for the post, it is just a dream for the hobby shop, but it gives us some kind of measuring point outside our own possibilities, be they space or money.

Alaska Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4738 days

#4 posted 02-28-2011 04:05 AM

Sweet..that thing is a freindly monster! It’s always great to have as wide of a jointer as possible. Both shops I have worked in have had 30 year old Powermatic 12” jointers that were like battleships, took half a day for the cutterheads to stop spinning after you switched it off, but they were great.


View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1917 posts in 4453 days

#5 posted 02-28-2011 04:33 AM

Look at the runway on that carrier!!! I’m jealous!!! Congrats on your new jointer!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Pop's profile


433 posts in 4727 days

#6 posted 02-28-2011 05:44 AM

Talk about “Heavy Iron”! I’m look at the Oliver 10 inch tablesaw. Anybody know anything about those? How did you find “Tool King”? I live in Charlotte, NC. Matthews is a Charlotte bedroom community. I’ve never heard of Tool King. I’m going on line to see what I can find about them.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3768 days

#7 posted 02-28-2011 07:11 PM

I can’t imagine having to get that jointer up to a second story. Thanks for the review.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Ken90712's profile


17877 posts in 3970 days

#8 posted 02-28-2011 07:45 PM

WOW what a machine!!!! Congrats to you! Would love to have a monster like this. Enjoy!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Ian_S's profile


10 posts in 3458 days

#9 posted 02-28-2011 09:59 PM

Steven H- From my understanding the castings are made in China and the Baldor motor and some of the assembly is done in Washington state.

Pop- Machine King was listed on Oliver’s website. I called them up and Justin took care of everything over the phone. They were great to deal with and I highly recommend Machine King.

-- Ian, NY

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3474 days

#10 posted 02-28-2011 10:40 PM

Man I’m salivating. I absolutely love Oliver machinery. I dont’ even KNOW anyone that owns one for residential use. She is an absolute beauty, and certainly an elephant at 12”.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3608 days

#11 posted 03-01-2011 03:51 PM

Go Big or Go Home lol


View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3812 days

#12 posted 03-01-2011 04:06 PM

Ian that is not an elephant. It is a blue whale! 1700 pounds? I hope you checked to make sure the floor could support that much weight!!!

Enjoy such a nice machine.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4013 days

#13 posted 03-01-2011 06:21 PM

That is a fantastic jointer for sure! A point of note here though. I can’t be 100% certain of the present status, but it appears since the web site has disappeared, and the phone numbers have either been cut off, or changed, but it appears that Sunhill Machinery went out of business in late 2009. (I own a Sunhill jointer and was looking for knives for it…). I believe the Oliver name was sold off just prior to that. It IS possible that the former Sunhill company is doing business exclusively as Oliver, and dealing only in larger machines like this.

Anyone with business knowledge here have any clues?

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Ian_S's profile


10 posts in 3458 days

#14 posted 03-02-2011 03:24 AM

dbhost- Interesting comment. All of the articles connecting the Oliver name to Sunhill were from the early 2000s.

-- Ian, NY

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3608 days

#15 posted 03-02-2011 03:27 AM

I kinda sorta really really want one now but dont know where to put it.


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