Powermatic - 54A 6-Inch Jointer (Rating: 5)

A former coworker set up a garage shop when he retired and decked it out with very nice Powermatic tools all purchased as a package deal. Now, 8 years later, his health has failed and he's selling his house and liquidating his shop. I was really happy when he called to give me first dibs, and purchased this jointer for a VERY good price. All of his tools were lightly used and in very good condition.

I had to break down the machine to get it down my basement steps, and is just got it set up earlier today. I'm so impressed that I wanted to do a preliminary review.

The jointer is a heavy beast and is very stout, weighing in at 334 lbs with 66" total table length. The fence alone weighs -75 lbs.

I've read negative reviews about the quality of the paint job on these jointers, but this one looks great. The base appears to be powder coated, and the castings were sprayed after they were assembled (painted over the gib screws). If there was over spray from the factory, it's long since rubbed off

My friend is a pretty decent woodworker, but he's not a super fussy type. When I asked him if he had a blade setting jig he handed me a planer blade jig and I realized that he had never changed the blades and the alignment was as delivered from the factory. And that's what I have to rave about.

The blade height is the exactly the same for all three blades, and they are just a whisper above the out feed table. They are so close that I believe I will only make things worse if I try to adjust them further.

Wood Rectangle Flooring Floor Wood stain

I've heard complaints about the tables on this jointer slumping over time, and I was worried about this, as parallelism is really important to me. When checked individually with a precision ground AL straight edge each table was dead flat, and I couldn't get a .001" feeler gage to slip in anywhere. When I raised up the infeed table flush to the outfeed and checked for slump, I could just sneak the .002" feeler in at about 2/3 of the way out to the end, and could not get a .003" feeler in any where at all. In my estimation, this is VERY good for any machine. But given that I believe I evaluating the factory setup from 8 years ago, I'd say it is amazing.

Hood Wood Bumper Automotive exterior Grille

Wood Automotive exterior Bumper Flooring Floor

Wood Bumper Automotive exterior Floor Grille

Keep in mind that a sheet of paper is .004" thick.

Watch Wood Analog watch Clock Measuring instrument

When I re-mounted the fence I adjusted it to the 90 degree stop and checked it with a digital angle gage. It read 89.9 degrees from one end to the other…. Not to shabby.

I like the fence mechanism a lot, but suspect I'll rarely move it. The fence is ground with an ever so slight cup from bottom to top, letting just a whisper of light sneak by my square blade, but I don't think this will be a problem.

The jointer came with a nice reinforced industrial duty belt and robust solid steel (not pot metal) sheeves and ran quietly enough, but since I had a good length of segmented belt on hand, I changed it out and it's now even quieter. The segmented belt rides higher in the sheeves and made momentary contact with the sheet metal belt guard during start up, so I bent the guard out slightly with pliers to give more clearance.

My friend had purchased the Powermatic mobile bases for most of the machines and the base for the jointer is very solid and stable.

I only made a few test cuts, as I have to do a pretty significant shop rearrangement before I can hook up to my DC, but they were smooth and square… Which is what it's all about.

I'll post a follow up to this after I have it in service for a while. But right now I'm happy Asa a clam :^)