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Help selecting a jointer

1372 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  levan
I'm looking to upgrade from my Shopfox benchtop 6" jointer. Really, it has been a good tool. I got it set up with the help of a lot of internet wisdom and made several very good projects with it. No complaints, but now I'm planning some projects using longer pieces and the short beds will become a limitation.

I've been looking at the Grizzly 6" jointers. They have a basic model, then one with parallelogram beds, and others with a helical cutter head. I'm trying to determine whether the paralellogram beds are worth it, and if the helical cutter head holds enough advantage to justify the cost.

So can you tell me what exactly it is about the parallelogram beds that makes them better or more desirable? I imagine you still have to spend time lining them up, just like on a regular jointer bed….then what?

I know the helical cutter heads are said to leave a smoother finish, and cut quieter. Is there anything else that they do 'better' than a standard?

I'm not made of money, and I think the $1100 or so for the paralellogram bed helical cutter head would be a stretch, but possible. The $500 for the basic 6" model feels a lot more comfortable, but if I will be less frustrated with a paralellogram/standard cutter or standard bed/helical cutter ($800) I could probably swing that.

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Parallelograms are much easier and a little faster to set up. It can be argued that dovetail way jointers can't really even be set up. Or it takes a machinist to do it.
Most of the $$$ I think matters on the use. I dream of a helical, but the cost alone is more than I paid for my jointer. Once I got mine set to about 1/32" I've never really had to make any changes beyond the fence.

If I ever get the chance to have more free time for the shop I might look to upgrade, but for $600 difference I'd be considering what else I'd like to have… got a planer?
Yeah, parallelogram machines may be easier to set co-planer.. but how often do you really need to do that? If it didn't come co-planer when you buy it, it's usually a one time deal and then you are good for years and years of use. Of all the wedge bed jointers I've owned, only one needed to have a table shimmed.. and that was most likely due to its age (built in 1954) and poor condition when I bought it; basically a rusted hunk of metal that needed a complete teardown and restore. I only paid something like $85 for that jointer, used it for years and then sold it for $400. Just saying.


PS: and I totally agree with Dan.. I set the depth of cut shallow and leave it there. I'll take multiple passes if I need more. I don't think I've touched the depth adjustment on my current jointer since I first put it in operation several years ago.
You may want to start watching some of the government auctions. Quite often they come up with some oldies but goodies, out of schools. Sometimes very reasonable.
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