Craftex - CX08 8" Parallelogram Jointer with 4 knife cutterhead (Rating: 4)

Up here in Canada we have the BusyBee chain and their house brand is Craftex. Their equipment is almost identical to Grizzly and this particular jointer is almost identical to the Grizzly G0490. This jointer most likely comes from the same factory as it seems identical in every respect save for the power switch mount.

Given I live in a city with a BusyBee location I was able to get the jointer delivered quicker and cheaper than buying the Grizzly. Many other vendors sell almost identical looking jointers as well but they are all more expensive. I truly don't understand this industry - if they are all selling essentially the same tool then why the over 100% variance you'll see in price? If I was selling a more expensive model and their was a real reason why it was more expensive I'd explain the differences to demonstrate the value. When no explanation is given I have to assume the value is the same.

I know helical heads are popular but I'm just a hobbyist woodworker who will likely joint only a few hundred board feet a year. If i was to spend money on a helical head it would be on a planer given you tend to joint one face of a board in about 2 passes while you run through the same board through your planer 4 - 8 times. The helical head versions of this same jointer costs an additional $500 (fully an additional 50%).

Anyway, back to this jointer. As an assembled and tuned tool I give it 4 stars - it joints wood flat and puts a 90 degree edge joint on a wood just fine. My only complaint is the common one that the drive belt occasionally contacts the drive belt enclosure because whoever engineered this model a hundred years ago didn't make their calculations right.

However as a product as I received it I would give it a 1 star rating. However I truly don't know if any other vendor selling a similar 8" jointer would be much different.

First of all you receive a pallet with two pieces. One is cardboard box containing the base. The second is a wooden crate containing the mostly pre-assembled jointer bed and tables. You also get something labelled 'instructions' but I think the term 'approximate assembly guidelines' would be a more appropriate description.

The base assembly went fine. The instructions were terrible but I got the third wheel that make the base mobile attached and got the base out and on the floor. The jointer bed was another story. As I indicated they ship it in a wooden crate that is on top of a wooden pallet. Now what they don't tell you anywhere is that the jointer bed is bolted to the crate but the bolts which you need to access from both sides to remove - are sitting on top of the skid under this 250 lbs bed and completely inaccessible. If you have two really strong and patient friends they can lift the wood crate and wait the good 5 minutes it will take you to remove the bolts. Then they can rest down the crate and lift the jointer bed off and help you put it on the stand. Again they will need to be good and patient friends because the bed is installed with 6 bolts with a couple of them so close to the interior dust chute you'll wonder again about the fate of whomever engineered such a thing. I like my friends too much so I used an engine crane to do all this heavy lifting.

By extreme patience and process of elimination I got through the rest of the installation. Once I started it the belt immediately fell off because the instructions made no mention that the motor won't even be remotely aligned to the upper pulley that runs the cutterhead. However once done then it ran.

Before buying the jointer I'd read up on setting up parallelogram jointers and felt Mark Spagnuolo did a great video on the topic (and he has similar rants on the terrible design of this type of jointer in general). Thus I had a straightedge, dial gauge and feeler gauges ready for setting it up. The knives were aligned perfectly out of the box - very nice.

The jointer beds were flat within stated tolerances - 0.005. In terms of being coplanar…. not so much. The infeed bed was so badly aligned when set to take about 1/32 at the cutterhead, the back of the infeed bed was actually above the outfeed table! Thus you have to do a parallelogram adjustment that Mark covers on his website but is only vaguely alluded to in the 'manual'. You use the 4 cam parallel adjustments on the infeed table to set the alignment. On better jointers these can be turned with a socket wrench. However on this one (and others I've seen) you actually have to use a hammer and screwdriver or punch to tap the cams around. Seriously, what a insane way to make such an important adjustment. You use your straightedge and feeler gauges to roughly get all 4 corners of the infeed table coplanar with the outfeed table. It takes a lot of trial and error and patience. Once done you replace the set screws (which take a hex tool not included). and your done.

Anyway, with the unit finally assembled and setup it does its job just fine. I'd love for someone to actually build a jointer that is engineered much better. My mind goes to SawStop and how they would probably get such a thing done right. I also have read that the high-end jointer-planers such as the Hammer have better adjustments but that type of unit was out of my price range.

Since getting the unit I've jointed about 100 board feet of lumber including some 8' lengths of 8/4 maple (with additional infeed and outfeed support). It does its job well and overall I'd buy it again.