Any one have experience with bench top jointer?

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Forum topic by Walt posted 06-28-2015 05:43 PM 5833 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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263 posts in 3754 days

06-28-2015 05:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have been looking at two jointers the delta and jet bench top model. My shop is small and I don’t make Hugh projects. Both of these have a few neg comments usually about the indeed and out feed tables. Does any one have anything to say?
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-- Walt Wilmington Delaware, http://[email protected]

36 replies so far

View oltexasboy1's profile


257 posts in 2620 days

#1 posted 06-28-2015 06:36 PM

I have a porter cable benchtop jointer, and if I could, I would give it back. You just don’t have the precision or size you need to do anything really serious unless you spend half your life tuning the damn thing up and keeping it running true. Maybe it is just me but I find it very hard to keep the pieces from cupping or crowning on this small machine.

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6212 posts in 3225 days

#2 posted 06-28-2015 07:12 PM

Tables are to short, screaming universal motors, fence is crap, not enough mass=vibration. They should only be sold at Toys R us.

Instead of a bench top, think about hand planes.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2402 days

#3 posted 06-28-2015 07:40 PM

I have no experience using them though I have put my hands on quite a few models. Almost all of them feel flimsy.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View robscastle's profile


7519 posts in 3120 days

#4 posted 06-28-2015 08:36 PM


Bench top jointers are OK for timber no longer than the feed tables.

Judging by looking at the projects you are using it would be unsuitable.
In saying that if your projects are all pre dressed timber purchases you should ask yourself
“Do I really need a jointer” the answer is of course a definate Yes but you need to consider the limitations of a Bench top model once you do get it.

If you work with or intend to work with rough sawn timber its an essential item.

Canadian wood works has a blog and a video on a 22’’ Wide slabs to dining table top construction using his jointer and thicknesser have a look at it.

A wood workers dream!!

-- Regards Rob

View FrogpondWoodworks's profile


39 posts in 2734 days

#5 posted 06-28-2015 08:45 PM

I just got on here looking for some help with my delta model and here your post was first up. I got a delta model off a buddy at work and seems like no matter what I do to the thing it won’t cut flat. The knives are set within .002 inches of the outfeed table. I’ve shimmed the infeed table within .001 of the outfeed table too. I’ve just about given up with it. I’m going to wait a week or so and try again. If you get one I hope you have better luck with it.

-- Rich, Kentucky

View SouthpawCA's profile


277 posts in 4149 days

#6 posted 06-28-2015 09:13 PM

I have an older Craftsman 6 ⅛” Jointer/Planer #21788 which is full cast iron and really heavy. I was trying to sell it at first and then give it away. No takers. Until just a few weeks ago it sat unused. Then I needed to get a square edge on a piece of wood that I cut larger due a whiley grain pattern that I knew would move when cut. The piece was about 2’ long and 6/4.

I usually get out my handplanes to work the wood after it finishes moving around, but wasn’t having any luck even with a 50 degree iron. I looked at the bench top sitting in the corner and decided to give it a try. Couldn’t hurt … The worse that could happen is I loose the piece to the burn bin which I was probably going to do anyhow.

I set the depth to the minimum it would go and ran it thru. To my amazement I had a beautiful smooth flat bottom. Gave it a quarter turn and had another smooth flat side and a perfect 90 degree angle. The piece was saved with its gorgeous grain pattern.

I use my bench top all the time now. You cannot edge or face plane a 6’ board, but it works fantastic on slightly oversized pieces up to about 2’ long.

-- Don

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 2307 days

#7 posted 06-28-2015 11:40 PM

Well, I guess I am the dissenting opinion here.

Just in case it isn’t obvious…I’m a newbie and an amateur, so consider that along with my opinion.

I have the 6” porter cable jointer, and I consider it to be a very good value. That is to say that I consider it money very well spent. Are there better jointers out there? obviously yes. Are there better jointers out there for the small amount of money I spent? Doubt it. Is it worth having…undeniably yes…for me.

It is worth noting that when you look at “low end” machinery of any kind, there are two sides to the story. First, in order to make it less expensive, corners are cut in the design/manufacture of the product. Another way to say this is that inexpensive stuff is “cheap”, by design. Both the best and the worst of the lot are of lesser quality than a much more expensive machine.

The other side of it is that because it is manufactured in a less expensive way by workers who no doubt have their feet held to the fire on quantity rather than quality…there winds up being a much wider variation in quality among the units coming off the line.

I suspect I just got lucky and got a sweetheart PC 6” bench top jointer. I got it out of the box, and with ZERO adjustment, was jointing a Home Depot 2X6 to a mirror finish in minutes. This sucker was so smooth it felt nice rubbing it on my cheek (no, not that cheek). I set it on the flat surface of my table saw and found that it sort of “glides around” on a cushion of air when I slide it. Then I went to pick it up and found it was SO FLAT AND SMOOTH IT ACTUALLY HAD SUCTION with the table top. I was able to produce a tiny “pop” when jerking it off the surface of the table.

Since then I have also used it with 4/4 Poplar, Maple, and Walnut, each with excellent results on both the edges and the faces.

Would I rather have a thousand pound jointer in my shop…most definitely!

But I feel like I got a really good deal on the Porter Cable bench top jointer. If you need the portability, or if you simply don’t have the room in your shop or your budget…give it a try. You can always return it if you don’t get one that is as sweet as mine.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View Jim B's profile

Jim B

58 posts in 2146 days

#8 posted 06-28-2015 11:53 PM

If you have the room in your shop, I would look for a used floor model. I found a Rockwell from the 50’s or 60’s on Craigslist for $125. Some new knives and a few adjustments and I couldn’t be happier.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19749 posts in 3483 days

#9 posted 06-29-2015 12:11 AM

I had a bench top for years. Although I’d rather use hand planes now, it really depends on your projects and expectations. Bench tops have a short table and a short fence. It pretty hard to keep square on large pieces. If you’re doing small stock and small project it will work.

Think about a nice Stanley vintage #7 though.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2911 days

#10 posted 06-29-2015 12:11 AM

I will join the minority opinion and say that my ShopFox benchtop has been a fine machine for years. With about 30” of bed I have made projects up to 49” long. Face jointing it was fine. The only issue I ran in to was one of my 49” boards had a bow on the thin edge. It was too gradual to take out because the high points were never on the table at the same time. I had to figure that out with my tabe saw.

It is loud, but not louder than any of my other tools, like my Dewalt planer. I have never noticed any major vibration. I would not have been abe to pull off most or any of my projects without it. now that I have more space, i am definitely considering a floor model for its slightly expanded capabilities.

So my botom line advice as a user for a benchtop for many years:

1. They will do most of your projects, unless you need to flatten very long things.
2. They are WAY better than no jointer at all
3. Make sure you get one that allows you to adjust the tables for paralell (check my blogs for how i did this on mine)
4. If you have the room, a floor model will be a ‘forever’ choice. If you dont, you will be forever tripping over it.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2911 days

#11 posted 06-29-2015 12:16 AM

To add some, I set the knives the first time, and have not had to reset them. They are starting to finally get dull. I also had to adust the infeed table to be coplanar with the outfeed. That has lasted as wel. And the model i have is a full 6” wide. It is not one of the 4” models you see around.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Walt's profile


263 posts in 3754 days

#12 posted 06-29-2015 12:23 AM

Thanks for all the information. I usually make small to medium sized projects. I would love a floor mounted model but I do not have the space in my shop. My planer, router table and sanding station are on roll away carts to save floo space. I will keep checking the sites for a good use done but by summers end I need to make a

-- Walt Wilmington Delaware, http://[email protected]

View cpd011's profile


91 posts in 4153 days

#13 posted 06-29-2015 02:30 AM

I looked at a bunch of the benchtop models and ended up with the grizzly benchtop. The fence and table are cast iron. The fence is very solid and does not flex. I did not like the extruded aluminum of the delta or porter-cable, it flexed way too much, which is why I went for the Grizzly. I’ve ran a but of lumber through it, though nothing longer than four feet. It has worked perfectly for that. The motor is noisier than other machines in my shop but nowhere near as deafening as a lunchbox planer. Just my 2 cents.

View skatefriday's profile


465 posts in 2398 days

#14 posted 06-29-2015 03:14 AM

I’ll join the chorus of a benchtop jointer is better than no jointer.

I was seduced by the “if you can’t fit a floor jointer in your shop
use a hand plane.” I have a stanley #7 and with a shooting board
I can get an edge joint ok, but for the life of me can’t face joint

The primary use is for rails/stiles for doors and drawer fronts.
I finally broke down and bought the PC, out of sheer frustration
with my other efforts to get flat and square stock. The PC is
orders of magnitude better than anything else I’ve been able
to achieve. Is it “suction flat” as alluded to by another poster?
Hell no. Is it better than just S4S ripped to size after buying it
from the local dealer? Helll yes. That stuff never comes off my
saw without twisting on the outfeed. I can actually watch it
regularly pinch my riving knife and every piece will have twist
when laid on a flat surface.

So it’s all perspective. If I had the space for a big jointer I’d
have one, but my cheapo Lowe’s PC works, for now, for what
I need.

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2402 days

#15 posted 06-29-2015 03:22 AM

I’d rather have an older 4”.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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