Jointer bed length - how long is needed

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Forum topic by swayze posted 03-09-2010 06:24 AM 17420 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View swayze's profile


97 posts in 3537 days

03-09-2010 06:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer

I’m getting ready to buy a new jointer. I have my sights set on the rigid model. The bed is 45” long – is this long enough to edge joint 6’ to 8’ boards? I would think that most boards will 6’ and under. What do you guys think? Thanks


17 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3517 days

#1 posted 03-09-2010 06:56 AM

If you have the space for it and the budget, go for it. A 36” bed would probably work fine if most of your boards are under 6’, but not having to hassle with the occasional longer board would be well worth the longer bed.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3523 days

#2 posted 03-09-2010 03:00 PM

45” is just long enough for a 6’ board. Handling an 8’ board will be awkward. You will want a roller stand at each end or a second person to assist you.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 3929 days

#3 posted 03-09-2010 04:48 PM

I think it just depends on what you use it for. If you tend to build smaller projects, the shorter bed would certainly work fine. If you do larger items like cabinets etc, the longer one works best. I do a lot of rough lumber and reclaimed stock. Mine is 64” and I like the longer one. Plus it adds a lot of weight to the machine so it says put when using it.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View TheDane's profile


5665 posts in 4112 days

#4 posted 03-09-2010 04:52 PM

Go for the longest bed you can afford and/or have space for.

I have a Grizzly G0452 (46” bed) and have used it to flatten 8’ long stock … as Rich suggested, a set of roller stands will come in real handy.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 4162 days

#5 posted 03-09-2010 05:37 PM

I have the Rigid and it pretty much handles any thing that I can manage. ie usually 6” or less but have done some really long boards with roller stands. Because of the trouble that I have, I usually cut the boards down to slightly longer that their intended use, and frequently us the table saw for edges.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Jesse's profile


66 posts in 3667 days

#6 posted 03-09-2010 05:57 PM

I have the 6” Shop Fox with 46”ish beds. If you are planning on building an 8’ workbench (which I am doing right now) then take the time to build some extension tables for it.

I did this and it makes everything sooooo much easier. Each extension that I made is 24” so I effectively have 8’ of beds on the little jointer. Supporting the huge and heavy slabs of ash is almost effortless.

To me the limitation is the width of the jointer not the length!

-- Jesse, Hopewell Jct., NY

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4334 days

#7 posted 03-09-2010 06:07 PM

IMHO – Buy all the jointer you can afford and space allows. I have a Grizzly G0452 6” Jointer with a 46” bed but I did not use it long befor wanting a wider cutting width and longer bed. YMMV

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4454 days

#8 posted 03-09-2010 06:16 PM

The secret is learning the art of feeding and catching really long boards by yourself on even the shortest of jointers.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3735 days

#9 posted 03-09-2010 08:37 PM

Bigger is usually better, but it’s not always practical. Several have said already to get as long a jointer as budget and space allow. I would agree with that. I have used everything from an old 4” bench top Delta with a very short bed, to a 16” with an 8’ bed. Of course I would prefer the long bed for jointing long boards, but you normally don’t do that all that often, so a compromise is certainly OK. My Powermatic has a 6’ bed and it does everyting I need from it. A 4’ bed will certainly get the job done with some in and outfeed supports, and is much cheaper. Unless you are a production shop, you probably can’t justify a bigger jointer.


View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4411 days

#10 posted 03-09-2010 11:45 PM

I agree with John Gray; about the size of a football field if you can’t afford an aircraft carrier.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View knotscott's profile


8301 posts in 3824 days

#11 posted 03-09-2010 11:58 PM

Bigger is better, but realistically I’ve only needed more length than my 47” long jointer could handle a couple of times in the past 8 years. Actual work pieces that are longer than 6’ are rare for me. I usually find myself wanting extra width more than extra length.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Tony_S's profile


996 posts in 3532 days

#12 posted 03-10-2010 01:44 AM

Obviously, bigger is better…..but, I have to agree with Miles as well. Back in the ‘olden’ days….well, 20 plus years ago anyways, when we were first starting out, all we had for a jointer was a Hitachi combo jointer/planer with a 36” bed. I can’t even tell you how many 16’ 8/4 boards I straightened on that ‘bad boy’ to make railing. Miles….and miles…....................and miles. (literally)

I only walked uphill in ‘one’ direction to get to school though ;o)

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View swayze's profile


97 posts in 3537 days

#13 posted 03-10-2010 06:05 AM

Thanks for the info guys. I have been using a hand-me down beaver bench top jointer for about 15 years. It has about a 30” bed and I have done a lot with it so I’m thinking that the 4 foot bed will be a great upgrade. I see that sears canada has a general international 6’’ jointer with a 55” bed for $170 more than the rigid but I haven’t found any reviews on it. Anyone know anything about these?

View lgarrone's profile


5 posts in 2989 days

#14 posted 07-06-2011 03:06 AM

I have a 6” jointer and

some rough cut walnut 12” that needs dressed.

any advise? I am thinking about finding a local shop that has some bigger equipment to

-- larry G Norton MA

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4096 days

#15 posted 07-06-2011 04:31 AM

You can dress stock flat with a handheld electric planer – a lot faster
than using hand planes. It just needs to be flat enough on one side
to run that side down and plane the rough side parallel on a thickness

Hand flattening boards with an electric door planer is really not that
hard or even time consuming. Use winding sticks when starting out
but with practice you’ll be able too just rely on your eye to sight the
high spots in the board.

I use a 78” level to assess board straightness – a very, very useful
tool and one I consider essential to accurate small-shop millwork.

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