With limited space, will I regret a benchtop jointer?

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Forum topic by JohnMcClure posted 04-07-2018 02:08 AM 2736 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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838 posts in 1242 days

04-07-2018 02:08 AM

I have a 2-car garage devoted to this hobby. It’s already pretty full of benches, storage, junk, and machinery. But now I want a jointer… and while I can save for a nice 8” (Thinking of a Grizzly that is 6ft long), I simply can’t fit it. It’s not in the cards until I move and have a full-size shop. I think I just need to buy the 6” G0725 or equivalent. But will I regret the purchase since it’s not wide enough to face joint most of my boards?

My current obsession is with milling logs (from firewood length up to the biggest I can handle, about 5’ tops) into lumber on my bandsaw. I have tons of beautiful boards I have sawn, but they need to be face jointed. I can run them through the lunchbox planer but that doesn’t deal with twist. I have used the “planer sled” concept, but it is far too tedious to rig up for every one of the many short boards I have lying around.
Yet, most of those are wider than 6” anyway.

So for those who have finally bought jointers, will I be find a benchtop jointer useful, or will it become an expensive boat anchor?


-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

16 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4249 days

#1 posted 04-07-2018 02:26 AM

They work ok. They just aren’t built for the

Flattening boards with a hand plane isn’t the
worst thing ever. It’s good exercise and the
surfaces don’t need to be perfect, just flat
enough to produce a 2nd flat face on the

View Aj2's profile


2647 posts in 2399 days

#2 posted 04-07-2018 04:44 AM

Boat Anchor for sure!

-- Aj

View matt382's profile


8 posts in 651 days

#3 posted 04-07-2018 05:08 AM

You can fit a Jointer! If you have a 20’x20’ area devoted to woodworking you can’t commit 5-6 sf for the first job required? Put it on wheels and roll it under something for goodness sake… it’s job #1.

View therealSteveN's profile


4589 posts in 1176 days

#4 posted 04-07-2018 05:23 AM

I believe the first thing you should do is work with a 6” bench top jointer, will it do what you require of it? I think most tools bought, and then quickly sold off are because they don’t do what someone hoped they would. Usually you suffer financially in the transaction.

-- Think safe, be safe

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1105 days

#5 posted 04-07-2018 08:12 AM

.......I think I just need to buy the 6” G0725 or equivalent. But will I regret the purchase since it s not wide enough to face joint most of my boards?.........Yet, most of those are wider than 6” anyway.
- JohnMcClure

I think you pretty much answered yourself here…, a bench top jointer can be tricky to get a board straight on, even on the edge because of the length. But, you say most of your boards are not that long, so it would probably do the edges fine. That is not what you are looking for though. I use my jointer a lot, I think with the size shop you have I would be getting rid of something or rearranging, or otherwise doing something “different” to fit a nice jointer in there.

View ppg677's profile


219 posts in 1457 days

#6 posted 04-07-2018 09:56 AM

I have a small shop. I use a very old Boice Crane 6” jointer that has a bed that’s only 36” long. It is cast iron and well made.

Works fine for anything up to about 5-ft long, which handles most of my needs.

I even face joint boards wider than 6” just fine.

View fuigb's profile


568 posts in 3559 days

#7 posted 04-07-2018 10:04 AM

I do a lot of milling of found timber and hardwood pallets, and I cannot imagine replicating my results on a benchtop jointer. Loren isn’t wrong about the manual method but the time commitment for an ever-replenished stack of lumber most hobbyists just don’t have.

My weapon of choice is the standard issue jointer from Home Depot. I have so little space in my garage that other than hand work there’s room for nothing. My solution is to put everything on wheels and then roll it outdoors when I need it. Rain and then cold can put a stop to things but the alternative is… well there is no alternative at this stage of life. Look at my half of the garage and you’ll see a kiln, some rolling benches, and then a dense knot of tarped tools. Not ideal, but better (IMO) than fooling around with a jointer that will do no more than piss one off.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View PeteStaehling's profile


102 posts in 1721 days

#8 posted 04-07-2018 11:45 AM

I love my 6” bench top jointer (shop fox). It has it’s limitations, but my work falls within it’s range of good performance. I never joint anything more than 5’ long and most of the time my work pieces are 3’ long or less. I always break stock down to the shorter lengths of the required pieces before jointing.

My work is mostly luthier work so it works fine for me. 5’ is probably about the limit of what I would expect a bench top jointer to handle well. So, it depends on your work. Will you be able to limit yourself to smaller stock? If so you may love a bench top.

View Sparks500's profile


255 posts in 932 days

#9 posted 04-07-2018 11:51 AM

Cutech makes an 8” bench top. I’ve been looking at it to replace my jet 6”

-- A good day is any day that you're alive....

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2597 days

#10 posted 04-07-2018 12:00 PM

I made projects up to the size of a coffee table on a 6” shopfox benchtop jointer. No problems, but a dining table would have been a challenge.

I thought I read a thread recently where someone found an 8” wide benchtop…maybe I am confusing things though.

While they do have limitations, a good benchtop jointer like the Shopfox I had are plenty serviceable. Look up the weight too. If you plan to pick it up and carry it around the shop it can be done, i did it, but it is a heavy machine for its size. Make sure it is in the range you are comfortable lifting.


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

View bilyo's profile


959 posts in 1704 days

#11 posted 04-07-2018 03:52 PM

I have used the “planer sled” concept, but it is far too tedious to rig up for every one of the many short boards I have lying around.


- JohnMcClure

I would encourage you give your planer sled more consideration. The advantages are that it saves space, uses a machine you already have, and it can flatten a board up to the width of your planer. So, if using it is a bit more tedious, so what? Results is what matters and, I assume, you are not in production work. I don’t know what kind of sled you are using, but keep it simple. Mine is 5-6’ long and covered with plastic laminate. I use hot melt glue and little wedges to hold the boards down and steady. If you have several short pieces to plane, put them on the sled end to end doing several at a time. I have flattened lots and lots of crooked cherry this way.

I do have a jointer, but it is a small one that I use mostly for edge work. With the sled to do the heavy work, the small jointer suits my needs and doesn’t take a lot of space which I can’t afford.

View JohnMcClure's profile


838 posts in 1242 days

#12 posted 04-08-2018 10:01 PM

Thank you everyone, for the well thought out advice.
I’m going to take it slow, and if a decent used machine comes up in my area, giving me the chance to try a jointer with minimal financial risk, I’ll buy it. Otherwise I’ll wait until a particular project requires a benchtop unit, or until I move (or rearrange) and have space for a larger unit. For now it’s hand planes and the lunchbox planer!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View KEVMO11's profile


31 posts in 669 days

#13 posted 04-08-2018 11:27 PM

I was in the same position about a year and a half ago and really just knew that a benchtop jointer wouldn’t be enough for wat I wanted to do. I held off and kept and eye out in CL etc. Sure enough a great deal on a Grizzly 8” Jointer came up and I jumped on it. It’s probably my favorite thing to use in the shop. Keep checking CL and Facebook marketplace and I’m sure something will come up

View PlanBWoodworks's profile


168 posts in 1083 days

#14 posted 04-09-2018 01:00 AM

I am in a similar sized shop, and I have the PC 6” jointer. I use it all the time, and it has never failed to do what I ask of it. That being said, I understand and accept its limitations, and I work around them. If you are already planning on working with materials that exceed the capacity of a 6” jointer, then you are destined to be disappointed.

Have you taken a look at these?

It’s an 8” bench top jointer. I am seriously considering taking a shot on one.

Let me know what you think.

-- Why can’t I ever find my pencil???

View Klondikecraftsman's profile


52 posts in 654 days

#15 posted 04-09-2018 02:57 AM

I believe you will regret a 6” bench top for the work you described, especially if you are doing any volume. Hold out for an 8” if you possibly can. Best of luck either way.

-- It is a sin to covet your neighbor’s wife, but his woodpile is fair game.

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