Newbie's next purchase - Planer or Jointer/Planer Combo

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Forum topic by SchottFamily posted 07-31-2011 03:52 PM 6452 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 3051 days

07-31-2011 03:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer planer power tools newbie rookie question

Hello Folks!

I’m new – not only to the board, but also new to woodworking. First, let me thank you for the welcome I’ve received and all of the great information that you share! Besides bookmarking like crazy, I’ve got a pad next to the computer and I’m constantly writing down tips and info that I’ve discovered since joining the site yesterday. This is a great site, especially for someone like me.

I don’t have a lot of money, but I’ve allotted a little each month towards acquiring tools. For about the same price, I can either get a reconditioned Porter-Cable PC305TP 12-1/2-in Benchtop Planer or a Craftsman 7.5 amp 4-1/8” Bench Top Planer/Jointer. I was going to get the Craftsman, but after reading some articles and watching a LOT of youtube videos, I’ve changed up again and am leaning towards the thickness planer. I read a few articles on using my TS as a jointer using a simple jig.

If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to hear the opinions of those in the know.

If it matters, what I’d like to do most is make some furniture for around the house.

Thanks again!


21 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4656 days

#1 posted 07-31-2011 05:46 PM

Key questions would be….

What kind of projects are you building?

What kind of lumber are you buying? (rough, S2S, etc)

On a Jointer, I would not go less that 6” unless your building small projects and would say that 8” is preferred.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Manitario's profile


2787 posts in 3441 days

#2 posted 07-31-2011 06:05 PM

I went through a long painful decision process when starting into woodworking last year; jointer, planer, both, combo, 6” vs. 8” etc…. I ended up buying a 6” jointer and a “lunchbox” planer; for my hobby woodworking needs they work well. As Wayne mentioned I’d advise staying away from any jointer smaller than 6”; I’d also advise staying away from the jointer/planer combo machines, some of the larger ones have reasonable reviews, but time and time again I’ve read here about people being disappointed by them.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 3191 days

#3 posted 07-31-2011 06:07 PM

See my review on the planer. In brief, its fine for its class. But unless you’re using it outdoors you’ll need to pony-up for a dust collection chute. Since this is a rebadged Delta 305, you can buy and install that model’s chute for $25ish.

I have a very old 1950s 4 1/8 Craftsman Jointer. Likely not the same model you’re looking at. 4 1/8 is adequete about 50% of the time. That said, hold out for a 6” or 8”.

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4656 days

#4 posted 07-31-2011 06:09 PM

To add to what Rob said, I am not a fan of combo machines as well.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3959 days

#5 posted 07-31-2011 06:21 PM

I almost went with a combo machine a couple years ago and after reading countless reviews I decided to go with separate machines, while it cost me more, the jointer beds on the combo machines are really small. Plus I tried out the Jet 10” at Woodcraft one time and it didn’t seem like it was built all that well. I would recommend to go with a planer first then, after you save up some more, get at least a 6” jointer. With a few jigs you may be able to eliminate needing a jointer all together.

View gillyd's profile


136 posts in 3205 days

#6 posted 07-31-2011 06:46 PM

I’m a newbie woodworker as well. I purchased my tools in this order.

1. Table Saw
2. Drill Press
3. Planar
4. Jointer
5. Dust collector
6. Band Saw

If I were to do it all over again I would purchase them in this order.

1. Table Saw
2. Dust Collector
3. Jointer and a Planar at the same time – see if you can’t work a combo deal/discount at a nice wood smith store. Each tool compliments each other.
4. Band Saw
5. Drill Press

As mentioned I’d stick with 6inch + jointer. I got my planar on CL.

View Mike's profile


408 posts in 3246 days

#7 posted 08-01-2011 04:33 AM

I’m not new but also not a pro. I read the different reviews as well as went over pricing. Finally I decided that the Ridgid Planer & Jointer were the best options for what I needed. I am glad that I didn’t go with the combo since of what projects I work on.

Here is my order of purchases:

Table saw
Scroll Saw
Drill Press
Miter Saw
dust collector

more to buy once i find out what I need next

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 4039 days

#8 posted 08-01-2011 05:25 AM

Both a jointer and planer are useful when building furniture. Although you could get by with just a jointer that is 6 inches or larger. You could plane the flat side of the board on a jointer as well as the edge. A stand alone surface planer is much more convenient to have along with a jointer.

Try looking at used equipment on Craig’s List and Ebay. You can find excellent buys on both of them if you know the price points, are patient, and know what brand you are looking for. There are often Delta, Grizzly, Powermatic units for sale on both of those sites for half of the cost of new. I actually bought my 6” Powermatic long bed jointer from a guy on Ebay some years ago. It had never been used and was still in the packing and he sold it to me for half the cost of a new one.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View knotscott's profile


8346 posts in 3934 days

#9 posted 08-01-2011 06:43 AM

A jointer and planer work perfectly in tandom…a jointer flattens and squares, a planer reduces thickness and smooths. If I could only have one, I’d start with the planer because with the help of a planer sled, you can flatten boards, then can square the edge with a router or TS until you can acquire a jointer.

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

View ajosephg's profile


1881 posts in 4120 days

#10 posted 08-01-2011 12:57 PM

I have a Craftsman 6 inch jointer and a Dewalt 735 planer. The planer gets used a lot, and the jointer mostly gathers dust. One of the reasons I don’t use the jointer is because IMO the Craftsman is not a quality jointer and I get better results with a work around.

For example: If I need to straightedge a board I rig up a jig and use the table saw. If I need to surface one side of a rough board, I rig up a planer sled and use the planer.

And – I try to avoid these scenarios by buying only planed and edged wood.

-- Joe

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3519 days

#11 posted 08-01-2011 01:16 PM

i don’t know how you can get by without a jointer, when processing wood, it is usually the second or first tool used with the tablesaw.
in europe only big professional shops have separate jointers and planers, most machines are combo.
they are rarer in the US i think because the jointers are usually strangely narrow, mine is 12 inches wide, which is medium size in europe.
so i would say combo’s are good from 10 inches wide and above, 12 is better because you can plane reasonable panels.
i started with an 8 inch combo, and it did the job. but now that i have 12 inches i couldn’t go back. if possible i would even upgrade to 16.

View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 3155 days

#12 posted 08-01-2011 01:23 PM

Hi Bob. Lots of good advice here. I went with a little Grizzly 12.5” planer when I was choosing, figuring I’d get a jointer at some point. Right now I’m jointing boards two ways. If I have a lot to do (and I don’t mind losing some wood) I’ll use the table saw to get the edges square, otherwise I use an old 22” Stanley jointer plane which always works wonderfully.

I just figured it was easier to get a square edge vs. right thickness. If I buy a 4/4 piece of wood and I only need 1/2” thickness (my bandsaw won’t resaw that well), then I’d definitely need the planer.

My order of purchase (and more to come):
Table Saw
Belt Sander (because I found it cheap on CL)
Dust collection (well so much as it vac hooked to vortex attached to 5gal bucket-hey, it works, kinda)
Lathe (by and large my absolute favorite of all my tools)

I don’t have much but tend to buy good quality that should last vs. elcheapo.

Good luck!

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View extremehobbiest's profile


42 posts in 3545 days

#13 posted 08-01-2011 03:48 PM

I would start with the benchtop planer. I started out with a 4” jointer and no planer. Couldn’t do much more than joint straight edges. Then I purchased an 8” jointer and 13” planer (benchtops weren’t even developed at the time of purchase). With this setup, I could mill rough timber. Several years ago, I upgraded to the 16” jointer/planer combo and can handle most anything thown at it. I don’t see going to a 20” version as it is hard to find timber that is that wide. I must say that of all combo machines, the jointer planer makes the most sense and is easy to change over. If you go the J/P route, avoid the cheap units at all costs because they are likely to have you replacing it soon and that doesn’t save you money. I can offer no insights to your choice of model numbers as I haven’t seen or used them. Good luck.

View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 3051 days

#14 posted 08-01-2011 08:26 PM

Wow – thanks for all the input! This decision has literally kept me awake at night. With 5 kids, I tend to agonize over purchases for myself, trying to make sure I make the right decision and get the best bang for the buck. I don’t plan on making the purchase until mid month, but I’ll let you know where I came down on it. The planer is far in the lead at this point. I’d like to look at what the sled entails before committing. Thank you all!


View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 3051 days

#15 posted 08-01-2011 10:33 PM

AHHHHHHH! I couldn’t take it anymore. The stress got to me. It’s just about 1:30 here at the office and I’ve gotten nothing done! I’ve been going over your responses and reading article after article. For $385, tax and shipping included, I got both (reman’d) from CPO!

Porter-Cable 12.5” Benchtop Planer
Porter-Cable 6” Benchtop Jointer


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