jointer & planer buying advice

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Todd_R posted 08-17-2019 07:52 PM 1071 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Todd_R's profile


20 posts in 715 days

08-17-2019 07:52 PM


I’m looking to buy a jointer 8” or larger and a planer 15” or larger. I want to replace my existing benchtop planer and purchase my first power jointer with something I can be confident in that will be snip and tear out free with a final finish which I can lightly sand (avoiding a drum sander purchase). I’m convinced I am going to go with a spiral/helix cutter head on both.

I was looking at the Hammer A3-41 but I’m not exactly sold on that solution after some reviewing it. I’ve seen/heard of issues with snipe and concerns about tear out on wood with knots and/or crotch. I’ve heard of issues and the sales guy here locally showed me a board that he said came from the planer and it had snip on it. That and the hammer A3-41 isn’t in stock and can’t deliver for 4+ months unless I want to pay nearly $900 for shipping across country. So I’m lacking confidence in dropping that much cash on this let alone waiting until mid to late December (if they can deliver then).

I’ve look at the Grizzly as well but I’m always a bit disappointed with the quality of Grizzly products and rather pay a bit more for better quality. That and some of their spiral cutter heads, the blades are super expensive (nearly $10 each). Versus Byrd blades are in the neighborhood of $3.50 each. When you have nearly 100 blades to replace at some point (if you ever do) it could be an expensive proposition.

So I’m leaning towards a Powermatic individual planer (15” or 20” with the spiral cutter head) and jointer (probably PJ-882HH).

I’m relatively new to wood working and just wondering if there’s any other decent quality options out there which users out there may have experience with and I just missed.


-- Todd

20 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6727 posts in 3461 days

#1 posted 08-17-2019 07:56 PM

It sounds like you aren’t really interested in searching the used tools avenue. I have nothing against PM except their pricing…that gold paint must be really gold. So i think those are good choices, but I’d also look at the Rikon offerings…I’m not sure I would pick them over the PM, but I’d sure give them consideration.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View WoodenDreams's profile


1219 posts in 879 days

#2 posted 08-17-2019 09:02 PM

If you want quality made in the USA, you could check out Woodmaster Tools

View Todd_R's profile


20 posts in 715 days

#3 posted 08-17-2019 11:26 PM

If you want quality made in the USA, you could check out Woodmaster Tools

- WoodenDreams

Thanks, that’s an interesting option for a planer.

-- Todd

View bigJohninvegas's profile


883 posts in 2430 days

#4 posted 08-17-2019 11:56 PM

I have a friend who has the wood master 25” planer. amazing tool. There planers can also be used as a drum sander, and a gang rip saw, and a molder. He had been using it for all of the above. About a year ago he bought the Wood master 50” dual drum sander too.
I personally have used the planer, and drum sander feature on his 25” machine.
I tell myself I’m going to buy one someday. But as a hobbyist woodworker, and working out of my 3 car garage.
I’ll probably won’t buy my own as long as I can go use his when needed.

-- John

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3988 posts in 2462 days

#5 posted 08-18-2019 12:04 AM

Good Luck!
If you search, you will find hundreds of posts regarding differences and opinions on various jointers and planers.

The Powermatic planers are made in same Taiwan factory as Grizzly, and Jet. So can expect same general tool quality for each one, decent. There are machine differences which are subtle, and you have look very close to see why PM thinks they can charge more for gold paint. Key differences are motors, cutters, and magnetic starters.
- They use different cutter heads (type, insert count, helix .vs. spiral, etc), so look at details carefully.
- Powermatic is using more expensive USA branded motors, but they are still produced in Taiwan factories like Grizzly ‘noname’ motors.
-Grizzly uses TECO starters made in China, Powermatic uses Taiwan made motor starters.

BTW – Most of the EU machines are either made in China, or parts/sub assemblies are made in China/Malaysia – with final assembly in EU. This is one reason for ridiculous lead times. They essentially have a double length supply chain, internal and external. Hammer/Felder also run a lean supply chain, with minimal corporate warehouse inventories. They expect their distributors to make stock available for customers and cover the bank loans as tools sit in warehouse. If you want the Hammer, find a wealthy Hammer dealer and have to pay the shipping (as you found out).

IMHO – Industrial grade tools are not snipe free. Never met a 15” or 20” planer that was 100% snipe free, and I am rebuilding planer number 5 right now.


-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Aj2's profile


3581 posts in 2766 days

#6 posted 08-18-2019 12:58 AM

I have a Pm 15 hh and it snipes. It’s not a big deal for me I will often pass wood over the jointer to remove the surface the bryd head leaves and any snipe.
I working with Beech and it cuts so nice with Hss.

Good Luck Todd

-- Aj

View Todd_R's profile


20 posts in 715 days

#7 posted 08-21-2019 09:05 PM

Thanks for the feedback Aj2 and CaptianKlutz.
I’m surprised to hear and it is very concerning that one would encounter snip on a PM or similar planer. Is this just an adjustment thing? I’m just asking because I’ve not heard this before. In fact most reviews I have heard/seen comment otherwise. I’m not questioning you I’m just surprised to hear this. That said I am just getting my feet wet here and maybe I haven’t seen or talked to the right people.
One of the main reasons for upgrading my benchtop planer is to avoid dealing with snipe. If the “industrial grade planers” still produce snipe commonly that it is making me have second thoughts and maybe I’ll just stick with a crappy benchtop planer if that’s the case. My existing benchtop planer does a pretty good job other than I have to replace the blades all the time and the snip sucks. I work around it by using a sled but if I would have to do the same thing on something like a PM, Grizzly, Hammer, etc. then I don’t see the huge need to upgrade now.

-- Todd

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3988 posts in 2462 days

#8 posted 08-21-2019 10:07 PM

IMHO – Majority of snipe is due poor machine adjustments for lumber being run. Sometimes it is operator error, sometimes machine deficiency.

The big challenge with lunch box planers, most lack easy way to make adjustments. On opposite end of scale: Industrial units have so many adjustments, it takes awhile to learn which one is best to fix snipe for specific lumber being run. Since constantly making adjustments is pain in the arse, most folks find the least objectionable settings, and just run it for everything. AKA lunch box mode, hehe

While I say have never seen a machine 100% snipe free, it is possible to get very close to perfect?
Often I run lumber and worst case snipe is 0.001 on 1st end of board run and nothing in exit end. If I run boards back to back, I get zero snipe. The 0.001 difference is trivial and requires 10 seconds with sandpaper to remove.

IME – snipe comes from unavoidable physics of planing a board that is not 100% supported across it’s entire length.
For me the unavoidable leading edge snipe is due the fact the when a board enters the cutter head, it is being pushed down by ONLY the in-feed roller. It is often beneficial to set up in-out feed tables with a small lift at end to counteract the pressure when only one roller is pressing down on board. But the proper amount of lift varies based on board length and weight; so there is no one perfect snipe free setting. If planing a couple hundred bdft of lumber, will often figure just how much extra lift to provide on ends of board to make snipe almost disappear.

Last but not least, owned 2 different lunch box planers. The snipe as often 0.010 or more, and very hard to eliminate. When I finally had money and shop large enough for 15” industrial planer, never regretted the upgrade. My snipe is less, and much more controllable.
The principle issue with larger planers is taking thin passes. They used segmented in-feed rollers to grab rough lumber, and with thin cuts, it can leave marks.

IN the end snipe or tool marks is irreverent in scheme of planers. Planers are designed to thin wood, not make it ready for finishing without sanding. Even the expensive fancy carbide insert helix heads leave tooling marks or snipe, and require sanding.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Aj2's profile


3581 posts in 2766 days

#9 posted 08-21-2019 10:20 PM

There’s so many different reasons why a planer snipes it nearly impossible to describe.
For the most part I plane wood that’s been dressed flat from my jointer and always hope for the best before I send it through.
I used to have Dewalt 735 that didn’t snipe. I sold it like a dumbass
I’m my logical way of thinking my floor planer is still better then the Dewalt. It’s so much faster and quieter .

Good Luck

-- Aj

View TungOil's profile


1383 posts in 1463 days

#10 posted 08-22-2019 02:27 AM

The Hammer/Felder machines are in a different class from the rest. Look at Minimax/SCM, they are probably the closest competition to the Hammer.

I agree with Klutz, most snipe issues are due to improper machine setup.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Robert's profile


4291 posts in 2449 days

#11 posted 08-22-2019 10:16 AM

I’ll say regarding jointer and planer there is nothing wrong with Grizzly.

In fact, upon closer inspection my 20” Grizzly planer looks identical to a PM. That is because they are cast in the same foundry in Taiwan. But at 1/2 the cost. I’ve had the planer for 10 years and it does a great job.

I agree a planer should not snipe. Imthink bed rollers below are part of the problem. I lowered mine below the table surface, and any minor amount of snipe I did get disappeared completely.

I also have a Grizzly 8” jointer which I upgraded helical — no regrets on that. ;-).

IMO helical planer probably more important than jointer.

The combo units aren’t for everyone. Personally I wouldn’t want to deal with switching stuff around often times I’m going back and forth between jointer and planer.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Woodbum's profile


942 posts in 4033 days

#12 posted 08-22-2019 11:01 AM

Which of your Grizzly tools are you dissatisfied with the quality of? I have a Griz 1023 table saw, a helical head jointer and an oscillating spindle sander and am very happy with all three. I think that sometimes Grizzly tools get a bad rap because people can’t believe that a high quality tool that is very closely similar to one of the big names is so affordable. “there must be something wrong with it”? I also have Jet, Powermatic, Delta, Dewalt and Incra, Bosch and Porter Cable tools in my shop. I choose my tools based on my need and budget, features and availability and not just name or price. I research all of my purchases and compare models and brands closely prior to purchase. Customer service after the sale is very important, should it be needed; and Grizzly has great customer service. IMHO, my Grizzly tools are just as productive and reliable as my other tools. But ultimately the decision is yours. I hope you are happy with whatever you decide to purchase. Work safely, and have fun!

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View HorizontalMike's profile


7909 posts in 3882 days

#13 posted 08-22-2019 12:09 PM

I have Grizzly:
  • G593 8 inch Helical Head Jointer (bought used)
  • G0690 10in Table Saw (bought new)
  • G7948 20 inch Drill Press (bought new)

I love them all and feel that they are by and large quality machines.

As for “snipe” being a problem, I am with C-Klutz in feeling that most is from operator error and proper adjustment of infeed and outfeed ramps. I made longer adjustable ramps. That has helped, yet I can still get snipe, if I am not careful about assisting the outfeed from rebounding upwards at the end of the planing cut. Planing longer pieces and final sizing only AFTER planing seems to be the safest bet in eliminating snipe, IMO.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Jack Lewis's profile

Jack Lewis

576 posts in 2046 days

#14 posted 08-22-2019 02:16 PM

I’ve look at the Grizzly as well but I m always a bit disappointed with the quality of Grizzly products and rather pay a bit more for better quality. That and some of their spiral cutter heads, the blades are super expensive (nearly $10 each). Versus Byrd blades are in the neighborhood of $3.50 each. When you have nearly 100 blades to replace at some point (if you ever do) it could be an expensive proposition.


- Todd_R

In regards to the Grizzly 8” which I have, the cutters (blades) are interchangable with ones sold by Azcarbide. I researched this before my jointer purchase. A 15mm sq. is a 15mm sq. You will probably NEVER change all the cutters at one time. For the thrifty, they can be resharpened on a diamond card but that is a time consuming task.

-- "PLUMBER'S BUTT! Get over it, everybody has one"

View Monty151's profile


86 posts in 809 days

#15 posted 08-22-2019 02:59 PM


showing 1 through 15 of 20 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics