Hobbyist in need of recommendation for compact yet capable jointer

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Forum topic by Micah posted 10-29-2020 01:16 AM 1288 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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68 posts in 695 days

10-29-2020 01:16 AM

I’m in the market for a compact (benchtop?) jointer to use in combination with my newly purchased Dewalt DW735X Planer. I’d like to be able to take advantage of some of the hardwood offerings at my local lumber yard, but I’d also like to be able to square up any wood I buy at the hardware store.

I’m an amateur woodworker, so I’d rather avoid a getting a massive machine that takes up a huge portion of my tiny garage woodshop and sets me back thousands of dollars. Having said that, I guess that would put me in the market for a 6” jointer. I like the idea of a benchtop jointer that can be easily put away when not in use, but I also wouldn’t want to sacrifice quality or capability. I’m looking for something that will likely handle anything a hobbyist such as myself might through at it.

Any suggestions would be sincerely appreciated?

14 replies so far

View ibewjon's profile


2940 posts in 4253 days

#1 posted 10-29-2020 01:26 AM

I had a 6” craftsman for years. It is a floor model, but they sell for $100-$200. It served me fine till I got more involved with having my own logs sawn.

View Aj2's profile


4455 posts in 3258 days

#2 posted 10-29-2020 01:59 AM

If you want to straighten out long boards get a long bed jointer if your mission is short boards 3 ft or less get a bench top jointer with shirt tables.
There’s no need to discuss this brand or that brand because they all offer good one and bad ones. You just gonna have to take your chance and play the hand your dealt.
Wood working machinery are all made in Asian countries it’s all the same.

Good Luck

-- Aj

View Picken5's profile


327 posts in 4152 days

#3 posted 10-29-2020 02:10 AM

I’m not aware of any 6” benchtop jointers, but I have seen 4” ones. I bought a used 6” Delta jointer (floor model) off craigslist for around $200 over 10 years ago and it’s still doing a great job today. You might find that benchtop models have shorter beds. The longer the beds, the more accurate the jointer. My 6” Delta is on a mobile base. When my shop was much smaller, the mobile base made it easier to store out of the way when I wasn’t using it.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

View Micah's profile


68 posts in 695 days

#4 posted 10-29-2020 02:24 AM

The Rikon 20-600H 6'' Benchtop Jointer with Helical-Style Head is the most popular jointer on Rockler and on Woodcraft, and it’s available for just $399 on Woodcraft. All 5-star reviews on both websites. Seems like a perfect fit for me. Anyone have any experience with this jointer? If I try to square up a 2×4x8 on this jointer, will I be able to with relative ease?

I’ve lost count of the number of times in the past that I’ve bought a power tool without doing my research, only to find out a couple months down the line that I should have gotten the one that was slightly bigger, or more expensive, or more capable that I didn’t think I needed at the time. Please help me avoid this mistake again! Thanks guys!

View EarlS's profile


5524 posts in 3808 days

#5 posted 10-29-2020 02:41 AM

take a look on craigslist and see if there are any jointers on there. I got a 6” Delta for $200 and it is in great shape.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Aj2's profile


4455 posts in 3258 days

#6 posted 10-29-2020 03:09 AM

If I try to square up a 2×4x8 on this jointer, will I be able to with relative ease

- Micah

No that particular machine has 30 inch overall table length. A 2 ft board yes a 30 inch board maybe a 36 inch board depends on how wonky the board is. If you want to dimension long 8 ft boards get a long bed jointer.
It’s really that simple. Big wood big machines the good news is you can joint small boards on a bigger machine but not so much the other way around.

-- Aj

View Micah's profile


68 posts in 695 days

#7 posted 10-29-2020 03:24 AM

I can’t just use a leveled outfeed table or roller stands to joint a long bird on a 30” long jointer table?

View Aj2's profile


4455 posts in 3258 days

#8 posted 10-29-2020 04:35 AM

Seems like that should work i myself confess to having the same idea. And if you ask around long enough you’ll find a few woodworkers that claim success.
I really don’t have the energy to talk you out of trying.
Good Luck always

-- Aj

View CWWoodworking's profile


2391 posts in 1639 days

#9 posted 10-29-2020 10:48 AM

If I were to own a jointer, I would start at 8” and nothing smaller.

The traditional way of using a jointer/planer is flatten face, then edge. 6” just isn’t big enough.

This is generally speaking of course. If all you make is small things, a 6 will work.

View GaryCK's profile


148 posts in 1509 days

#10 posted 10-29-2020 12:26 PM

In my experience, the transition when a board rolls off of a roller stand on the infeed side and onto a roller stand on the outfeed side always left a visible mark for me when trying to joint longer boards on a 6” Taiwanese jointer I sold two years ago. This despite any effort I made to ensure they were perfectly level with the table and whatever amount of down-force I put on the board.

Pretty sure I sold it for $150 on Craigslist when I bought the 8” long-bed Grizzly I use now. I would suggest starting with something like that to learn how to use a jointer effectively and to see how it fits with the type of projects you’re doing. There seems to be a decent market for used ones so selling it down the road a spell shouldn’t be a problem. Even if you spend $150 and sell it for $100 you’re learned something useful for not a lot of money. My guess is that you won’t see a lot of drop in value, however.

-- Gary, Wisconsin

View 5cs's profile


2 posts in 575 days

#11 posted 10-29-2020 08:47 PM

I bought a grizzly 8 inch jointer with helical blade. I would recommend this because it works well and certainly the helical blades as knives are very hard to align whereas the heical carbide cutters are long lasting and can be rotated and you can buy them as you need them. You do not have to replace all of them at once if one gets nicked etc. the more you work with wood the more capacity you want the 8 inch is great for most hobbyists like me. I would not recommend a bench top jointer had one and soon decided I needed a larger size.

View Lazyman's profile


9615 posts in 2848 days

#12 posted 10-29-2020 08:57 PM

Cutech, Rikon, and Jet all sell 8” benchtop jointers. The Jet is actually a combination joiner and planer, though when I looked at them years ago, they got pretty awful reviews. I don’t know much about any of the other brands but the Cutech 6” version with the helical head seems to get reasonable reviews. I have a cheap Porter Cable 6” benchtop that works okay for what it is but I would not want to use it for more than a few relatively short boards. My rule of thumb is that if the length of the board is more than about 50% longer than the total length of the infeed and outfeed, I use my table saw jointing jig to get a good straight edge and I have started using hand planes to flatten one face. Unless you have a bunch of them to do, it actually doesn’t take that long as long as your hand planes are sharp and well tuned.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Loren's profile (online now)


11506 posts in 5108 days

#13 posted 10-29-2020 09:12 PM

You really need a longer bed jointer or “extension tables” to get jointed edges on 8’ stock. Even a 48” jointer will make that a struggle but the idea in the link was sufficient to make a 7’ table with. I’ve jointed close to 8’ 4/4 stock on a (if memory serves) 42” jointer but it took a lot of muscle to hold the cantilevered stock down and I probably worked on the joint more with hand planes. When it comes to heavier boards, the cantilevered weight is just too much to hold down without extension tables. Maybe a heavier or stronger person than I would have better luck with that technique.

View Foghorn's profile


1522 posts in 847 days

#14 posted 10-29-2020 11:35 PM

Many say that twice the jointer bed length is rule of thumb. In my experience, 1 1/2 times is closer to the truth in most cases. Could be my skill deficiency though. I had a Delta 6” aluminum benchtop many years ago and it was OK for short thin boards. Your mileage may vary.

-- Darrel

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