Recommendation on Jointer Upgrade

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Forum topic by Jeff_in_LSMO posted 06-18-2012 03:15 PM 2486 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jeff_in_LSMO's profile


353 posts in 2845 days

06-18-2012 03:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joiner jointer recommendation

I’ve come to the conclusion that my hand-me-down Craftsman jointer with a flexing fence just isn’t cutting it (nyuck nyuck nyuck). So I’m looking for your thoughts on what a good upgrade would be for me.

I am a hobbyist who is still relatively new to the game. But I’m learning quickly, so I’m not I complete novice. For example, I’m to the point that I’m buying rough lumber, and preparing my own material. I have a thickness planer that I like, and I am good with my Stanley No. 8, but a good jointer sure comes in handy.

Here are my questions I would like people to discuss.

1. 6-inch or 8-inch?.. remember, I’m a hobbyist, not a professional turning out pieces daily. Why?
2. Used jointers; what is a good used brand and model I should be looking for? Why?
3. Used jointers; what are the bad brands/models I should stay away from? Why?
4. New jointers; same questions as questions 2 and 3. Why?
5. Is there a preferred style of fence? Why?
6. Is there a preferred table minimum table length? Why?

Thank you for your feedback.

11 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2694 days

#1 posted 06-18-2012 04:22 PM

An 8 inch jointer is a good size I’d say. It gives you the option to do a bit bigger stuff if you want to and likely won’t be much more expensive than a 6 inch.

As for bed length, I’d consider the longest piece you will typically joint. Ideally it will rest entirely on the infeed table so that the jointer picks up the full curve in it.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5738 posts in 2998 days

#2 posted 06-18-2012 04:29 PM

8”. If you stick with that the shortest table (I think) you would likely encounter is 66”, not a bad length though I sometimes wish mine (Jet 8”) were a little longer. Many of the 8” will require 240V power, so if you don’t have that look for one with a 1.5HP motor. I’d try to buy used, might as well save some money. don’t know what the difference is with fences, but you didn’t ask about parallelogram tables versus the standard dovetail. Personally (and only my opinion) I can’t see enough advantage to the parallelogram to merit the extra cost.

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

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4153 days

#3 posted 06-18-2012 04:59 PM

1. If you have the space for the long beds, 8” is better. There are
a few odd used 8” machines with shorter beds. My Inca 10” machine
has 42” beds and is adequate for furniture.

2. Jointers are simple machines. If you buy American-made it is hard
to go wrong unless you buy a machine that needs parts. Any
jointer can get warped from abuse so you’ll want to check the
tables and fence. Fences can be bent back straight but warped
tables have to be tolerated or reground.

5. Center mount

6. No. If you have the room get the longest jointer you can, but
don’t buy a jointer that is too big for your space.

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3020 days

#4 posted 06-18-2012 05:19 PM

I have a 6” Jet, now 11 years old. It came with two sets of extra blades and it has stayed true through three moves, all to different states. I’ve never needed anything wider, and it works fine with simple 120VAC. 8” is great, but it is also fairly more expensive since the tables are longer, bigger motor, etc.
90+ percent of what I do is edge jointing, so I don’t really need an 8”.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 2802 days

#5 posted 06-18-2012 06:18 PM

What model jointer do you have now? Can it be repaired or upgraded? Older Craftsman jointers made by King Seeley or Emerson are decent machines. I fixed up a little 1950’s Craftsman 4 inch jointer I got at an auction and it has 3 knives and works nice for small work.

Anyway, any Delta 6 inch long bed jointer should do you fine, and they are plentiful and can be pretty cheap. I’d look to CL.

View MrUnix's profile


7478 posts in 2704 days

#6 posted 06-18-2012 06:52 PM

If you already have a thickness planer then I would imagine a nice used 6” jointer would be all you need (unless you are jointing really long boards, then the longer beds on a larger machine would probably be better). I wouldn’t touch any of the new plastic disposable stuff out there today and opt for a good used machine. They built them a lot better back in the day. My vintage 6” jointer weighs in at a little under 300 pounds and is built like a tank. Picked it up for under $100, spent about $60 on new knives, bearings and a belt, and now the thing is real workhorse that will probably outlast me! As for what brand, there are too many to list! What I suggest is to scour CL or whatever local source you have and see what is available.. once you find a machine you are interested in, go over to OWWM and see what others have to say about it. Lots of info can be found about build quality, ease of setup, parts availability, etc..


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2754 days

#7 posted 06-18-2012 07:02 PM

Something else to consider – 8” will likely require 220v. I am looking to get a jointer in August or September and have the same questions. I think I am settled on the 8” Grizzly if I go new (900$ shipped). I don’t want to be limited to just using 6” stock, or ripping my 8” stock in half.

Also even of you have a thickness planer, you still need to joint a face before it goes through. A thickness planer just references one face for the other. If the bottom isn’t flat, the top won’t be either. There are ways to flatten boards without a jointer (router, router sled, hand plane, thickness planer sled), but to me it is the easiest and most repeatable.


View Jeff_in_LSMO's profile


353 posts in 2845 days

#8 posted 06-18-2012 09:33 PM

Anyone have thoughts on a Powermatic 54A Deluxe 6-Inch Jointer? There is a used one a few hours from my house. I don’t have much more to go off except the asking price which is $700 and includes a mobile base. I know these reviewed well in Fine Woodworking, but $700 seems a little steep. The add says it needs new knives.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5738 posts in 2998 days

#9 posted 06-19-2012 07:27 PM

Here's a review right here on LJ. These are nice jointers (never used one, but have looked at them) but new ones are $1K. That leads me to believe that price of $700 is pretty much out of line. It’s been used enough to dull the blades (apparently) but I usually think of used tools being priced at about 1/2 of new as a starting point. But that’s just me….

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

View guitar1999's profile


15 posts in 2820 days

#10 posted 06-19-2012 07:56 PM

I picked up a used Delta/Invicta DJ-20 8” Jointer (from the mid 80s) about a year ago and I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. It was a nice upgrade from my 4” Craftsman. After quite a bit of careful research, I chose to buy this jointer used rather than something new because the DJ-20 has quite a good reputation, especially the USA/Brazilian made ones. I think that I got a higher quality jointer for half the price compared to a new DJ-20. It has performed flawlessly so far. I’m glad I went with an 8”. The extra long beds have been helpful, although I do spend more time than I want moving it around my small shop to get it out of the way (a mobile base is a must! I made my own). Also, it runs on 120, so that was not an issue. The only downside is that the beast must weigh nearly 500 lbs, so getting it into the basement was a challenge (and I’ll probably sell it with the house!).

-- Jesse - Cape Cod, MA

View Jeff_in_LSMO's profile


353 posts in 2845 days

#11 posted 06-21-2012 02:10 PM

Found an ol’ timer nearby that is selling his shop and has a Grizzly G1182Z which he claims is in great shape, for $135.

Any reason(s) why I shouldn’t jump on this?

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