Planer + Jointer: combo or separates?

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Forum topic by elingeniero posted 01-10-2013 12:10 AM 2631 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 3028 days

01-10-2013 12:10 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer planer combination

There are 2 reasons I’m looking at getting a combo machine:

1) My shop is in a 2 car garage and I need the space.
2) I believe in having a planer and jointer the same width.

So I can make a better informed choice, can any of the more experienced folk around here tell me where a combination machine falls down on the job compared to having separate machines?

12 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2915 days

#1 posted 01-10-2013 01:03 AM

I recently went through the same analysis. There are two things I can say for sure.

1. The combo machines are LOUD AS HELL. The guy at our local woodworkers shop plugged his floor model 8” Jet combo model in for me. It was very loud compared to dedicated machines, which are not quiet themselves.

2. You will be told that you should save money and get separate machines, or larger machines. A lot. People are right, they are better. But I too have to have small tools due to space limiations, so get what you can work with. The tools you use may have limitations, but you can make good stuff with them if you learn to work around those limiations, and you can make things you could make if you didn’t have those tools.

I ended up with a great deal on a Dewalt planer, so I skipped the combo machine. I did have to get a 6” bench jointer though. It is very loud and the fence is a little bit of a pain, but it makes a flat side, and squares an edge pretty well. I’ve just about completed my first project using both, and it looks pretty good. You can see a difference over just using raw lumber. I can’t easily joint long boards, so I cut pieces for my project a little long, joint and plane, then edge joint and cut to width and length. That’s a limitation of the smaller jointing machine. I’m not sure what I’ll do if I build a full height bookcase with a long piece of hardwood….but I’ll figure something out.

IMO, the planer part of the combo units is the bigger limiation. It has very little infeed and outfeed support, which can lead to some snipe. Again, cutting long is a solution to that limitation.


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

View Dusty56's profile


11861 posts in 4608 days

#2 posted 01-10-2013 01:37 AM

If one breaks , they’re both broken at the same time : (
Did you ever own a TV VCR DVD all in one , and have the TV go bad ? Same principal.
Having a planer and jointer the same width is a noble wish , but not really “real world”.
Do you really plan on finding rough stock 12 or 13 inches wide and using it that way ?
There are other ways to surface the rare wide boards if need be : ) JMHO

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3930 days

#3 posted 01-10-2013 01:44 AM

Some potential downsides to combo machines:

Problem: Changeover time
Solution: Can’t really do much about it, though the more expensive combo machines have very quick (<30 sec) changeover.

Problem: Losing planer height when switching to jointer
Solution: A digital planer readout makes it easier to get back to previous planer setting. Though you might have to do a bit of cranking. Some models (e.g. I think the Hammer A3-31) require the planer table to be all the way up to change to jointer mode.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3484 days

#4 posted 01-10-2013 02:12 AM

I used one before (Jet). And (until I got a lunchbox planer) toyed with the same issue. I will say that it can be a pain to switch between machines. Also I don’t think that you usually have a cut on the jointer that is as wide as the cut on the planer because of the fence and blade guard.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Biff's profile


126 posts in 2934 days

#5 posted 01-10-2013 02:26 AM

Keep in mind that you would only have the cost of one set of blades for two machines. A helical cutterhead would be a relatively small investment for one machine as compared to two.

-- Interested in Oregon property? Visit me at

View elingeniero's profile


25 posts in 3028 days

#6 posted 01-10-2013 02:59 AM

What occasioned this post was that I see a couple of older 10” Euro import J/P combos available that would cost about the same as a decent used 8” jointer and lunchbox planer. The downside is parts availability, of course.

@Katdaddy: Waiting for my owwm registration to come through.

@bbasiaga: Regarding other combo units: The Jet 6”, 8” and 10”J/P combos get very poor reviews for reliability and results. They’re seriously flyweight, and not well balanced, hence loud. The Grizzly 10” unit also has the same knock against it. It’s not until you step up to a 12” combo unit or a Euro import that you get the quality from Taiwan, but oh the dollars you’ll spend.

There are only 2 lunchbox planers I’m interested in, the DeWalt 735 and the Makita 2012NB. The DeWalt is not to be had used for less than $400, and usually more like $500. Used Makitas are rare as hens teeth: haven’s seen one in over a year of monitoring craigslist.

As far as planer support, you could get a 1/2” slab of jig plate aluminum (ALCA5 or MIC6) of the width and length you need: jig plate is usually flat to .0005” and you won’t see any deflection. I built my router table out of the stuff and it’s awesome. Just screw it on top of the existing table and wax that sucker good.

@Dusty56: On the other hand, I’m just as dead in the water if 1 of 2 dedicated machines is out of commission: can’t really plane to thickness a board that doesn’t have one flat face, and I can’t joint an edge without 2 flat faces. There are workarounds using a router, but sometimes nothing but a real jointer will do.

I do see lots of 8 to 9 inch boards out there that I wouldn’t hesitate putting through a 10” machine.

@live4ever: the trick I see people do for changeover is to replace the hand crank with a hex nut, and use a driver to handle the changeover in 10 seconds.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3610 days

#7 posted 01-10-2013 03:07 AM

I would consider the Ridgid benchtop as well. I’ve tortured mine for over 5 years and it works great!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Dusty56's profile


11861 posts in 4608 days

#8 posted 01-10-2013 04:29 AM

can’t really plane to thickness a board that doesn’t have one flat face, You’re correct , just don’t need a jointer specifically to establish the flat face , and I can’t joint an edge without 2 flat faces. You only need one flat face to joint an edge square : ) On the other hand , do what you want to do , in the end you’re going too anyway : )
I’m just answering your question that you posted for the world to see. …”tell me where a combination machine falls down on the job compared to having separate machines?” Have a good day !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Loren's profile


10799 posts in 4567 days

#9 posted 01-10-2013 06:09 AM

I’ve owned a few combo jointer/planers.

I prefer separates if space permits.

The mortiser attachments on some combos are pretty sweet.

The butterfly hinged tables are not the best design. The
tables that lift up together are a better design for
retaining table alignment.

The planer tables on combos generally lack extensions.

Heavy combos like a Robland, SCMI, or Hammer have big
motors and robust planer feedworks.

10” and 12” wide boards are not so common these days.

An 8” jointer is adequate to handle most of the narrower
boards we get these days.

A longbed 8” jointer takes up a lot of space.

Jointer tables longer than 54” aren’t needed for most
furniture scale work.


Presently I use an INCA 10” jointer/planer combo as
my jointer. I use a 12” Belsaw as my planer.

View runswithscissors's profile


3119 posts in 2945 days

#10 posted 01-10-2013 08:18 AM

There are 2 reasons the small Jet combo is loud: 1. the universal motor (inherently loud) 2. the knives. Straight knives on planers and jointers are very loud. The loudest of all, in my experience, is the DW 735. I attribute that to the tiny 3 knife cutterhead, turning at extremely high rpms. I sold mine largely on the basis of its banshee howl. I was afraid I’d have the neighbors coming down the street with pitchforks and burning torches.

I got a heck of a deal on a Jet JJP12-HH. If you watch Seattle CL, you see one come up from time to time, being sold by an outfit that seems to handle all of Jet & Powermatic scratch and dent machines. Mine didn’t have a mark on it. I paid $1800, plus tax. Had to haul it myself (a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive). The guys at the outlet thought it might have been a demo at a trade show, or something. In answer to the usual objections to the combo machine:

1. The JJP12-HH is very quick to convert, since the jointer tables are on a one piece unit, and the fence doesn’t have to be removed (doesn’t even need to be moved at all). The planer table does have to be cranked down when switching modes in order for the dust hood to swing over. Cranking takes about 10 seconds.
2. I use a Wixey digital height scale to set my planer, which is great when you need to come back to the same thickness as a previous cut. Only takes a few seconds to get the new setting.
3. The helical cutterhead is the quietest of any planer or jointer that I have had. That includes lunch box and stationary planers & jointers. Helicals and spirals are noted for this. I could actually use it without ear muffs, but I need to save what little hearing I have left. That’s after about 20 years of chain sawing firewood each summer and fall.
4. It’s true I seldom have to joint anything wider than 8 inches. But it’s nice to have the capacity when you need it. The flip side is that the planer is on the narrow side—only 12 inches, and wider is often needed on projects. Of course, no matter how wide a planer you have, you’ll someday wish you had one an inch wider.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View elingeniero's profile


25 posts in 3028 days

#11 posted 01-14-2013 01:44 AM

I ended up getting an Inca model 570 yesterday: read all about it:

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 3385 days

#12 posted 01-14-2013 02:12 AM

I have the Grizzly G0634 12” combo jointer/planer.

1) Quiet as a mouse. Much quiter than either my old Delta 6” jointer, and a whisper compared to the old lunch box planer.
2) Change over is about 1 minute. Rockler dust right handle and ports helped there.
3) heavy 700 pounds of goodness!

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

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