How Wide a Jointer? Otra Vez

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Forum topic by DavidNJ posted 02-13-2013 07:11 AM 6222 views 1 time favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 2879 days

02-13-2013 07:11 AM

Ok…this has been asked before.

Let me set the stage. First, I have hoped to avoid the jointer and planer by getting S2S boards. However, I already have a few situations that isn’t always practical I’m also wondeiring how flat some of these boards are, especially if I get them from the lumber yard or big box store rather than the mill.

Second, I am very short of floor space. A year from now I can probably open another 100 sq ft or so…but not now.

Third, I am also at about the end of what I want to spend on equipment. Actually, I’m way over what I want to spend, but my wife gave me no option on the table saw (SawStop).

I’ve found two different methods for jointing boards larger than then jointer. Both require a separate planer (not a combo) at least as wide as the board. In one video (and some threads here) the with of the jointer is cut leaving it rabbetted. Then, a flat board the width of the jointer is placed on the the jointed part and the top service planed. The board is flipped and the other side planed.

The other method flipped the board side to side as it was jointed. That left a small ridge was just planed off. The ridge was probably a 1/16” or so.

Videos are and below:

Threads are and and

Given my criteria I don’t see any good choices. “Grizzly has a 6”x28 benchtop jointer with a cast iron top and fence. and “their 12.5 portable planer. That totals $680…not cheap but easy enough to deal with size-wise.

“Jet has a benchtop 10 combo unit for $500. Mixed reviews. Stamped steel top. Probably best described as better than nothing.

The “Grizzly has a 10 Euro style combo. It seems ok but the reviews are mixed. About $1350 delivered. At about 350lbs about my limit for the getting it in the basement. 40” table

There are also Rikon 10in and “12in jointer/planers $1050 and $1700. The 12” model has a euro style guard, quick change over, and was a best value in a Fine Woodworking test last year. The 10” is about 170lb, manageable, the 12” is a bit more of a project, closer to 400lb. 40” and 49” tables.

The next step is over $2000 for 12” Grizzly, Jet, and Hammer combos. Some with cutter heads instead of knives. They also weigh around 700+lbs. Just not going to happen for the foreseeable future.

39 replies so far

View RVroman's profile


163 posts in 2910 days

#1 posted 02-13-2013 07:22 AM

For what it is worth, I had the delta version of the Grizzly 6×28 benchtop jointer you have above. It took less than 6 months to realize it did not meet the needs of a workshop. (although I did build a set of bunk beds from rough stock with that and a dewalt 735 planer, so it is possible)

I upgraded to a “full size” 6 inch jointer from Steel City for about $500 and have not looked back. While an 8” would be great, it was just too hard to justify the extra cost, and the 6” does 95% of what I need. For the other 5% I just get the mill or yard to make it S3S and pay about 10 cents per bf for the convenience and space savings in the shop.

-- Robert --- making toothpicks one 3x3x12 blank at a time!

View runswithscissors's profile


3118 posts in 2911 days

#2 posted 02-13-2013 07:25 AM

I have a Jet JJP12-HH (helical head) combo machine. I like it a lot. But if I were in your situation space and budget wise, I’d look hard at the Rikon 10” combo machine. I’ve seen much better reviews on it than I have on the Jet. They’re both compact machines, but the Rikon is supposed to be more robust.

Occasionally I see in Inca (Swiss made) combo machine of abut the same capacity (10”) on CL, usually at a good price.

I generally like Grizzly tools, but the 10” sounds like it may be over the top as far as your budget is concerned.

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

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3896 days

#3 posted 02-13-2013 07:25 AM

Unless you’re obtaining wide boards regularly, 8” ends up being enough jointer for most hobbyists. A quality 8” jointer isn’t that expensive (especially used), but unfortunately it is heavy, and it does need some floor space.

Why not get a planer first and see if a sled can handle your face-jointing needs? You’ll still need an edge-jointing method, but that’s easier to accomplish with non-jointer methods than face-jointing.

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

View Loren's profile


10720 posts in 4534 days

#4 posted 02-13-2013 07:35 AM

The RIKON 10 is a knockoff of the INCA. The INCA
is an excellent machine for the furniture artisan
with limited space.

I don’t think you’ll go wrong with either RIKON.
There are a lot of INCA machines in the NY area
and they come up for sale often and get snapped
up fast if the seller isn’t unreasonable. The 10”
with Tersa head should go in the $500-800 range.

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2879 days

#5 posted 02-13-2013 07:47 AM

Umm….a sled can face join a board without any other work done to it? Both of the examples above jointed the board first. However, I can see how the sled could do it, cupped side up. Wouldn’t a twist be difficult to deal with? Edge jointing can be done with an jig on a table saw…I already have that jig.

I bought a power planer at HF for $25 to see what it was like…and I liked the result. A mini-jointer in a way. It is actually possible to finish a wider board with it: do a strip the width of the blade, then come back at an angle using the back of the unit on the previously cut spot as a height reference.

The mill (as far as I know only one within about 75 miles) is about a 2-to-3 hr round trip. Ok for well defined projects; less so for ad hoc.

Runswithscissors, that Jet is nice, quick to change over, tied for best overall in Fine Woodworking. 500lb, $3400 with the cutter head, $2300 with blades…out of my range.

You are right, the 10” Rikon clearly trumps the Grizzly pieces. The Grizzly doesn’t add enough to justify its de facto $300 higher price. However, there are bookcase sides and bookcase and cabinet shelves that would be nice to have a 12” planer capability.

That trip to the mill is looking better and better….

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3896 days

#6 posted 02-13-2013 08:04 AM

A planer sled can face-joint a board without any other work, yes. There are slightly different variations out there, but they all rely on supporting the twist of the board with wedges or hot glue drops, etc. such that the board doesn’t rock. Here is Keith Rust’s design:

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

View runswithscissors's profile


3118 posts in 2911 days

#7 posted 02-13-2013 08:44 AM

Actually, I got my Jet JJP12 HH for $1800. It was a “scratch & dent” at the Jet/PM facility in Auburn, WA. They advertise S & D stuff from time to time on CL. It was a 2 1/2 or 3 hr. drive for me, but worth it. Had to pay sales tax, of course. That was last fall. Then, a few weeks later, they had another for $1895—but that one included a mobile base.

I never found a single scratch or dent on mine. The guys at the warehouse guessed it might have been a demo at a trade show, as there were a few planer chips in it.

I haven’t seen one now for a while. But I always check Seattle CL out of curiosity.

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

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2879 days

#8 posted 02-13-2013 09:10 AM

live4ever, that is one large, thick, heavy sled! Not sure how it handles a cupped board rather than a twisted board. He did some design stuff different then I would: bungee cord? I would have just floated the laterals on a 1/4 bolt with an unthreaded shank set into an insert and secured with a nut.

Making left and right supports would have handled a cupped board; the cross strips were making point contact anyway since the board isn’t flat and is rigid.

Instead of friction strips, he used stair tread material, a vertical board maybe 1/2” taller than the supports or even adjustable would have prevented the feed from dragging the board off the sled.

Did he really need two 1/2” boards with a 1” spacer between them for bending strength? One 3/4” sheet of plywood (or two glued together) wouldn’t have been strong enough? After all, when pressure is on it is supported by the planer. His roller couldn’t have been than level with the planer bed.

There are some nice Steel City planers. Under $500 with cutter heads and nothing but excellent reviews on Amazon (12 on each of 2 models). The knife version is under $300. Both much nicer price points, especially since the planer looks like a longer term investment.

Loren, where do you find the Inca units? I can’t find any for sale.

The Rikon 10” seems more manageable to get into the basement. However, the 12” seems a lot more manageable with respect to switching from jointer to planer and for using as a planer. However, it would need to be partially disassembled to get it into the basement: removal of the infeed/outfeed tables, fence isshipped unassembled and the fence mount needs to removed and reinstalled according to the manual. That will require realignment of the tables. The remaining unit would have the skid cut down to the size of the unit and then maneuvered on an appliance cart.

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2879 days

#9 posted 02-13-2013 05:10 PM

runswithscissors, that was a great deal.

My choice now seems to be between do nothing, get a planer (most likely a Steel City unit) and use a sled (an attractive alternative, probably just under $500), or get one of the two Rikons ($1050 and $1700).

One advantage of a combo unit is the jointer and planer share the same space; they require minimally about 9’-11’ continuiously to be able to run 4’ to 5’ boards on the ability to expand that to 17’ when needed. Somehow it would need to be positioned to use space with the table saw which has a similar requirement.

The benchtop unit has an advantage since at its higher height the work piece can extend over other stuff. It also can be easily moved, is easier to put in place, and takes up less space when in use. One way to use it for jointing would be to use a hand power planer to knock of the peaks on one side. That is one of the examples in the WoodWhisper example. However, that is much more time consuming than just throwing a board on a jointer.

View LeChuck's profile


424 posts in 3948 days

#10 posted 02-13-2013 06:06 PM

I used to have a clone of that Rikon combo machine, the small one on the left, and hated it (and it was cheaper to buy that the prices you are quoting).

If you’re going to use a planer and a jointer to dimension wood, those functions are complementary in my opinion, and you should be able to go from one to the other quickly, especially if it involves dimensioning a bunch of stock, not just one board). That machine was a pain to switch from one function to the other, had to move or remove the fence, remove the table or put it back on (and have a place to put it down), move the dust chute around (and move the planer table up to hold it in place). The table has to be eyeballed if you want to put it back on in the exact same position as before (it’s the outfeed table so you have to keep your alignment), and yes it gives you a wider jointer, but it’s cheap stuff with steel and no cast iron fence or table (except for the planer bed).

But then again, you’d also lose an extra couple inches on the planer side of things compared to a lunchbox planer, and there are good ones out there, better and more precise than the one in that Rikon (I love my Makita 2012NB).

At first you might feel like you can deal with that stuff, but it quickly becomes too much I think. For me a combo machine is really ok if you must have one in terms of space, and if change over is very minimal and won’t ruin your settings. Baring that, it’s just frustrating and separate machines are always the way to go if you can.

For space, you can easily mount a lunchbox planer on a rolling cart and just put it in a corner when it’s not in use. It requires some length only when boards are going through it. Jointer doesn’t move as easily but it’s possible too. I do the same with my bandsaw. In its position near the wall I can do short to medium length boards, but when I run longer boards though and it needs to clear the tops of the other machines nearby, I just pull it out a foot or 2.

I had a 6” Harbor Freight jointer until recently, but I returned it because I discovered the fence was twisted. That being said, I also discovered that such a machine is simply too small to be really practical, and I’m not just talking about the 6 inch capacity. The tables were too short, so it wasn’t practical for longer stock, and the fence was too narrow, which made it hard to do the edges on longer and wider stock. I decided that when I do get a power jointer again, it will have to be a bigger model, and 8 inch minimum, below that is just too restrictive in my opinion. You usually don’t have your board at the final width when you plane the faces, so that really limits what you can do.

In the meantime, it will be hand planes (actually even with a jointer, it’s a good thing to be able to do). You don’t have to make it dead flat, just flat enough to run through the planer, then flip over. As for edges, it’s also pretty quick in my opinion to create an edge that’s flat enough to run against the fence of your table saw, make a thin rip cut on the other edge, the flip it around and cut to final width.

-- David - Tucson, AZ

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3769 days

#11 posted 02-13-2013 09:20 PM

I have a 6” jointer; occaisionally I dream of getting an 8” jointer, but for most projects the 6” has been enough. I’ve tried the Woodwhisperer technique for jointing wider boards but not really had much success. I find it much easier to get a board reasonably flat with hand planes and then run it through my planer.
In practice, it is easier to work around having a smaller jointer ie. 6” instead of 8” or 10” than to have a smaller planer. I looked at getting a combo machine (I have limited shop space too) but I’d really regret having only 10” planer.

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

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3172 days

#12 posted 02-13-2013 09:37 PM

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, HF has a jointer and a planer you can get for under 500$. I have the 6” rabbit joiner, but I only use it to straighten the end of the board unless I have a small board with a bow in it, but I’m just likely to throw that board away as to try and plane it on my joiner.
I think to do it right you need both as a dedicated machine. Getting one that does both competently is going to be hard.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

112 posts in 2856 days

#13 posted 02-14-2013 12:46 AM

I don’t want to gloat, but I would recommend that anyone looking for a decent jointer and willing to spend up to $1000 looks for an old jointer like an American, Yates, Oliver, Clement, etc. For $700 I got a 16” American jointer from the ‘20s. It is finally given me the confidence in my jointer over my previous Grizzly 6” model that I never really trusted (not necessarily its fault, but I wanted to joint longer and wider boards than it could handle. Now with a full 7’+ long bed, I can run a full 8’-10’ board or timber on this jointer and get a true face. It also really helps me make simple wood block stools by jointing the faces of 12”x12” timbers.

Now you do have to check them out carefully and be willing to do some repairing and replacing bearings, but you end up with the last machine that you will ever need. I got both lucky and unlucky because it turns out that my cutterhead was busted by the previous owner who ran it until there was lots of play between the cutterhead shaft and bearing. I did not catch that before purchasing the unit. However, my uncle happens to work in a machine shop and re-machined the cutterhead and made new bearing retainers to get it back into working condition. That plus $40 of bearings from Accurate Bearings and I can face joint boards as wide as my 15” planer.

The only other thing that I did was replace the 5hp 3-phase motor with a single phase used motor of the same size with new belts. Now I have to eventually find an old beast of a planer to go along with it, but my Delta is doing fine for now.

Check out the forums at Old Woodworking Machinery (OWWM) and you will find lots of reviews and advise on these old machines.

-- Matt Rogers, and

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 3184 days

#14 posted 02-14-2013 12:49 AM

there is a 12 inch jointer for sale in nashville tn for like 1800

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2879 days

#15 posted 02-14-2013 01:16 AM

The Steel City unit with 2 blades is about the same price as the HF unit, better warranty. I’m a bit more comfortable with something Steel City hangs there name on than HF. Note Steel City sells on Amazon, is sold by HD and Lowes, and is private labeled by Sears. I have HF stuff, bu for power tools limit that to where the price difference is significant: hydraulic scissor table for $180, competitors $350-$700, 10” sliding miter saw $80, competitors $150-$400.

If I went the combo route it seems the 12” Rikon would be the best choice. However, that is $1700. The Steel City 2 blade unit is $300, the unit with helical cutters is $490. However, those cutters are two sided and may not give a life expectancy advantage over the blades which are also 2-sided.

A word on 16” jointers, sliding table saws, etc. In my computer all the drives are 3TB except for the 2TB “C Drive”. The limiting factor is not the number of drives. The first limit is the number of 6GB SATA III ports. The second limit is the number of 3.5” drive bays. The third is heat rejection from those drive bays if fully populated.

The same factor here. I’d love to have a 3000 ft² shop. When the dust settles I may have 400 sq ft. Right now it is a disjoint 200 ft². There won’t be any sliding table saws or 16” jointer. Based on this thread there may or may not be a jointer. After the table saw with router table, cyclone dust collector, and moving my drill press downstairs, the next floor standing tool is likely to be a bandsaw or maybe a jointer/planer combo.

My question now is just adding a decent portable 12” planer going to be enough.

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