Does everyone who has a 6" jointer wish it were an 8"?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 02-20-2014 05:36 AM 2060 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 2004 days

02-20-2014 05:36 AM

Whenever anyone says “I’m thinking of buying a 6 inch jointer” everyone around him says “get an 8 inch!!”

I’m a student. Our school shop includes a 12” jointer. And yet…we rip everything to 6” or less. Then glue it back together if need be. Our instructor insists that this is not just because we need the practice. He is adamant that use of wider boards is bad craftsmanship.

The first time I cut a lovely piece of 10” wide wood into two pieces I felt like I was committing a crime. And yet – my piece turned out great, just like he said it would.

So is a 6” jointer really that much of a handicap?

44 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3920 days

#1 posted 02-20-2014 05:40 AM


Surfacing boards by hand with bench planes is really no
big deal if you are physically able.

View Mike's profile


406 posts in 2960 days

#2 posted 02-20-2014 06:00 AM

Absolutely. Building a bed frame from rough stock, the biggest problem is that I need 6” wide boards for the side rails and my jointer doesn’t have the capacity to do it. Even though it says 6.125” in clearance, the real usable space is more like 5.5”. I am currently looking to go from a 6” to an 8”. I think a 6” is a good starter, but I would rather have either an 8” or 10”. The only thing to consider is that anything that is above a 6” is usually 220v or higher.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1306 posts in 1907 days

#3 posted 02-20-2014 06:07 AM

Your shop teacher is not totally correct, not everything needs to be ripped and re-glued.
There are many beautiful pieces made of wide boards.
First it has to be stable, second you need to plan for change of seasons.

In answer to your question, I have a 6” and yes I wish I had a 12 ”..
But I am very good with a plane, so I do my wide boards that I wish to keep wide with handplanes.
Sometimes it’s laborious, mostly it’s not. It depends on how hard the wood is to work.

I think when I am having a tough time that the 12” will be too. Because it’s the wood.
If you plan on using wide boards, get a scrub plane, a jack, and a fore plane. Of course you already have a smoother.

I got most of mine used..

-- Jeff NJ

View a1Jim's profile


117489 posts in 3850 days

#4 posted 02-20-2014 06:37 AM

I have a 12” and sometimes wish it was a 16” jointer, but seems we always want more doesn’t it.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View b2rtch's profile


4870 posts in 3321 days

#5 posted 02-20-2014 10:17 AM

Get an 8” and never have a regret, in this case bigger is better.
Buy a 6” and you will regret it, guarantee, until the day you sale it to buy an 8” or larger.

-- Bert

View BilltheDiver's profile


260 posts in 3158 days

#6 posted 02-20-2014 11:50 AM

I had a 6 for a couple of years, but recently found a great deal on a used 8” so i bought it and sold the 6. I much prefer the 8. Not only because of the increase in width, but also the length and the general mass of the tool. Stability is essential.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View knotscott's profile


8211 posts in 3648 days

#7 posted 02-20-2014 01:31 PM

Sort of…there are a lot of boards that fall between 6 and 8”, but it was never really in the budget and don’t have much space. If you’ve got the money and the space, there’s very little downside to going with more capacity.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View b2rtch's profile


4870 posts in 3321 days

#8 posted 02-20-2014 01:40 PM

In addition the price difference between a used 6” and 8” is generally quite small.( $150.00 to 200.00)
Find a good 8” long bench used jointer and you will be happy for many years.
I bought a 8” Powermatic for $400.00, I instated a Shelix head and a 3HP motor.
I doubt that I shall ever have to replace it again.

-- Bert

View MJCD's profile


585 posts in 2644 days

#9 posted 02-20-2014 01:45 PM

For me, it’s a matter of budget dollars – I’m at the point where my 6” is a limitation, but it took me years to get here. Also, it’s a question of woodworking focus. Many woodworkers primarily with plywood or pre-surfaced dimensional lumber – for them, an 8” jointer would be a waste of money.

Where 8”+ becomes important is working with rough hardwoods – my lumber source typically stocks at 6” to 10” pieces, and these need to face-planed prior to thickness dimensioning; also, if you work with narrower boards, it’s helpful to join them, then face-plane once side, prior to thicknessing.

If you have the money and the space, go 8”; if your tight on either one, seriously review the use of the extra (and important) 2”.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4252 days

#10 posted 02-20-2014 01:49 PM

Agreed, a wide jointer is more versatile.

Here’s a link to how we have successfully used wide boards (16” + ) without ripping them. This is especially useful in period furniture, as is the case in the piece we were building at the time. This piece is about 12 years old now, has been moved several times from one home to the next, and is fine.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View SpartyOn's profile


37 posts in 2419 days

#11 posted 02-20-2014 01:55 PM

I took a woodworking class and the instructor told us the exact same thing – you don’t need anything larger than 6 inches because you shouldn’t be jointing anything wider than that. I had just gotten into woodworking and took that statement as the gospel and went out and bought a 6” jointer. I’ve regretted it. Fortunately it was used and I didn’t put much money into it. I plan on selling and upgrading soon.

View Dano32's profile


1 post in 1829 days

#12 posted 02-20-2014 02:11 PM

New here, and new to the hobby, hi fellas.

I was going to post a separate topic, but this is really what I wanted to discuss – my particular question:

I can go with a 6 inch Grizzly with a 1.5HP motor and spiral cutterhead, or I can go with an 8 inch Grizzly with a 3HP motor and straight knife cutterhead.

What’s more important – the wider capacity, or the better cutterhead? I am leaning towards the 8 inch, because I can always upgrade the cutterhead later, right?

View b2rtch's profile


4870 posts in 3321 days

#13 posted 02-20-2014 02:25 PM

Wider capacity now, and upgrade the cutter head latter.
I put a Shelix cutting head on a 8” Powermatic, cost me $600.00.
Less than a month ago I put a Shelix on my Ridgid planer for $400.00

-- Bert

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2878 days

#14 posted 02-20-2014 02:29 PM

I had a 6” grizzly and it was a fine machine. But when I saw a used powermatic 8” for 450 I jumped on it. The main difference for me is the length of the beds. The 8” is probably twice the mass of the 6” grizzly. The longer beds are definitely welcome.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3187 days

#15 posted 02-20-2014 02:44 PM

FYI, while I have a G0593 8” Jointer w/ Spiral Cutterhead, I have successfully jointed boards as wide as 10in with this jointer. Sure I have to remove the safety cover, but one should not be running hands “over” this area anyway. I set the cut as minimal as possible 1/32—1/64in and rotate the piece horizontally 180 after each pass.

When I get close, I stop and put the piece on the workbench and hand plane the upper ridge to level, and then run the entire board through my lunchbox planer. This works like a champ. I would imagine this could be done with even wider boards, though I have not tried that wide to date.


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

showing 1 through 15 of 44 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