Combo Machine vs cheap benchtop jointer & planer vs nice planer & sled

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Forum topic by Andre3000000 posted 07-26-2014 09:15 PM 9554 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1991 days

07-26-2014 09:15 PM

Hello everyone,

Been snooping around a bit and this is my first post. I am beginning to get a lot more serious about my woodworking hobby/side job and have found myself in a bit of a conundrum. I have about $600 to spend on some combination of planer and jointer. My work is mostly small items (cutting boards, charging stands, wine holders, turnings, etc) but also build Adirondack chairs and some personal use furniture. My question is what would serve me best.

The Jet JJP-10BTOS 10” combo machine really caught my eye but the mix of reviews and the fact I can’t find any recent posts about it has me concerned. I’ve also considered purchasing a relatively inexpensive planer (Dewalt DW734) and a small bench top jointer (PC160JT) or just a nicer bench top planer like a Dewalt DW735 and using a sled for jointing.

Thank you in advanced for any help you can offer.

21 replies so far

View endgrainy's profile


251 posts in 2451 days

#1 posted 07-27-2014 05:38 PM

Hi Andre, congrats on your first post.

I would go for the best planer you can afford, then save money for a floor model jointer in the future. From what I’ve read, the inexpensive combo machines have some design flaws and drawbacks as far as quality. Many people have recommended avoiding the bench top jointers, and while I’ve never used one, I have trouble imagining how you’d safely and effectively move large stock over the short beds.

I bought the Dewalt DW735 about 9 months before I bought a jointer. I find a planer to be more versatile than a jointer. If you have relatively flat rough stock, you can “skip plane” (plane a little of one side, flip, plane a little of the other side, repeat) and get a board pretty flat. Some people also build sleds for their planer to joint one face, or hand plane one face. There are some good posts on this site about how to get by without a jointer.

That bring said, a jointer is super useful when milling rough stock. I bought a an 8” Grizzly model earlier this year. It makes dimensioning lumber and ultimately your joinery more exact.

Take my advice with a grain of salt, I am a beginner without much tool experience – the above tools are my first jointer and planer.

-- Follow me on Instagram @endgrainy

View OhioMike's profile


85 posts in 2725 days

#2 posted 07-27-2014 05:54 PM

If I were in your situation, I would go for the DW734 (about $350) and use the remaining $250 for a used 6” cast iron jointer on Craig’s list.

You don’t say where you’re located but around the Cleveland area, 6” cast iron jointers come up often and are usually in the $200 – $300 price range.

I would avoid the jointers with non-adjustable outfeed tables such as the older Craftsman models. I’m sure some folks can make them run like a top, but it requires extra patience that I don’t have :)

My .02


View CharlesA's profile


3387 posts in 2360 days

#3 posted 07-27-2014 05:56 PM

Check craigslist in your area. In mine, planers show up all the time—jointers less so (except for the ubiquitous 6 1/4” Craftsman). You can buy a refurb lunchbox planer online and a used 6” jointer for $600 easy around here. If you’re looking for more substantial (and 220v) of either, then you go up a step in price.

$200 for CL planer
$300 for CL jointer
$100 for wood!

I do realize that not all areas have good CL deals. You can try to search beyond your local area.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View CharlesA's profile


3387 posts in 2360 days

#4 posted 07-27-2014 05:57 PM

BTW, in my opinion the planer is the non-negotiable. Allows you to use rough cut lumber. I joint with hand planes for the moment—not nearly as bad as it sounds. Thought I had a great deal on a used Ridgid jointer for $175 on Friday, but missed being the first email by a few minutes.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4211 days

#5 posted 07-27-2014 06:08 PM

I flattened a lot of wider boards with hand planes starting
out in my 20s. It’s a workout for sure but a great way
to learn your handplane stuff well.

Now the thickness planer, that’s a real sweat saver. Some
people use sleds for flattening but I’ve not seen the
point and I just break out my hand planes when
needed still.

Variable speed benchtop jointers with aluminum
tops are an iffy investment.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1987 days

#6 posted 07-27-2014 06:44 PM

I agree with the rest of the guys.

Get a good planer.

With today’s high quality\technology glue line rip and combination blades, one can make do without a jointer.

If you have a router table and a fence that can be offset, it can be ideal for jointing the smaller work you mentioned. And who does not need a router table with a good fence?

-- Brad, Texas,

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5234 posts in 4523 days

#7 posted 07-27-2014 06:53 PM

Planer for sure.
You can add sleds, etc.

-- [email protected]

View Andre3000000's profile


2 posts in 1991 days

#8 posted 07-28-2014 01:53 AM

Thanks for the input guys. I’ve been leaning away from the Jet combo and just needed the added push I guess. I check craigslist pretty frequently and about the only things that pop up are either ancient, made of gold, or the good-ole Craftsman 6”. As far as a good lunch-box or benchtop style planer any votes? I’ve been really looking at either the DW734 or DW735, just not sure if the 735 is really worth the jump in price, or save my pennies and wait for a good deal (or more money) for a jointer.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4148 days

#9 posted 07-28-2014 01:00 PM

I have a nice new planer thicknesser combination made by Kity and is I believe french or Belgian I am not sure? In Europe we mostly have the combination planer thicknessers what you call planer jointer.I rarely use the jointer and mostly ( like I believe Sam Maloof, a wonderful wood worker in his time ) I don’t think he ever used a jointer either, Anyway i am considdering selling and buying seperate machines certainly planer or thicknesser as we call it.LOL anyway I think if you have enough room go for two seperate machines,it is easier to use as you don’t have to fold up when finished each night, or as I do leave it set for thicknessing mode only . LOL laziness or what ? Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View retfr8flyr's profile


386 posts in 2232 days

#10 posted 07-28-2014 01:48 PM

Like the others have said, I would get a planer first and with your budget, if you can’t find a good used one, I would get the DeWalt 735. You can actually make a sled to do joinery with a router setup for the both surface and edge work. Then, when you have additional funds, get a decent 6” or 8” jointer.

-- Earl

View JayT's profile


6325 posts in 2774 days

#11 posted 07-28-2014 01:50 PM

As far as a good lunch-box or benchtop style planer any votes? I ve been really looking at either the DW734 or DW735, just not sure if the 735 is really worth the jump in price, or save my pennies and wait for a good deal (or more money) for a jointer.

There are basically three tiers of portable planers. The DW735 is pretty much in a class of its own in regards to features. Whether you need to spend the money for all those features is a question only you can answer. Once you step down from the 735, then there a lot of different brands virtually indistinguishable from each other.

In the next lower tier, the DW734 is a good unit, so are the similar products from Ridgid, Steel City, Craftsman and more and all are about the same price, unless you find one on sale. These tend to be three knife units with good power and controls. Some are available with helical or segmented cutter heads at a slightly higher price.

One more step below that is entry level planers from a wide variety of manufacturers. In general, these are two knife units with very basic controls and features and a little less power than the three knife units. There is nothing wrong with these planers if one fits how you work. I have a Steel City 40100 from this class and am very happy. But, and a very important but, I use a planer primarily to get boards for a project to the same thickness . I use hand planes a lot and if only needing one board, I do it by hand, since I’m not worried about pieces needing to match thickness exactly. I also finish with hand planes. Because of this, I don’t need the smoother cut of a three blade or helical planer and an entry level suits me fine. It might not suit you.

I would agree with the others above about jointers. The benchtop ones are generally not worth buying. There are many alternatives to having a jointer (table saw, router with guide, hand planes, planer sled) that work just as well without taking up the space and budget. My recommendation is to first determine your needs for a planer and invest in one that will meet those needs. After that, you can see if a jointer is really necessary.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View CharlesA's profile


3387 posts in 2360 days

#12 posted 07-28-2014 01:55 PM

I know some folks have had problems with Ridgid planers. Mine is the version before this one and works just fine.
$299 at CPO.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View DrDirt's profile


4600 posts in 4305 days

#13 posted 07-28-2014 03:04 PM

Having had both a DW735 and a 6 inch delta Jointer, for 8 years now… I would look at the combo machine.

DW735 is 600 bucks
a 6 inch non benchtop jointer is going to be 600 as well.

I find I get good surfaces from the DW635 – but it is SUPER loud.
I find that the 6 inch jointer is occasionally a bit narrow. There are workarounds for everything, but sometimes it just stinks.

I have a smallish shop – 1 car garage stall (14×21)... so a quiet 10 or 12 inch jointer, with a segmented cutterhead and planer combined would be attractive.
But it is always hard to go back ….. and undo existing purchases vs getting “NEW” tools, rather than changing the old ones.

But a 12 inch unit will run around 2500 bucks…. so it is a shot to the wallet.

I would personally stay away from the 500 dollar combi unit of Jet like the JJP-10BTOS

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Mimeda's profile


7 posts in 2282 days

#14 posted 07-28-2014 03:09 PM

Hi, I had same concerns/options a few months ago and end up getting this for $350 and I don’t regret it, great machine, I guess is a copy from some old Sunhill and Jet models but works great:

As far as planer, the DW was also an option but ended up getting the Steel City 40100 at amazon for around $300 and no complaints so far.

Hope it helps.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4211 days

#15 posted 07-28-2014 03:22 PM

I’ve argued a lot that benchtop planers are very cool
and an amazing value but they are loud and they
really aren’t built for the ages.

If you have the ability to buy used and the ability to
get a 220v circuit on your panel, keep your eye out
for a used Belsaw or a Delta/Invicta RC33 clone. It’s
a 4 post stationary planer in 13-16” widths often with
the motor on top. The Belsaw is a 12” planer that
will also run moulding knives and they are often
found with 3-5hp motors. Both planer styles
make a nice cut and are not terribly loud. Though,
it must be noted, that with a portable planer
you do have a screaming brush motor, but the
real source of most noise from woodworking machines
is air turbulence. The portable planers do have
higher cutterhead speeds as well.

If looking for a used portable planer, consider the fold-
down infeed and outfeed tables. The longer they
are, generally that means a heavier machine
built for the higher end of the benchtop planer

The old Shopsmith planers are good ones too. They
have a separate variable speed feed motor. They only
plane to 4” thick however.

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