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Thread: Buying a used 8" General dovetail jointer. - What to look for?

  1. #1

    Buying a used 8" General dovetail jointer. - What to look for?

    Sat I'm going to pick up a used General 480. That's the last of the Canadian-made General line, not General International.
    It's a dovetail design, not parallelogram.

    I know these were well-made and expensive, but that doesn't mean they are without potential issues, so I'm hoping maybe somebody here owns one, and can tell me any specific issues I might want to look for.
    ----------------------

    - Also, of course, just general things to look for in a heavy 8" dovetail-type jointer.

    I know to look for flat tables, and smooth bearings, but that's about it.


    thx.
    Last edited by Allan Speers; 05-30-2019 at 6:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Hilo, Hawaii
    Posts
    150
    Missing parts. When I got my jointer noticed the fence had to be realigned too often. It was missing a nut and bolt. I didn't know this until I had it for a couple weeks. Also, the plastic adjustment knob for the outfeed able had a hairline crack that made it useless, I used a wrench to adjust the table when I put new knives. And the plastic dust chute was missing.

    I would have still bought it for the same price had I known about these things, but felt dumb that I missed it when inspecting. I had enough time to inspect but was too excited and mostly was checking tables for flatness and just completely did not catch the missing parts.

  3. #3
    Great ideas, thanks !

    I'm going to study the owners manual hard, before I go.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    2,338
    Donít trust anything about the knives. They might be too short too thick. Not set right or at the right height.
    Might not be tightened.
    If your confident your buying from a competent woodworker that helps.

    Good Luck
    Aj

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Grassy Lake Alberta
    Posts
    928
    Jointers are not complicated machines. If all the parts are there and functional (guard) handles etc. ,beds flat. Stuff like knives,bearings and electrical can all be sourced easily. That is a really good machine,all the original general stuff is top shelf stuff. Most of the last manufactured General stuff came with Baldor motors from the U.S. so that is a bonus too.Hope you get a good deal,good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Central WI
    Posts
    5,214
    Bring a good long straightedge or a decent extruded AL level, at least as long as both tables. Check that there are no hollows ( along length and width ) or table droop. If the tables are flat and co planar, you can deal with most other issues. Dave

  7. #7
    Thanks, guys.

    This really helps.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kees View Post
    Hope you get a good deal, good luck.
    It has a 1.5 Hp Baldor, and supposedly very low (hobbyist) hours. (but you never know.)
    The guy only wants $800, with a mobile base, so I don't see how I can go wrong, unless there are serious issues, but I'm going to check it very carefully.

    Thanks again, guys.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Grassy Lake Alberta
    Posts
    928
    Allen the last one of these I saw new was $2800 Canadian. Move quick.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kees View Post
    Allen the last one of these I saw new was $2800 Canadian. Move quick.
    Yeah, they must be well made, like all Generals.
    -that's why I'm asking about things to check. The price is almost "too good to be true."

    Well, supposedly he's a wealthy hobbyist and moving to Europe, so maybe......

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Grassy Lake Alberta
    Posts
    928
    Allen ,did you buy it ?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kees View Post
    Allen ,did you buy it ?
    Someone beat me to it!
    The guy promised I'd have first shot, then he didn't even call me when he sold it.
    Luckily, I called HIM just before leaving. (An almost 2 hr trip and about $50 in tolls)

    Well, no worries, I'm not in a rush. Maybe a nice, older DJ-20 will show up in the future.
    At least now I'm well prepared.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Grassy Lake Alberta
    Posts
    928
    Delta DJ-20,Delta 37-315,General or Powermatic not sure of the model numbers of the last two. Any of these are real good machines ,I would buy any of them.Good luck.

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