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Thread: Why a 12" jointer?

  1. #31
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    It all depends on what you build, the lumber you tend to work with, and how much it bothers you to rip down lumber just to mill it. Everybody will have different answers to the above criteria, but in the realm of jointers, bigger is rarely worse unless you simply don’t have the space or electrical requirements for a larger machine. I’ve used 6” machines, used to own an 8” delta, currently own a 12” Oliver, and have used machines up to 16” wide doing all types of personal and professional solid wood woodworking and there’s never a been a time when I’ve thought “man, if only this jointer were smaller...”

    Longer beds and a stouter build quality alone is usually reason enough for me to gravitate towards a bigger machine, even if I’m just edge jointing. It seems that the OP works in a particularly distinctive way that avoids lumber wider than 4” (?) and that’s a unique situation, but the first time you want to mill a 8/4 board that’s 10” wide and 6’ long, I don’t think you would regret having a bigger jointer.

    Different strokes for different folks.
    That's just like, your opinion, man.

  2. #32
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    So what are the best options for 12" jointer if one was to buy new? It's a significant step up in price from an 8".

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Crawford View Post
    So what are the best options for 12" jointer if one was to buy new? It's a significant step up in price from an 8".

    I'd suggest skip buying new at first, and look at some old iron ones. I'd rather check out a used one where I can bring my straight edge to analyze the beds for flatness, over just buying a new one where you don't know what you'll end up with. My 16" 1950 Moak's beds are flat to within 0.015-0.02" across their surface. Even modern day SCMI's, Hammers, etc. have a lower factory tolerance than that (up to like 0.06 or 0.08"?). Top-end Felders and Martins are most likely very high tolerance, but also 10x the price I payed for my fully restored Moak which runs like the day it came out of the factory. It's also single phase which was a bonus for me since I don't have 3-phase.

    Of course, you could also buy a brand new Grizzly and just get lucky having perfect beds on it

  4. #34
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    We are all limited in some fashion by shop size/budget/electrical service, but id always rather have more machine than i need. I have a 500mm jointer, and have surfaced a few 18-19" boards. I have several 20-22" boards on hand as well. Im the complete opposite of you, if i can make a panel or a top in as few boards as possible, I am a happy camper. A 36" table top out of two 18" boards is much faster and convenient--and frankly, better looking--than 9 separate 4" wide boards. I resaw to 20" somewhat often, which is convenient to flatten on a 20" machine.

    This was stated previously, but a 12"+ jointer is considerably better built than a 6-8" machine. Better fence designs(typically), more power, longer tables, larger diameter cutterblocks for better surface finish, and built to hold tolerances through heavy use.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Crawford View Post
    So what are the best options for 12" jointer if one was to buy new? It's a significant step up in price from an 8".
    Buy used is a much better value and the older machines were built better than most of what you can buy new these days.
    That's just like, your opinion, man.

  6. #36
    I find all of the conversations about 12" jointers interesting. I haven't done much woodworking for the last 6 or 7 years but back in those days a 8" jointer was "what's happening".

    If you had a 8" jointer it worked great with a 15" planer whereas if you had a 6" jointer it worked well with a benchtop planer.

    Jointer/Planers were around back then but not as many were bought as are now.

    Just my observations..........

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Kepley View Post
    I'm in the early stages of learning the craft, and I have a little 6" popcorn Jet jointer. I've also got two kids in college, so I'm only in the "dream stage" of a more permanent jointer. A Grizzly 12" jointer with a HH is $5,000. A 16" Griz is $7,500. It seems to me that a Hammer A3-41 - which gets you a 16" jointer and a 16" planer with HH - comparatively is a pretty good deal. On sale, with a mobility kit and the handy gauge on the wheel, I believe it would cost less than the Griz 16" jointer. Good luck!
    True BUT....... you can buy used and do a whole lot better. My used Italian 20" planer and 16" jointer together cost much less than that 12" Grizzly jointer you mention costs. Plus they're of considerably better quality which means a lot to me. The toughest thing if you have a small shop is finding room and power for the bigger machines. If you can handle those two obstacles.... your golden!

    good luck,
    JeffD

  8. #38
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    One of the reasons we have seen an increase in 12” jointers is the combination machine (jointer/thicknesser-planer). The 8” jointer was a common choice several years ago because it was so much cheaper than a 12” jointer. The decision to get a combination machine made it a cheaper route to a wide jointer. (This was a novel idea several years ago, and Popular Woodworking magazine published an article I wrote for them on this topic). Replacing a 8” stand alone jointer, the combo machine I purchased is the Hammer A3-31 with the shellix carbide helical “silent” head. It was delivered and commissioned by Felder locally. It has provided perfect service from day dot. Above all, it is a quiet machine.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 11-06-2019 at 8:44 AM.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Crawford View Post
    So what are the best options for 12" jointer if one was to buy new? It's a significant step up in price from an 8".
    Used for a dedicated jointer and used or new for a J/P combo. The latter is often more cost effective to have wide capacities for both flattening and thicknessing.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #40
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    Those used old iron machines are ridiculously heavy. I'm not sure how I could get something like that moved. Also are the $200 VFD's good enough for these machines?

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Crawford View Post
    Those used old iron machines are ridiculously heavy. I'm not sure how I could get something like that moved. Also are the $200 VFD's good enough for these machines?
    Thomas, they look impossible to move, and no, you're not going to get one down your basement stairs, but for the most part if you're working in a garage or a street-level shop, they're not bad to handle. The trick is finding ways to never have to pick them up. Get a set of 4x4 skids under a machine base and it will roll anywhere you want on a couple of black iron pipes. I didn't believe this until I tried it with a 20" delta bandsaw. My wife rolled my 24" jointer into the garage.

    As to your VFD question, I've got a TECO FM50 on my bandsaw and it works fine. Their adequacy depends on the motor and the machine type. A 3 hp table saw would work fine on a 3 hp TECO (and there's plenty of documentation showing 5hp saws running on 3hp VFD's, YMMV), but a 7.5hp jointer is obviously not going to play ball. Do your homework and 3 phase conversion is nothing to be afraid of.

  12. #42
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    Thank you all for this most insightful and enlightening discussion. I learned a lot and appreciated all of the comments. And I was ultimately swayed toward the 12" jointer. Some basic math insofar as cost of tool over lifetime and marginal discrepancy compared to an 8" simplified the choice. Of course, the probability of not knowing what possibilities lay in my future and preferring to be available to avail myself to them further moved me in the direction of going bigger. Many people essentially broke it down to: there have been many times I wished I had a bigger jointer, but never have I bemoaned not having a smaller one.

    I wonder how long before I'm thinking, "shoot, should have gotten a 16"?

    Thanks again.

  13. #43
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    Probably about a week .

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie McDottie View Post
    Thank you all for this most insightful and enlightening discussion. I learned a lot and appreciated all of the comments. And I was ultimately swayed toward the 12" jointer. Some basic math insofar as cost of tool over lifetime and marginal discrepancy compared to an 8" simplified the choice. Of course, the probability of not knowing what possibilities lay in my future and preferring to be available to avail myself to them further moved me in the direction of going bigger. Many people essentially broke it down to: there have been many times I wished I had a bigger jointer, but never have I bemoaned not having a smaller one.

    I wonder how long before I'm thinking, "shoot, should have gotten a 16"?



    Thanks again.
    If I bought a 16" jointer instead of a 12 inch I would need a bigger band saw.....................regards, Rod.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Sheridan View Post
    If I bought a 16" jointer instead of a 12 inch I would need a bigger band saw.....................regards, Rod.
    And the problem with that is what???
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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