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Thread: Looking for my first jointer

  1. #1

    Looking for my first jointer

    I’m shopping for my first Jointer and the options/differences are mind numbing! I’d appreciate any suggestions you guys (gals) have to offer. I have a Dewalt 735 planer and now I need an 8” jointer that will do the job. I don’t want to buy cheap but I’m wondering if I can keep the cost around $1000-$1200. It looks like the Grizzly’s cost less than Jet, Powermatic and Rikon for what looks like very similar models. They look like they were all made by the same company with different colors and names put on them. Am I only getting what I pay for with the Grizzly or is Grizzly a good choice? Here are some options to consider and I don’t know if they are worth spending extra for; Helical vs. spiral vs. straight cutter-heads, number of inserts on the cutter-heads (54 vs. 36) Dovetailed vs. Parallelogram Table adjustment, 3HP vs. 2HP, etc… I’m sure there are other things to consider but I’m new to all of this. Thanks in advance for you input!
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 10-23-2020 at 3:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Grizzly parallelogram 8”, head is up to you but if you’re jointing curly stuff a helical head (any of them, grizzly brand is fine) will work.

    You should get a helical head on the planer too though, since material goes through the planer last.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Consider buying your "second" jointer first...put those "nice to have" things in the specifications. Rebuying later is more expensive than making the better investment up front, even if you have to wait a little longer to fund it.
    --

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
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    I did without a jointer for years.

    I had two methods for "jointing" the edge. The first was a jig for my table saw that you clamped the piece of wood to and then ran the jig along the fence. The drawback was the length of pieces I could process. The second method is to use my track saw to straight line rip the first edge. That is only limited by the amount of track you have.

    I "jointed" the face with my 15" planer and a sled.

    Since I like working with wider lumber and have a relatively small shop (500 sq ft) I was loathe to purchase a jointer though it would make my life easier! Just this year I finally made the decision to purchase a combo j/p. I'll be receiving the Hammer A3-31 soon and then be selling the 15" 4-post planer. Yes, I'm giving up 3" of planing capacity, but I'm gaining a jointer.

    Like Jim mentioned, buy your "2nd jointer" first. Could you consider selling your lunchbox planer and purchasing a combo machine with larger capacities? The Grizzly J/P is less than a $1000 more than the jointer alone and you'd be getting increased capacity. Just food for thought.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    SoCal
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    As already stated, buy your last jointer first. It would be interesting to see a poll of how many of us actually managed to do that. Certainly the folks like you who get to benefit from our mistakes would be the majority of those people. I've run a Grizzly G0490X since 2008. I was lucky, it was only my second jointer thanks to threads like this one. I cheaped out on my first jointer because I just knew I could make one work where others had failed (sound familiar to anyone?). I learned the hard ($$$) way and came up with this list of gotta-haves:

    - Parallelogram beds
    - Insert head
    - Long beds
    - Tall fence

    The Grizzly G0490X checked all these boxes and had a long history of satisfied customers . . . even longer if you count that it is a clone of the Delta DJ-20. The value of the items on this list will vary with how you use a jointer. If you only edge joint boards, there are a lot of ways to do that. Face jointing can be done with a planer sled and your DeWalt; I got by like this between selling my inadequate jointer and buying the Grizzly.

    If you will mill lumber with complex or reversing grain patterns often, use the fence at angles other than just 90 degrees and make a variety of types of furniture, the G0490X probably still offers the best bang for the buck. Having them in stock seems to be a challenge right now and there are alternate models with similar specs.

    I can only say that if the first two items on my list weren't present I didn't even slow down to look. After using the machine for many years I have learned that the second two items on my list weren't really optional either . Good luck with your search.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 10-23-2020 at 11:27 AM.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    About 4 months ago I got my first jointer. I assumed that a jointer and a planer were a pair and it really didn't matter which I got first. So I got a planer (figuring I could always make a jig to use it to surface the face of a board. Since getting the jointer I've found I use it about 4 times as much as the planer. My point is don't go too cheap. I also own plenty of Grizzly tools and over all I've had have positive experiences with them.

    I've seen a few used 8" jointers around here in the last few months for around the $800 range for an 8". Most are either imported Deltas or older US make Powermatic model 60 jointers. It's very rare to see a parallelogram style one. It's just as rare for one to have the helical carbide cutter head. Unless you can wait my math tells me that you will be paying $1200 for a used dovetail jointer and upgrading the head. I kind of was leery about ending up with a jointer I had to fiddle with and possibly shim to get it to work right. At the time Grizzly was selling the G0490X for around $1450 with the segmented cutter head so that was the direction I was set on (it looks like the price has gone up). Not being in a hurry I was just waiting to see if a 10% off sale came up.

    While waiting a almost new Powermatic 8" parallelogram jointer with the mobile base and helical head showed up on Facebook. While it was more than I wanted to spend I didn't blink an eye. I didn't try to negotiate a lower price (mainly because it was a 4 hour drive from my house and I didn't want to get almost there and get a text saying he sold it). I got in contact with him and made arrangements to pick it up as soon as possible. My point is that if you are going to buy used right now you can't hesitate. Someone else will be happy you did. It worked for me but if it was a week earlier or later I'm sure I would have lost it to someone else. If you aren't in the position to jump on a deal then I would look at new.

    Right now I think the Grizzly G0858 looks to be the best deal. But when I was looking I didn't read up on it as I was looking at the G0490X. Being made in Taiwan (vs the G0490X being made in China) should be a good thing. It says it has a built in mobile base but unlike the G0490X it can't be seen. Even if it doesn't, with the sale going on right now, it's still works out to about the same price as the G0490X once you buy a base for it (if you need it).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Ellsworth, Maine
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    1,671
    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Starr View Post
    I did without a jointer for years.

    I had two methods for "jointing" the edge. The first was a jig for my table saw that you clamped the piece of wood to and then ran the jig along the fence. The drawback was the length of pieces I could process. The second method is to use my track saw to straight line rip the first edge. That is only limited by the amount of track you have.

    I "jointed" the face with my 15" planer and a sled.

    Since I like working with wider lumber and have a relatively small shop (500 sq ft) I was loathe to purchase a jointer though it would make my life easier! Just this year I finally made the decision to purchase a combo j/p. I'll be receiving the Hammer A3-31 soon and then be selling the 15" 4-post planer. Yes, I'm giving up 3" of planing capacity, but I'm gaining a jointer.

    Like Jim mentioned, buy your "2nd jointer" first. Could you consider selling your lunchbox planer and purchasing a combo machine with larger capacities? The Grizzly J/P is less than a $1000 more than the jointer alone and you'd be getting increased capacity. Just food for thought.
    I am also receiving an A3-31 soon as well. It actually just landed and is a little stuck in customs right now. This will be a huge upgrade from having no jointer and a 13" lunchbox planer. I have been hand planing wood flat and sometimes just thicknessing all by hand if I have just a few pieces. I am also in the camp of buying your 2nd jointer first and saving the extra $ to do so. I can't tell you how much I've learned from doing all the hand work that I've done for the last 5 years woodworking.

  8. #8
    1000-1200 gets you a 6 inch jointer. 1500-1800 gets you an 8.

    Lots of the helical - spiral 8 inch jointers are $2000 and up.

    For the money, it’s hard to beat grizzly as they sell direct. They currently have an 8 inch spiral cutter on sale. Both the dovetail and parallelogram, Taiwan made.

    You’ll never regret spending $500 more on a spiral 8 inch over a smaller machine with straight knives. Best money ever spent.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Landenberg, Pa
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    375
    Whereabouts are you? I am awaiting the arrival of an A3-41 and I will be looking to unload my DJ-20 in the next couple months. It's cherry, maybe we can work something out.

  10. #10
    You should really consider buying used if you’re budget conscious (who isn’t?) It’s the same as buying a new car. You never get that depreciation back after buying new.

    It’s typically nowhere as convenient as pushing “buy now” online and having it show up at your door with a lift gate truck, but there is major value to be had in looking for well-kept, high quality used machinery and there’s plenty of it out there if you know where to look, don’t mind driving a bit to retrieve it, and can deal with moving/unloading it into your shop.

    Just as an example, my first jointer was a used Delta Invicta DJ-20 (8” straight knives) in great shape that came from a 90 year old woodworker about 3 hours away who was selling everything because he could no longer see well enough to work in his shop. I gave him $700 for it (and ended up purchasing a good bit of smaller items / nice lumber from him as well.) The DJ-20 was great for what I needed in a first jointer and used it for several years. I ended up selling it to a friend many years later for $800 and we were both happy.

    Eventually I began to run into the limitations of the size of an 8” machine, even though it was a long bed 8” and an opportunity materialized and I bought one of my dream machines, an Oliver 166 BD. 12” wide Terminus head, beds are nearly 9’ long, 5 HP 3 phase motor, weighs 2k pounds, excellent working / cosmetic condition. It came from the Penland Craft School woodshop as they were apparently upgrading some “older, less safe machines” machines with shiny new Powermatic stuff and needed it gone by a certain date, which worked out in my favor. I bought the machine for $1250, drove an hour to get it, spent another 300-400 for a VFD for phase conversion / wiring, had to figure out how to move it safely, but it’s a very capable machine that I don’t see myself outgrowing for many, many years and would only upgrade if a smoking deal came to me for a 16-20” machine that was semi local. I could probably sell the Oliver for $2-3k if I was patient and wanted to let it go, as I have watched machinery sales nationally for several years.

    Point being, strongly consider buying high quality used and be patient for the right machine / deal and you can really stretch your budget 2-3x or more over a comparably equipped new machine. I would take an older, better built jointer with flat tables and a good fence over a new Taiwanese clone that you have no way of checking quality control on until it arrives in your shop any day, but’s that’s just me.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 10-24-2020 at 9:14 AM.
    Still waters run deep.

  11. #11
    Agree with everything that’s been said. I think that 8” is about as small as most hobby woodworkers would find useful/practical. I started with a 6” grizzly and it was too small - I very quickly outgrew it. Upsized to a 16” Hammer A3-41 combo machine (helical cutter) and couldnt be happier. I smile every time I use it. Totally worth the wait and the money. Unfortunately these are very expensive and not for everyone (or every budget). If you are buying used, i personally would hold out for a 10-12” machine. A 12” Grizzly would be a very nice machine. I was very happy with the operation and build quality of my grizzly 6” jointer (for the money)...just too small.

    SB

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    The Hartland of Michigan
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    7,331
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    Grizzly parallelogram 8”, head is up to you but if you’re jointing curly stuff a helical head (any of them, grizzly brand is fine) will work.

    You should get a helical head on the planer too though, since material goes through the planer last.
    You don't need a parallelogram jointer. That's just more cost to you.
    Straight blades are fine as the jointer is not the final finish.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
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    3,915
    Just throwing another opinion in. I have a 16" Felder jointer/planer, it's a great machine. When I got it, I sold my 6" Jet jointer and DW planer. That was 10 years ago or so, and over that period I've noticed a few things.

    First, I don't do much face jointing. When I do, the Felder is awesome, but I can completely avoid that need by just buying surfaced lumber. Second, glueline rips are good enough off the slider saw, but they are not quite as perfect as a jointed edge. Third, I'm a bit lazy, so switching my combo machine to jointer mode is sometimes something I just work around doing. It's not that big of a deal to switch it, but like I said, I'm lazy.

    To that end, a DJ15 popped up on a local school auction a few weeks ago and I bought it. I have already used it more for edge jointing because it's convenient, than I'd used the Felder in probably the last 6 months. When objectively thinking about it, edge glue ups are common in most woodworking. Processing rough stock isn't so much. Standard thought is 8" minimum on jointers, but I'd argue that. I say instead to just buy the longest tables that you can get and focus on edge jointing. You'll want something wider than 8" for rough stock prep anyhow, so in my opinion, the difference between 6" and 8" is irrelevant, table length is much more important.

  14. #14
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Steve, I'm curious about your comment about face jointing. I've yet to find very many pieces of surfaced lumber that are actually flat. That's why I place such a very high value on face jointing and the capacity of my own J/P) Just how flat is the material that you are sourcing? Much of the surfaced material out there is thicknessed both sides without ever seeing a jointer.
    --

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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Collegeville PA (30 min west of Philly)
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    If you decide to go used (as I did, and it turned out great after a bunch of help from the guys here, including Matt D. above... thanks again!!!)...

    Evaluating used equipment is hard if you aren't yet an expert on that tool. I would say that most gain expertise by either assembling a new tool or repairing an existing or old tool - thereby seeing the inner workings and learning how it all operates.

    For example, I thought I had an idea about table saws, and then had to do major surgery on my old unisaw clone... by the time that saga was done, I learned so much more, and realized that I'm still farrrrr from expert, but now know way more things to look/listen for if I were to buy used in the future.

    Short of having the expertise yourself, I would suggest trying to bring someone with you if possible. When I recently bought my DJ-20 used, I luckily was able to bring a buddy with me that had the tools and know-how to ensure I was buying a tool with flat and coplanar tables. That was where our collective know-how ended... thus the help I needed from this forum later. Ideally, we would have walked in well-armed to think through all the details. Luckily, all ended well in that case - lighter a couple learning curve dollars, a reset to my ego, a TON learned during a somewhat frustrating setup and tuning period, and a nicely working 8" jointer that ought to give me decades of service.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

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