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Thread: 16" J/P Combo or 20"

  1. #1

    16" J/P Combo or 20"

    Hello, I was planning to buy a 16" J/P combo to replace my 8" Jointer and 20" planer. The price difference between the 16" and the 20" combo is about $3500, and a long lead time. I don't think its a problem today, however I don't want to find myself needing more space in the future and regretting stepping down. My question for you woodworkers with 15" planers is, do you long for a 20"+ and if you have a 20", do you often need the width?

  2. #2
    Derek it kind of depends on what you build. If you don’t commonly use or have wide wood available, it might not be so important.

    I build period furniture, so wide wood is very regularly used. I have a 16” jointer/planer, I would love to have a 20”. Was just moving around some 5/4 30” wide Mahogany today

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    905
    I had a 15" Planer and moved down to a 12" J/P. I can't say I've missed those 3". I'm sure I will someday, but so far...

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert LaPlaca View Post
    Derek it kind of depends on what you build. If you dont commonly use or have wide wood available, it might not be so important.

    I build period furniture, so wide wood is very regularly used. I have a 16 jointer/planer, I would love to have a 20. Was just moving around some 5/4 30 wide Mahogany today
    Hi Robert,

    I do a variety of work including cabinetry and furniture. I've only use the width of my 20" planer once for a 17" glueup. It seemed to me that 20" is either too little (for most glueups) or to much for individual planks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    2,359
    I have rarely needed more than 14" of joining width that I have (have had some 18" cherry and Mahogany). For large glue-ups they go through the sander (37").
    How often do you think you need the extra 4" of planing and is it worth $3500 extra to you? Only you can answer that. For vast majority of people here I "guess" the answer is 16" would be good enough.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
    Posts
    700
    buy the 16" and keep your 20" planer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    685
    I build comma furniture, it's more at my skill level. I don't need something wide very often. I sold my 15" planer this summer. I do have a 19/38 drum sander for those occasions when something wide needs to be flattened. It's very slow at planing type work, but I don't have to do it much so it's fine. I have an old DeWalt 733 that I use for planing when that's called for, it is wide enough for most of what I do. I did like the 15" planer when I had live edge 8/4 pieces I was selling and I could plane them for customers, but I didn't use that width often for my own builds.

  8. #8
    My experience: J/P's are like bandsaws. There inevitably will come a point where you wish you had a larger one but for the vast majority of us, life is about compromise. There are budget issues, size issues, power issues (plenty of single-phase 16" options. All 20" options will be 3-phase and if any onboard electronics, will require a solid-state converter, not rotary or VFD inverter). So, for residential customers, there will be more to consider than just the initial price difference. Our old 4Runner was 4WD and I did use 4X4 once in a while but it was also work and cost to maintain. The transfer case required fluid changes and I had to replace the front CV boots, which was more expense. Our current 4Runner is 2WD. I knew there would probably be times when I wished I had 4X4 (like during Freezmageddon last February) but on the whole, I feel like it was the right decision in the long run. Certainly, everyone's wallet is their own and you should buy what you want but in my experience, there will always come a situation where you had bigger/wider/longer/etc. and you will make yourself nuts trying to speculatively plan around stuff like that. If you get a 20", then you'll wish you had a 24" some day. If you have a 24", you'll wish you had larger some day, and so on. So, my suggestion to any customer is to just accept the fact that no matter what you end up with, there will be those times where you wish you had more and don't allow this to paralyze your planning process. Hope this makes sense.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    993
    I have a 20" planer and 20" jointer. I find myself using the full 19.5-20" of my planer often, and very rarely using the full 20" on the jointer. In fact, ive only used the full capacity of the jointer once, and it was about a month ago. A pair of walnut slabs for my sister's table that were 19" at their widest. I think 16" will cover you quite well for a jointer, but would hamper my workflow a bit as a planer. I often dress sub-assemblies before their final full width glue up. Really, a 24-25" planer would be substantially better, because i do a fair amount of tops that are 42-48" wide. If you never plane glueups, then i think a 16" J/P is perfect. I think 20" would cover 98" of your lumber supply, and the 16" probably covers 94%. Unless you specifically seek it out, material greater than 16" is uncommon. I love wide material when i can get it, but dimensional walnut over 13-14" is uncommon for me. You have the 20" now, and you know if you use it or not. If not, use it for the next 6 months and take note of how often you maxed out your planer.

    I am unfamiliar with the design differences between a 16" combo and a 20" combo. I assume 20" forces you into the dual 51 class, which i have to imagine has a lot more benefit than just 4" over a 700 or 900 series J/P.

    One final devil's advocate proposition. What is your shop space and setup like? Most jointers and planers nest next to one another pretty well. I can measure the total width of my setup, but i could put them even closer to one another if i wanted. Google Martin's T54 and T45 setup next to one another. That is a 20" jointer and 24" planer that occupy about 6' of total width. 20" standalone jointers arent that common in the States, but 16"s come up for sale all the time.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    My experience: J/P's are like bandsaws. There inevitably will come a point where you wish you had a larger one but for the vast majority of us, life is about compromise. There are budget issues, size issues, power issues (plenty of single-phase 16" options. All 20" options will be 3-phase and if any onboard electronics, will require a solid-state converter, not rotary or VFD inverter). So, for residential customers, there will be more to consider than just the initial price difference. Our old 4Runner was 4WD and I did use 4X4 once in a while but it was also work and cost to maintain. The transfer case required fluid changes and I had to replace the front CV boots, which was more expense. Our current 4Runner is 2WD. I knew there would probably be times when I wished I had 4X4 (like during Freezmageddon last February) but on the whole, I feel like it was the right decision in the long run. Certainly, everyone's wallet is their own and you should buy what you want but in my experience, there will always come a situation where you had bigger/wider/longer/etc. and you will make yourself nuts trying to speculatively plan around stuff like that. If you get a 20", then you'll wish you had a 24" some day. If you have a 24", you'll wish you had larger some day, and so on. So, my suggestion to any customer is to just accept the fact that no matter what you end up with, there will be those times where you wish you had more and don't allow this to paralyze your planning process. Hope this makes sense.

    Erik
    Sage advice.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    3,010
    I have a 12 inch Oliver that covers all sizes in width wood. I can rip slabs in half and join them back together and none will be the wiser.
    Its that accurate no glue lines maybe a slight lose of harmony in the grain.
    I would choose the jointer with the bigger cutting circle if there is a difference between 16 and 20.
    My jointer has a 5 inch cutting circle
    Good Luck
    Aj

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Zachary Hoyt View Post
    I build comma furniture, it's more at my skill level. I don't need something wide very often. I sold my 15" planer this summer. I do have a 19/38 drum sander for those occasions when something wide needs to be flattened. It's very slow at planing type work, but I don't have to do it much so it's fine. I have an old DeWalt 733 that I use for planing when that's called for, it is wide enough for most of what I do. I did like the 15" planer when I had live edge 8/4 pieces I was selling and I could plane them for customers, but I didn't use that width often for my own builds.
    That more or less what I was thinking. For larger glue ups the money might be better invested in a drum (or someday wide belt) sander.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Kane View Post
    One final devil's advocate proposition. What is your shop space and setup like? Most jointers and planers nest next to one another pretty well. I can measure the total width of my setup, but i could put them even closer to one another if i wanted. Google Martin's T54 and T45 setup next to one another. That is a 20" jointer and 24" planer that occupy about 6' of total width. 20" standalone jointers arent that common in the States, but 16"s come up for sale all the time.
    Its small, which is why I'm going to a combo. Interesting thoughts about split glueups, if you do a 42 or 48 panel, I see your point.

  14. #14
    Food for thought: If someone REALLY needs to have a wide slab fly-milled, sanded, etc., I'm certain there are local shops or dealers who could handle that. For example, Berdoll Sawmill here in the Austin area. It's a pretty common practice among pro shops to sub those one-off jobs to other shops, rather than pay the initial cost premium between, say, a 37" widebelt and a 43" or 52" when you only have a need once or twice a year.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    415
    Quote Originally Posted by derek labian View Post
    Hello, I was planning to buy a 16" J/P combo to replace my 8" Jointer and 20" planer. The price difference between the 16" and the 20" combo is about $3500, and a long lead time. I don't think its a problem today, however I don't want to find myself needing more space in the future and regretting stepping down. My question for you woodworkers with 15" planers is, do you long for a 20"+ and if you have a 20", do you often need the width?
    Before I bought my 20" JP combo, I was using a 16" JP Combo. the 16" was adequate, but I find myself needing 20" from time to time. 20" jointer on its own is quite expensive anyhow. so a 20" JP combo seems to be very reasonable consider you get 2 machines in one.

    I have used the 20" capacity on the jointer a few times already.

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