Jointers are made to make wood perfectly straight so it can fit together with other pieces without any problems. Here are some buying factors you should be aware of when shopping for a jointer.
1. Closed Stand, Open Stand, Or Benchtop Design?
Jointers come in these three design schematics. We’ve found, after doing our research, that closed stand jointers are best for most peoples needs. They are specifically designed to keep dust and debris out of the motor, thereby extending the lifespan of the jointer. They offer an exceptional level of performance over other jointer designs like open stand and benchtops.
2. Bed Width And Cutting Depth
The bed width is a major factor that determines the overall price of the machine and what you’ll be able to accomplish with it. As far as cost is concerned, a 6" bed width jointer will cost much less than an 8" jointer, about half as much, actually. About 6-8 inches is a big enough bed size for most people’s needs.
As far as cutting depth is concerned, this determines the number of passes you will need to make to wood pieces to get them to be completely straight. Generally, about 1/2" to 3/4" cutting depth is preferable. Each pass will take a little bit more of the warp out of the wood, eventually leaving you with a perfectly uniform and straight wood piece.
And, keep in mind if you’re just starting out with jointers, that an individual board may require two or more passes across the jointer in order to make the board completely straight and even. For example, with a jointer that has a cutting depth of 5/8 of an inch, the first pass may not provide enough depth in cutting and may leave the board still slightly warped. In order to remedy this, one or more additional passes may be needed to straighten the wood piece completely.
3. Fence With Adjustable Positive Stops
Being able to tilt the fence to keep the jointer accurate is an important factor. Some wood pieces will require the support of the fence at tilted angles. You can accomplish this if the jointer you’re considering has multiple, adjustable positive stops installed.
4. Motor Horsepower
About 1 horsepower is standard for a jointer. This provides enough power to even out hardwood, softwood, and even exotic wood pieces with no problem at all.
5. Dust Collection Ports/Ability
Using a jointer can generate a lot of dust and debris. You want to make sure that the jointer you’re considering comes with a dust collection system. The ability to get the dust and shavings out of your way will improve the work site experience and allow you to get more done in less time. Your worksite will also be a lot cleaner and less prone to accidents.
6. Warranty, Manufacturer, and Amazon Review Score
Knowing that the product you’re considering is made by a reputable manufacturer is crucial. Some great manufacturers of quality jointers these days are Jet, Powermatic, Grizzly, Shop Fox, and Delta. Also, the manufacturer should have an upstanding warranty of around 1-5 years to keep you safe from factory defects.
Finally, the Amazon review score can help you decide which products have been well received by the woodworking community and which ones you should avoid. Look for at least 4 stars in any product you’re considering.
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