If you are a woodworking professional, hobbyist, or DIY enthusiast, you understand the importance of implementing the right tool for better performance. One of these tools is the best benchtop jointer for you.
Benchtop planers and jointers are essential tools for woodworking enthusiasts and professionals alike, valued for their ability to transform salvaged or old boards into usable lumber. In particular, benchtop planers are revered for their utility in reshaping woods up to 12.5 inches wide and 6 inches thick.
By shaving off layers of wood, these tools can produce uniform planks perfect for any woodworking project, whether it’s repairing a weather-worn deck or creating custom furniture pieces. The unique features of each planer, including variations in motor power, cutting speed, cutting width, and depth adjustment options, allows for a degree of precision and customization often needed in carpentry.
Shifting focus to benchtop jointers, these tools bring their own set of benefits to the table. Notably, benchtop jointers are generally more affordable and portable compared to standard jointers.
This makes them a popular choice among hobbyist woodworkers and professionals operating out of smaller workshops. The cost-effectiveness combined with the mobility of these tools significantly extends their practicality and usefulness, allowing for easy transportation and set-up in diverse work environments.
When selecting a benchtop jointer, there are several key considerations to take into account. Blade life, snipe reduction, material support, noise level, and dust collection capability are among the most crucial factors influencing the purchasing decision.
Some jointers offer longer blade life, reducing the frequency of replacement, while others focus on minimizing snipe, the undesirable tapered effect at the end of a board after passing through the jointer.
The overall performance of a benchtop jointer is often a balance of these factors, along with the tool’s ability to handle the workload at hand, thus making a thoughtful choice paramount in achieving the best woodworking outcomes.
The main function that a jointer does is to polish wood surfaces and even them out to perfection. They are available in various sizes, shapes, and designs, making the buying decision overwhelming.
Best Benchtop Jointer: Top Picks
That is why we have put together a list of the best benchtop jointer, highlighting what each product is best for. Then we provide a thorough buyer’s guide so you know what features are must-haves and which are merely nice extras. Here is everything you need to know and a review of the top 5 products.
Cutech 40160H-CT 6"
- Spiral Cutterhead with 12 HSS Inserts
- Fence with 90 to 135 Degree Tilt
- Level adjustable beds
- Helical Cutterhead
- Precision Ground Cast-Iron Tables
- High-Performance Fence System
Shop Fox W1829
- Integral Dust Collection System
- Surface Planing
- Edge Jointing Bevel Cutting
JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX
- Long Cast-Iron Table
- Handwheels for Easy Adjustments
- Automatic Limiter for Safety
Delta Power Tools 37-071 6 Inch
- Durable cast iron construction
- Precision-machining of the table and fence ensures long term accuracy
#1. Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ – Best Benchtop Jointer for Beginners
With the Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ benchtop jointer, you will feel like you hit the jackpot. Apart from being insanely affordable, it comes with all the features of other high-end products on the market have to offer.
Whether you are a seasoned artisan just starting out, or you are a hobbyist, you will find this machine handy for all your projects.
For one, the manufacturer equipped this tool with a highly functional spiral cutter head that delivers pleasant results. This particular tool is powered by 10Amp and is run on a 120V motor. While a few people might think otherwise, this power is sufficient to handle most of the heavy-duty projects around your workshop. It works incredibly well with lots of heavy carpentry tasks.
Coupled with the sufficient power it provides, is the new system of blades that features 12 2-sided inserts that promise smooth finishes. They output way better results than most traditional cutter-heads on the market.
The Cutech 40160H-CT 6″, like most of the high-end benchtop jointers on the market, features an infeed table with cast iron, which is extremely strong for durability. Measuring 30 inches in length, it is adjustable and you can conveniently customize it on the fly. This, together with the easy-to-tweak cutter-head spring tension, provides you with meticulous results while you are at it.
Apart from the sturdiness of the table, the fence itself has unmatched quality. It measures approximately 4 3/8 inches high by 19 5/8 inches. The design is also customizable and it can make tilts from a 90-degree angle to 135 degrees without much of a hassle. This provides you with the versatility you need to make certain cuts at varied angles.
Handling and Design
My hands-on experience with the Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ benchtop jointer has been generally impressive. Right off the bat, what grabbed my attention was the thoughtful design. The product felt robust and well-made, like a quality piece of equipment that would stand the test of time. I appreciated the easy-to-understand control system – it’s straightforward and makes for a smoother user experience.
One strong point that I couldn’t help but admire was the jointer’s portability. Its compact design enables easy transportation and storage, which comes in handy when space is at a premium or if you’re constantly on the move. It’s ideal for those instances when you need to pack it up and set it somewhere else.
Performance and Efficiency
Moving onto the performance side of things, I noticed a considerable balance between power and precision. The jointer’s helical cutter head, with 12 two-sided inserts, offers impressive cut quality. I’ve worked on various types of wood – from soft pine to harder oak, and it’s handled them all quite well.
However, while the machine is quite efficient, there were occasions where it seemed to struggle a bit with wider and thicker pieces of wood. I once worked on a 6-inch wide hard maple board and noticed a slight dip in the machine’s performance. While it’s not a dealbreaker, it’s certainly worth keeping in mind depending on the projects you typically undertake.
In terms of operational features, I particularly enjoyed the integrated dust port. The 2 ½-inch dust port did an admirable job of managing the sawdust and keeping the workspace cleaner. Now, you might think that this isn’t a big deal, but trust me, it makes a difference – the last thing you need is to be continually stopping to clear up sawdust.
One area where I felt there was room for improvement was noise production. It’s a tad louder than I would have preferred, especially during prolonged usage. Not a major downside, but it could be a factor if you’re working in a residential area or value a quieter workspace.
Value for Money
Finally, in terms of value for money, I think the Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ Benchtop Jointer delivers a solid performance. Considering its features, overall performance, and the fact that it includes replaceable cutter tips (a nice touch, I must say), it’s worth the investment for both beginners and more experienced individuals alike.
Just remember that every tool has its strengths and weaknesses – this one is no different. But all in all, it’s a reliable jointer that won’t let you down when you need it.
This product can be easily assembled when you compare it to other types of benchtop jointers. If this doesn’t tempt you, then the 2.5-inch dust port and the push blocks that come with the purchase might entice you. The provision of all the necessary accessories negates the need for the purchase of proprietary parts like other models would.
We have our jointer push blocks, dust port, fence bracket, fence sliding bracket, sliding bracket lever, washer and nut, fence square nuts and screws, 2.5 millimeters and 4-millimeter hex wrench, yellow safety key for the switch, and the T Torx wrench for the cutter head and the fence.
So at the rear of the jointer, we’ll have to remove these four screws with the four-millimeter hex wrench. Then we have to install the fence bracket where these four screws were just removed.
Next, we install the two screws and the two squared nuts on the fence sliding bracket. Then we slide this into the fence. The square nuts have a flat side to them. So you have to rotate them in order to slide the bracket onto the fence. Install this square nut under the bracket with the convex or the rounded side facing down.
- The spiral cutting system, compared to the straight ones, offer more precise and smooth cuts
- It is lightweight and highly versatile
- Has a good table length
- Solidly built for durability
- Might take some time for you to perfect the adjustments
- The fence could do with better quality
#2. Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch – The Best High-End Benchtop Jointer
The Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch benchtop jointer is the perfect tool for you. The product is a joy to use. It brings together user-friendliness and durability.
This amazing tool, compared to other products on the market, comes with a helical cutter head and 4-sided index carbide knife inserts. It has been constructed to give you the utmost accuracy you desire. Also, this particular piece of equipment comes with a superior finish.
Aside from that, its 1HP motor supplies enough power to spin the blades at high speeds for smooth work progression. This motor is attached to the base cabinet, and with its versatility, you can convert it to 230V equipment. It comes pre-wired for 115V.
The placing of the motor is so convenient in that it allows you to conveniently adjust the belt tension and use the lever on the feeding table to make precision cuts. Moreover, the base of Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch comes with a dust collection that ensures all the debris from your woodworking is safely evacuated.
The tool measures a total of 66 inches in length with a width of 7.5 inches. The cast iron table is precision ground and is one of the longest among the other models. This way, it can accommodate large pieces of wood for your projects.
The fence system, similar to the table, is of cast iron and it features a length of 38 inches and a height of 4 inches. It is also finely polished and ground precisely for straight outputs. Nevertheless, for accuracy, you can tilt it to adapt to various positions.
First Impressions and Design
Let’s kick this off by talking about the first thing you’ll notice about the Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch Jointer – it’s a beast. And I mean that in the best possible way. This isn’t a light, easy-to-move machine. It’s sturdy, it’s heavy, and it looks like it means business. The cast iron construction is reassuringly solid, and the overall fit and finish ooze quality.
I do have to mention that the assembly can be a bit of a task due to its weight, but once set up, it’s rock solid and stable. The adjustable beds are a bonus, allowing for greater versatility in handling various wood lengths.
Performance and Power
Now let’s talk about the heart of the matter – performance. This machine has a helical cutter head, which is quite the game-changer. I’ve run everything from reclaimed oak to walnut through this bad boy, and it hasn’t missed a beat. The 66 carbide inserts arranged in staggered rows produce a superior finish and significantly reduce tear-out, even on tricky grain patterns.
Just a note – I’ve had to adjust the outfeed table once when I noticed a slight snipe on a cherry board I was working on. But once dialed in, it’s been smooth sailing.
The Powermatic 54HH has a few handy features up its sleeve. The 4-inch dust collection port works efficiently to keep your workspace clean – and let’s face it, a clean workspace is a safe workspace. I have it hooked up to my shop vacuum, and it does a great job sucking up the chips and dust.
The noise level is also quite reasonable, thanks in part to the helical cutter head. This is a big plus, especially if you’re putting in long hours at the shop.
Value for Money
On the topic of value for money, the Powermatic 1791317K 54HH is definitely on the pricier side compared to other benchtop jointers. But, it’s one of those cases where you get what you pay for. It’s a professional-grade machine that delivers professional-grade results.
To sum it all up, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty, high-performing jointer that can handle just about anything you throw at it, the Powermatic 1791317K 54HH is worth considering. Yes, it’s an investment, but from my experience, it’s an investment that pays off.
- The cutter head adopts an advanced design compared to other traditional types
- Both the fence and the table are precision cut to provide better efficiency
- The overall design was built with durability in mind
- Comes with a one horsepower dual voltage motor, for better speeds and work smoothness
- The fence system might take a while to set up as well as getting used to
- This benchtop jointer isn’t the lightweight option you might desire, it is very heavy
#3. Shop Fox W1829 – Best Benchtop Jointer for the Budget
The manufacturer put together a list of amazing features, ranging from a reliably built table to a dust port.
Another reason why this amazing tool deserves a place in your arsenal of tools is the level of control it promises.
The Shop Fox W1829 benchtop jointer is run by a 1.5HP single-phase motor, which is powerful enough for all your carpentry needs. The motor powers a cutter head with 2 knives rotating at a speed of 10000RPM.
The unit is fully adjustable and it guarantees a flawless performance of 20000 cuts per minute. The speed and the rapid cutting alone are enough to let you know that what you are buying is a machine that promises high quality and seamless work.
It comes with a large cast-iron table, measuring 28.5 inches in length and 6.25 inches wide. It isn’t the colossus type for some projects, but it is enough to handle most woodworking needs. The fence has also been perfected in its own way. It can be finely modified.
It gives you positive stops at the 45 and 90-degree angles to accommodate better results. Apart from allowing you to make bevel cuts, the Shop Fox W1829 jointer also gives you a chance to make surface planning. Moreover, you can carry out all the edge jointing requirements for your projects.
More features of this beautiful machine include an incorporated impeller. This enhances the dust collection process of the machine. Its design allows it to evacuate all the bits and chips from the blades through the dust port. The dust port is 2.5 inches in size. All these and other features make the product one to have.
- Comes with amazing features at an affordable price
- Features a solid build of cast iron, which is highly durable
- Has a very powerful motor
- Features easy-to-remove knives, which also provide clean cuts
- Limited warranty of 2 years
- Caution must be exercised as it tends to chip the wood sometimes
- The manual isn’t that comprehensive
- Some users claim that the tables aren’t as flat as they should
#4. JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch – Best 6 Inch Benchtop Jointer
The JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch boosts satisfaction and guarantees high-quality results regardless of the type of boards you are working on.
It is the perfect choice if your work calls for full-sized equipment with smooth results. But what exactly makes it great among other benchtop jointers available?
The JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch benchtop jointer is run by a dual 1HP motor. The equipment can be powered by 115 volts or 230 volts. Regardless of the option you choose, you will have the motor running at its peak. You don’t have to worry about the efficiency while handling a variety of jobs.
As a perfect addition to your workshop, this piece of equipment features a long cast-iron table that is unmatched in terms of accuracy. Also incorporated is a knife system that has a quick and swift operation. This is to ensure that time is saved while output and productivity are maximized. It comes with three steel blades that run rapidly for fine cuts and perfectly polished results.
The design itself certainly portrays the manufacturer’s intent on ease of use. Apart from the elegant and durable look, you can easily make adjustments to the infeed table. It comes with convenient wheels that move swiftly when you rotate them. Through this feature, you have more control in your hands. The tapers and every adjustment you need to make precise measurements are all at your disposal.
With every complete motion that the machine makes, the 38-inch fence runs along with it. It has the capability of tilting in both ways while making complete halts at angles of 45 and 90 degrees to accommodate the operations of the bevel. This is beneficial if you want to make quick cuts at varied angles.
The only issue about this incredible equipment is that the tension might be a little bit tricky to adjust. It is also very heavy. However, the two are a trade-off, considering all the other features that make it worth every penny.
- The table is made to last with a precision cut cast-iron
- Comes with easy to tilt fence angles
- Triple and rapid cutting knife set system
- Backed by a five-year warranty
- Doesn’t have a helical cutter head
- Very heavy
- Has some vibrations during operation
#5. Delta Power Tools 37-071 6 Inch – The Best Benchtop Jointer for Versatility
This particular benchtop jointer is one of the most desired pieces of equipment for its power and exceptional performance. What’s even intriguing, is that it comes at an affordable price.
In a nutshell, it is compact, solid, and very simple to use. It is exactly what everyone wants to add to their other tools in the workshop.
The Delta Power Tools 37-071 6 Inch features a construction that is all business. It has been constructed in such a way that it ensures that vibrations are minimized. The build, unlike the other types made of aluminum, features a cast iron fashioning. It runs on a single-phase 120V 12Amp motor, which, surprisingly, spins the blades at 10000RPM! As if that isn’t enough, this machine features 2 straight blades on the cutter head able to hit 20000 cuts every minute.
In comparison to other models available on the market, the Delta Power Tools 37-071 6 Inch benchtop jointer is portable. The table is engineered with utmost precision and can handle all types of wood regardless of their hardness. It measures 28.5 inches long. This means that it can accommodate stocks up to 5 inches long without necessarily offering extra support.
The aid that the fence provides is very impressive. Measuring 22 7/8 inches, the fence can be simply adjusted. It is equipped to make two stops at 45 and 90-degree angles. At these positions, you get to enjoy the ability to join your pieces together. However, the fence might be out of alignment. Luckily, you can check this with a speed square and calibrate it correctly.
- Has a strong build for durability
- Comes with great value for your money
- Features a 1.5HP motor, which is very powerful
- High-speed cutting knives that are easy to change
- Has a bonus of 2 push blocks
- Backed by a 5-year warranty
- Straight knives are a bit of a limitation to some
- The dust port could do with a little more functionality
- The fence takes some time to get used to, especially for new users
The Best Benchtop Jointer – Buyers Guide
It is essential in ensuring that your work stands out from the rest. With this particular tool, you can prepare the wood with the utmost expertise. All pieces of wood that require flat and smooth pieces to be “jointed together” will be easier to deal with.
For any product that you invest in, you clearly understand that its productivity is as good as the little decisions that you make. If you make a decision without considering certain factors, you might end up with a tool that won’t last you long.
However, if you take your time and factor in everything there is to know about the purchase, you are guaranteed of a product that will last you ages. That said, here is everything you need to know about benchtop jointers.
What is a Benchtop Jointer?
Others might not be familiar with this term, but if you don’t live in the USA, you might know it as a planer. This is a bit contradictory, for in the US, a planer is a totally different tool used to manage the thickness of aboard. Nonetheless, it is all semantics.
That said, a benchtop jointer is a woodworking tool used for two main functions. It flattens the sides of boards or woods to give them a smooth polish. Also, it allows you to square the pieces for easy joining and for a particular project. These tools only work with woods that are up to 6 inches wide.
Types of Benchtop Jointers
As earlier mentioned, there are several types of benchtop jointers. Although they all perform the same function, some of them are better suited for specific applications.
• Benchtop – It works best by leveling or straightening out the edges of boards and faces of others that are narrow. They can only accommodate wood that is no more than six inches wide.
• Long Bed – This tool, in particular, is longer than the benchtop model. It can accommodate projects with boards of between 6 and 12 inches. A good example of this tool is the JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch jointer.
• Closed Stand – As the name hints these types are closed, and they are the best in terms of durability. The motor is enclosed at the base to keep it free from debris. They have a capacity of between 6 inches to 16 inches. Compared to the other types of jointers, this tool is the safest to work with. They also reduce noise and the vibration that follows when one is working.
Things to Consider in Buying a Benchtop Jointer
The first thing to keep in mind is that you are looking for a product that is reliable and highly efficient. It should be exceptional of high quality and with unmatched accuracy. That said, consider the following while you are on the hunt for the best of them all.
What type of project are you looking to work on? What is the lumber size? Not all jointers can accommodate all your needs. But if you are dealing with anything that falls below 6 inches, any of the available benchtop jointers can suffice. However, if it is bigger than that, know that what you are looking for is either the long bed or the closed stand types.
While you are at it, consider the depth capacity of the machine you want to buy. The depth is usually adjusted through the feeding table. Look for a jointer that offers more variation. This way, you will have more detail on your projects.
Notably, the cutting depth of the jointer has a direct impact on the speed of the blades. It determines the number of cycles you will make before your piece of wood is perfect. The recommended depths that will guarantee even surfaces are the 1/2-inch and the 3/4-inch depths. With each passing, it reshapes the warped surface with utmost precision
3. The 6-Inch
Why the 6-inch jointer? It is the smallest size that is quite popular and essential for any seasoned carpenter. The 6-inch jointer is simple to use and it suffices for most home applications.
In short, get the benchtop type if you are undecided on the size. This choice will also come with a wide range of features. Others come with spiral blades while others straight blades. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Different models also have different lengths of tables. With movable bases for versatility, you have lots of options to look at regarding this type of jointer. Eventually, your individual needs will influence the buying decision.
4. The Fence
In terms of making clean cuts, what you should look for is the fence and its size. Some of your projects will require support at tilted angles. This way, you want a fence that can make stops at specific angles to make precision cuts. There are some types of fences that make stops at 45, 90, and 135 degrees. Ensure that the fence is durable and rigid to provide the needed support. You don’t want to end up with a flimsy product that will ruin all your lumber pieces.
The main aim of buying a benchtop jointer is to make straight and flat surfaces. This is why the need for a flat table is mandatory. Ensure that the table you chose is parallel with the cutting head. It will allow you to make meticulous cuts. On top of that, consider the length of the table.
If you are dealing with long pieces and you want them to be perfectly straightened, a longer table is more appropriate. But if you will be dealing with small lumber pieces, the need for such a table isn’t necessary.
Whichever choice you make; it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the wrong one. Ultimately, it is your needs that come first.
The motor size defines the power needs. You want a powerful machine that will enable your carpentry work to run smoothly. Most of the benchtop jointers you will encounter have between 1HP and 2HP motors. Don’t be fooled by the 1HP motors, thinking it won’t achieve much. It still is powerful for the task.
While considering the power, look out for the voltage. To make it even more convenient for you, you should consider the voltage that can be accommodated by the outlets in your home.
That is 110 volts or the 220-volt outlets. Single-phase motors are safer for you. If you are looking for a commercial benchtop jointer, a 440 volt will be more appropriate.
7. The Head
There are several types of heads for benchtop jointers. There are spiral cutter heads, which, as the name hints, are spiral in shape. They utilize 4-sided cutters. These types of cutters are highly innovative and effective in shaving off the pieces of your projects with precision.
The spiral heads are also easy to change and they require less power to operate. For this reason, they are also very quiet during the operation. They leave fewer marks on your boards, hence, they save lots of time.
8. Dust Collection Port
Dirt and other debris flying all over your workshop can be such a great nuisance. For every benchtop jointer that you set your eyes on, ensure that it comes with a dust collection port. The port should allow you to integrate with a vacuum. Believe it or not, it is also a safety precaution and a step to seamless and continuous work.
Other things you might want to consider are portability, durability, price, as well as the space you have in your workshop. The product’s warranty is also very important, especially for a high-end product.
Essential equipment to best utilize a benchtop jointer
|Push Blocks / Push Sticks||Ensure safety by keeping your hands away from the cutter during operation.|
|Dust Collector / Shop Vacuum||Helps maintain a clean work area by collecting sawdust and wood chips.|
|Safety Glasses||Protects your eyes from flying debris during operation.|
|Hearing Protection||Reduces noise exposure during extended use of the jointer.|
|Jointer Pal (For blade alignment)||Assists in accurately setting jointer knives to ensure precise cuts.|
|Digital Angle Finder||Helps in setting the fence angle with precision.|
|Feeler Gauge||Useful in setting and adjusting the outfeed table alignment.|
|Quality Woodworking Square||Ensures the fence is perfectly perpendicular to the table.|
|Durable Workbench||Provides a stable platform for placing the jointer and handling workpieces.|
|Proper Lighting||Essential for accurate work and safety.|
|Wood Moisture Meter||Helps in identifying ideal wood pieces for jointing, as excessive moisture can cause issues.|
Remember, safety should always be the number one priority when working with power tools. Always ensure you have the right protective gear and understand how to use the tool correctly.
Jointer vs Planer: What Does Each One Do?
One question that I get all the time is, “What is the difference between a jointer and a planer, and can I get by with just one or the other if I’m going to do fine woodworking?”. I want to talk a little bit about the differences between a jointer and a planer.
As a way to illustrate this, let’s start with the end product in mind. What we want as a starting point for building our woodworking projects is a board that has a flat face.
And then an opposing face that’s also flat and parallel with the top face, edges that are parallel to one another and square to the top and bottom faces. That’s called surfaced four sides, four sides square, S4S it’s known as in the woodworking community.
I want to talk through the process of how we arrive at that so you can understand the role of each of these tools in getting us to that point. First, I want to dive in and just talk about each tool independently so you can kind of get a feel for what each one’s intended use is, and then I’ll walk through that process of milling perfectly square lumber, and the trade-offs, and how each machine contributes to that process.
Jointer – Technical Specifications and Features
Let’s start with the jointer because that is in fact where you start. Essentially, the jointer has a long, flatbed that’s going to be one of the surfaces that we’re going to use as a reference, and it also has a fence that is perpendicular to the bed.
The operator has an important role in the jointer, more so than in the planer, so with the jointer, the operator is first going to align the board in one position, so this board rocks a little bit, and this is a perfect example of why you need a jointer.
This board is rocking, so I, as the operator, I’m going to hold it into one position and not rock it, not roll through the cut, because now I’m going to continue to have a twisted face on the bottom side if I do that.
I’m going to lock it into one position, pass it through and make the cut, and that’s going to shear one face perfectly flat. Might take a couple of passes depending on the severity of the twist, but eventually, if I use the right technique, I’ll have a face that’s perfectly flat.
The next step that the jointer is able to offer is, I take that flat face, and I’m going to put it up against the fence, and I’m going to feed it through the cut, and now, after a pass or a couple passes, I’ve created a board with one perfectly flat face and one edge that is straight and square to the face jointed face. That’s where the jointer is relieved of duty after two faces are complete.
“Why not?” You’re wondering. Flip the board over. The jointer has already proven that it can flatten the face. You have another face to flatten. Why not flip it over and run it through the jointer one more time? The answer to that is, yes, it could do it.
It could create a flat face, a second flat face on the board. The problem with it is that it has no reference to the other face that you flattened. What you end up with is a board with two flat faces that are not parallel to one another.
In other words, if you measure the board for thickness from side to side and from end to end, it would be different in each measurement direction. That is not the way you want to start out your woodworking project.
What are the chances, you’re wondering, of getting it right, getting them so that they are parallel doing it that way? The answer is virtually zero. You’ll never get it correct doing it that way. That’s why you’re going to want to run it through the planer, so we’ll talk about the planer next.
What about planer?
That was the jointer. Now, let’s talk about the planer. The planer operates quite a bit differently than the jointer. First of all, it has the flat reference surface on the bottom and the cutter head up on top of the board that you’re passing through. You’re taking the board that you just face jointed and edge jointed on the jointer.
You take the face that you’ve jointed and put that down on the planer bed, so now you’ve got a flat surface up against the flat surface of the planer bed.
You start to feed that through. The feed rollers grab it. They’re pulling it through and pressing it downward onto that flat reference surface. That’s really the key. As it’s doing that, it’s now engaging the cutter head.
The cutter head is shearing that wood flat using the bed as the reference surface. All it’s doing is essentially copying the contour of the face that’s pressed against the bed. That contour, hopefully, if you did your face jointing correctly, is flat, so now you’ve got a board that you’re following a flat surface on the bottom.
It’s creating a flat surface on the top that’s parallel with the bottom. That’s the key, and that’s what the jointer can’t do, so now what it’s going to spit out the back of the planer is a board that has a top surface that’s flat, a bottom surface that’s also flat and parallel, uniform thickness across the width and length of the board.
Now, you’ve got three perfect edges, and now all you have to do is take the fourth edge and rip it on the table saw. You’re going to use your jointed edge as a reference, put it up against the fence, and run the board through and rip your edge parallel, and now you’ve got top and bottom that are flat and parallel, side and side that are parallel, and square to your faces. You’ve got an S4S board, and that’s the goal that we started out with.
Now, with all of that kind of theory in mind, let’s do a quick walkthrough and actually mill this board to a perfect S4S. As you recall, the action all starts over at the jointer. Here, we’re going to face joint the first face. May take a couple of passes depending on how twisted the board is. Then you’re going to take that flat face, put it up against the joint or fence, and run it through on edge.
This will create an edge that’s perfectly square to the face that you just face jointed. From there, we move over to the thickness planer. We set that flat face jointed face down on the planer bed and run the board through. The thickness planer uses that flat face as a reference. It creates a flat surface on the opposing face that is parallel with the first face, and that parallelism is the key. Now, you’ve got three perfect sides.
The next step to get the fourth perfect side is to take the edge that you’ve jointed, put it against the fence on a table saw, and run it through. All right. There you have it. I hope you found this helpful. Hope it answered some questions for you and hopefully gives you some of the justification that you need to add both a jointer and a planer to your arsenal tools to help you build some fine furniture.
Read also: Porter-Cable PC160JT Benchtop Jointer Rewiew
Tips for Safe Usage
The use of any machine with blades requires safety precautions. This will always allow you to minimize potential injuries apart from ensuring that the machine also remains optimally functional. Lots of accidents usually happen when people are using planning machines. Here are some tips and guidelines:
- Wear protective gear every step of the way
- Loose clothing and jewelry can easily be pulled by the blades, leading to injury. DO NOT wear them
- Always ensure the guard is properly positioned
- Ensure that your hands aren’t anywhere near the board as it goes over the cutters
- Use push blocks for their intended purpose to keep your hands away and safe from the blades
- DO NOT stand behind the jointer
- Ensure that the cutter head is at full acceleration before beginning the procedure
- DO NOT cut pieces that are smaller than 12 inches
Useful manufacturers resources
This is a fantastic resource that I often turn to when I’m in the market for a new tool. Wood Magazine provides an in-depth review of various benchtop jointers, detailing their pros and cons.
It’s not just a list of features – the reviews are based on actual usage, which I find incredibly valuable. From power and performance to price and portability, they cover all the bases, making it a go-to resource for anyone in the market for a benchtop jointer.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive buying guide, then Popular Woodworking has got you covered. Their Jointer Buying Guide is a gem, providing insights into what factors to consider when purchasing a jointer.
They discuss everything from cutter heads and table lengths to motors and fence designs. The personal experiences and advice they share have really helped shape my understanding of what to look for in a jointer, and I believe it could do the same for you.
Now, if you’re someone who values real-life experiences and candid opinions, then the LumberJocks forum is a goldmine. Here, you’ll find actual users of various benchtop jointers sharing their experiences, tips, and advice.
I’ve found this peer-to-peer advice particularly helpful because it’s unfiltered and honest. The community members are welcoming, and their experiences range from beginners to seasoned pros. It’s a great platform to get various perspectives before you make your decision.
Finding the best benchtop jointer on the market shouldn’t be considered such a daunting decision. Hopefully, this review and buyer’s guide have made things easy for you. Choosing one of the reviewed products will accomplish most of your needs. The JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch is perhaps the first product you should try if you want a tool that can perform well for most functions.
Most importantly, familiarize yourself with these machines by going through this post. Hopefully, it covers everything you need to know to buy the best benchtop jointer. Don’t forget to share!
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What is a benchtop jointer used for?
A benchtop jointer is used for flattening the faces and squaring the edges of wood. This makes the wood pieces uniform and perfect for joining together.
How do I choose the best benchtop jointer?
Consider factors like the maximum cutting width, depth, and length the jointer can handle. Other considerations include motor power, cutting speed, type of cutter head (straight knife or helical), noise level, and dust collection capability.
What’s the difference between a jointer and a planer?
A jointer is used to create a flat surface along the length of a board and to square edges, while a planer is used to cut wood to a specific thickness.
Can a jointer be used as a planer?
While a jointer can partially do the work of a planer by flattening one side of a board, it can’t accurately control the thickness of the board like a planer.
What safety precautions should I take when using a benchtop jointer?
Always use push blocks or push sticks to guide wood through the jointer, ensuring your hands are at a safe distance from the cutter. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris and hearing protection to reduce noise exposure.
How do I maintain my benchtop jointer?
Keep the tables and fence clean and rust-free, sharpen or replace the knives as required, ensure the motor is free of dust, and regularly check and adjust the tables and fence for accuracy.
What is snipe and how can I reduce it?
Snipe is a deeper cut at the beginning or end of a board. You can reduce snipe by properly supporting the board as it enters and exits the jointer, and by making sure your infeed and outfeed tables are correctly aligned.
What is the benefit of a helical cutter head?
Helical cutter heads are quieter and usually produce a better quality cut. They also tend to have a longer blade life, as each cutter has four sharp sides – when one side dulls, you can simply rotate the cutter to a new sharp side.
What kind of woods can I use with a benchtop jointer?
Benchtop jointers can handle a variety of woods, both softwoods like pine, and hardwoods like oak or walnut. However, the maximum width and depth the jointer can handle will vary by model. Check the specifications for your particular jointer.
In my opinion, the Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ is the best benchtop jointer not just for beginners but also for more advanced users. It is lightweight, durable and offers smooth cuts like nothing else I’ve tried. It’s a very good option and at a good price.
Tried the Cutech and it’s best benchtop jointer for me. I’m not really a beginner but not an expert either and I found this to be easy to use. Plus it has a great price and I can’t see any drawbacks to it really.
The best benchtop jointer is, in my humble opinion, the Cutech 40160H-CT 6″. It’s a beast, especially for a beginner like myself. I’ve seen a few others work at friends or relatives but this one somehow is better than anything else. It can tilt to a 90-degree angle (which I use a lot), has smooth finishes and it’s very easy to assemble. I have no problem with the fence, at least not so far. Did I mention it’s inexpensive and seems it will last many years?
If you want something very good, high end actually, then go for the Powermatic one (the second in the list). This is a powerhouse and without a doubt the best benchtop jointer on the market. Don’t just look at the price tags when choosing such a tool. As soon as I saw the 5 year warranty I knew this was durable. I like that it’s heavier than most because for me, heavier often means durable. The fence needs a little improvement but I soon got used to it.
Shop Fox w1829 is the best benchtop jointer for the budget, but it is pretty decent. It probably doesn’t compare to the big guns, but I still like it a lot. The motor is very, very powerful and yes, it does sometimes chip the wood but not often. A good buy.