planer or combination planer/jointer

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bvra

New User
Bruce
I have a small workshop and am thinking of purchasing a high quality combination jointer/planer. However, I have received some feedback which was to buy only a planer. Although the person giving the advice stated that his experience with a combination jointer/planer was about 15 years ago. He didn't like it and eventually got rid of it. He stated that doesn't really need a jointer, using a table saw instead. Also, with just a planer he stated I will get higher quality for lower price, and much more convenient to use. Anybody have a combination jointer/planer and give some advice about quality of the tool. Are they a hassle to use? What about just purchasing a planer and using my tablesaw as the jointer? I hate to spend the 3500-4500 to buy a combination machine when I can buy a Powermatic 15 inch planer or something similar and use my table saw.
Thanks for any feedback
BV:icon_scra
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
There is nothing that will do the job of a jointer short of hand planes or complicated planer sleds. IMO a jointer is a very important tool to have if you wish to work with rough sawn lumber. It is the only machine that can put a flat face on a board. You can flatten a board using a combination of hand planes but it will take a lot more effort and time (probably expense too).
The combination planer/jointers available today are a great deal, if you don't have the space for individual machines. You lose some functionality for the space saving design. The jointer bed is much shorter which limits the length of stock you can flatten, and the change over (from jointer to planer) does take some time. But on the other hand you get the added width capacity in the jointer function that can cost you a lot in a stand alone machine.
A tablesaw is not a subsitution for a jointer. A TS can give you a glue ready edge but can not flatten the face of a rough sawn board. A planer will make a board with two faces parallel to each other, but only if you start out with a board with a flat face.

MTCW,
Dave:)
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Take that "saved space" business with a big grain of salt. A lot of those combo rigs have jointer beds that pivot off the top and out into the room, bottom side up.

Check the cranking up and down requirements. 50 turns of the handle lowers the bed so dust can come out from when using the machine in jointer mode. 50 turns back up to use planer mode. Just where do those chips go when the machine is used in planer mode? Up on top of the jointer beds?

One cutterhead, two surfaces that need to be parallel to that bed with particular precision. Its not likely to happen if the jointer beds and the planer beds can be user-adjusted to be parallel to the cutterhead. What few I've worked with were out one place or another with no way to adjust anything parallel. The knives had to be set to compromise this problem so as to minimize the offset. Example, the cutterhead is out .015 from parallel to the jointer but even with the planer bed surface. One can get flat when planing, but out of square when jointing. Setting the knives so both are out about .007 is a compromise.

Consider two machines. Put the planer on wheels and roll it into the corner. Get an 8" jointer as that's what you'll use way more than the planer. Two different cutterheads so dulling won't be quite so quick. Setting the knives is easier because there's not two surfaces to index to rather than one.
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
Very good advice from Bob and Dave.

I currently have a 16" combination jointer/planer manufactured for Grizzly by Sheppach in Germany. The quality of the cut is very good, but in my experience standalone units are a better choice for the reasons espoused by D&B.
 

Douglas Robinson

Doug Robinson
Corporate Member
I have the a small shop and I switched from separate machines to the Jet combo machine. I have nothing but praise for it. The dust is NOT and issue as the shroud pivots and the hose hooks up to it in either configuration. I have no qualms recommending it. You are welcome to come by and check it out if you want.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
A separate jointer and planer take up a lot of space. It's not just the basic footprint, both jointers and planers need at least 8' on both the infeed and outfeed side (10' is better, 12' if you can arrange it). For two machines, that's a lot of room. Sure, you can put machines on mobile bases and roll them into position, but that takes time. There's also the hassle with attaching/ disconnecting dust collection hoses if you go the mobile route. Don't get me wrong, you do what's necessary to make things work. In my previous shop, I had to roll the planer into position every time I processed stock, and the jointer too if the board was over 6'. That's something to factor in when weighing the overhead of converting the jointer to planer and vice versa: what's your overhead with two machines?

A lot has changed in the last 15 years in woodworking equipment. There are now several good machines that cost less than $2500, which in turn has kept the big boys (Hammer, Mini-Max etc.) competitive. But Bob is right about some of the space savings being "phantom". The Grizzly G0634 is a great machine (I've seen it in action!), but you have to remove the jointer fence to convert it to the planer. That means you need room close by to stash it. Also, the Grizzly is 43" deep because of the rack-and-pinion system. But it does perform very well where it counts.

I have the JET 12" jointer/ planer combination machine on order, the one with helical head that uses carbide inserts instead of traditional steel knives. This means no more fiddling with dial indicators :icon_cheers :icon_cheers :icon_cheers :icon_cheers :icon_cheers :icon_cheers :icon_cheers :icon_cheers :icon_cheers :icon_cheers (I stink at setting knives). The carbide cutters last a lot longer too. I looked at the price of a 12" jointer with helical head and a separate 15" planer with helical head...almost twice as much. The JET is only 31" deep, and the fence stays on during conversion.

Cranking the table up and down is definitely the most time consuming part of the conversion. I saw a modification somewhere so you can use a portable drill instead of cranking the table by hand, I'll see if I can dig that up. Also, if you forgot to joint a board and have to go back, resetting the planer to the exact same thickness is a challenge. One of those Wixey digital gauges is definitely in my future.

If I had a 30x40 shop, I'd buy separate units. No doubt about it. To me, the time to convert the machine isn't an issue, but there is definitely something attractive about not having to "fiddle" with things while you're cranking out stock. But this combo gives me terrific jointing capacity, a helical head for both functions, and space savings to booth. I'll let you know in 6 months how much I like it :)
 

riderkb

New User
Keith
I've done jointing and thickness planing by hand before. It isn't that much work if you have a band saw that you can use to resaw accurately. (and you are doing a small project and you have a good hand plane collection, etc.) If I couldn't get all three (jointer, planer, band saw) I'd go for a wide jointer and a band saw. That way you can start with a rough board, joint one face flat, joint one edge square, thickness it by resawing, surface the resawn face on the jointer, rip to width on the band saw, and square the last edge on the jointer.

I recently bought a Grizzly 12" jointer/planer (with straight knives instead of the carbide helix cutter). The time to go from jointer to planer is just a minute or two including moving the planer table. Some designs require that you crank the planer table down a full 8" to convert back to jointer mode, others, like Grizzly only need 4" of motion. The fence does need to be removed to do the conversion, but it is aluminum, so you could drill a hole in it and hang it on a peg nearby.

The aluminum fence is probably the weak point, in my opinion. If you are accustomed to a rock-solid cast iron fence, the aluminum rig on Grizzly's J/P is going to seem flimsy. If you push on it hard, it will flex enough to give an out-of-square cut. If I ever need to joint the edge of a heavy door that is, say, 30" wide, I'll have to make a tall plywood fence that clamps square on the table or do it by hand. (Or live with a door edge that is out of square by 0.008", which is my first choice.)

The adjustably problem that Bob mentioned isn't a problem with my J/P. The infeed, outfeed, and planer tables are all adjustable to make them parallel to the cutter and each other. Of course, some of the adjustments require shimming rather than just turning a screw, but those adjustments were done correctly at the factory on my machine and I don't expect to have to mess with it often.

Keith
 

merrill77

Master Scrap Maker
Chris
What about just purchasing a planer and using my tablesaw as the jointer? I hate to spend the 3500-4500 to buy a combination machine when I can buy a Powermatic 15 inch planer or something similar and use my table saw.

That is where I am now. I have a 15" planer and I had a 6" jointer. Because of the relatively short bed on the jointer, I was never successful at getting a crooked edge straight if it was more than about 30" long. I'll admit that other people do this with much success, so I am mostly to blame here....I _did_ put a lot of hours into trying. But what I found was that I could get a nice edge with the tablesaw on short boards. With a simple router jig, I can get a perfect edge on boards up to 8' long - and in about the same amount of time. Then there is face jointing. I was never comfortable face-jointing on the jointer (even small boards) and of course I was completely unable to handle boards wider than 6", which happened a lot. With a very simple sled I can face-joint boards nearly 15" wide on the planer. In the end, the jointer ended up gathering dust and I sold it. Haven't missed it, so far.

Hope that helps!
Chris
 

Trog777

Trog
Senior User
Does everything I need. I don't mind the changeover. I work slow as molasses anyway. To some I could see it being an issue though. Takes a couple minutes.

No knife setting, change a set of blades in just a few minutes... I don't have space issues, but it does take up less space than separate units. The tables stand up just past vertical in planer position, so it's really no bigger in either mode, footprint wise. Just taller. Like Bas said, you do need to put the fence somewhere when in planer position. To take the fence off or put it on is a 5-10 second job though. The tables are on the short side compared to a lot of the stand alone joiners, so if you work with a lot of longer stock... You can purchase extensions, but I haven't needed them.

I don't use a table saw at all. You could go the sled route and omit the joiner, but I wouldn't want to.

 

Trog777

Trog
Senior User
The aluminum fence is probably the weak point, in my opinion. If you are accustomed to a rock-solid cast iron fence, the aluminum rig on Grizzly's J/P is going to seem flimsy. If you push on it hard, it will flex enough to give an out-of-square cut. If I ever need to joint the edge of a heavy door that is, say, 30" wide, I'll have to make a tall plywood fence that clamps square on the table or do it by hand. (Or live with a door edge that is out of square by 0.008", which is my first choice.)

Keith

Keith, you might want to try placing a mag-switch magnet behind and against the loose end of the fence when you're in a position that you need to lean on it. Works like a charm for me.
 

dino drosas

Dino
Corporate Member
I have been using a combination J/P for many years and am extremely happy with it. Changing between operations take very little time and is not an issue. Cranking the planner bed up and down can be a PITA. but not being a production shop with a time schedule has never presented a problem. My current machine is a 16" felder J/P that that has a motor driven table which makes changeovers a breeze. Footprint is the same in either function and the 4 blade change without having to adjust is simple. I wouldn't go any other way. Go for the combi if you can see your way financially.

herron_2_006.jpg

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riderkb

New User
Keith
Keith, you might want to try placing a mag-switch magnet behind and against the loose end of the fence when you're in a position that you need to lean on it. Works like a charm for me.

Good idea. I've heard that some models use a fence that is attached at one end, which makes the opposite end very floppy. Is your's that way?
 

Mike Wilkins

Mike
Senior User
Another vote here for the combo J/P machine. I went from a Parks 12" planer and Jet 6" jointer to a Andreou J/P machine. This machine is the same as the 12" J/P sold by Laguna as part of their Platinum series. As other have stated, changeover is a minor concern only. I am a serious amateur and not a production shop, so the cranking to planer height is a non-issue for me. As for the shorter bed length; I have jointed 8 footers without a problem, but I did use roller stands at the outfeed to catch the board after jointing. For the space-saving issue, you can place your machine against a wall and leave it there, with just one space for 2 machines for a combo. Jet and Grizzly have come out with some nice machines at a decent price; and would'nt you know it, just after I got my machine. Felder has their Hammer line that is selling well and you may even be able to get a price break, especially in today's economy. If I had the space(which would be 3X the size of my current 16 X 24 shop) I would go for large seperates, but I live in the real world.
Good luck and watch those fingers.
 

Trog777

Trog
Senior User
Good idea. I've heard that some models use a fence that is attached at one end, which makes the opposite end very floppy. Is your's that way?
Yes it attaches at one end. It's pretty stiff, but if I'm leaning on it it will move a little without the mag-switch.
 

bvra

New User
Bruce
:gar-Bi Wow. I have never posted before and what great information everyone has provided. Based on the information, I am leaning to purchasing a combo machine. I will put it on wheels and move it into a corner when I am not using it. Thanks for the feedback!! I can't wait to get back into my small shop after 7 months of house renovation (it was supposed to be done in 3)

Bruce
 

cpowell

New User
Chuck
If space is the driving issue then the combo makes sense.

I'm using a 8 inch jointer and a 15 inch planer. The planer is wide enough for now but I wish I had a 12 inch jointer for the added bed length...well, the extra width would come in handy, too.

Trying to face joint ~87"L x 8"W x 3" thick slabs with the 8 inch jointer bed length is very tiring. I am able to achieve flatness but I am pretty beat up after working just a few pieces. A smaller size J/P combo would just not work very well for this app.

Edit In...the MM J/P combo Dino linked is a pretty sweet looking machine. Hard to imagine you'd lose much if you bought it then later decided to go with stationary (separate) planer and jointer.


Chuck
 

Trog777

Trog
Senior User
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