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Thread: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

  1. #1
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    Default Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    I'm thinking of getting a thicknesser (thickness planer, I believe there is some difference in the names of these things in different countries) and could get a reasonable looking Chinese one at the local big box hardware store for $629 NZ, or a DeWalt for well over a thousand.

    However, I also see these combo machines: http://www.thetoolshed.co.nz/product...aner-bench-top with a thicknesser underneath and a jointer surface on top. Any point to them? The portability and low price would suit me.

    I want to plane down rough-sawn timber for stringers and other parts for my boat project, and also would like to be able to buy rough-sawn or clean up demolition timber for other home DIY and furniture projects in the future. I'm aware of the nail problem with demo timber having worked pulling the nails from recycled timber for a guy making bookshelves as a teenager. He explained to me just how irritated he was going to be if I missed one and he chipped his knives...

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Really depends on the floor space you have available in the shop. If space or cost is not a killer, I much prefer separate machines and think most woodworkers do as well..
    Tom L

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Really depends on the floor space you have available in the shop. If space or cost is not a killer, I much prefer separate machines and think most woodworkers do as well..
    I've heard people complain about the dual-purpose planers because they could not see stock as it passed under.

    I can't stress this enough about using recycled Timber. Get a metal detector! or don't even think of using recycled timber. it just isn't worth the danger or the cost!

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Yes, the dual machines are good if one has limited space and limited budget. I also prefer separate machines. But one of the keys becomes ease/speed of switchover. From the reviews I've read, the cheap machines are far less convenient to switch, making them quite aggravating. Fine Woodworking has reviewed a mess of 'em. I'd recommend reading up.
    David G
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    I got a cheap 6" jointer about 4 decades ago. I won't do it again. It wouldn't even stay in adjustment long enough to complete a single pass. It didn't go out far - but it was enough to make the machine totally useless. I pulled off the motor and scrapped the rest of it. Now, if I want to save some money I buy used --- old used. If you're careful and patient, you can find a machine that will out perform a new tool costing 3 times as much.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    There are two problems with that machine, it's overpriced and it's bad.
    As others have said, old used is better.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    I've worked with several dual purpose machines all top of the line in a couple of cabinet shops. Unless they have improved since 15-20 years ago the problem they all shared was that the cutter adjustment would not stay put. When you switched from jointer back to planer or vice versa your cut would not be the same. A real pain.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    What denise said about recycled timber. Really important.

    I just looked at the ad for the dual planer/jointer. Specs look like junk. Rubber feet to prevent it sliding around? No such machine that I've ever seen could possible slide around in the first place. They are much to heavy for that. The weight is given as 27.5kg (60.5lbs) which indicates that the whole thing must be stamped sheet metal. No wonder it wants to slide. A decent motor weighs that much.

    Stay away from it.
    Tom L

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    What denise said about recycled timber. Really important.

    I just looked at the ad for the dual planer/jointer. Specs look like junk. Rubber feet to prevent it sliding around? No such machine that I've ever seen could possible slide around in the first place. They are much to heavy for that. The weight is given as 27.5kg (60.5lbs) which indicates that the whole thing must be stamped sheet metal. No wonder it wants to slide. A decent motor weighs that much.

    Stay away from it.
    Another thing about old Lumber / Timber is old paint! It will take the edge off any planer blades within a few minutes!

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert W. Long View Post
    I've worked with several dual purpose machines all top of the line in a couple of cabinet shops. Unless they have improved since 15-20 years ago the problem they all shared was that the cutter adjustment would not stay put. When you switched from jointer back to planer or vice versa your cut would not be the same. A real pain.
    I'm pretty sure they're better these day. At least the good ones. But my impression is the cheapies don't go the extra engineering mile to make sure everything stays reliably lined up in the face of regular back-and-forth conversions.

    Not a machine I'd go 'cheap' on.
    David G
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    For any jointer or planer, combo or otherwise, make sure you can install the knives easily and accurately. I can't stress this enough. Because on some machines it is a real pain in the backside to set them right. And if the knives aren't set correctly, the machine is less than worthless.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    For any jointer or planer, combo or otherwise, make sure you can install the knives easily and accurately. I can't stress this enough. Because on some machines it is a real pain in the backside to set them right. And if the knives aren't set correctly, the machine is less than worthless.

    Jeff
    Tersa heads are really the way to go for occasional users. They last forever, and are self-indexing. No need to develop the finicky blade-alignment skills/techniques. Most new machines offer that option... or even come that way stock.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Just to throw my tired old oar in, recycled lumber is fine to use as long as you are careful and thorough in making sure it has been cleared of any metal. This is doable and carelessness will be costly, but I would not dismiss the idea of using good salvage on a project if care is taken. I have a thickness planer and have put hundreds of board feet of used material through it with never a nick, but I am careful. I would think twice about painted or uncommonly dirty wood. There are whole industries built up around recycled lumber.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    I repair woodworking machinery for part of my pocket money, thats about a two day a week job for me, for the most part in joinery and cabinetmaking shops but I do service quite a few school woodworking classrooms. I have to deal with a wide range of machinery from older, beautifully built English and European machinery to the cheapest stuff available, that latter being a whole bowl full of goldfish ( goldfish are a species of c .a. r. p. if you get the connection) . The Toolshed products are right at the bottom of the price bracket, and you get what you pay for. Some of their machinery that i've had to work has been so poorly engineered that its been essentially unrepairable, and thats when near new. I'd strongly recommend that you dont even turn your head as you drive past them.
    In case anyone from that outfit is reading this, this is my opinion, expressed as such and I'd defend it in court.

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Tersa heads are really the way to go for occasional users. They last forever, and are self-indexing. No need to develop the finicky blade-alignment skills/techniques. Most new machines offer that option... or even come that way stock.
    Tersa heads generally are only available on top end machines, and conversion kits are quite expensive.

    Setting up planer knives is no big deal once the correct technique is learned. Just dont lose the setting tools or the little springs under the knives.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    Tersa heads generally are only available on top end machines, and conversion kits are quite expensive.

    Setting up planer knives is no big deal once the correct technique is learned. Just dont lose the setting tools or the little springs under the knives.

    John Welsford
    Yes, and as I said earlier, this type of tool is only one I'd buy in the high-end models. Having taught a boatload of employees to replace and set jointer/planer knives, I know how difficult some find it. For the hobbyist, who might only swap knives every year or two, I strongly recommend the simplicity of tersa heads.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Makita used to make a nice combo machine that was a 15" planer with a jointer on the side of the machine (2030?). Don't know if any used ones are available as I don't think they make them anymore, but if shop space is at a premium, it might be worth looking into.

    ETA : Grizzly appears to offer something similar: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Comb...d-Tables/G0809 (No personal interest)

    I've been impressed with some of their equipment and disappointed in others. Just sayin'.
    Last edited by Canoez; 03-09-2018 at 02:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    We have a 16 inch SCM combination jointer planer, in my main shop that I find to be very handy. It has a Tersa head that takes disposable blades. A four blade change takes less than five minutes and is self aligning. Smaller machines were made by Inca and can fit nicely into a garage shop. Inca does not market in the US any longer but used machines can be found if one is lucky. Pictured here, is the small Inca.
    Here is the address of the Inca blog spot.
    http://incawoodworking.blogspot.com/
    SCMI info here
    https://www.scmgroup.com/en_US/scmwo...er-planers.893

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    Makita used to make a nice combo machine that was a 15" planer with a jointer on the side of the machine (2030?). Don't know if any used ones are available as I don't think they make them anymore, but if shop space is at a premium, it might be worth looking into.

    ETA : Grizzly appears to offer something similar: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Comb...d-Tables/G0809 (No personal interest)

    I've been impressed with some of their equipment and disappointed in others. Just sayin'.
    I owned one of those Makita machines, way back when. Really solid kit. The drawback is that the jointer was both narrow and short. 4"? 6"? I forget. But that can be limiting. Shortness is also a drawback on the dual/convertible jointer/planer rigs, but shortness is not nearly as limiting as narrowness.

    I agree about Grizzly. So I'll once again suggest that any interested track down the Fine Woodworking review of such machines to see how the various brands/models stacked up before even considering a purchase. The SCMI machine that Jay references won't be listed, but is likely to be a couple of notches above. That's industrial gear, and every SCMI machine I've run has been excellent.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    INCA machines make use of a lot aluminum on the beds and other structure. OK for light and medium use but I much prefer cast iron for its heft and stability.

    I attended a seminar with Sam Maloof (One of the absolute top US woodworkers). The sponsors supplied him with the two wheel INCA bandsaw to use for roughing out a chair arm. His comments were not praise for the machine and were much like my own. The three wheel INCA is very good for medium thickness work because of its huge throat cutting capacity.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    I much prefer cast iron for its heft and stability.
    i much prefer cast iron for its much lower co-efficient of friction compared to aluminium. . .
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    i much prefer cast iron for its much lower co-efficient of friction compared to aluminium. . .
    True. But aluminium isn't bad if kept waxed.
    David G
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    The Toolshed products are right at the bottom of the price bracket, and you get what you pay for. Some of their machinery that i've had to work has been so poorly engineered that its been essentially unrepairable, and thats when near new. I'd strongly recommend that you dont even turn your head as you drive past them.
    In case anyone from that outfit is reading this, this is my opinion, expressed as such and I'd defend it in court.

    John Welsford
    Cheers John, hard to disregard specific advice like that from a local expert so I will stay away.

    thanks everyone else for the general advice. There are lots of good old cast iron jointers around here, but a lot fewer second hand thicknessers. I shall keep looking.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Having got over the idea of a cheap thicknesser I’ve been looking at the full priced ones - DeWalt DW734 and Makita 1200 both around $1200 in NZD. For a similar price though I could get this: https://www.carbatec.co.nz/product/5...h-helical-head and if I bite the bullet to spend more than $1K NZ it looks a good option. Carbatec seems well respected - I believe they import and rebrand. That would get me the spiral head at the same price as the straight knife planers from the main brands.
    Last edited by OliverBendix; 03-11-2018 at 06:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I owned one of those Makita machines, way back when. Really solid kit. The drawback is that the jointer was both narrow and short. 4"? 6"? I forget. But that can be limiting. Shortness is also a drawback on the dual/convertible jointer/planer rigs, but shortness is not nearly as limiting as narrowness.

    I agree about Grizzly. So I'll once again suggest that any interested track down the Fine Woodworking review of such machines to see how the various brands/models stacked up before even considering a purchase. The SCMI machine that Jay references won't be listed, but is likely to be a couple of notches above. That's industrial gear, and every SCMI machine I've run has been excellent.
    I'm spoiled with a 12" wide Grizzly jointer with a very long infeed and outfeed table in the shop where I teach. Don't recall the model number, but it's only shortcoming is dust collection. It excels at flattening the surface of a piece of stock before heading over to the 24" wide Delta planer. The planer has a serrated infeed roller which can press your stock flat just ahead of some spring fingers and the cutterhead so that you have the potential to wind up with perfectly parallel, but not flat, surfaces if it isn't run over the jointer first.

    Cast iron. Yes. Not impressed with aluminum for stationary power tools.

    Sometimes large old cast iron equipment that needs just a little bit of attention is available for a song, but it takes a bit to find it. A local cabinet maker had a 20" wide jointer that he'd purchased for about $500 US. Infeed and outfeed tables were about 8' long - it was a massive machine. He replaced bearings, knives, belts, and installed a magnetic interlock switch and then scraped the surfaces and re-painted the machine. Outrageous for a home user, but perfect for him.
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    I like the Inca machines for the fine joinery phases of my work in what I call my small shop. It is a one garage stall space and I do a lot of very small work there. In my other space, I still have some Inca machines but I also have honking big cast iron behemoths for the big grunt work.
    If I had to choose between the two, I would keep the Inca machines and get rid of the big stuff because, most of the big cutting jobs can now be handled using the newer powered hand track saws as well as traditional tools that are powered by Swedish Steam.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    The JET JJP-12 jointer planer is one of the best machines out there that can function as a portable jointer as well as a planer. This is two machines in one, so if you’re worried about the amount of space in your workshop, then the JET JJP-12 is the right option for you, because it saves a lot of space. It is powerful, it accurate when set properly, and it has a huge capacity for planing and jointing wide boards. It is also fairly priced, so I think you wouldn’t go wrong if you decide to buy it.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Unless you are willing to spend considerable money for a good commercial combination machine you will generaaly find that one or the other function is a compromise qnd that the time you spend flipping the tables around and adjsuting things is time better spent.

    I would invest in a good track saw with good blades for edge jointing and buy a decent planer. I can get a glue-ready edge on 8/4 stock ten feet long with the Festool tracksaw. Easier than wrestling long heavy stock over the jointer and my jointer is a long bed machine.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Here is a buzz kill. If you are not getting paid to do a ton of work or will profit from the pursuit... what is the need to buy? Can't you use or rent locally? You save most of the dough, possibly set up a cool exchange maybe make a friend. There are tons of folks who have bought nice equipment used it for a project and now it sits gather dust. Unless the tool is used several times a year, makes it easier & safer and is ultimately a big time safe - there may no reason to own it.

    a decent track saw and small joiner might be all you need to have close by.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 10-25-2018 at 11:58 AM.
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    I have one of each, but i pretty much only use the thicknesser. If you have to pick one.
    I use a really strong magnet on recycled timber (after giving my thicknesser a toothless smile). That won't catch SS, but thats probably rarely broken inside anyway.
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBendix View Post
    Having got over the idea of a cheap thicknesser I’ve been looking at the full priced ones - DeWalt DW734 and Makita 1200 both around $1200 in NZD. For a similar price though I could get this: https://www.carbatec.co.nz/product/5...h-helical-head and if I bite the bullet to spend more than $1K NZ it looks a good option. Carbatec seems well respected - I believe they import and rebrand. That would get me the spiral head at the same price as the straight knife planers from the main brands.
    I get to service a lot of the machinery in joinery and school woodworking shops in the Auckland and Hamilton regions, and in the single phase level machinery I think its hard to go past the standard 15 inch Chinese built thicknesser. They're simple, effective, robust, adjustable and relatively cheap. I have two, one I bought about 35 years ago, and one I traded in last year, one in each workshop.

    I deal with Robertson and Sinclair, good guys, good backup and their prices are pretty reasonable.

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    https://www.finewoodworking.com/tag/...-planer-combos

    I have an ancient (1950s) thickness planer, an Australian made Jeffwood 12'' if you see one for sale they're good. I also have 12'' Tanner jointer from NZ. Excellent kit. The 2 machines provide the same capacity as a 12'' combination if the combination performed as desired. They cost me $900 all together and are much better in my opinion.
    Last edited by PeterSibley; 10-26-2018 at 04:49 AM.
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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    The main adwantage of combinations is that you can have big solid machines with plenty of capacity in a rather cramped workshop.

    For several years I used my Stenberg KEV 600 combination machine to make windows and doors om a part time basis in a worshop 5,5 metres long and 2,9 metres wide.
    The machine consists of:
    -A 600mm (24") planer/thicknesser (a jointer/planer to Americans). The surface planer (jointer) tables are 245 cm long in total.
    -A 5 hp table saw with 400mm (16") blade and sliding table
    -A 3hp spindle moulder (shaper to Americans)
    The whole machine weighs around 1200 kilos and is as solid and well built as any industrial machine.
    There is absolutely no other way that I could have fitted that sort of machine capacity into that space and made it a functional workshop. I could never have made what I made on the sort of separates that would have fitted in there.
    There is no way that anyone can make me sell that machine!

    However.....if space was plentiful and if heating was cheap then a set of equally large and solid separates had been better.
    Amateur living on the western coast of Finland

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    The Jet does look pretty nice and fast and easy to use and to switch between operations. I’d like the ability to face joint a 12” board. The aluminum fence is kinda dorky as is the European style jointer cutterhead guard.

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Cheap jointer/thicknesser combo - good idea or rubbish?

    IIRC, that jet got good reviews. You'll appreciate that aluminium fence during every switchover, methinks.
    David G
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