This is the post I’ve been waiting to write for nearly a year now. I finally got my jointer.
In the course of building a worthy shop, there are a few major tool purchases one will need to make. A table saw is a near-must. While a bandsaw with a great blade and a fence will do your rip cuts in a pinch, and a radial arm saw or router can take care of your dadoes, a table saw is great and preferred method of doing both…at least for me. A bandsaw is critical for resawing, or making delicate cuts that would cause your arm to fall off if you tried a jigsaw. While you can use a router to accomplish it, a planer is mandatory in my book for getting work down to the right thickness and getting parallel faces. Going to find it very difficult to do moldings without a router. I’ve got all those things, but I’ve been having trouble getting a nice edge. That’s where the planer comes in.
I experienced some bad glue lines when I tried to put together the cutting boards last year, and even my microwave stand top a few days ago. You need two nice flat surfaces to get a good glue joint, and it wasn’t working well with me with my table saw. Those with standard table saws with miter slots would find it easy to use a sled. Since I don’t, and still haven’t added my miter slots, I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I could theoretically achieve the desired results with a bench plane, or on the router table, but I wasn’t doing well with either. On the router table I was getting gouges, and the planes would take way too much time. I knew I needed a jointer, so I started looking.
I looked for about a year, seriously. I had searches set up on Craigslist, and kept looking at ads for Sears, Rockler, Woodcraft…you name it. I found the used models on Craigslist to either be way too high, or gone within an hour if it was a good deal. I had gotten to the point where I was seriously looking at buying new. I had cash in hand to buy the Harbor Freight model that is well-reviewed, but the day I went to buy I discovered a clearance sign to $200 (good!) but they were out and it was discontinued (bad!). It had come down to a Craftsman or a Ridgid otherwise, about at the same price ($400). I briefly considered Grizzly, but their freight prices pushed them over the top.
I finally found a worthy specimen in an older Craftsman that was listed for $200. Its a contractor series saw from 1996, and it was well taken care of. In fact, just a bit of mineral spirits and wax were needed to get smooth operation. Took me a little while to get it dialed in, but once I did it cuts beautifully. Very pleased with my find. Pictures to come.