Case against cheap machinery

I have reached an age where I am able to spend my winters in Florida and have been trying to set up a small shop in my garage, leaving my machinery in my main shop up north.
I was tempted by a cheap Harbor Freight 6-inch joiner at the irrestible price of $189. I am old enough to know better so I really have no one to blame but myself for ever buying this piece of junk.
First of all it took two full days to assemble it due to the instructions which had to have been written by a non-English speaking person who no idea at all of what he/she was doing.
I also bought a Rigid table saw for $569. At least it had clear instructions and was easy to assemble. Its fence has a visible bow in it--so far out I didn't even bother trying to just how far it was out. I can correct that by fastening a baltic birch plywood fence to it. I suspect that table is out and am waiting for a machinist straight edge to see just how far out. Their cust. service says that if the table is more than 12 thousandths out they will send me a new table but they didn't say how far out the new table might be. The one positive thing I an say for it is that is is fairly vibration free for a saw with a motor hanging out the back. (Cabinet saws usually have multiple belts which are short because the motor is below and very close to the arbor
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I have reached an age where I am able to spend my winters in Florida and have been trying to set up a small shop in my garage, leaving my machinery in my main shop up north.
I was tempted by a cheap Harbor Freight 6-inch joiner at the irrestible price of $189. I am old enough to know better so I really have no one to blame but myself for ever buying this piece of junk.
First of all it took two full days to assemble it due to the instructions which had to have been written by a non-English speaking person who no idea at all of what he/she was doing.
I also bought a Rigid table saw for $569. At least it had clear instructions and was easy to assemble. Its fence has a visible bow in it--so far out I didn't even bother trying to just how far it was out. I can correct that by fastening a baltic birch plywood fence to it. I suspect that table is out and am waiting for a machinist straight edge to see just how far out. Their cust. service says that if the table is more than 12 thousandths out they will send me a new table but they didn't say how far out the new table might be. The one positive thing I an say for it is that is is fairly vibration free for a saw with a motor hanging out the back. (Cabinet saws usually have multiple belts which are short because the motor is below and very close to the arbor and this really reduces vibration. I dont feel quite as stupid with the purchase of the table saw as the joiner but I wish I had just gone for quality instead of price.
I'd sure like to hear from any one who has succeeded in really tuning up one of these HF cheap joiners and would like to know how they were able to set their blades without jack screws or springs to raise the blade. I suppose it is possible that I just got a defective unit where they forgot to install the jack screws or springs in the cutter head.
Joe
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Snip
The one positive thing I an say for it is that

I think that the 3 short belts would be more likely to ADD vibration as they spin at a faster speed than the single long one on a contractors saw. The cabinet saws typically have much more mass that helps cut down on vibration.
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Joe wrote:>I'd sure like to hear from any one who has succeeded in really tuning up one

hold the knife in place while you tighten the gibs. Tom Work at your leisure!
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no spam wrote:

screws in the bottom of the groove to raise the jointer knife. A hell of an improvement over the 4" Craftsman that my FIL gave me. The little Craftsman (about 50 years old) also has a terrible adjustment bolt mechanism for leveling the tables. I spent a useless hour trying to adjust it until I took it completely apart and saw what a mess the adjuster were (loosening or tightening the lock bold easily changes the table by height by several thousands. In all I probably spent about 3 hours trying to get the tables level with each other and the knives at the same height as the outfeed table. The tables are not flat and I have never had a jointer before. You adjust the knives by putting a little tension on the holding screw and then you tap the knife down with a piece of hard wood or move it up by tapping the bottom of the overhanging knife.
I though the HF$189 jointer would be a huge improvement as both tables moved smoothly with hand wheels and the tables looked flat, but I didn't measure with a straight edge.
If you have a visible bow in your TS fence, you need to get Rigid to replace the fence.
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On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 02:24:43 +0100, the inscrutable "no spam"

Two days to assemble all six pieces? <bseg>
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If I were in Florida, instead of PA. It might have taken me all week, with going outside all the time!
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On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 17:39:47 -0600, the inscrutable Tim

Can Floridians read yet? I know they have trouble with simple things like hanging chads in ballots, rebooting computers, etc. (Aren't people FUN?)
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IMo, you'd be better off returning the Harbor frieght joiner. As much as I hate HF, they do have a nice return policy.
Even if you have to pay to ship it back, think of all the frustration you'll save yourself. This hobby is supposed to be fun. It seems from your post that you have the money to buy a better joiner, so why not do it? Correct your mistake while you still have time.
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Well, bf, that's what a sane person should do--just pack it up and send it back. Now that I have so much time into it I am going to make it work just out of pure cussedness. Did I say in my post that the cutter head is made to take 1/8th knives but it comes with metric knives that are less than 3/32nds thick--even shaving costs on knife thickness. My post however had a dual purpose--first to relieve some frustration by bitching and secondly to throw a little counsel out to younger woodworkers to beware of cheap machinery. There is absolutely no excuse for someone my agemaking such a dumb mistake.
Thanks for your thoughts, though.
Joe

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