Harbor Freight 6" jointer

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I know that Harbor Freight is considered at ground zero for most if not all of there power tools, and most everything else. However I was wondering about the 6" jointer. They are on sale at the local Harbor freight for $ 199 minus 15%. This sounds like an amazing price. At present I need a jointer for truing up square wood for turning 34 " legs for Islands. Would appreciate any help in making the decision to buy it. What I really want is a good used jointer, but have not found anything suitable in my four month search.
Thanks in advance
Everett Cotton
snipped-for-privacy@insightbb.com
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This past weekend, for the first time ever, I have actually seen the inside of a Harbor Freight store. (Returning home from a family event in another state. Just got lucky.) Cheesy, cheesy, stuff. All of it. I too had been tempted by their low prices. Not again. I walked out of the store empty handed.
I see old Craftsman cast iron jointers (both 4 and 6 inch variety) on eBay for pickup only that sell in the $150 to $200 range (with motor and stand). I inherited a 1970's 6 inch model and I have to say that it's a very nice machine. I don't try to square up blanks larger than 4 feet with it. It saddens me that it's worth less than 200 bucks. But that fact might please you.
For the sake of completeness I would never recommend a contemporary Craftsman power tool. Same crapola as HF, IMO.
J.
Everett Cotton wrote:

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That's a shame. Some of the newer table saw selection is pretty good equipment.
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If you can get one. They have refused to sell me one, twice.
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Is the top of the line Craftsman tablesaw now a rebadged Steel City? At least I think that is what I read on Steel Cities web site.
Mark (sixoneeight) = 618
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On Fri, 26 Jan 2007 08:42:06 -0600, Markem

Who has refused to sell? Sears? The only reason that I know of that Sears would refuse to sell one something is that one presented them with counterfeit cash, a bad check, or a bounced credit card.
As for the current Craftsman saws, they have more powerful models than the three Orions (Orion changed their name to Steel City) and the Sears saws are not identical to any model sold under the Steel City brand--they seem to be specials that Orion designed for Sears.

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On two occasions, several months apart, I ordered the their hybrid saw. I don't remember the model number and, after just now checking their website, see they no longer carry it. The first time, It was supposed to be delivered within seven days. On day eight, I called to find out what the holdup was. They told me that the order had been cancelled. They did not know who had cancelled it or why. A couple of weeks later, I got the bill for it. Had to go to the store and mess around with them for a couple hours to get rid of the bill. A couple months later, I again ordered that saw. This time from the website. It showed it as being available in my area. Two days after placing the order, I got an email saying the order had been cancelled. No explanation. Both times, I was paying with a Sears credit card. My credit rating is perfect.

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Geez, I would have just gone down to the store and had them load one on the truck.

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Tried that too. They didn't have one (except for the display).

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Yes, it appears to be. I just went to their website and see that they no longer carry that model.
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OK for some stuff, as long as you don't expect too much. I've actually heard their higher-end drill presses and bandsaws aren't too bad.
However I was

This isn't the cheesy orange one, is it? http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber4434

at $200. If, on the other hand, it's one of their "industrial" rabbeting jointers, and I were in the market for a cheap jointer, I'd go back for a second look, and get lots of details about their return policy in writing. Or expand my search radius for used ones - any semi-local craigslists where you could post a wanted ad? If I could drive 50 mi for a used one, and that would let me avoid HF, I'd definitely consider that.
If all you need is square for turning, but not a smooth face, have you considered a bandsaw? It seems like that'd be a lot more versatile if you don't already have one, and with a little tuning, it could get you square and straight.
Of course, I'm not a turner and I don't own a jointer, so my advice is probably worth about as much as you paid for it. Good luck, Andy
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I have bought 3 machines from harbor freight including a jointer. All three had to have the switch screws tightened. As long as you expect that your somewhat safe. As for the jointer, the guard springs broke on the first run. Since I waited to open the box after I got it, it was too late to return it. Lou
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There is a quote about Harbor Freight
"Their tools are assembled only to prove all the parts are there"
I
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A couple of observations. HF is IMHO good for disposables, and that includes the majority of their machines. I own a HF 1" belt sander I bought for $25 on sale and use just to sharpen things, and its fine for that, but if it broke during use it would not injure me physically and I can afford the dollar loss. Don't be seduced by the price, generally, you get what you pay for. Second, last time I noticed, jointer cutterheads spin at high rpm with knives in them; so how much confidence do you have in the engineering and manufacturing tolerances, much less the assembly process, of a tool built to sell for so little when during its operation you are standing right above that cutterhead pushing wood through it. Third, think parts. Unless this is a one job throwaway purchase, you might need a part from time to time.
Do yourself a favor, get a quality manufacturer used, or if new, go Grizzly benchtop for $199, or the old standby 6" jointer for about $350, the latter machine (or its predecessor) served me very well for 12 years until I upgraded to an 8" machine. Wilke Machinery sells their Yorkcraft 6" for about $320, and I hear its a very servicable machine. My two cents.
Mutt
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I've had the rabbeting jointer for over a year now and am extremely happy with it. They had the same sale when I bought it and I haven't regretted it. I'm still on the first set of blades. Setup was no problem but I did spend time initially making sure the infeed/outfeed tables were properly aligned ( they were a tad off ) and the knives all at same height ( they were ). Through the years I've bought a drill press, mortiser, belt sander from HF. For wood, the drill press is fine but I would not want to do any accurate drilling of metal - BUT it works fine. The mortiser need better chisels and drills which I got on eBay for a few bucks - works fine. Switch and bearing failed in short time on belt sander -easy low cost replacement - sold it a year later for what I paid for it.
All in all, I'm satisfied with my HF purchases. Their QC is non existent so you can get a perfect product and a horrible product side by side. A good example is clamps - their prices are way below anyplace else on bare clamps, etc BUT you have to hand pick them from the bin.
Some folks here paint HF with a broad brush - not really fair - if you're careful you can get a helluva lot MORE than you paid for. Same goes for Craftsman - not all good but not all bad either.
Just MHO,
Vic

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I think that sums it up right there. You gamble when you buy HF stuff, but if you're careful you can come out ahead overall. So far I know I'm ahead.
I think the odds are a little worse with things like the jointer. I'd still be inclined to save the money or get a jointer plane. But I think Vic's right - not ALL of HF's stuff is crap. You're just gambling on not getting a dud and you can improve your odds by careful inspection.
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wrote:

Yes, I did forget to mention that I live fairly close to a HF store and have looked at the products up close before buying. I would not buy a large item via mail order unless I knew the return policy was very liberal and had an easy way to schlep a heavy item to a shipping terminal. :)
Vic
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SWMBO urges me to go HF whenever I get a flyer from them. Why? Because I need an hour in the store and while during that time she does her own shopping in the area and once both of us are finished we have a nice lunch together and then perhaps shop some more in another mall - it just makes the day go well. Now I know why I ended with so much stuff from HF. <g>
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Even when HF has a floor/display model that you can look at, it's usually been damaged or put together poorly. I went into a HF store that had only been open for a month, and saw the handle broken off of the rip fence of one of their table saws. I was also looking at one of their bandsaws, and it looks like they didn't bother installing either the upper or lower guide bearings for the blade. So even when you can look at and touch the item, it's almost worse than looking at it online. I've seen similar at other HF stores. Which makes me wonder: are these things getting that badly abused by customers, or is HF just putting out the stuff that's been returned or damaged in shipping?
I've come to the conclusion that it's best for me *not* to buy anything from HF that meets any of the following criteria:
1)    It will be used hard or on a daily basis.
2)    It needs to be reliable and last for many years.
3)    It will be used to make something requring precision.
Using this strategy has worked pretty well and I'm satified with the things I have purchased there.
To address the topic, if I was in the market for a 6" jointer again, I wouldn't buy it from HF. When I got my jointer, a Delta 6" X5 (I forget the model number), I got it used through a Craigslist posting. This worked out very well for me. I not only got a good deal on the jointer, but didn't have to spend a lot of time getting it set-up. The original owner had taken good care of the jointer and had spent the time to get it properly set-up. So when I got the thing home, I only had to spend a little bit of time putting the jointer back onto its base/stand and then it was ready to go.
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wrote:

Don't do it.. it's not worth it.. What area of the country do you live in?
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