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
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.
Everett Cotton wrote:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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. :)
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>
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.
If you want to reply via email, change the obvious words to numbers and
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.