jointer + planer/thicknesser $$$ break-even point

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Hello,
Does anyone have a *rough* estimate on how much rough-sawn wood one has to put through these two pieces of machinery to get to the point where you just break even on your machinery purchase, compared to purchasing surfaced lumber at higher costs?
I realize there are many variables to this question, and that wood and machinery costs vary, so let's assume: - hobbyist jointer (maybe a Delta JT360?) - (not too) low-end planer (Delta TP400 or something like that) - North America native hardwoods like oak, maple, poplar; nothing exotic
I have no specific preference for Delta, other than that I seem to be able to find them advertised online at local stores (Toronto, ON, CA area).
Thank you!
- Daniel
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IMO, this is an excellent question, well put - even though, as you know, there is no definitive answer. As someone who does not own either of these two pieces of equipment, I look forward to reading the reply comments of people here. -- Igor
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igor wrote:

Very difficult to answer quantitatively but one can look into the effects a bit. A lumber yard/mill can sell you planed/jointed lumber for a $ premium over rough sawn. To stay in business, they need to factor in the cost of the machinery, cost of consumables (blades), cost of operation (labor) and cost of waste (wood chips). There are a number of smaller cost as well, but the idea is to pass the net sum of these costs on to the consumer as a price differential between rough sawn and surfaced lumber. Of course the lumber yard might absorb some of these costs by profits earned on other sales to give the appearance of a bargain, but in the end the consumer does pay for all the expenses. Usually a large planer is cheaper to operate and maintain than a typical home shop portable unit over their lifetimes, but then again the home shop essentially gets "free" labor. My guess is you definitely are "saving" money with your own equipment but the payback time probably is close to the lifespan of a portable planer. That is, you'll have to use enough wood to basically burn out a planer at home to justify the lower cost of rough sawn wood on a strictly dollar basis. For some people this may take many years, for others it may take only a year, but then those "high use" people generally should be buying the heavier equipment in the first place, putting them on par with the lumber yards. The cost difference then boils down to the "free" labor.
In my case the "payoff" comes much quicker since I can do "custom" thicknesses and have the convenience of a toll that is ready when I am.
Sorry for the ramblings!
-Bruce
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Simple answer is find out the difference per board ft for the wood in question, and then it is very simple to figure out how many board ft will give you a savings of the cost of the 2 machines. Forget labor, but figure in the cost for new blades or resharpening, and that is going to be hard to guess at precisely, but for simplicity, figure on replacing the blades at least once
If you can save 50cents a board ft buying the rough sawn lumber, and you spent $800 for the jointer and planer, then you need to run something like 1700-1800 board ft thru to break even
Plug in your numbers (cost of the tools you buy, cost of blades, and the cost difference of the rought versus the finished lumber
John
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Hi,
I own a very old Delta jointer, 48-600, it does the job, and I recently bought a Dewalt DW735, and the planer was paid for on the very first job.
Here the price for planed wood (Red Oak) is around 10.00$CA, and rough is around 3.00, the planer price was 800.00 so, save 7$ each boardfeet!
the planer was paid at the first 115'
But I
Hope this helps.

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Don't know, don't care.
There is more to this that cost factors. What do you want to make? do you need 1/2" thick boards? You'll have quite a time finding them in any species, let alone some of the lesser used varieties. The first time I made a small drawer with 3/4" stock and it looked like crap because it should have been much thinner, I decided I wanted a planer.
I pay the same for surfaced or rough wood at a couple of the dealers I use. While that greatly decreases the need for owning the two tools, it limits my projects.
I've also run across free wood that would be unusable if I did not have a planer. Even cheap wood is $3 so it does not take all that much to pay for the planer. Just last week I took home a couple of 3" x 3" x 92" pieces that will end up as some project. Each of those saves me about $18 at the wood store. I don't know what you are paying for you surfaced wood so I can't guess what your potential savings would be.
While saving money is important, other factors were a higher priority in my case. Ed
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"Daniel" wrote in message

The difference in price between S2S1E and rough hardwood lumber in this area (Houston) generally averages less than $1/bf. IOW, the savings of say about .75/bf, times the amount of material you expect to use in a year, should give you an idea of how long it will take to pay for a jointer and planer around these parts. Factor in a bigger difference if you are currently buying dimensioned lumber.
That said, it doesn't always have to be rough lumber that can pay you back. I basically paid for a new PowerMatic 6" jointer about a year ago with a load of black walnut "scraps" from a sign shop. Here's the pertinent part of a post about that time:
"I recently picked up 43 rough walnut "blanks" a local sign company gave me for the asking. They were half-moon shaped pieces about 48" long X 3" thick, likely S2S1E at one point, and I got the rough edge and the curve only. The only way to make these things useful was to begin by jointing the rough edge and going from there.
Each of these 43 blanks, after being jointed and planed, resulted in S4S walnut stock with dimensions of 3" X 3" X 36" ... perfect table leg blanks.
At local hardwood lumber dealers prices of $11.75 b/f for S4S walnut blanks of this size and grade, the new jointer basically paid for itself, and made another $380, in less than a day."
I sold most of them to one cabinet maker for cash, and still have some left for my own use, plus the jointer of course.
YMMV ...
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there's more than surfaced lumber costs to consider.
the jointer/planer team will allow you to quickly make precisely dimensioned parts the size *you* need them.
and that surfaced lumber at the store is rarely going to be straight, especially after you bring it home and let it acclimate to your shop.
buying hardwoods at home depot is a losing proposition.
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I agree with Bridger. although there are certainly cost saving to buying rough sawn, the more important factor to me is the ability to insure flat surfaces, which I rarely find in surfaced wood around me. also the ability to to pull something out of the wood pile or the scrap pile and surface and thickness to size saves a lot of time instead of running to a supplier.
Just my opinion
Ken
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Zero.
Even if you buy s4s, you'll still need to flatten some of it, straighten others, and change the thickness of still others.
Barry
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On Mon, 19 Jul 2004 20:31:39 GMT, B a r r y

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post is that buying rough does a lot more than save money. In fact, I save just a little money, unless I compare to BORG hardwood prices. That would be stupid. <G>
Buying rough lets you, the craftsman, select which side you like the best while there is still plenty of thickness left. Quite often, knots or other defects don't go all the way though, and removing more wood from one side enables you to use a pretty section of wood, with the defect on the back. If you arbitrarily removed wood equally from both sides, the defect may show on both sides. You should leave the very last passes for later, as removing more wood from one side or the other may encourage movement.
Also, wood tends to get dinged in transport and storage. It will also move a bit, even after it's deemed s4s. Extra wood makes this really easy to correct at the right time.
Owning a jointer and planer can also allow help when resawing wood. For instance, an 8/4 piece of stock can become (3) 1/2" thick parts, matched at that! Joint one face, resaw, lightly joint again, resaw, lightly joint, and plane the boards to final thickness.
Some of the magazines seem to dwell on jointing / planing as a money saving operation too much. Think of it more from creative and mechanical viewpoints.
Barry
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"B a r r y" wrote in message
<much good stuff snipped for brevity>

Well put ...but I still like to be able to pay for a tool in a few days usage if I can. :)
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And get a double Drive By Gloat out of it to boot! :o)
Going for a Trifecta?
LD
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"Lobby Dosser" wrote in message ...

This is Houston ... home of the U of H Cougars ... where they call that a "3peat". ;>)
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It's not a case of saving money by buying rough-sawn wood, it's being able to machine to wood to the size "I" require. (also flat and square)
I design my project, then machine the wood to size. I don't design around standard wood sizes....
I'm currently using, 3mm, 4mm, 14mm & 16mm thick oak for some jewellery boxes I'm making, They would look bloody awful made out of 3/4" stock....
Graham

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Daniel wrote:

It's not that simple. If, before I got a jointer and planer, someone had told me how much I would use them, I would not have believed him.

Should do fine.

Ditto.
FWIW, I've got the JT160--if I had it to do over again I'd go with the 360 but for now the 160 does well enough--and the 22-580 and both digest lignum vitae just fine as long as I don't try to cut too deep at one pass. If they'd handle that stuff they'll handle anything.

--
--John
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I've got to be honest and say that I think it is an invalid concern. I've never found S4S lumber that is as precisely square and straight as I usually require. The boards at my hardwood suppliers are not sticker stacked but rather just layed one on top of the other, so they really have no hope of retain trueness. Therefore I have never considered a tradeoff between buying rough vs. buying surfaced. I buy with best price in mind. Usually this means rough, but sometimes it is S2S.
Also... You'll find that the temperature of your own storage facility (garage, shed, whatever) is never going to match that of your hardwood retailer. So you might bring back some nice square lumber only to find it crooked, twisted, bowed, etc. weeks or even days later regardless of your storage technique. Therefore, you'll eventually wish you had the means to squaring lumber yourself.
FWIW.
Brian.

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Thank you all for your excellent replies. You've given me much more to think about than just saving money over buying S4S at a retailer.
(I'll probably have to settle for something like the Delta JT160 as the JT360 is certainly too heavy to carry up and down stairs by myself!)
Daniel wrote:

[snip]
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    Greetings and Salutations....

    Let me add my voice to chorus on this subject. I lusted after a thickness planer for years, and, finally picked up the nice, 15" Delta model that all the chiwanese companies used as their models. Of course, I got it at a fair discount, but, in a real sense, the likelyhood of my even WANTING to run enough wood through it to justify the $785 price I paid for it is nearly zero.     As with many other posters in this thread, I bought it as a control issue. I really prefer to buy rough sawn wood, and do the final surfacing and thicknessing when I know what I am going to build with it. That flexibility has been a life-saver and has made the hobby much more pleasant for me.     The jointer is, though, a vital part of woodworking. It is the only, painless, way to get the edge of a board straight enough that the joints disappear when you lay two of them side by side. The quality of my woodworking went up several notches when I finally picked up my small, 4" Rockwell/Delta unit. I would LOVE to have a big, 12" one, to do faces too, but, I can get around that problem.     Speaking of which, that is one thing that the planer can do too...I have had good luck with flattening slightly cupped boards by putting the cup down on the planer bed, and taking a number of light cuts until I have a nice, flat surface. Then, I can flip it over, and, run it through and take off the "horns" on the concave side of the cup. Of course, this does not help with twisted boards, but, I have shooting sticks and hand planes to deal with that. The trick is to take a light enough cut that the feed rollers do NOT flatten out the cup, but, simply pull the wood through the blades. It goes surprisingly quickly and works well.     Regards     Dave Mundt
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Dave Mundt wrote:

I flatten cupped boards similarly, but I put the board on a piece of MDF with stop blocks attached fore and aft (very small nails well below the board height) and wood wedges (held with 2-sided tape, if necessary) at any off the table high points.
Glen
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