My shop is very small 12' x 16' and I'm running out of space. I'd love
to have a floor type joiner but I can't justify the space.
Most projects that I fool with are about the size of a coffee table.
Do you think I could get by well enough with a bench type joiner?
I'm also thinking about a portable planer but I haven't done much
research on these yet.
If you cut a decent edge on the table saw, a benchtop will take off a 32nd
to give you a perfect edge. It will not take a raw edge and give you
anything usable. The bed is just too short.
I speak from trying to use the little Delta for 6 months. I bought it
because my shop is about 8x20 and I didn't have room for a real jointer.
But I sold the benchtop and bought one anyhow, and move it around every few
minutes when I have to get to something else.
I have a Delta and have used it for a few projects with little trouble.
I focus on smaller projects, but I have made a couple of table tops
with it and it worked very well. The blades seem to dull pretty
I've got the Craftsman benchtop 6" jointer. It is surprisingly
heavy--lots of cast iron--and surprisingly easy to use. I've jointed
stock almost 4' long with little difficulty, and it did faces on some
4" wide osage orange and 5-1/2" wide mesquite with no problems.
The bed is too short for anything longer, as you note, but within its
limits, this particular model works well. I've also edge jointed 4/4
and 5/4 rough edged oak and poplar stock with no problem, and even did
a little 12/4 cherry with good results.
And you can always extend the length of the top with an auxiliary
worktop - I've done this with several smaller bench tools (though not
a jointer). It's reasonably successful and a lot easier to store away
in a small workshop than larger machine benches.
I think you can expect reasonable results w/ stock that is roughly twice
the length of the bed w/ results gradually dropping of as it becomes
more difficult to control. If that would encompass a majority of the
size projects you envision, I suspect you would find yourself satisfied,
The portable planers from all reports, seem to be remarkably effective.
I'v an old cast iron behemoth from since long before even the new-style
4-poster's came out so have no personal experience w/ one...
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