Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jet 10" Jointer-Planer Combination Machine

Well, the post-Thanksgiving sales were too tempting, and so I bit the bullet and bought a machine I've been eying for a long time: the Jet 10" Jointer-Planer Combination Machine. It was offered at $429 for a while, so when I saw it at CPO Tools for $299 with free shipping, I had to nail it. The 8" version is on sale for $249, but the larger one comes with a stand and a mobile base. The extra $50 seems well worth it. The machine arrived yesterday, and it seems to be in good shape. I'll be able to check it out more thoroughly in the next few days.

Before getting this machine, I didn't have a planer or a jointer (or a table saw, but that's another matter). I'm thinking that this combination machine is just the thing I need. It would seem to be perfectly designed for someone like me: a serious hobbyist with a limited budget, a small shop and a pile of wood to joint and plane. For full disclosure, I bought this machine outright, so I have no obligations to Jet or to CPO Tools to paint a rosy picture. If all is well, I will sing their praises. If not, I will return the machine and call it as I see it.

I’m writing this because I couldn’t find a full review in any of the major woodworking publications. I've seen very mixed reviews from individuals on the woodworking forums, so the jury is still out. In the negative reviews, there was the usual grumbling about several things: held-over opinions about combination machines from the past being difficult to switch from one mode to another, some concerns about quality control and shipping and expectations based on heavy-duty, much more expensive machines.

Based on this research, here are some things I'll be checking for: The machine should be delivered with no missing or damaged parts. I should be able to set it up with co-planer tables to get accurately milled surfaces. (There were complaints on the forums that there was no way to adjust the two tables to be parallel to each other. Without coplaner tables, the machine would be worthless. Coplaner tables are critical to doing the machine's two only jobs: making a flat surface and making a flat surface perpendicular to another surface. But I found documentation on how to adjust the tables, so that shouldn't be a problem. If it is, I'll send the machine back.) Less important but still worth considering in my examination are how loud the thing is (our cats are nervous enough as it is) and how well it works with my dust collector.

What I'm not going to do is defend the tool against much more expensive and much heavier-duty machines. At $299, it can't compare to a machine that costs ten times that amount and weighs ten times more. However, it has to do what it promises to justify its place in my shop.

So like I said, I’ll check it out, set it up and put it through its paces. And I’ll let you know what I find. I guess you can consider this an early Christmas gift to me from me. Thanks, me -- you shouldn't have!

1 Comment:

Kerry D said...

I have this machine and its fine for light duty work. Nice purchase.