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8" jointer - dovetail vs parallelogram

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  • 8" jointer - dovetail vs parallelogram

    I'm starting to look at what 8" jointer I want to get. Everyone raves about the parallelogram style, and one is definitely in the budget of it's worth the extra cost. My biggest concern though is getting it into the basement. Ideally I'd remove the tables and carry it piece by piece down the stairs - stand, motor, indeed, outfeed, fence, and the middle with the cutterhead in it. A whole lot easier to manage going down the stairs as opposed to a big 500 lb hunk of cast iron.

    I've seen the videos on YouTube of removing the tables from a dovetail setup. I've seen the videos of setting up a dovetail and a parallelogram jointer. Yea, the parallelogram sure seems nicer in that it's designed to adjust and you're not shimming, but I haven't seen the tables removed off one, and all I could find on google was another forum post saying it'd be a lot hard to remove those tables vs a dovetail jointer. The way I see it, I'm either going to have to put in the work setting up a dovetail and possibly shimming it, or I'm going to have to put in the work disassembling and reassembling the parallelogram to get it down the stairs. So I might as well save a few hundred and get the dovetail.

    Right now the machines I'm looking at are the grizzly g0490x and the g0656. I know the cutterheads are different, but the extra cost of the spiral for the g0656 is more than just buying a shelix, so I figured the cutterhead upgrade can wait.

    ​​​​​​The other thing I'm not seeing is aside from country of manufacture and the mobile base, what's the difference between the 490/656 and the 855/857?

    Finally, aside from grizzly, is there anything else in a similar category/price point I should be looking at? It seems like they have the market cornered for high quality imports where anything nicer you're looking at a USA made machine with a much bigger price tag. As much as I'd like a powermatic, I don't think I can justify the additional cost for a machine when I won't be using it to it's full potential.

  • #2
    I don't know anything about parallelogram jointers. I've owned two small jointers, a Harbor Freight (barely usable) and a Jet (fine machine, but small for some projects). I can tell you that the number one thing I'd spend money on, zero hesitation, is a carbide helical head. That thing has made such a monstrous improvement in a machine that was otherwise "adequate" and is now "very good." The cuts are so clean, there's less work, less chipout, and they last "forever." I've spun the carbide heads once in many years (they have four sides, four spins before they are done for). I have had no problem truing this machine and it stays true for a long time. I enjoy tool tuning time, so I just grab a beer, a cigar, two engineer's squares, and take my time. Getting it to a repeatable sub 1/128" in any direction is not difficult. Certainly less than an hour spent on that and a full clean/lube/adjust.

    Glancing at my Jet, it looks like the fence should just slide off. And then the bed should separate from the base very easily. If I were buying new tools today, I'd buy a combo planer/jointer. If I were JUST buying a jointer, my first look would be towards an 8" Jet, although I have not researched them in some time, since buying this one. I wanted larger, the budget and space at the time limited it to this one which was on sale.


    • #3
      Yea, a spiral cutterhead is definitely on my list no matter what one I have, be it an after market install or factory install. My grandpa has straight blades on his planer and we'd have to swap them fairly often and one would often get nicked soon after install. Having the carbide last that much longer will be nice, along with the quieter cutting.


      • #4
        Do you have a planer? Have you considered the combo units? Saves space, concentrates your dollars spend on blades, and gives you a huge jointing surface. Dammit, now I want one again.


        • #5
          I don't have a planer yet but I'm eyeing up the dw-735. I've looked at the combination units and I'm not completely sold on what benefit I'd be getting. Right now I can lift my planer on top of the tablesaw when I'm using it. When I've had enough of that, I can mount it on a mobile base, but I don't think that'd be anytime in the near future for me. The dedicated jointer has a longer set of tables, a more robust fence, and I'm not switching one machine back and forth if I have to run a board through the jointer again while planing. Plus, looking at the cost, a combination unit looks like it'll run me more than a dedicated 8" jointer and a planer and shelix heads in both. Is there something I'm missing there?


          • #6
            I haven't priced out a large jointer and helix headed planer, so I'm not sure on pricing. What you get with the combo unit is a HUGE jointer. I've often wished I could run a 10" board over my jointer. I currently have some slightly bowed 6/4 birdseye that is 9-11" wide. The double pass thing is annoying and always leaves a big line. For bowed/bent stuff, it just doesn't work. The Grizzly 12" combo at $2800 sure looks tempting. I have a fantastic planer though, so it's hard to justify (Ridgid TP1300). The space it saves would only be "nice," but wouldn't improve the shop layout.


            • #7
              Woodtek has a nice 8"

              Grizzly and Shop Fox are virtually identical.

              Dont think I'd buy a combo jointer planer. I have the extraordinary Dewalt 735. It rocks.

              The decision about what to buy is really determined by volume. If you're making cabinets for your kitchen, step it up.

              I don't make enough stuff to go beyond my very old delta jointer. It's almost time to put new blades in it. They were last sharpened 3 years ago.