Delta Shopmaster Bench Top Jointer JT160: Portable and Affordable
Nov 12, 2005 (Updated Nov 12, 2005)
Review by bribri343
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:sharp blades, minimal setup time, easy-to-use adjustment knobs, clean operation, portable and light weight
Cons:the fence is cheap, wobbily, but once set works perfect
The Bottom Line: No other jointer, benchtop or fixed offers the flexability and quality that this one offers for its low price.
Some Background Information:
Recommend this product?
There came a time when building my first piece of furniture in my home shop that I needed a jointer. I was cutting some blocks up on my table saw for the legs of a bedside table. They were extremely thick, and I was very uncomfortable using the table saw with so much blade exposure. I wasnt about to risk my fingers to save time and money, especially when there was such an affordable solution on the market. That is when I threw in the red flag and said, hey, time to get a jointer. At first as an old school tool collector I went on a campaign to find old jointers I could simply clean up and buy cheap. That was a failure, so then I turned to look online. As I looked I found how cheap bench top jointers were and how portable they were. A great alternative to a cast iron bed/legs that the ones I first looked at came with. Eventually I found one on Amazon for under $200, but I said to myself, this cant be good it must weigh a ton, shipping will be nuts! I was wrong; FREE fast shipping on the jointer. I placed my order on a Friday and it came Monday! By Monday night I was flying pieces of wood through it like there was no tomorrow! Anyhow, thats my story, lets see if we cant get down to the facts of this device, the good and bad, and give you more acquainted before you make your purchase.
Be prepared, it is going to be in a large box, especially if you order it online, your UPS delivery man might not be happy! Delta does a good job at packing it though, despite it being bulky at almost 42 pounds, it should arrive the way it was shipped with everything having a snug spot in the box. It comes assembled and oiled, but requires that you put the fence on and a few other things, very simple and easy to figure out in a few minutes of reading their directions. Once setup, you can plug it in and turn it on. In addition to the jointer it also comes with two rubber bottomed push blocks, great to keep the hands away from the blades. It is great because everything is right on the front with easy to use adjustment knobs. One is for speed, as it is a variable speed jointer you can use it for all types of woods. This also allows you to keep the noise down especially if you are using soft woods, sound is minimal. The other two knobs allow you to raise and lower the fence with a very accurate measuring gauge. You can take off even the fraction of an inch, 32nd of an inch, all the way up to an 8th. The fence is also adjustable from a square 90 degree angle to a 45 degree angle to joint angled boards for projects. I noticed right away the quality of the product, the jointer had very sharp knives and everything was lubricated by the factory. That meant, with the exception of the fence, there was no tweaking, so it was flawless that I could run boards through it right away. A lot of devices you have to tinker with before you can use them, not this one.
One complaint and yes my only complaint about this project is that its fence is good but hard to square up. I consider myself a very good and accurate woodcrafter and even for me it took a few minutes. That is one thing Delta needs to work on. But granted, once you get it set, you will never have to tinker again. Also, I wouldnt really consider it a complaint now that I found an easy solution to it is that the dust and saw dust chips that fall out the chute will get clogged up after consistent use and not moving them out of the way. A lot of people have complained about the need to be able to hook a dust hose to it and cant. My cheap free solution is this. All I did was move it to the end of one of my work benches and put a waste basket under the table. Gravity did the rest, problem solved. The particles that come out are heavy, and wont clog the air and theres no need for a vac hose connected to it.
The Facts & Whys:
Besides being clean, setup already and sharp, the jointer is solid as a rock but it is light and portable enough to move around your shop without much hassle. This allows you not only to use it in a home shop but also on the job site. A lot of carpenters when doing the finish wood work on places have to either bring a carpenters saw out or do everything back in their shop and bring it over. Sometimes measurements are off, and you need to fix or alter the width of a board, so simply put this in the back of your car (I drive a Honda civic and it fits anywhere, even the back seat) and set it up on the ground or on some saw horses and go to town. This is a huge plus as well if you want consistent sharp clean edges for finish wood. Many carpenters will try to hide saw blade marks, with this jointer you dont have to.
As you will read with all of my tool reviews, Im a safety fanatic. One thing I was taught well when I was in high school shop class when I started in all of this was safety first. NEVER, ever buy a product that doesnt have safety precautions. The blade guard on this is awesome. It is well spring loaded and Delta didnt go cheap for parts on it, it is made of high grade metal that will flow with the boards being pushed through them. It also has a blade lock, so if you are removing or cleaning or oiling the jointer, you can lock the blades, so it is impossible for them to move even a fraction of an inch. Lastly on safety, it comes with the two push blocks, so when you are jointing face grain of boards and a push stick isnt idea, you can use these two, like extra hands to keep your hands away from blade exposure. Most people like me are safe, but you sometimes try to be safe and are tired or irresponsible, these features can help eliminate the problems you might face.
This product comes with a 2-year limited warranty on machines, parts, and accessories. That is also another plus for the purchase. With most jointers and machinery alike you have to purchase warranties additionally and fill out a ton of paperwork to get them submitted, and you never know if your application was fully received. With Delta Machinery, and with this product you get the 2 year warranty automatically, no addition price, no paperwork, no filing, just call them up and they will help you through a problem or issue hassle free.
If you buy this product, and I know you will, you will receive a really big box with the jointer, accessories and fence that needs some assembly onto the jointer. It comes pre-lubricated; setup is a breeze once you get the fence set, and comes with a variety of safety features. It cuts clean and sharply with a 10 amp 120-volt motor and sharp cutting knives that can joint up to a FULL 6 wide board. Wood chips and dust fall out a slide chute that can easily be cleaned up by putting it on the end of the bench like I described above. All of this for an affordable price that averages under $200 and comes with an included 2 year warranty. It is versatile, portable and can be used in any application, large small, big and tall. What are you waiting for?
I hope you enjoyed my review, as I will be writing more tool reviews as I continue on epinions. Im not endorsed by or affiliated with any of the above companies or brands mentioned, Im just an satisfied happy customer that has worked personally and professionally with these products and seen the awesome results they put out. You will too if you decide this is best for you.
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