Pros: Well built, great warranty, heavy
Cons: Top heavy
I recently bought the Ridgid thickness planer (see other review) and I have found that the planer and jointer compliment each other. The planer will create parallel surfaces that are a certain thickness apart while the jointer creates a straight edge and another edge that is 90 degrees to the first edge. If you buy all your wood with straight cut sides then all you really need is the planer. If your wood has some twist, bow or bend, then the planer will just create a nice piece of wood with parallel twists, bow and bends. I had read this but I guess I had to experience it firsthand. I ran a slightly twisted 2x4 through my planer, then flipped it over, reduced the thickness a bit on the planer adjustment and I got a nicely surfaced twisted board. I know you can use a table saw to get an initial flat side and then use the planer to get the other side parallel but I found this method difficult and limited to my saws depth of cut. I purchased the JP0610 model at Home Depot but that one is not in Epinions yet so I put the review here.
The jointer has a spinning cutter head that is 6 1/8 wide with very flat, long and parallel infeed and outfeed tables. By having the outfeed table almost exactly the same height of the top point of the cutter head and lowering the infeed table a small amount, you remove a set amount of material from your wood. After numerous passes you get a very flat surface on your wood. If you then press that flat side against the fence and run the wood through again you get a flat edge that is 90 degrees to your initial surface. Now your planer has a nice surface to plane a parallel edge.
A planer also has a spinning cutter that is a certain width,13 is very common, but it uses feed rollers to grab the wood and push/pull it through the cutting operation. The cutter head (which includes the feed rollers) is adjustable in height very accurately. The compression from the feed rollers causes a lot of twist, curl, bow, etc. to be flattened out during the cutting and then the wood springs back after it leaves the unit.
There are combination units around since the cutter is basically the same design but they tend to be more expensive than two individual units. So if space is extremely tight you might want to look at a combination unit.
This jointer (I think the t is silent so it is pronounced joiner) is very similar to the competition with a few nice features. The top part is made of cast iron that is machined flat on the top. This makes the unit very heavy which means that it wont jump around as you push wood through it. Unfortunately this also makes the unit very top heavy. I am a bit nervous about the unit tipping over, it does not take much effort to get the unit to start tipping. I will probably make some outriggers to catch the unit in case it tips. I found the tables to be extremely flat and parallel (which is very good). I couldnt see any light when I placed my Starret straightedge on the table at different positions. I could not feel any sharp edges (except the knives) which sometimes appear on cheaper tools. Overall the fit and finish is very nice. The handles are large and feel good when you operate them. There is a safety key on the power switch which can be removed so the unit cannot be used.
The table height is adjusted by a threaded rod with a hand wheel. Many of the other jointers have a release lever and then a lever that pushes/pulls the table to another height. I like having the hand wheel so I can make very small adjustments easily. Both the infeed and outfeed tables are adjustable. All jointers have adjustable infeed tables, that is how they work. By having the outfeed table adjustable this makes the outfeed table to knife adjustment much easier. You will still need to check the setup initially, but all I had to do was adjust the outfeed table up a small amount to get everything lined up properly.
This jointer has a semi-enclosed stand. The Delta version just has legs with no side panels so the motor is exposed and it doesnt looks quite as sturdy. This model has side plates that go about ? way down. The motor is a 1 hp totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) which means that it should not get clogged with sawdust in the shop.
The fence is also made of cast iron and has a very flat machined working surface. The fence can be slid to move where the edge falls on the cutter head. The fence can also be pivoted so the angle with the cutter head is anywhere between 45 and 135 degrees. There are adjustable stops a 45, 90 and 135 degrees. I had to adjust each stop a small amount to get everything right, which was clearly outlined in the great manual. The knives where properly adjusted so I didnt have to so any setup with them, but the manual gave clear direction on how to do that.
It took about 2 hours to put the whole thing together and an additional person would be of great help since the assembled unit weighs about 250 pounds and is assembled upside down. I managed to do it solo but if I had to do it again I would get some help. The instruction manual is very clear and the initial setup and operation was well written. All the alignment instructions are also easy to follow (this can still take a while on a good tool because as you tighten up the lockdown bolts you can slightly change the alignment). I was able to get everything aligned after assembly in about 20 minutes.
The dust/chip collection is a downward sloped chute with a 4 inch diameter nozzle hook up that can be moved out of the way if you dont have powered dust collection (or you are using a shop vac like I am with 2 ? inch hoses). Using a jointer can generate a lot of chips so Im not sure I would even want to hook up my vac. The pile of chips is easy to sweep up. I think a dust collection unit is next on my list. Soon I will have to build an addition just to store all my tools.
I have jointed a few boards and have been very happy with the results. I will post an update as I get more experience.
I have been using the jointer for a few weeks now and it has not disappointed me yet. I have jointed a few pine 2x4s for practice and it doesnt even blink. The surface finish is very smooth and very flat. I had to practice my feeding technique so I didnt press down on the infeed side, most/all of the pressure should be on the outfeed table. This encourages the wood to be flat, if you press on the infeed side you can flatten a bow which will spring back when you release the pressure.
One thing to keep in mind is the safety aspect. I feel that this type of tool can be just as dangerous as a table saw. It is very easy to think about pushing the wood from the rear through the jointer. This can result in fingers that are about 1/32 thinner than when you started. By its nature this type of tool deserves a lot of respect. All jointers are like this, you just have to pay attention all the time!
I put this jointer on a mobile base so I can move it out of the way when I am not using it. While I am moving it there is a distinct danger of tipping the unit. I am really afraid of rolling along and hitting a small stone and the unit tipping forward. I think I will construct some outriggers to catch the unit if that happens. I think this thing would prefer to be stationary.
I have been using the jointer for a while now and am still pleased with it. Unfortunately Ridgid has decided to get out of the woodworking tool business and Home Depot will not be carrying the woodworking stuff anymore. They say that they will still stand behind the lifetime warranty but I don't see how (unless they are just going to replace it with another brand). Apparently you can still get parts and the tool is holding up well, so I'm not freaking out. I just wish that I could have know about this decision sooner, so I could have factored it into my decision. I have to drop the rating now.