The 8 inch jointer is the perfect size for your small shop. It offers more table length and fence height than a typical 6 inch jointer, giving you more support for flattening wide boards before planing.
Its helical cutterhead is quieter than straight-knife styles, and four-edge carbide inserts stay sharp for far longer than high-speed steel knives. This makes them less expensive to replace over the life of the machine.
Table and Fence
The table and fence of an 8 inch jointer play a huge role in the accuracy and reliability of its cuts. A good jointer’s table should be wide enough to handle large workpieces, and the fence should have a long reach to allow easy milling of thick boards.
The tables of most jointers move up and down on dovetailed ways; the Shop Fox, Baileigh and Oliver machines have parallelogram tables that hinge on two plates. These tables can be easily re-aligned if they get out of coplanar alignment, making them a big upgrade from the wedge-bed tables found on most other jointers.
The table length and fence proportions of the Shop Fox, Baileigh and Oliver machines are among the longest in this test group, allowing you to use wider stock for edge-jointing projects. The fence on the Oliver and Baileigh models is also tall, a big advantage for cutting edge-jointing thick stock.
The cutterhead of an 8 inch jointer is a rotating piece of metal containing a cutting bit that creates shapes in a work piece. These types of cutterheads are used in a variety of machines including milling, CNC and machine numerical control (CNC).
The 8 inch jointer is a good choice for small shops or those with limited space. It can handle wider boards than smaller models and typically has longer beds to provide more infeed and outfeed support.
Unlike the wedge-bed tables found on other jointers that adjust on dovetailed ways, those on Shop Fox hinge on two parallel plates. When they sag over time, they can be recalibrated without shims, which makes them more convenient to use.
A spring-loaded blade guard helps protect against injury and a dust port minimizes cleanup. Moreover, the jointer comes with a two-year warranty and a stocked inventory of replacement parts. A friendly customer help line is also part of the deal.
For small shops with limited floor space, the 8 inch jointer is the perfect choice. These machines handle wider boards than their 6 inch counterparts, and they typically have longer infeed and outfeed tables to support longer workpieces.
For an 8 inch jointer, the motor should be rated at 2 or 3 HP. That’s enough to power the cutterhead through 1/8 “-deep cuts.
Most bench top planers are equipped with universal style motors, which cost less to manufacture than induction style motors that are used on more powerful portable power tools. These motors are also smaller and use brushes to protect the motor windings, which helps keep the overall cost of the machine down.
The Jet JJ-8HH has a helical cutterhead with staggered carbide inserts. Its 2HP motor is quiet and runs smoothly. Its front-mounted table adjustment chrome handwheels make quick and easy corrections. Its two-way tilting fence has positive stops at 45deg and 90deg to make bevel operations smooth.
A jointer’s infeed table height adjustment controls how much material the cutter head can expose, which determines how much wood you can remove from a pass. A jointer with a higher infeed table is a good choice for cutting softwood, while a lower infeed table is the best bet for cutting hardwood.
The jointer we tested has a very impressive digital readout for infeed table height that is also easy to calibrate without bending around the machine. This feature makes the South Bend 8 inch jointer a winner for accuracy and convenience.
Another interesting feature of this jointer is the dual-edged knife cutterhead. These blades have a very sharp cutting edge and offer smoother cuts than the single-edged knives on many other models. They’re also less likely to wear out on a job than a single-edged blade, and they will make short work of any kind of stock.