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Combination machines that offer a jointer and planer in one unit are the talk on the Internet and most woodworking forums these days. We’ve written about the Grizzly and Jet machines in our AWFS coverage, listed the tool as a “Best New Tool of 2007” in our December issue (#166), and we continue to receive questions on a weekly, if not daily, basis. We’ve test-driven both, so, let’s take a look at the Grizzly G6033 and the Jet JJP-12 and do a little side-by-side comparison.

In my opinion, there are a number of areas to discuss such as the motor, the jointer’s fence, the blade guard, the jointer’s table and the complexity of the changeover operations (switching between the jointer and the planer).

In comparing the motors of the two machines, one glaring difference stands out , horsepower. A 5-horsepower, 220-volt motor powers the Grizzly tool while the Jet machine boasts a 3-horsepower, 220-volt motor. Each motor produces more than 5,000 rpm making the number of cuts per inch about equal; Grizzly has 15,102 cuts compared to Jets 16,500 cuts.

After the motors, the next most important feature is the fence. The best feature of the fence on the Jet machine is that it does not need to be removed in order to switch between the two operations. However, you do have to slide the fence fully to the rear of the tool in order to lift the jointer bed. The fence is aluminum and over-sized. Being attached in two locations made the fence difficult to adjust (see photo). We experienced racking as we slid the fence across the bed. Knobs and levers hold the fence in position and we felt there could have been more development based around the Jet fence.

The Grizzly fence is strong and easy to adjust. A simple flip of a lever allows you to rotate a knob and move the fence across the jointer bed. The bad news with the Grizzly design is having to remove the entire fence before converting the machine to planer mode. The fence slides off a dovetail way, which is easy enough, but storing the fence each time you use the planer is burdensome. Additionally, because the single tube holding the fence is long and sticks out the back of the machine, it isn’t possible to position the tool tight to a wall in the shop. In essence, the footprint of the tool grows. Overall, however, the Grizzly fence is much better than the Jet in our opinion.

The blades guards for these two machines come from different universes. The Grizzly has the more familiar (at least in the United States) pork-chop style guard. It swings out as the material, and your hand, moves past the cutterhead. The Jet features a design similar to European machines in which the rigid guard raises and lowers, allowing you to adjust to the thickness of your stock. This type guard helps keep your hands from ever passing over the blades. The staff prefers the Jet guard. It’s an overall safer design.

When it comes to jointer tables, the Jet machine has a single, heavy table. The top is corrugated. And while that might be easier to keep flat during manufacturing, we felt it added a bit of drag to the workpiece. The jointer table is locked to the base with two catches, one at each end. Release the catches then lift the bed. After that, all you need to do is flip the dust-collection hood and you’re ready to plane your stock. Of course, that’s after you spin the hand wheel to raise the planer bed. (As with all combo machines, you have to lower the planer bed to convert back to the jointer and vice versa.)

The Grizzly has a split, smooth and polished jointer bed and that means an extra step in converting to planer mode. Unlock the catches and lift either the right- or left-side tables, then lift the other half. It doesn’t matter which half is lifted first, you still have to fiddle with the blade guard to finish the positioning of the jointer tables , the guard has to be maneuvered out of the way of the outfeed table.

Next, you’ll need to position the dust collection for the planer. The hood is flipped similar to the Jet but without any latch hook to keep it locked. Also, because this tool has a separate dust-collection port for the jointer, the attachment of the hose to the planer is tricky due to part of the jointer hood being in the way.

Both machines performed excellently in milling and regular operations (we have the G6034 spiral head Grizzly combination machine so a one-to-one comparison is not possible). And prices for the two competitors are relatively close. The Jet JJP-12 can be purchased for around $1,700 while the purchase price for the Grizzly G6033 is at $1,795 (the spiral cutterhead brings the price to $2,295).

Whether these types of machines are the answer to your shop needs is left up to you. I, for one, am quite fond of my dedicated jointer and planer tools. I’m not yet ready to experience changeover when switching operations. There are many times I appreciate leaving the setup on the tools in place. Returning to the jointer to mill another piece of stock is better if you don’t have to spend time carefully matching previous work.

, Glen D. Huey


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Showing 12 comments
  • lilian sanga

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Im lilian sanga from dar es salaam,tanzania P.o.Box
    79934.I would like to request for the woodworking
    combination which will operating 8 to 10 works.
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    lilian

  • Mattias in Durham, NC

    I just had the opportunity to see the Jet machine in person, and one thing that I liked (after looking at it for 10 seconds) was that the surface of the jointer table is grooved. This means stock won’t stick to the table because of the suction effect, and generally less friction. Looks like a pretty good feature that every manufacturer should adopt.

  • Alan Graham

    Since a lot of amateur woodworkers (including myself) are getting up in years, the issue of the changeover becomes more important. For example, how much effort is required to lift off the fence and flip the tables? How much does the fence of the Grizzly machine weigh? Why hasn’t one of these companies added an electrical adjustment which can raise and lower the cutterhead to avoid the prolonged turning of a crank every time the machine is converted between modes?

    A review like this would also be helped if you could add a video to the web site showing the changeover procedures for each machine, which seems to be the main issue in assessing them.

  • Mike Root

    I saw the Jet machine at the woodworking show in Baltimore and thought the fence looked a little hokey but was curious as far the euro style guard. I’ve only ever used the porkchop style and am not sure of the changes in technique that would be needed with this guard. Could this maybe be a subject of a future post?

  • Jonas H. jensen

    I have a combination machine; jointer, thicknessing planer & long-hole drilling machine (like a mortising machine) It is probably 50 or 60 years old and it works superb.
    It takes approximately 5 minutes to change between the planer and the jointer and vice versa, but with a little carefull planning of the work, I don’t consider it a problem.
    When you don’t have to make a living out of woodworking, 5 minutes of extra time doesn’t really matter in my opinion.
    It is much more important that the machine is sturdy and accurate.

  • Chris Knox

    I hope this machine isn’t just a fad for the sake of those who need future support. As for my 2 cents, when it come down to change over process may end up making this just a shop jointer. Change over gets old quick. If change over wasn’t an issue I wouldn’t have a my small garage crammed with dedicated equipment. It would be one of those multi-machines that does everything.
    But I like to see innovation and selection in the marketplace. It makes for a larger woodworking community.

  • Gordon Humphrey

    This article exemplifies rather well why your "best of the year" articles are useless. Some of those tools you don’t seem to have actually even used! Do you just judge their greatness based on fads and hype and looks?

  • Dave

    To me the short table in jointer configuration is a big advantage. I have a small shop, and can’t dedicate the space for a long bed. I rarely do any projects where the length of the bed would be an issue at all, and I’d really like to have a 12" jointer. In fact I decided a few years ago that what I wanted was a 12" shortbed jointer. One of these is perfect for me, even if I never use it as a planer.

  • Glen

    Daniel,

    You’re absolutely correct. The combination machines require you to crank up to use the planer portion – unless you’re planing 4"+ material – and down to revert back to the jointer mode. I have an issue with the wasted time and the lost ability to return to a tool that remains set from the last use. But if find yourself with space limitations, this tool may be your best answer.

    Glen

  • Daniel Lee

    Isn’t there a lot of cranking to move the cutter head when switching back and forth
    Dan

  • Glen

    Hey Rudy,

    That seems to be a huge issue with many woodworkers looking at the combination machines. However, with an infeed table of 29" , I can assure you there is little that cannot be accurately milled on a table of that size.

    In fact, we milled the majority of the lumber for the Chimney Cupboard (Feb. 2008 cover project) on the Grizzly G6034. And, most furniture projects require pieces less in length than the 80" of the cupboard.

    I wouldn’t let the shorter tables cause me concern if other factors pointed to a combination machine as THE tool for my shop.

    Build Something Great!
    Glen D. Huey

  • Rudy Fichtenbaum

    The big disadvantage that I see is the length of the tables when in jointer mode. I think that the Grizzly is 59 1/2 inches. Compare that to a Grizzly 8" jointer which has a table length of 75".

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