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New Hardware, which one?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Dirk Diggler, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. Delta 6 1/2" Jointer

  2. Dewalt 12 1/2" Planer

  3. Grizzly Baby Drum Sander

  4. other (please specify)

    0 vote(s)
  1. Hello everyone,
    I normally hate the what should I buy threads but I need your help here. I'm having a tough time deciding between three tools. I think I know what your suggestions would be but here it goes anyway.

    I could spend around $350 for a delta 6 1/2 jointer or a dewalt 12 1/2 planer or just bite the bullet and spend $500 for the new Grizzly baby drum sander. http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0459

    I appreciate everyones opinions here, I know this isn't a huge investment but it's big for me. The bottom line is I'm looking for a way at home to get flat square wood without having to go and pay at a local shop.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I'd go with the planer. It's a lot faster, but then again, it depends a whole lot on what kind of wood you want to true up, and how sharp you keep the blades. I've seen maple tear out under dull planer blades. If you're going the exotic wood route, I'd go for the Grizzly sander, though I'm sure there are others out there that would do as well. For production work, I'd say planer. For finishing the exotic tops we all know and love (spalted tops, especially!), I'd say sander. To me, a jointer is useless, except as a finger-removal tool. Dangerous.

    The above is only my opinion, and as such, may not be worth the electronic paper it's printed on. Hope it helps anyway!
  3. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I agree with Basic: the planer will only be as good as the blades. I actually have that planer that you're considering, and it was great for the first week. It's still good, but after running some exotics through, it now does bad things (on occasion) to some temperamental woods (wenge and curly figures).
  4. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Something to keep in mind is that both the planer and drum sander will true up parallel sides of a piece, while the jointer will true up perpendicular sides. If you want to make stock that's perfectly square (all four sides) then you need to be able to do both.

    That said, I find that a well set up table saw of decent quality can perform most of the tasks you can do on a jointer, though the final finish isn't generally as perfect. For thicknessing stock I've used a 12 1/2" planer very successfully though tearout and snipe can make itself an issue. Proper diligence generally minimizes these problems if not removing them altogether. The biggest problem I've found with the planer is that they generally can't go lower than around 1/4" due to the violent nature of the cutting mechanism. A sander should be able to go right to veneer thicknesses without a problem, but it's a slower process that produces a whole lot more dust. Also, some complain that sanding leaves abrasives in the wood which can be very hard on any cutting tools (like spokeshaves, chisels, and planes) that you may use later in the building process.

    In conclusion, each tool will do their particular job better than the others, and may perform other jobs well enough. What you need to decide is just what operations are fundamentally necessary in your shop and then decide on a value (price as compared to functionality) for each tool. From there it's pretty much just a matter of picking the best fit for you.

  5. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Well-said. Jeez, where were you when I was trying to get my words out???:)
  6. Thanks for the advice so far, very good and usefull insight. I had pretty much skipped the jointer, my table saw can do fine on the short edges and I'm not afraid to sand and all these devices I'm looking for shaping not final finish. But that is why I'm leaning toward the sander. I will only be doing bass woods so exotic is what they will be. Life's too short to use plain wood. ;) And I really enjoy Wenge and Maple so that helps me lean that way too.
    I have never seen a planer like the new breed in use and was unsure of the finish and workablility with figured woods. I'm giving away my own answer with this but please feel free to post more suggestions.
    I have a bandsaw, table saw, router/table, spindle sander, small table top belt sander, drill press, random orbital sander, iron shape sander and a dremel tool.
    The only thing I've been considering other than the choices above would be a 36" long edge oscilating sander, I used one of those at the local shop and they work well on long sections, like neck-thru necks, and squaring edges. I wish I had another couple grand to spend to get everything but if I keep building it up there will be an ideal setup eventually.
    Thanks again,
  7. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    Story of my life.