8" jointers - any thoughts?
So, I am inching closer to pulling the trigger on buying a new 8" jointer. Hoping to get input from you guys. CL has been unhelpful for almost a year now so I've looked at Grizzly, Jet and Powermatic. I've decided to go straight to a spiral/helical head as I like to work highly figured wood. Either by buying one with the head already in it or upgrading the head myself - more on that in a second. Key issues for me are power, length of bed and reliability of the equipment and support of the company. OK, yeah, cost is also a factor...
Since installing a byrd shellix in my planer, I've come to really appreciate the helical approach. The slicing action is better than a straight cut of the spirals. A big plus is it's American made and actually costs less than the German and Chinese spirals out there, at least when you buy the head from Griz. Both Jet and PM have helix options, too.
So, it's down to the PM 60HH, Jet JJ-8HH, Grizzly G0656PX or Grizzly G0656P upgraded to a byrd shelix.
The Powermatic and Jet have 2 HP motors while the Grizzes have 3 HP. So +1 for grizzlies.
The Powermatic has 54 knives vs 36 for the Jet and 40 for Griz spiral or shelix. So +1 (or even more) for the Powermatic. Powermatic has a helix so +1 again. I can upgrade the non spiral griz (G0656P) to a byrd shelix so +1 to that option.
The Jet has a 66.5" bed vs 73 for the PM and 72 for the griz. Kind of a -1 for the Jet. Probably knocks them out of the running. The inch difference between griz and PM is a wash, IMO.
So, price. I'm going by prices I found on the internet. Shipping and delivery weren't factored in, yet anyway.
The PM seems to go for $2240,
The Jet - 1940,
The griz spiral G0656PX 1250.
If I upgrade the straight knife version of the griz (G0656P) to a byrd shelix, it works out to about 1180 (yeah, go figure, a better head for cheaper).
At this point, the Griz with the Byrd Shelix and the PM pretty much stand out as best options. So the real question to answer, is the PM really going to deliver twice the value of the Griz+Byrd shelix? The 54 knives on the PM will take significantly smaller bites than the 40 knife head (both are the same diameter and the PM head is going at 7000 rpm vs 4800 for the griz). Smaller bites should mean less tearout, right? The Yankee penny pincher in me says Griz but it's sure hard to ignore the potential of the high speed PM helix head.
Does anyone have the PM 60HH? Would love to hear your experiences. Anyone with a 8" griz spiral or helix planer?
Any other thoughts on this are definitely welcome.