Jointer and Planer Purchase: New Versus Used

When budgets are limited, high-quality used equipment may be the better value for the dollar. April 18, 2010

I am going to be purchasing a new jointer and planer for my workshop in the next few weeks. Any thoughts on the best new machines for under $5000 each? I'm thinking about the Powermatic 209 and 1285, the Laguna Tools Platinum series, or the Delta DJ-30 and their 20" planer. Are there any other choices out there?

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor J:
If I was going to spend up to 5K apiece on these two machines, I would look at used because I wouldn't be able to afford what I wanted new. While I'm not familiar with the machines you suggested, anything Powermatic has made since moving overseas is junk compared to the old stuff, as is Delta. The Laguna stuff is made by Robland I believe and is decent, but you can do better. You can get a very nice used Northfield or Oliver or Porter jointer for that kind of money, 16" wide if you want it. Maybe an old Powermatic 180 planer? There is a lot of beautiful used equipment out there, and this stuff will last forever, unlike the crap they are building in China.

From contributor E:
What contributor J said. You can buy new with your budget and cross your fingers, or buy used and have machines that will last generations.

From contributor K:
I agree with the others. Judging from the number of major plants closing across the country, you should be able to pick up some great equipment very cheap in today's economy. I think I am seeing a new one added about every three days. I sure hope something can be done to stop the loss of so many jobs to overseas producers soon. Check out the auction sites.

From contributor W:
I have both the PM 1285 and 209 and found them to be solid performers. A buddy had a 209 and had nothing but trouble with it, but then he was putting 15k bd/ft of hardwood through it a year. He eventually gave up and bought a pristine rebuilt older Powermatic 18" planer. I keep my 209 tuned up and it runs like a champ.

Admittedly, today's PM is not the PM of 20 years ago, but I think in this price range you would be hard pressed to do better. The castings all come form the same place, but WMH seems to do a far better job trimming out the Powermatic line. I would definitely take PM over Delta.

It seems there is really no middle ground between these and the 20k commercial machines. We have a Laguna TSS (this machine is actually made by Zimm Stomana in Bulgaria) which has been solid, but I have to wonder if we would have fared better by spending a bit more for a Felder.

I looked seriously at a lot of used machines before making these purchases, and it seemed like there were few true bargains. Good machines command serious money no matter what, and the bigger they are, the more careful you have to be about the moving and setup. You never know what you may inherit. At least the new WMH machines came with a warranty.

From contributor B:
For the 10K you want to spend, I'd get used machines - bigger, better and cost less.

From contributor C:
I buy all my machines used. One note of caution: when purchasing used equipment, you're probably not getting a warranty, certainly not the same warranty you would get with a new PM. I ran into some problems with a jointer. We bought a 16" Yates #1, 1950. Nice clean machine for around 3k, delivered to Maine. They assured us it was 3ph 220. Come to find out it's 440. $800 to rewind the motor and a couple days tinkering. Now it runs great and I would still only buy used, but they never come turnkey.