Craftsman - 6-in. Jointer 21706
Craftsman’s 6-1/8-in jointer features a storage shelf on the infeed side of the base for push blocks.
A 6-in. jointer is a good starter size for a workshop, so I chose 11 models to examine, all of which happened to be made in either Taiwan or the People’s Republic of China. The only significant differences among them were in the fence designs and the mechanisms by which you raise and lower the infeed and outfeed tables.
With a jointer, you want infeed and outfeed tables that are flat and coplanar to each other, meaning that the tables should run parallel from one end of the machine to the other. To function properly, the surface of the outfeed table must be flush with the top arc of the knife cut and perfectly parallel to the full width of the knife cut as well as to the surface of the infeed table.
Among these machines, you can choose from four fence designs, my favorite of which is the rack-and-pinion, because adjustments are quick and easy to make, and you can move the fence in and out with one hand.
The manual for the Sears jointer, illustrated clearly with drawings, is a good step-by-step introduction to assembling and using the machine. I had to ream out most of the five dozen or so holes in the base panels to make them line up with the threaded holes in the legs. The table surfaces were ground notably flat, and the sharp knives left a surface that felt smooth as glass. This machine features a handy little storage shelf on the infeed side of the base for the push blocks. Adjusting the fence was a less-than-smooth operation.