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JET JJ-6CSDX & JJ-6HHDX 6" Long-Bed Jointers
Real, live floor-model jointers for the home shop
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 7-8-2008
Note: JET offers this jointer in two nearly identical versions. The JJ-6CSDX (#708457DXK) has their straight knife cutterhead (with quick-set knives) and the JJ-6HHDX (#708466DXK) has a helical cutterhead. The JJ-6CSDX has pushbutton switches in the front of the base cabinet while the JJ-6HHDX has a paddle style switch mounted on an upright behind the fence. Both are 6" jointers with identical tables, fences, base cabinets and motors. Otherwise, these machines are identical.
Base Cabinet and Motor
The JET JJ-6CSDX & JJ-6HHDX 6" jointers come with all steel base cabinets that keeps the machine stable and puts the table surface at a back-saving 31 1/4" above the floor. The cabinet has a large door on the rear that provides plenty of access to the motor should you have to change the belt.
The base cabinet also encloses the 1 HP, 1 phase 115/230V TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled) motors (pre-wired 115V) used in both versions. The 1 HP motor has plenty of punch for these jointers and spins the cutterheads (both versions) at a consistent 6000 RPM.
The base cabinet also contains an angled dust chute that runs from beneath the cutterhead down to the cabinet side. That chute terminates in a 4"-diameter port that lets you connect a standard dust collector hose without adapters.
Long Cast Iron Tables
The JET JJ-6CSDX & JJ-6HHDX 6" jointers feature 54-3/4"-long by 7-3/8"-wide (6 1/16" maximum width cut) cast iron tables. The tables have a nicely machined surface and the outfeed table even has a built-in 1/2" rabbeting ledge. Both the infeed and outfeed tables ride on gib sliders. Gib screw adjusters are provided should wear loosen them up in years to come.
Both the infeed and outfeed tables have front-mounted handwheels that control their up and down movement. The infeed table has a full 1/2" range and has an easy to read scale next to the handwheel.
An automatic limiter on the infeed table prevents dialing in cuts more than 1/8" deep. You can easily override the limiter but it requires pulling a pin out to do it so you have to intentionally make a cut that we all should know is way too deep.
JJ-6CSDX 3-Knife Cutterhead
The JET JJ-6CSDX jointer uses a steel cutterhead equipped with three 6 1/6"-long by 3/4"-tall and 5/64"-thick knives. Each knife has two cutting edges.
The knives are aligned with JET's auto quick-set system that uses a pair of cams at each knife. Turning the cams raises or lowers the knives very gently making exceptionally precise settings easy to make. Once set, the cams are locked in place. The knives can be flipped over to the second edge or replaced without having to go through the alignment again. The cutouts for the cams are slightly elongated so you can offset a nicked knife to get rid of the little line it might leave on the wood surface.
JJ-6HHDX Helical Cutterhead
The JET JJ-6HHDX jointer is fitted with a true helical cutterhead that uses 27, 4-sided carbide inserts. This cutterhead requires no adjustment of the cutters because they and their seats are precisely machined. The combination of angles machined into the inserts and the cutterhead itself results in a remarkably clean slicing action that leaves a silky smooth surface on the wood.
The inserts are made of high-quality carbide that stay sharp far longer than other cutters. If an edge does go dull, you simply index that or any number of the cutters to another of the four identical cutting edges.
Another nice feature of the individual inserts is that should a hidden piece of metal be contacted, only the inserts directly on that line will need replacing or indexing. JET includes five extra carbide inserts, mounting screws and a pair of wrenches just in case!
Full Function Fence
The JET JJ-6CSDX & JJ-6HHDX 6" jointers have a 32 5/8"-long by 3-7/8"-tall cast iron fence that tilts to 45-degrees in and out. All fence position and bevel changes are tool free. The fence mechanism has fully adjustable stops at the 90 and both 45-degree positions. The 90-degree stop is actually a flip-out bar that makes tilting away from the operator easy. The fence has a composite insert on the bottom edge that prevents it from scratching the table surface when it is moved.
In the Shop
Both the JET JJ-6CSDX and JJ-6HHDX 6" jointers performed perfectly during the evaluation. The tables were properly aligned and produced clean, straight edges. Motor power was more than adequate with both cutterhead designs though I should note that I do not take stupid-deep cuts. I am never in such a hurry that I can't take a few 1/16"-deep cuts rather than try to hog out 1/4" of material at one time.
The table height handwheels are a nice touch and make those adjustments easier than with some lever systems. The infeed table has a simple depth-of-cut scale next to the handwheel. There is also a cut depth limiter on the rear of the infeed table that forces the operator to manually disengage it if a cut deeper than 1/8" is desired. This is easy to do but does force you to think about doing something as weird as trying to cut that much material away in one pass.
The straight knife system in the JET JJ-6CSDX version is impressive. Once adjusted properly, the double-edged knives can be flipped over or replaced without having to re-adjust their height. This is a huge time and frustration saver over conventional straight knife systems. The cams that actually adjust the knives work well and have plenty of adjustment range. I also liked the fact that JET remembered nicks in the knives and made it possible to offset a nicked knife (without messing up its height!) to get rid of the annoying ridge on the wood. Nice touch.
The helical head in the JET JJ-6HHDX version is the real deal with real carbide inserts. This head cuts very cleanly and does it very quietly, as is the trait with true helical heads. The quality of the carbide along with the four cutting edges on each insert means that most home woodworkers may never have to buy an insert. The exception would be encountering a bit of metal but even then, only the inserts making contact have to be tended to (indexed or replaced) and JET sends a box of spare inserts along!
All of the fence functions worked well and were easy to adjust for the desired cut. Once adjusted, the bevel stops repeated precisely. The dust chute also works very well and kept the jointer surface very clean when connected to my Powermatic PM1300 dust collector.
The JET JJ-6CSDX & JJ-6HHDX 6" long bed jointers are very well made and bring all of the floor model capabilities woodworkers need at home shop prices. The JJ-6CSDX 3-knife version has a street price of $914.00 and the JJ-6HHDX helical head model sells for $949.00 (7-8-2009) which means either machine will fit many home shop budgets. What is most curious is the $35 difference in price. I would have a hard time not springing for the helical head version.
If you want to add a floor model jointer to your shop, take a long hard look at the JET JJ-6CSDX and JJ-6HHDX 6" Long Bed Jointers! Having a 12" jointer with a 3 HP motor might be the cool deal on the woodworking forums but could well be flat stupid in the space constraints of a common home wood shop. One of these JET 6" jointers will not only do the job very well, they just might make your shop look bigger!
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