Space is always an issue. My shop is as small as some walk-in closets. Machinery has to be compact and portable. This limits me sometimes to "home handyman" items. That being said, I look for good value.
This little jointer is from Sears in the USA. It isn't available in Canadian retail locations, but ordering online was easy - Sears is using an online customs broker which means I don't get hit for duty fees at the time of delivery. That's a nice touch. It arrived within a week.
This model (351.217890) has a 4-1/8" capacity. Small? Yes. But that's wide enough for my purposes. The main feature that drew me to this machine was the lapped granite bed and fence. The major failing with all these little benchtop machines is warped castings. The customer feedback on this one was five stars. I felt safe taking the plunge.
Assembly was quick - just screwing some brackets in place and affixing the fence. The fence pivots to 45 degrees, a feature I'm not likely to use so I screwed things down firmly at right angles. What do you know! - It was both square and flat. The depth adjustment had me scratching me head until I discovered the locking knob on the back side of the machine.
In this price range, there's no hoping for a fence that slides across the bed. If I was edge-jointing 3/4" stock continuously I might devise a plywood arrangement to slip over the fence and move the cut forward to prevent all the wear happening in the same location on the blades.
I took it for a maiden voyage using some Douglas fir scrap. The universal motor whines in the usual fashion but at least the cutter head is belt driven.
There seems to be an onboard impeller that sends the shavings flying . I'll need to buy an adapter to perfect the fit between my shop vac and the dust port.
The lines on the face of the board are from rough planing. The joined edge came out dead straight over 15". I was pleased.
Time for something more challenging. Here's a neck blank about 3-1/2" (88mm) wide. It's Honduran mahogany with some ribbon figure and a twist in the grain.
And voila! Shimmering clean. There are a couple of little burnish marks from where I'd neglected to wipe the shipping oil off the edge of the machine. The 29" board came out nice and flat.