PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Variable Speed 6″ Jointer Review

A jointer is an investment. With this tool in your workshop, you can restore rough wood from lumber mills and boards you’ve inherited form your great-grandfather. No longer will you need to pay outrageous prices from retailers for materials that literally grow on (or from, rather) trees.

Benchtop jointers have been all the rage since engineers found out how to put the power of a jointer in a compact tool. the PC160JT from PORTER-CABLE has been a popular benchtop jointer since it first hit the market in 2011. Since then, it has passed the test of time with flying colors. Let’s take a look at this tool to see what makes this 8-year-old benchtop jointer a reliable tool today.

Motor Power
The size of a jointer’s motor plays a role in determining how well the cutterhead will shave your board. The PC160JT sports a beefy 10-amp motor that delivers quite a bit of power and speed to the cutterhead, allowing you to cut all softwoods and even certain hardwoods effortlessly. It’s not the largest motor available, but for a benchtop jointer, it’s more than enough.

Variable Cutterhead Speed
There are two main reasons why the cutterhead speed on a jointer matters. The first is that it determines how quickly the cutterhead will remove material. Secondly, speed plays a role in how well the cutterhead will cut through certain types of wood. In general, slower cutterhead speeds are ideal for hardwood and slower speeds for soft.

The PC160JT has both quick and not-as-quick speeds. The 10-amp motor can generate either 6,000 or 11,000 RPM depending on which gear you set the tool on. This variable speed feature makes the PC160JT a versatile tool for many types of wood.

Depth Gauge
You never want to remove too much material during each pass since it’ll overwork the motor, dull the knives quicker, and increase the chances of kickback and injury. The maximum cutting depth of the PC160JT is 1/8 of an inch. The accurate depth gauge located on the right side when using the tool is easy to use and lets you chance the depth at 1/16-inch increments.

Dual-Knife Action
Two heads are better than one, and in jointers, dual knives are better than a singular knife. Having dual knives lets the PC160JT pack more cuts with each spin of the cutter head. Since there are two knives, this tool can deliver up to 12,000 CPM (cuts per mintute) on first-gear and an astounding 22,000 CPM on the second.

Table Dimensions
Since benchtop jointers don’t take a lot of room in the workshop, they don’t have enormous tables to support long boards for mass prep work. This isn’t a problem since most benchtop jointers are used in DIY woodshops or even as a portable tool to take to the jobsite. The PC160JT comes with a 2-1/2-foot-long aluminum table. The infeed and outfeed sides of the table are 15 inches each. The widths of the table and cutterhead are 6-3/16 inches.

Adjustable Fence
An adjustable helps users flatten and square the edges of boards at several angles. This is helpful when dealing with rough lumber that has not had time to go through the table saw, or for making flat surfaces for connecting boards. The fence on this tool can tilt from up between 45° and 135°. You may not utilize the tilting fence very often, but when the time comes, you’ll be glad this tool’s fence tilts both ways.

Dust Collection System
Like any jointer, the PC160JT produces a lot of sawdust, but it comes with an exhaust chute for the dust to fall through. We found that most of the sawdust falls in the direction towards the chute, and by connecting a shop vac, the tool will leave very little debris on your worktable and under the tool. This dust collection system makes cleanup a breeze, but only if the 4-inch port is connected to a shop vac or dust extractor.

Portability
Benchtop jointers are designed to be portable. Their compact size and lightweight makes transporting the tool easy and worry-free. We’ve already talked about how this tool’s table measures only 2-1/2 x 6-3/16 inches. The weight of the PC160JT, fully assembled and ready for transport, weighs only 30 pounds. Loading this tool onto your truck or carrying it up and down stairs is extremely easy and doesn’t cause fatigue in the slightest.

Verdict
So after 8 years, how does this benchtop jointer fareIt’s not a surprise that the PC160JT Benchtop Jointer is an incredible tool, especially for its price class. We can imagine this tool being used even in professional settings where a portable jointer is ideal. The PC160JT will make a great addition to any workshop looking to trim costs on material.

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