Answer this: how many times have you purchased boards from a retailer and ended up with imperfect, not-flat piecesOnce if more than enough, considering the high prices of the so-called “professionally pampered” pieces of lumber. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a power tool that could flatten the surfaces and square edges of boardsThat way you could mill your own lumber. Well, you can if you invest in a jointer.
The Shop Fox W1829 is a benchtop jointer that has received mixed reviews. There are people who completely hate the tool while others would apparently swear on the W1829 superior jointing abilities. So to settle the debate once and for all, we’d like to give our input on whether this benchtop jointer belongs in the trash or not.
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At first glance, the W1829 looks like any benchtop jointer you’d find, but it’s really what’s under the hood that counts. This jointer comes with a decent 1-1/2-HP motor that spins the cutterhead at speeds of up to 10,000 RPM.
When it comes to jointers, two knives are better than one. They deliver twice as many cuts within the same time frame, leaving smoother surfaces and sharper edges. With the cutterhead spinning at 10,000 RPM, it delivers up to 20,000 cuts per minute.
Maximum Depth of Cut
You’ll never want to cut too deep when running your work over a jointer’s cutterhead. It’ll overwork the motor, dull the knives more quickly, and the board will end up with a jagged surface. The W1829 can cut at a maximum depth of up to 1/8 of an inch. With the 10-amp motor, there’s virtually no risk of burning the motor when running almost any type of wood over the cutterhead.
However, there’s a huge flaw with the blade-adjustment system, namely a missing or stripped screw. This renders the system almost entirely useless, and many users have found that the cutterhead cannot cut anything less than 1/8 of an inch.
Board Width Capacity
The blades on a benchtop jointer aren’t nearly as long as they are in free-standing models. However, they are sufficient in flattening and squaring boards that have already been treated by a table saw or circular saw. The W1829 has the capacity to flatten boards as wide as 6 inches. This is the average width for benchtop jointers, so it’s nothing to frown about.
Board Length Capacity
The total length that a benchtop jointer can support depends on its worktable. The W1829’s cast iron worktable measures 28-1/2 inches from the ends of the infeed and outfeed tables. You can also add extra support by placing tables on either ends of the table.
Cast Iron Worktable
In addition to the length of the work table, the materials and design are also important factors to consider. The first thing we noticed about the table is that it’s made of heavy-duty cast iron with smooth surfaces which is a must-have to prevent snagging and kickback.
An adjustable fence is necessary if you plan on running boards with uneven surfaces over the jointer’s cutterhead. For the most part, when working with lumber from large retailers, you can leave the jointer’s fence at 90°, but milling boards from lumberyards require a bit more flexibility. The W1829’s aluminum fence can tilt from 45° to 135° and lock at any angle you desire.
However, the fence is another issue that numerous customers have complained about. First of all, there’s no gauge to indicate how far the fence has tilted forward or backward. Second, adjusting the fence can be a challenge since it tilts seemingly of its own accord. Thirdly, the fence locking clamp is faulty at best.
One area that Shop Fox got right is the way this tool handles dust and chips. The 2-1/2-inch dust port is located below the outfeed table to connect to an external dust extraction tool easily. We found that most of the sawdust produces by the cutterhead falls in the direction of the dust port, ready for suctioning.
So after we’ve given the Shop Fox W1829 a thorough testing, we can conclude that this tool is the perfect benchtop jointer except for its major fence and depth adjustment flaws. Unfortunately, these are problems that are too huge to ignore, and you could end up wasting more money on purchasing replacement boards than restoring old wood. In our opinion, this tool could turn any amateur woodworker away from their aspirations. If you’re in the market for a benchtop planer, look elsewhere.