midtnwoodworker

Powermatic 54HH

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I already posted about receiving this jointer, but now that I have used it for about a week I want to post an actual review. It came in two separate boxes with one containing the base and the other had the fence and bed assembly. It was well packed and there was no damage to the unit at all.

Assembly was very straightforward and Powermatic includes everything you need to perform the assembly.

1.) Take everything out of the box.

2.) Set up the base, and attach the dust chute.

3.) Attach the bed assembly with four bolts, and roll the belt onto the motor pulley. (It was tensioned correctly out of the box)

4.) Bolt on the fence assembly with one bolt, and install the belt cover.

Entire assembly from unpacking to set up took about 45 minutes. Powermatic really is the Gold Standard.

Everything was calibrated right out of the box if you can believe that. The infeed and outfeed tables were co-planar and the outfeed table was set up where it needed to be. The fence was able to be set 90 degrees to the tables easily enough.

The helical head is amazing it makes jointing a pleasure compared to my old straight knife jointer.

The only issue I have with the jointer is that it seems a bit under-powered. When jointing stock that is close to the full 6" it seems to bog down. This could be because I am running the stock too fast through the jointer because it cuts so much smoother than my old straight knife jointer, but it is still an issue. I would love to have a larger jointer, but the price was so good on this that I could not pass it up. Would I trade this for an 8" Grizzly? No 

- A little tip for anyone else out there who ignores conventional wisdom: WAX THE BEDS! I never waxed the beds on my jointer, planer, or tablesaw because I thought why? It's not going to do that much good. After running the jointer while there was still a thin layer of cosmoline on them everything fed through really easy, but once it started to wear off it got harder and harder to feed the stock through. Then I waxed the beds and it was amazing the difference it made. I know this is common knowledge, but I never cared enough to do it because I thought it would only help to combat rust, but it makes a world of difference in how difficult it is to feed the stock through.

If you have any questions about this jointer just let me know.

IMG_1652.JPGIMG_1651.JPGIMG_1653.JPG

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22 minutes ago, midtnwoodworker said:

The only issue I have with the jointer is that it seems a bit under-powered. When jointing stock that is close to the full 6" it seems to bog down. This could be because I am running the stock too fast through the jointer because it cuts so much smoother than my old straight knife jointer, but it is still an issue.

Couple thoughts...

1) Back off on your depth of cut a little bit.  Take an extra pass or two instead of chewing off so much meat in a single pass.  This will not only help with the under-powered issue, but it also gives you more control over how much material you're removing.  My mission at the jointer is always to remove as little material as possible to get flat, then remove thickness at the planer.  Why take off 1/8" in a single pass when you could take off 1/16" in two passes and save yourself some extra meat?

2) I've heard the argument before that Shelix heads will add strain on a motor because there is constant engagement between blade and wood, unlike with straight knives where there's only three points of contact per revolution.  I don't know if I'm convinced it's a big factor, but it's one more reason to ease up on the depth of cut.

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Good to hear ! That is pretty much in line with how I feel about my PM jointer. Love it!

You should have cleaned all the cosmoline off thoroughly before using it and treated it with some t-9 and then a coat or two of wax. Atleast that's what I do but it is very humid here in the summer. Maybe your climate is different and you will be ok.

Sent from my SM-N910W8 using Tapatalk

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Thanks for the info guys.

I feel the same way about the jointer, and I take off just a hair less than 1/16" each pass with the jointer so I really don't think that is what the issue is. I have read something like that too about the Shelix heads, but I can't remember where. 

And I wipe the cosmoline off with a dry cloth when I get new equipment, but I never spray it with anything and wipe it down because I'm just too lazy I guess

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Congrats on the new jointer! If a person does not need an 8" I always recommend the Powermatic 54A or HH model. 

I used to own the 54A with straight knives and I really loved the long bed on it. 

Later I upgraded to an 8" Grizzly with helical cutter head, I just could not afford the Powermatic at the time but needed both bigger machine and helical cutter for dealing with difficult grain. 

My current jointer does not have the Shelix cutter head, rather Grizzly's helical cutter head but I am happy with it. Using it as small pro shop (as a measure of production and volume) I have been getting 5-1/2 years per cutting edge out of the carbide cutters. 

 

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I have the same jointer, and I use a dedicated 20A circuit for it.  Are you running it on a 20A or 15A circuit?  I've had it slow down a bit a few times, when surfacing 6" wide oak.

One thing I do not like about this jointer is the fence lock.  Its on a cam, and I would prefer a more "solid" mechanism, that I could "max out" when tightening.  I don't like trying to find the sweet spot on the cam, so that I don't over rotate it and loosen the fence.

 

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11 minutes ago, midtnwoodworker said:

Holy #*@^! 5-1/2 years is awesome. I would have been happy with 1 year small pro work. That just blows my mind they last that long.

June 2015 I upgraded my 15" JET planer with 3 knife cutter head to 20" JET planer with Byrd Shelix cutter head. At the time I was doing a lot of reclaimed wood projects for commercial clients. I was sharpening 2 sets of knives every week, and sometimes 3 sets and they were absolutely trashed. 

I am still running the first cutting edge on my Shelix cutters at this point. That is about 10 months so far on the first cutting edge with most of the miles on them milling reclaimed stock. 

With the jointer, you are typically jointing and cleaning up the edge after the table saw so the carbide cutters last a long time. 

With the planer, the cutters are often the first thing to hit the wood so I don't expect that they will last as long as the cutters on the jointer. 

6 minutes ago, Pug said:

I have the same jointer, and I use a dedicated 20A circuit for it.  Are you running it on a 20A or 15A circuit?  I've had it slow down a bit a few times, when surfacing 6" wide oak.

One thing I do not like about this jointer is the fence lock.  Its on a cam, and I would prefer a more "solid" mechanism, that I could "max out" when tightening.  I don't like trying to find the sweet spot on the cam, so that I don't over rotate it and loosen the fence.

 

Pug makes a great point.

Plus it will run much better if you rewire it to use 230v instead of 115. I had similar issues with my 2hp dust collector. It came prewired at 115 but did not run properly at all until I rewired it and hooked it up to 230v. 

Those motors are designed to be reconfigured to 230v. (And actually should be run on 230v.)

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44 minutes ago, toddclippinger said:

 

Later I upgraded to an 8" Grizzly with helical cutter head, I just could not afford the Powermatic at the time but needed both bigger machine and helical cutter for dealing with difficult grain. 

 

How did you like the 8" grizzly with helical? I am debating on which cutters to get with mine. Huge difference or not as much?

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27 minutes ago, Pug said:

I have the same jointer, and I use a dedicated 20A circuit for it.  Are you running it on a 20A or 15A circuit?  I've had it slow down a bit a few times, when surfacing 6" wide oak.

 

Yeah I have it on it's own 20A circuit, and that is when I noticed it getting bogged down too. I was jointing some 8/4 oak for a bed and it was just shy of 6".

26 minutes ago, toddclippinger said:

 

Plus it will run much better if you rewire it to use 230v instead of 115. I had similar issues with my 2hp dust collector. It came prewired at 115 but did not run properly at all until I rewired it and hooked it up to 230v. 

Those motors are designed to be reconfigured to 230v. (And actually should be run on 230v.)

I have considered re-wiring it, and if it does continue to act up I probably will put it on it's own 220 circuit. The wire run to this particular outlet is pretty short though so I don't know if this well help or not.

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7 minutes ago, bushwacked said:

How did you like the 8" grizzly with helical? I am debating on which cutters to get with mine. Huge difference or not as much?

I love my Grizzly 8" jointer. It is 12 years old, not sure they make it anymore but I get an excellent cut from it and have had no problems in any way with it. 

The difference in the Grizzly helical cutter head vs the Shelix is that the cutters on both are arranged in a helical pattern. But - the Shelix cutters are also skewed about 11° while the Grizzly cutting edge faces straight down the table. 

If that makes sense.

I still get an amazing cut with no complaints on the Grizzly. 

 

3 minutes ago, midtnwoodworker said:

Yeah I have it on it's own 20A circuit, and that is when I noticed it getting bogged down too. I was jointing some 8/4 oak for a bed and it was just shy of 6".

I have considered re-wiring it, and if it does continue to act up I probably will put it on it's own 220 circuit. The wire run to this particular outlet is pretty short though so I don't know if this well help or not.

Yep, it will definitely make a difference going to 230v. 

In this picture you can see my old Powermatic jointer in my brother's shop with the dust collection under the outfield table. This setup works pretty good.

 

SV101617.jpg

Here is my Grizzly setup. 

 

P1000084.jpg

P1000101.jpg

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Thanks Todd. That is pretty much the exact same setup I have running to my jointer. I have the planer about 6 feet away from the jointer and just switch the hose from one machine to the other. I need to get my storage as organized as yours though!

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2 hours ago, midtnwoodworker said:

I already posted about receiving this jointer, but now that I have used it for about a week I want to post an actual review. It came in two separate boxes with one containing the base and the other had the fence and bed assembly. It was well packed and there was no damage to the unit at all.

Assembly was very straightforward and Powermatic includes everything you need to perform the assembly.

1.) Take everything out of the box.

2.) Set up the base, and attach the dust chute.

3.) Attach the bed assembly with four bolts, and roll the belt onto the motor pulley. (It was tensioned correctly out of the box)

4.) Bolt on the fence assembly with one bolt, and install the belt cover.

Entire assembly from unpacking to set up took about 45 minutes. Powermatic really is the Gold Standard.

Everything was calibrated right out of the box if you can believe that. The infeed and outfeed tables were co-planar and the outfeed table was set up where it needed to be. The fence was able to be set 90 degrees to the tables easily enough.

The helical head is amazing it makes jointing a pleasure compared to my old straight knife jointer.

The only issue I have with the jointer is that it seems a bit under-powered. When jointing stock that is close to the full 6" it seems to bog down. This could be because I am running the stock too fast through the jointer because it cuts so much smoother than my old straight knife jointer, but it is still an issue. I would love to have a larger jointer, but the price was so good on this that I could not pass it up. Would I trade this for an 8" Grizzly? No 

- A little tip for anyone else out there who ignores conventional wisdom: WAX THE BEDS! I never waxed the beds on my jointer, planer, or tablesaw because I thought why? It's not going to do that much good. After running the jointer while there was still a thin layer of cosmoline on them everything fed through really easy, but once it started to wear off it got harder and harder to feed the stock through. Then I waxed the beds and it was amazing the difference it made. I know this is common knowledge, but I never cared enough to do it because I thought it would only help to combat rust, but it makes a world of difference in how difficult it is to feed the stock through.

If you have any questions about this jointer just let me know.

IMG_1652.JPGIMG_1651.JPGIMG_1653.JPG

One thing I really miss from the Powermatic 54 was the quick lever adjustment for the depth of cut. I was surprised at how much I missed that feature once I upgraded. 

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2 hours ago, toddclippinger said:

Yep, it will definitely make a difference going to 230v. 

 

I will just qualify that statement a bit if you don't mind. If the machine is located close to the panel, then rewiring for 240V will not make a noticeable  difference. If the run of wire from the panel gets to be more than about 30' (cord included) then you want to run it on 240V, or use a bigger guage wire.

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I purchased one of these 6 inch powermatic jointers from Amazon a few years back.  It wasn't shipped in a box but on a pallets. The blades were damaged and one of the sides had a small dent.  The blades were loose in the head too.  

The biggest complaint is the fence is warped on the out-feed side. When I called to have powermatic replace it, I got Billy Bob who just fell off the turnip truck tell me I was too picky AND WOOD WORKING IS NOT MACHINING.  Billy Bob told me to just take the fence off the machine, put it on the floor on top of A 2X4 AND STAND ON IT AND THAT SHOULD STRAIGHTEN IT!!!  So, that is the extent of customer service at Hill Billy powermatic.  When I need to do some accurate joining other than just facing, which is most of the time, I have to go over my friends house and use his Grizzly jointer.  It's assume!!!!! 

Since Hill Billy Powermatic won't replace the fence or even direct me to a machine shop to have it reground, I cannot recommend buying Hill Billy Powermatic anything.  I wouldn't buy a screw driver if it said  Powermatic on it!  Good Luck people.

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I had just the opposite experience with my Powermatic jointer. It came in two separate boxes, bottom cabinet in one and top bed assembly in the other. The delivery driver was very helpful with getting into my shop. We could not get the 18 wheeler anywhere close so I pulled my pickup out to the street and he helped my load it into the bed. We the drove over to the shop and he helped unload it into the shop. He even stayed around while I unpacked everything to make sure there was no damage.

After assembly, I did have to shim the out feed table as it was low at the outer edge .012 thousandth. The fence was flat within .005 thousandths. 

I feel your frustrations with their customer service. If I ever had a response like that I would be demanding to speak to a manager.

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