Jet Planer- A Surprisingly Effective Thickness Planer DIYers Love

Are you looking for a stable, accurate and reliable thickness planer for your small shop? Then this affordable Jet planer is one you’ll definitely want to consider. It’s a compact 13 inch benchtop planer – with a rugged 2 hp – 15 amp motor built in.

Small But Mighty

Obviously this isn’t a heavy-duty, industrial-strength thickness planer. If you’re looking for that kind of machine – consider this top choice. But if you want plenty of power and efficiency, plus the capability to accurately dimension various woods in your home shop – check out the jet JWP-13BT benchtop planer. This planer is one many serious home woodworkers would love to have in their arsenal. But that’s not the only application. It could also be a useful add-on machine for wood shops that work with smaller sizes of stock.

Its overall size is quite compact, with a table that’s only about 10 inches deep. But the folding, adjustable in-feed table does help support longer stock as you feed it through the planer. With handles that are built-in on both sides of the Jet planer – it’s that much easier to lift and place onto any workbench.  And when you’re finished using the planer, it’s easy to take it down and store wherever you have the space. As with most of the machinery from this manufacturer, this one comes with a three-year warranty – direct from Jet.

This May Be All You Need In A Planer

This jet planer (model number JWP-13BT) ships as a complete unit with folding in-feed table, adjustable depth stock to provide consistently even cutting, toggle switch that works as readily accessible shut off, as well as a removable safety key. It also features a cast-iron base to provide the accurate milling you expect, plus a 4 inch port to connect to your dust collection system. 

With this model, you get a 13 inch benchtop planer that’s different from most. This one features a cutter head design that is similar to the helical style of planer. That means it has multiple small knives (24 in all) on six rows – rather than two or three large blades that span the entire width. Each blade is secured firmly in place with two set screws. 

When one is damaged, as evidenced by the irregular cut that develops – it can simply be replaced – without having to change out all the blades. But before replacing any individual blade – you can simply flip it over, since each blade comes with two cutting edges. And unlike the standard cutter head design, you don’t have to scrap the entire set of knives due to a couple of nicked or chipped areas. Even more impressive is the result this planer attains; a super-smooth finish on virtually any species of wood. Test results with red oak came out clean and as smooth as glass.

Will This Meet Your Needs?

It’s important to know what you’re looking for in a planer before making a purchase. Actually, the same holds true for any piece of equipment. And as it turns out, the overwhelming majority of Jet planer buyers seem happy with their purchases, rating this one a stellar 4.5 out of 5 possible stars – with about 70 buyers reporting (as of this writing). 

For the occasional user, the Jet JWP-13BT planer seems like a good match. But it’s probably not the best choice for you if you’re planning to work it hard for hours at a time – day after day.

It’s a well engineered planer. With its four post design, it provides maximum support, stability, and control. It comes with a cool thickness gauge that enables you to process multiple boards and get the exact final thickness you’re looking for. That’s important for anyone who is committed to their craft and likes to produce quality work. 

With the 4 inch dust collection port, the Jet planer is particularly efficient at extracting wood chips and sawdust – without having them clog up. This helps keep your work area free of debris. That’s one of the (admittedly few) downsides of the Dewalt 735 planer. That one deploys a reducer that channels the 4 inch diameter down to 2.25 inches to fit common dust collector hoses. Better to stick with  the larger 4 inch capacity.

Realistic Expectations

It’s important to have realistic expectations. One thing we noticed in the reviews is that some buyers were clearly not using the equipment the way it’s designed. They we’re overloading the planer, causing blown fuses – and plenty of frustration. Often it’s these folks who blame the machine in their comments. But user error does not mean the machine is inferior. It simply means that they had unrealistic expectations about how much of a workload a benchtop planer like this is capable of handling. That’s just something to keep in mind, going forward.

The base of the planer is made of cast-iron and the frame is aluminum casting. This helps make the overall machine lighter than competing models.

Noteworthy Specifications
Cutter head speed generated is 10,000 RPM
– Maximum width that can be planed is 13 inches
– Maximum depth of cut is 1/8 of an inch (although we recommend you use much less with each pass to help minimize wear and tear on the blades while protecting the motor)
– 2 Horsepower motor
– Net weight is 75 pounds (The cast-iron base helps provide the stability necessary to be effective as a thickness planer while helping reduce snipe)
– Offers 2 stock feed rates – 18 feet per minute and 26 feet per minute
– Cutter head can be easily accessed to change the knives when they’re damaged or worn

Jet deploys rectangular blades (instead of square ones) that are bolted to the shaft in a staggered arrangement. This helps ensure each blade is properly seated in the precise position intended. The thickness stop is a clever design. So too is the gauge that estimates the thickness of the cut. When you’re doing rough milling work – this can save a lot of time.

Right out-of-the-box – this planer is ready to go – and can produce a finish that’s surprisingly smooth and perfectly square. There’s no tear-out even on those difficult-to-work-with woods such as Birdseye and curly maple.

With this planer you have plenty of control including the adjustable depth stop for repetitive cuts, dual in-feed speed control (depending on how much material you’re removing) which helps maximize the cut efficiency on different types of wood. The large four-inch dust port also makes it more easily manageable.

Follow Standard Practice

It’s important to remember that whatever planer you buy, it’s always better to take light passes through – whether you’re using a jointer or a planer. Yes, this takes a little longer. But invariably, you’ll end up with less tear-out and less snipe even on challenging hardwood boards. In the end, you’ll achieve better overall results with clearer, smoother stock. Additionally, you will extend the life of the blades – as well as the motor. Take good care of your tools and equipment and your tools and equipment will serve you well for years.

Pros
– Produces a smooth and consistent finish on both soft and hardwoods
– Cutter head design reduces tear-out and generates smaller wood chips
– Wood chip chute helps extract waste material to dust collection system
– Decent machine at a bargain price
– It’s a quieter thickness planer (smaller than most)
– Capable of handling hardwoods such as red oak, maple, birch, cherry and walnut
– Dual feed speeds is a useful feature since you can speed through simple softwood jobs and slow it down for hardwoods and highly-figured stock
– Good value – you get a solid machine that works well yet is budget-friendly too – Well designed and constructed machine 
– Rectangular design of the blades is a plus since it ensures blade inserts are perfectly aligned


Cons
– Blades supplied are made from high-speed steel (as they are with virtually all planers and jointers sold today)   – Hardness quality of the blades means they lose their edge rather quickly
– Height adjustment seems counterintuitive (you need to crank counterclockwise to lower the cutter head closer to the bed of the planer) – To change out all the blades can take about an hour since there’s 24 individual pieces and each one held in place with two screws
– Bed size is a little on the small side at 13 x 9.8″

The Verdict 

This product – the Jet Planer JWP-13BT – may be one of the best planers on the market for working with small parts and pieces. It’s capable, accurate and easy to operate. Since it’s a benchtop model, you can pull it out only when you need it and then tuck it away when you don’t.

It’s a top choice for those of us who like building furniture, cabinets and crafts in the garage. But it can work well in a small cabinet shop or craft business as a secondary planer – just as well.

For anyone in search of a solid planer who doesn’t have a lot of extra space in their workshop – this could be an ideal fit. Clearly, this Jet planer is not a super heavy duty, industrial type thickness planer. Nor does it look the part. But if what matters to you most are the results the planer produces when used occasionally – then you’ll likely be impressed.

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