Woodworkers know that a jointer creates the straight, flat surfaces and edges needed for good glue joints. It allows you to bevel and chamfer edges, perfecting rough lumber for use in your next project.
A benchtop jointer like the Shop Fox 6-inch model packs a lot of features into a convenient tabletop size. Let’s see if it fits your needs.
Shop Fox W1876 6″ Benchtop Jointer with Spiral-Style Cutterhead
Let’s start with the replaceable cutterhead. We prefer spiral knives like this to straight knives because they are much easier to adjust and they seem to wear longer. All you have to do is loosen the inserts with a screwdriver, give them a quarter turn, and there’s a fresh cutting surface.
At 12,000 RPM with a 1 ½ horsepower motor, the cutterhead gets the work done quickly. (What’s more, it runs on household current – 120 V, 10A – as long as you have a grounded outlet.)
The Shop Fox handles boards up to 6-inches wide with a maximum cut depth of 1/8-inch. It’s a benchtop model, so the 30-inch long cast aluminum table isn’t good for very long boards. However, the wedge construction keeps it straight and true.
The fence and adjustments
The extruded aluminum fence and knob-adjustable in-feed display both metric and standard measurements for very precise cuts. Moreover, the fence tilts between 90 and 135° and locks into place.
Reviewers say the fence is very sturdy, and with it, the joiner cuts square and straight without the need for tedious calibration.
However, double-check that the fence is flush to the outfeed because sometimes the locking mechanism pushes it out of alignment.
Thankfully, the joiner comes with an illustrated, detailed owner’s manual. The most difficult part of the assembly is setting up the infeed and outfeed tables parallel. Be sure to put the outfeed at the lowest plane to the cutterhead and the infeed set at zero at the top of the blade, not the drum. It’s a minuscule difference, but it’s crucial.
For extra stability, it’s recommended to mount the joiner to the work surface. The screw holes are 3/8-inch in diameter.
As for dust collection, there’s a 2 ½ inch dust port on the outfeed side which is compatible with a shop vac.
The earlier models of the Shop Fox W1876 had cast iron tables that need to be treated with paste wax every so often to prevent rust. This one has aluminum tables that can be wiped with degreaser. Just don’t use chlorine-based solvents or acetone.
When it’s time to tension or replace the belt, there are only 4 screws to deal with and it’s a one-person job.
If you need to replace the brushes in the motor, the joiner needs to be tilted, but otherwise the process is straightforward.
- Weight: 42.9 lbs
- Dimensions: 30 x 17-1/2 x 13-1/2 in.
- Cutterhead Diameter: 2 in.
- Number of Cutter Rows: 6 with 12 indexable carbide HSS cutters
- Warranty: 2 years
The Shop Fox W1876 is highly recommended for both professional and hobbyist woodworkers. It’s accurate, sturdy, powerful, and straightforward to use and maintain as long as a larger capacity isn’t required.