A solid jointer designed for heavy duty use
By Carl Duguay
The 6″ jointer is a shop staple. Without it, truing rough lumber would be a burdensome chore.
We recently took King Canada’s 6″ Industrial Jointer, the KC-60FX for a spin. The King 6 is a step up from their entry level jointer, the KC-150C. It features a 1½ HP motor (consuming 13.5 amps at 110 V and 6.8 amps at 220 V), three knife 2 3/8″cutterhead with a speed of 3600 RPM, a 7″ by 45 ¾” cast iron bed, and 4″ by 29″ fence. The whole deal comes in at 275 lbs.
I was a bit apprehensive when I saw the “Made in China” marking on the boxes, previous experience being what it was. However, the instructions that accompany the jointer are reasonably well written, there were no missing parts, the fit and finish of the materials was good, and the assembly process was straightforward.
The jointer comes in two boxes, and unless you’ve got Popeye’s arms you’ll need a helping hand to hoist the jointer body onto the stand. On some jointers mounting and tensioning the v-belt can be a chore, but on the King it’s pretty easy.
Once I had the King assembled and cleaned, I checked the in-feed and out-feed tables and fence for flatness. All three were dead flat and completely planar. I also checked the three cutterhead knives. Only a slight adjustment was required. Since the knives rest on jack screws, adjusting (or replacing) them is an easy task.
When powered up, the King had little vibration. The motor is smooth, and surprisingly quiet, even when jointing at its maximum width. I had no trouble jointing 6″ wide, taking 1/16″ cuts. The fence glides smoothly throughout its range of motion, and stays in position when the locking nut is tightened. There are positive stops at 45° and 90°. However, I would rather have a rack & pinion fence slide, which I find somewhat easier to use. I like this machine’s design for adjusting the in-feed and out-feed tables by rotating hand wheels rather than by means of a rod and lever system. At least for me, it affords more precise height adjustments. Unfortunately the handles on the wheels are too small. The welded steel stand has a built-in 4″ dust port, which is a nice feature.
With a street price of around $560, the King KC-60FX is good value in a small shop jointer.
To Dimension Lumber
The jointer is part of the shop triumvirate – table saw, planer, and jointer. These three machines work in unison, with the first, and most crucial operation being performed by the jointer. All lumber is uneven – there is bound to be some level of twisting, cupping, and warping. Before you can run your lumber through the planer you need to flatten one side (or ‘face’) and one edge. This is the function of the jointer. You guide the lumber along the jointer bed (the flat top) and over a set of cutter knives (the blades), applying uniform moderate downward pressure. To avoid tear out make sure you joint in the general direction of the grain and not against it. If you have highly figured lumber you can try jointing from either end of the board. It’s a good idea to mark the grain direction on each piece of wood.
On the first pass with rough lumber you can remove more material (up to ⅛”); remove smaller amounts for successive cuts. If you buy milled lumber you may still need to flatten one side, but remove only 1/32″ or so on each pass. Remember to place the cupped side down, keep the guard in place, and use a push block. Look at the face of the board after each pass; if you notice undue tear out, flip the board around and joint from the other end. At this stage you could go to the planer to true the second side, but I like to square one edge first. Set the jointer fence so it’s 90º to the table and set the cutting depth to around 1/16″. When edge jointing, apply steady pressure against the fence. It’s a good idea to check the squareness of the jointer fence frequently. Now you can use the planer to dimension the other face. Once I have the two faces and one edge dimensioned, I let the lumber sit for a day to two so that it can stabilize. Then I trim the board to length and width, and finally joint the other edge.