Powermatic 54HH 6" jointer

Reviews, Tools

160314 Powermatic 54HH 6" jointer

Incredibly high-quality 6" jointer, possible Powermatic quality control issue

Powermatic 54HH 6" jointer

The 54HH is awesome, but getting it up and working was a bit of a task.

Limited to 120v in my tiny shop, I'm left to choose amongst 6" jointers and the Powermatic 54HH has the longest bed and a fantastic helical cutterhead.  I suspect the rotateable blades will last the life of the machine.  It's the hightest-quality small jointer available.

In operation, the machine runs smoothly and quietly and produces great results.  Settings are solid, though the infeed bed height setting is a bit stiff at first.  The dust collection is fine, even with a small, CT22 Festool dust extractor (a 1-1/4" forstner bit is perfect to make a DIY plywood dust port to the standard Festool antistatic 27mm hose).

Setup is straightforward but requires lifting the 300lb bed onto the base (and for most, the assembly of an after-market mobile cart).  I used a triple-block pulley system to help with the lift.  And in my case, removing the motor was required, an awkward operation.

The motor of my machine made a horrible noise when I turned the axle.  A dent in the fan cover caused the fan blades to scrape on the inside of the metal cover.  I'm fairly sure the damage was not caused in transit because the dent is in a position well protected by the (undamaged) base unit.  This makes me think the damage ocurred before installation and this glaring issue somehow got through quality control at Powermatic.  While that's a bit disconcerting, everything worked perfectly after I knocked the fan cover back into shape and reinstalled the motor.  It was managing to lift the motor into position by myself that was frustrating.  I had to cut a strip of plywood as a jig to help me hold it up.

In the end, though, the trouble was well worth it and I hope to have a perfectly functioning jointer for many years to come.