The Craftex CT086 6" wood jointer is a reliable machine that fits nicely in a small to medium sized home workshop. I've had mine for a couple of years now and to tell the truth, this is a nice little jointer for the money I paid.
Craftex CT086 6" jointer.
The CT086 is based on a rugged, proven design that features inclined dovetail ways which support the infeed and outfeed tables. The jointer base, infeed/outfeed tables and fence are constructed from cast iron for strength and longevity.
An open steel stand is supplied to support the machine and although it isn't too fancy, it does it's meager job without complaint.
Busy Bee Tools imports the ct086 from China, as do a lot of other tool retailers, so you can find this same machine under quite a few brand names.
The King KC-150C and Delta JT360 Shopmaster are a couple that come to mind, although the Delta model only had a 3/4hp motor if I remember right.
I recieved the machine about four days after ordering and the carton it came in looked undamaged. The carton itself was a good four feet long and weighed a little over 200 pounds, so an extra pair of hands is needed to pack it off the truck.
Like my Craftex CT146 table saw, I unpacked the carton outside and brought the pieces down the stairs to my basement shop individually. The heaviest part was the base, which had the tables attached.
Assembling the craftex ct086 was pretty straight forward, with clear instructions provided in the owners manual. Once I had the stand bolted together, the machine was lifted onto it and bolted down. This was followed by attaching the infeed table adjustment handle, dust chute, motor and pulleys, belt guard and finally the fence.
The machined table and fence surfaces had a protective anti-rust coating under a peel away plastic film. The manual suggested using kerosene to clean this coating off, but since I didn't have any, I used wd40 which worked fine. I used the same paste wax that I use on my table saw to protect the machined surfaces and cut down on friction.
Both tables on the jointer are adjustable, with the infeed table using a rapid travel lever and the outfeed table using a knob and screw mechanism. Most operations on the jointer are done without ever having to move the outfeed table, so as long as it's level with the cutterhead knives, there's no need to fiddle with it.
The ct086 has a spring loaded indent that engages at a 1/8" cut. To move past this point, the knob must be pulled out.
Out of the box, the infeed table height adjustment lever on this machine was anything but smooth. It was hard to get moving and almost impossible to set the table height with the scale on the front of the machine. This was remedied by adjusting the gibs located on the back side of the infeed table.
I also lubricated the dovetail ways where I could and moved the table up and down to both extremes to spread it around. After this the table movement was smooth and predictable.
A spring loaded indent pin engages automatically when the table reaches 1/8" on the scale. To move the table past this point you have to pull the indent pin knob out. Since I seldom remove more than 1/8" at a time, I use this setting for my rough cuts.
The table is locked after each adjustment with a lever located on the front of the machine. The lever features a spring loaded handle that can be set at any angle by pulling it out and repositioning it on the serrated nut located under the handle.
Positive stops are used to limit table travel.
On the back side of the machine is a positive stop bracket that sets the limits of table travel for the infeed table, both up and down. To set the stops, the lock nuts are loosened and the adjustment screws are turned as required to the settings you need.
I adjusted the upper limit on my machine for a very fine finishing cut and the lower limit was left at 1/2". Now, when it's time to do a final finishing pass, all I have to do is lift the lever as far as it will go.
The tables on the craftex ct086 were nicely ground and as far as I could tell with a straight edge, absolutely flat. Having flat tables is nice, but if they're not level with each other (coplanar), your workpiece won't be flat when it leaves the outfeed table. I checked this with my longest straight edge and found no problems.
At 4 1/2" high and 29 1/2" long, the fence on the ct086 is a good size for a six inch wood jointer. The bigger the fence, the more control you have when edge jointing.
Craftex CT086 fence controls - (1) fence in/out lock. (2) tilt lock. (3) 45 degree positive stop - fence tilted out. (4) 90 degree indent pin. (5) 45 degree positive stop - fence tilted in.
Setting up the positive stops for the 45 and 90 degree settings was relatively easy and painless. The photo on the left shows the lockhandles and adjustment screws that are used to make these adjustments.
When I was setting up the 90 degree positive stop indent pin, I noticed a slight gap between the fence and my machinist square that started about an inch off the table and was about an inch in length.
Checking in several places, I found the gap was consistent across the fence from left to right. After removing the fence and checking it thoroughly with a straight edge, I found the surface to be completely flat except for this tiny gap. My guess is operator error in the surface grinding operation and not a warped fence or the gap would be longer and tapered in from the center.
At any rate, the gap is no doubt less that .0015" because that's my thinnest feeler gauge and it wouldn't penetrate between the fence and square anywhere along the fence. It should be noted that this small imperfection hasn't had any effect on the squareness of my work when edge jointing and after a couple of weeks I quit checking every piece that came off the outfeed table.
The cutter head on the craftex ct086 carries three high speed steel knives that rotate at 5000 rpm. The knives are adjusted using jack screws and each knife is held in place with a lock bar and four lock screws.
Craftex CT086 cutterhead.
The stock knives seem to be of decent quality and lasted most of the first year before needing to be removed and resharpened. It helps if you use a knife hone to keep a keen edge on the knives when they first start to show signs of getting dull.
The cutterhead gets it's power via a v-belt and pulleys from the motor mounted below the machine. I replaced the stock v-belt with a power twist link belt because I had a long enough piece handy.
The link belts are a huge step up from v-belts (especially chinese made belts) and I run them on all my machines that use v-belts. They may seem expensive, but once you use them, they're worth every penny.
The craftex ct086 uses a 1 hp induction motor for power and it seems to have plenty for a machine this size. I here a lot about the poor quality of chinese made motors, but I own several machines made in China and have yet to have a motor fail. I think a lot of it has to do with stereotyping, rather than reality.
The motor comes wired for 110 volt, but can be easily rewired for 220 volt by changing the motor leads as per the instructions in the owners manual. If you change the motor over to 220 volt, you'll need a proper plug and receptacle as these are not included with the machine.
The motor on/off switch has a removable lockout that makes the switch inoperable once removed. This is a nice feature if you have kids that have access to the workshop.
The craftex ct086 uses a dust chute that comes with an optional 4" O.D. vacuum adapter that fits over the front of the dust chute. I don't bother with the adapter since most of my cuts are relatively light and just let the chips collect into a cardboard box placed under the chute.
Every once in a while though, the chute will clog up and the cutterhead will start to blow the chips back through the openings around the cutterhead. I keep a stick nearby to clear out the chute when this happens.
Although it has a few minor flaws, the craftex ct086 wood jointer has been a steady performer in my small basement workshop. After two years of use, it has never once broken down and still runs as quiet as the day I bought it.
I bought my craftex ct086 on sale, as I do all my machines, for a bit over four hundred dollars and it was money well spent. Compare that to a noisy benchtop jointer with a 30" bed for around two hundred and fifty bucks.
The trick to keeping these small jointers running smoothly is proper set-up and maintenance, and to take reasonable cuts instead of trying to hog out a bunch of material all at once.