Model: Ridgid JP0610 6-1/8" Jointer
Where Purchased: Home Depot
Price Paid: $450
Why Purchased: To flatten the edges and surfaces of boards, and to make the surfaces square to each other. This tool is useful even if you buy surfaced lumber, and is required if you buy rough-cut lumber.
Impressions: This jointer is awesome. Assembly was easy. Fit and finish are excellent. In-feed and out-feed tables were correctly set out of the box (I only needed to adjust the fence for squareness). The motor is smooth and strong.
I'd say the only 6" jointer on the market that's better is the Powermatic 54A. But be prepared to spend an extra $300 for that jointer, and its extra-long bed takes up more storage space. At that point, you might as well buy an 8" jointer. So if a 6" jointer will meet your needs, go to Home Depot and buy the Ridgid.
TIP: If you don't have the luxury of keeping your jointer in one permanent location, you're going to need a mobile base. I've got mine on the HTC2000 Universal Mobile Base ($53 at Amazon). Too sweet.
NEWS: Ridgid woodworking tools have always, as far as I know, been manufactured by Emerson, a company with a reputation for quality. Starting in August 2003, this will no longer be the case. Emerson is keeping control of the Ridgid name, but is contracting the manufacture of their woodworking tools to One World Technologies, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based TechTronic Industries Co., Ltd. Emerson claims that they will maintain strict quality control over One World Technologies, and that this change is good for Emerson, Home Depot, and customers like you and me. Only time will tell.