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I havew had the 610 jointer for a month or so. I shopped the market from Delta to Jet to Grizzly, etc. In my opinion the Ridgid jointer is the best bang for the buck. I too would buy it again. the fence mechanism is heavy cast iron the fit and finish is the best of them all. My prior experience with Ridgid product and customer support has beenthat Ridgid cares about keeping its customers. I believe a search of rec.woodworking newsgroup will echo my enthusiasm for the JP610. Good luck.
I am very happy with mine. I have had it 8 months.
It has never bothered me but I read on a review the only drawback they found was the fence only tilted one way, back. Never needed it to tilt forward.
No, it isn't hard. The back of the machine is under, when the fence is all the way back it is just a little forward of the saw wing.
Biggest danger is to visitors, who don't expect something like a jointer bed sticking out right there. It snagged a friend pretty close to where it would really have hurt. He works for Delta, and swore the machine must have known that.