It has taken me a bit longer to setup the saw than I was expecting. Not having enough time in one shot is mostly the culprit. I was only able to get an hour here or there, which just isn’t enough time when dealing with cleaning, aligning, and assembly. So anyways, here is my step by step on what I did…
For the initial cleanup of the main table surface, I left the saw on the pallet/skid:
Like everyone else, the surfaces had a nice thick coating of this sticky nasty stuff. I’m thankful for it though, because I didn’t have any rusted surfaces on the saw. I didn’t bother buying a special gunk remover, I just used WD-40. I sprayed a very thick layer of WD-40 over the whole surface, and let it sit for about 10 minutes to start eating away at the cosmoline. I used a Rockler plastic glue spreader to remove the thick layers of the gunk, then another coat of WD-40 and some shop rags to remove the rest of the stuff.
I took it from this:
I coated the surface with T9-Boeshield. But the next day it went from below freezing to 60 degrees. The huge swing in temp coupled with 100% humidity for that day wreaked havoc on my saw. I actually had RUST developing on the surface. Thats right, RUST. After I applied the boeshield?! Which leads me to my first clean up mistake. Because I used WD-40, I obviously didn’t wipe down the surface sufficiently before applying the boeshield. So the residual WD-40 must have worn away some of the boeshield in certain places. I also didn’t let the boeshield dry itself. I applied and gently wiped it off after a few minutes. This was for a “light coating” in the instructions on the can. The solutions was to clean off the rust that had developed (almost before my eyes), and then completely wipe down the surface until it was 100% dry and 100% WD-40 clean. This took about 20 shop towels and 30 minutes of elbow grease until I was satisfied. Then I did a HEAVY coat of boeshield and let it dry overnight.
After the surface was cleaned, I noticed there was a nick in the surface on the right side of the blade where the wing would be attached. Of course, I freaked out and called Grizzly CS about it. The tech guy said there was three options. 1.) Mill it flat myself using a mill file and some fine grit sandpaper. 2.) They can ship out a new table surface. 3.) They can swap out the entire saw for a new one. They left the decision to me. I was really impressed with how they handled it. But with it being so small and easy to fix, I decided to mill it flat myself before attaching the wings. I didn’t want to throw away the multiple days of work I already had put into this saw. You can see a picture of the nick here:
There was also a surface scratch on the surface to the left of the left miter slot. This wasn’t deep, just a cosmetic scratch from the factory:
Moving Off the Pallet
I was intimidated at first, but I called my dad over for some help and we did what we always do in these types of moves. We call it “Kiddy-cornering” ... I’m sure you’ve all used this method. This was a multi-step process to get the saw off of both pallets and onto the garage floor. Here is how we did it:
1.) Left the saw bolted to the skid. Walked the saw off the large bottom pallet and onto some 4×4 blocks. With one end of the saw on the blocks, we balanced the saw in the air as we kicked out the bottom pallet.
2.) Now the saw is on the skid, but the skid is on the garage floor.
3.) We unbolted the saw from the skid, and walked the saw off onto 2×4 blocks. Balanced the end of the saw on the blocks and kicked the skid out of the way. Then balanced the saw on the garage floor and kicked the 2×4 blocks out of the way.
It is difficult to explain, but it was way easier than I thought. Definitely don’t recommend doing it alone. The saw is heavy, top-heavy at that, so it can be dangerous. I didn’t take any pictures of this process because it all happened in under 3 minutes.
Plugging away at the manual, then next step was to build the mobile base around the saw. Unfortunately one of my wheels was busted:
But Grizzly CS sent a replacement caster immediately when I called. I really like dealing with them, they’re always pleasant and fast.
I goofed when putting together the base, I put the wheels on the front of the saw so I could push it out of the way. But in my forum post about caster orientation I got a lot of great advice. I decided to put my wheels such that I can’t move it front to back. This way if I ever forget to lower the feet, I can’t move the saw when feeding through a board.
Wings & Fence
The wings I cleaned using the same method as the surface. Except this time, I didn’t make the mistake of the boeshield. I did the WD-40 to clean, boeshield to protect, then paste wax to smooth up routine. The extension wings were flawless, no scratches or nicks, and they bolted on easy. It took a bit of work to get them flush with the surface. I didn’t have to shim anything, it was pretty flat. I did have to work it into place with a rubber mallet for about 20 minutes though.
Once the wings were on, I moved to the fence. Couldn’t have been easier to install. It bolted on without a problem and I lined it all up with a few soft hits with the rubber mallet. Fence is about 1/32” – 1/16” off the table surface which is good enough for me.
Blade Guard & Riving Knife
This was the hardest part for me. The blade guard assembled no problem, and I clicked it into place to check for alignment with the blade. Using my japanese square, I found the splitter to be in alignment, but it was a tiny tiny bit leaning towards one side. It was leaning towards the fence side by probably 1/64 – 1/32” off the center of the blade. Using the straight edge it still showed it was aligned. So I decided to fire it up … Oh wait … thats right, I forgot I still haven’t run my 220 line … LOL. Because I have to kill the power to the shop to wire it up, I couldn’t get the 220 line done until a Saturday morning. It would have taken about 10 minutes to run the line, but because it was 20 degrees, my hands felt like they had frost-bite and it took almost 1 hour.
Anyways, I ran the line, and fired up the saw. It ran just fine, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of noise/vibration. The 3hp motor has a lower rumbling sound. The blade spinning gives it that high pitch whirring. The table doesn’t vibrate a lot (it passed a two nickel test no problem). But if you put your hand on the table, you can feel that there is a motor running. Again, nothing that caused me to go … “huh, that isn’t right.” I’ve just never used a saw like this and I had no idea what to expect.
For the first test cut, I simply did a small cross cut. It sliced through it so effortlessly I didn’t realize it even cut it. The blade is garbage, but even still, it sliced through the pine like it was air. Amazed at the power of the saw. With the cross cut working just fine, I decided to give it a rip.
I took a 1×6 board and decided to just rip it to about 4” wide. It was only about 36” long so I wasn’t going to be uncomfortable. I lined up the Grip-Tite magnetic featherboard and my push block. As I started the rip, it was going very smooth and effortless feeding. I then got past the back of the blade and into the splitter when I noticed it was getting harder to push. About 1/2” further and I immediately knew something wasn’t right, so I went into lock down mode. I whacked the off swtich with my knee, and kept all my force down on the push block. The blade came to a stop and I unplugged the saw and went into discover mode.
What happened? The culprit was the blade-guard / riving knife. On further investigating, that 1/32” slant to the right of the blade was causing the board to pinch slightly into the fence. The fence was in alignment and wasn’t the culprit. I might toe out the end of the fence 1/64” to give some safety margin in the future though. So here is a picture of the kerf with the riving knife installed to see the problem:
You can barely see it, but the bottom of the riving knife in the photo is actually closer to the fence than the top. When I was setting up the guard/splitter, I was only really focusing on making sure the splitter was in line with the blade. I wasn’t checking to see if the splitter was at 90 to the surface. So I went to work on the alignment process until I was satisfied with the splitter/knife in this kerf. I fired up the saw and it cut much much nicer this time.
I did notice it was still a little harder to push than I wanted, so I might go back over the fence alignment again and the splitter again just to triple check everything. But that said, it could possibly be the blade that sucks.
This saw is awesome. I only checked the blade for parallel with the miters using a combo square, but it seems to be pretty accurate. I’ll borrow my dad’s dial indicator and check everything when it gets warmer. The setup that I had to do (splitter/knife adjustment, rubber mallet the wings/fence rails), ... it was all easy. If I have to bump the table surface to align the miter slots it will only take me probably 10 minutes because the cabinet mounts are easy to access.
I found myself trying to build my wife a thread spool rack just because I wanted to cut more wood with the saw. I’ve made beveled rip cuts from 22 through 45 degrees. 90 degree rip and cross cuts. This thing eats wood and asks for more. I do seriously need a dust collector though. I have sawdust everywhere now. I will also probably make a zero clearance insert soon.
I think my next post will be some shop projects using this saw. Possibly another tool purchase coming as well. I am looking for a bandsaw, jointer, and planer. Stayed tuned for more. Thanks for reading.