|Review by Szczuldo||posted 11-11-2010 07:43 PM||8266 views||3 times favorited||16 comments|
So I got this saw some weeks ago and it spent a week sitting assembled before I finally got the 220V circuit wired in the garage. I came from a cheap aluminium top table saw, the table was extremely small and fence extremely lacking. I may have had the blade miraculously adjusted to within 0.001” but that only helped my crosscuts. I even designed table extensions so that I can attach a real fence to it, but after many hours in solidworks I finally discovered that was not going to work well in the long run.
The first large power tool of my garage, more to come soon (hopefully)
Finally getting fed up with what I had, I jumped on the low prices on the Grizzly Polar Bear series. I considered pushing my budget even more and getting a true cabinet saw but I was already pushing it (since I was not expecting to buy a saw in the first place.) I still need a router table, most likely that bench dog right side extension one, and that also played a role in me getting the hybrid saw.
Shipping and initial setup
The Grizzly was shipped to me with no damage amazingly enough. After unpacking I tried lifting it off the pallet…man was it heavy. I did not think that 400 pounds was that heavy, little did I know…it was bolted
to the pallet that I was also standing on. After I figured that part out I got it off the pallet without problems and onto the garage floor. With the saw I also bought the shop-fox mobile base.
First thing was building the base around the saw so I could wheel it around. No issues here and the base works great, I would have preferred 4 swivel casters as opposed to 2 but it does the job. I put the extensions on by myself. They were manageable until I got a phone call in the middle of holding one of them up. The extensions drooped and needed to be shimmed by two layers of clear tape, but now they are perfect. The fence rails were simple to put on, the front was a bit bent, probably shipping damage that I did not see. The rail still went on fine and no further issues came from that slight bend.
The large handles make adjusting the angle and height of theblade very simple. The entire system moves extremely smoothly. 90° and 45° stops are adjusted by means of collars on the threaded rod which rotates the assembly. It was a bit difficult reaching the 45° stop.
I had expected to have to adjust the blade to be parallel with the miter slot. I was pleased to discover that the run out from the factory was between 0.001” and 0.002” but I knew I could do better. I noticed a small panel screwed onto the back of the saw right where the rear trunnion bolts should be. Discovering this made reaching the right rear (as seen from front) trunnion bolt very easy. I am not sure if other hybrid saws have this as well. Even though I’m sure adjusting the table to the blade, as on true cabinet saws, is easier I cannot imagine it being significantly easier than adjusting this saw.
The rear opening to reach the trunnions, dispite it looking tight, there is plenty of clearance for the upper bolts
In the end, I had my blade to <0.001”, now it is time to adjust the fence. This ended up being a bit more frustrating than I had expected. The rear bolts that adjust the fence are very easy to move, which makes me feel like I’d be making adjustments often.
The measuring tape was not attached to the rail. That is one of those things that I feel should be done at the factory. More likely than not, they have a machine which can glue the rulers on straighter than I can. My
method consisted of me, a caliper, and a second person. I peeled off a bit of the backing and attached the very tip to the rail. I measured this distance and then moved the caliper over. While my helper held the tape down I pulled the backing out from it. I think the problem was that I did not tighten the calipers much and I had some slip at one point which explains the variation in distance from the edge. In the end, the measuring scale accuracy doesn’t matter too much as long as you are consistent.
I did not even open the box for the stock saw blade, I set that aside and put in my freud thin kerf combination. Blade changes are done with only one wrench. There is an arbor lock that you hold down with your other hand. It’s convenient, but doing it with two wrenches is not that hard either. The blade guard/splitter assembly goes on without tools, just pull out a pin and it goes in and out easily. The riving knife works the same way. I have been able to use it with my thin kerf blades (freud glue line rip in particular) without issue. The manual says that thin kerf blades should not be used but in the case of freud blades they are sufficiently wide enough.
You can see the Arbor lock and thumb pin to remove riving knife.
Out of the box I was not as pleased with the fence as the others that I have played around with. Someone mentioned waxing the rails. I do not know why that did not occur to me. After a couple coats of Johnson’s paste wax the fence glides over the rails very smoothly. The fence adjustment bolts (all but the parallelism rear bolts) have thumb screws on them to lock them. This has given me hope that those adjustments will not move over time. The rear bolts, on the other hand, move extremely easy and I feel like if I look at it wrong it’ll go out of parallel. So I’m going to have to buy some loc-tite and adjust and forget. The front bolts really do not do too much in my opinion. They might make sliding of the fence smoother but compared to the others that I have played with, there is little difference. Of course they don’t hinder the effectiveness of the fence either.
Thumb screws to lock the position of those bolts.
First power-up and initial performance thoughts
Once I finally got my 220V circuit done, I quickly powered up the saw. It sounds like something was slipping, but in the excitement I let it slide. Even on a mobile base, the saw passes the nickel test. I couldn’t for the life of my stand a nickel on end but was able to with a quarter, which is thinner and not even that fell. I finally did get the nickel to stand. This thing is much, much quieter than the cheap saw I had before.
I had some molding that needed to be cut to length, so I pulled out my finishing blade (also a freud
thin kerf) and made some cuts. The stock miter gauge is still in the box, I bought the Incra 1000SE. Cuts were excellent, on my old saw you could even hear the motor change pitch when cutting thin molding.
I also ripped some walnut. I was glad I had the riving knife in, the wood closed up and without it I’m sure something unpleasant may have happened. The cuts were smooth and width consistent along the 4.5’ length of the board.
This is a big concern for me as I had asthma as a child. For the most part it is gone. I also have bad allergies and the fine does not play well with my body. I already wear a mask with hepa filters but some dust collection solutions at the tool help as well. My biggest problem right now is I just moved, and I have limited use of the garage at the new place. I want to buy a dust collector but I just do not have the room right now. Once I re-organize the garage I should have plenty of room. I do all my cutting with the garage door fully open and the saw near the door. Even without dust collector attached I am impressed at what little amount actually gets flung out at me. Of course when I’m ripping long stock there are some shavings that come flying at me. There is a shroud covering the blade under the table which means the dust is forced downward and not out the various holes in the front. The bottom of the cabinet is sloped towards the port but it’s not sealed
around the edges so some dust ends up on the floor. If your saw will be stationary chances are you will not notice this but since mine moves constantly I see it.
Sloped bottom to the 4” port on the right side
So far I am pleased with the saw. The mobile base…I’m not so sure about. Earlier today I discovered that one of the wheels was not even touching the ground most of the time. Not sure what moved, but I’ll be
looking into that as it was not that way when I initially set it up. So the slipping problem…that was the belt, I completely forgot to tension it. Excitement of a new saw, I was bound to overlook something. I no longer hear the squeak of the belt slipping at startup or when I feed fast.
If you are looking for a new saw, the Grizzly G0715P hybrid saw is a good buy. It is cheaper than similar models from other companies, why? Same reason Sony is more expensive. Does it mean the expensive stuff is any better or any worse? More likely than not, it’s the exact same thing.
I believe I covered everything. If someone wants specific pictures I’ll be glad to post more, just ask. Now I just need to get some more tools.