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My first bandsaw - nice saw and features with minor issues

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Review by RandyMorter posted 01-14-2011 09:32 PM 4756 views 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My first bandsaw - nice saw and features with minor issues My first bandsaw - nice saw and features with minor issues No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I ordered this on 12/31/2010 by phone from Grizzly. It was shipped from the Springfield, MO location via UPS Freight to Phoenix, AZ. I ordered it as a will call since I live pretty close to the terminal, I’ve got a F-250 to carry it in, and I didn’t think a semi could get into my housing development (in Phoenix). It arrived at UPS on Thursday, 1/6/2011, 6 days later (not bad considering the holiday and weather).
The box was damaged. The UPS rep opened it on the spot – the unit was okay. The hole in the box and styrofoam were at a cavity in the box and nothing had been touched by what looked like a forklift puncture.
I also ordered the recommended mobile base but it was delivered separately the following day.
I got the unit home and was able to move the box inside with the help of my wife. I assembled the stand without any issue. It was good and heavy, more than I expected. You have to level it which I did somewhat but since I was going to install it on the mobile base I didn’t spend a lot of time on that at that point.
I cleaned the grease off the table and waxed it at that point but learned that the waxing should wait until later.
I waited until the following day to get the base before finishing the assembly because I didn’t want to try to lift the assembled unit onto the mobile base.
The base was a bit more of a problem. The space for the bolts to mount the casters are very cramped. I was able to get the washers and nuts on the bolts using a hemostat. They include instructions for how to build the base around a piece of equipment that requires putting the casters on after the equipment is on the base and I don’t see how you could do that at all.
One of the casters was damaged but Grizzly is sending a replacement no questions asked. Kudos! (In fact I’ve had no issues with their customer service at all – I’ve found them very helpful.)
I got the mobile base assembled and mounted the TS stand on it and levelled it without issue.
My wife helped me lift the saw onto the stand and get it bolted on without issue. I did put a couple of drops of 3in1 oil on the bolts (all of them) during assembly but it wasn’t suggested to do so in the manual. I found it made them thread together easier.
I had a couple of issues after that…
The trunions for the table were on the wrong sides of the table. They’re “universal” in that the table could be mounted, but only one of them had an angle indicator and it was on the back side of the table which didn’t have a corresponding pointer on the trunion mount. I reversed them.
The instructions have you install the table before adjusting the guide bearings but (as I read somewhere else afterwards) it is easier to adjust the bearings without the table in place. I also put some molybdenum grease on the trunions.
When I tried to adjust the table bearing indicator (once the table was levelled) the head of the screw for the pointer stripped out (a phillips head screw). I replaced it with a stainless metric socket head (all of the bolts, etc., are metric).
I had problems adjusting the guide bearings. Remember – it’s my first saw…
The thrust bearing was no problem, nor the adjustment for ensuring the guide bearings are behind the gullet. But to adjust the guides so that they “loosely touch” the blade wasn’t easy. You loosen the locking bolt and then have to twist the guide bearings which are mounted on an offset cam that rides in the guide assembly. The cam didn’t turn easy. I had to pry apart the clamp using a small screw driver to spread it. I took the cams out and put a bit of molybdenum grease on the shaft that goes in the guide assembly. Then I could adjust them a bit easier but I still have to use a screwdriver to spread the clamps. Once I got the bearings where I thought they were good I tightened the locking bolt but that moves the bearings in towards the blade on both sides. You really need to leave the bearings a bit looser than you think before tightening the locking bolt.
The lower guide is even harder since the table is in the way. I found out that I could back the thrust bearing all the way back to get access to the split in the guide assembly to allow me to spread it with a screw driver. Lesson learned – make sure you re-adjust the thrust bearing after adjusting the side bearings if you do it this way!
Another issue I had was (again as I read afterward) I mounted the rail for the fence in the upper holes on the table. It needs to be mounted using the lower holes which I didn’t think were there due to being counter bored and inset compared to the upper holes.
Finally, while adjusting the table so that it was parallel to the blade, I had to write on the table a number of times. I ended up having to remove pencil marks after each adjustment using some mineral spirits which led me to fully re-clean the table top and re-wax it.
I’m still not sure about the blade tension but it seems okay. The blade doesn’t wander. However, the built in tension guage is quite a bit looser than the marking for a 3/8 blade. Maybe it’s because its new. (I’m just using the Grizzly blade right now. I also got a 1/8” because I have a project in mind that I think I may need that small of a blade.)
I haven’t cut much with it since I got it – I’ve been trying to fit dust collection and wheel brushes. I have a 2-1/2” hose on a Ridgid shop vac and was hoping to attach it through an adapter to the 4” port on the saw. I got a 4” to 2-1/2” PVC adapter to try on the saw but the 4” is too big. The instructions have you put 4” hose on the port and clamp it so I’ll have to re-think how to attach my smaller hose.
I cut out a pair of push sticks from a 2×4 (fir?). I had to feed the material slower than I expected, cutting through only the 1.5” (well less actually because I jointed and planed the sides parallel first) but it was my first cut so I wasn’t quite sure if it was normal. Then I ripped the 2x in two to get two matching push sticks. Again, other than the feed rate being slower than I was expecting the cut was fine.
I think it’s a good saw but I don’t have any personal experience to base it on. I’ve looked at others and read a lot of reviews that all pointed me to this saw for the money and 110V, single circuit operation. I like the nice heavy table, the roller guides (even though they seem hard to adjust due to the design), and the miter and fence that come with the machine. The fence does have some play when locked and it’s not as tall as the “re-saw” fences Grizzly sells. The non-locking end of the fence just sits on top of the rail on the opposite side of the table – it doesn’t provide any horizontal force for “pinching” the fence in place. The miter fits snuggly into the track (but it’s loose in my router table track and it doesn’t have any adjustment – but that’s not Grizzly’s problem).
It’s certainly heavy and seems solid. I consider it my most “pro” piece of gear. I’d recommend it but with the caveat that I’m no expert.
—- Update 1/20/2011
I added the little plywood shelf to the stand (2nd picture) so I could have a place to put the miter and fence when I’m not using them. I can probably store new blades there too. I may try to put a clear shower curtain over the openings, attached with magnets, to keep the sawdust out of there.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ




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RandyMorter

227 posts in 1341 days



17 comments so far

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RandyMorter

227 posts in 1341 days


#1 posted 01-14-2011 10:02 PM

Hi Deke -

Thanks for your insight and advice. I am pretty careful about keeping my fingers out of the line of action – especially on my table saw which scares me to use half of the time.

I wasn’t really complaining about the guides, I enjoy adjusting (okay, playing) with the tools almost as much as making a wood project! I used to do some metal machining, though, and recall how much more precise that machinery was in setting it up (at least I think I do – it was about 30 years ago). Perhaps that’s what the Carter blocks give you although I looked at them online and they didn’t seem like a quantum leap of improvement from the pictures. I just wish that there was a locking mechanism and then when unlocked there were screw adjustments for the lateral guide positioning. Even the thumbscrew adjustments would be nice. The other thing is that the shaft the thrust bearing is mounted to has slop perpendicular to the shaft. It seems like it’d be an interesting project to machine the main guide out of a solid piece (I’m not sure aluminum would be enough but I used to do some good precise pieces out of it).

I got it because of a toy airplane I’m designing (which is why I kind of wanted the 1/8” blade). I also want to try some bandsaw boxes and will hopefully start on those this weekend. I also did one Adirondack chair some years ago and cut some curves in the legs using a hand held jigsaw but would like to use the bandsaw for things like that so that both pieces match.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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Dedvw

78 posts in 1531 days


#2 posted 01-15-2011 02:53 AM

I almost learned my lesson on the bandsaw a few months ago. While ripping a 5 inch board I had my hand on the side of the wood right next to the blade. I was using the hand to push the wood and keep it tight against the fence. At one point I pushed and looked down at the board to see that the blade had skewed to the right and came out of the side of the board. The saw made no indication that it happened and I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t look down. Luckly, my hand was past the blade and I looked before moving my hand back.

Now I use push blocks to hold my wood tight against the fence :)

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RandyMorter

227 posts in 1341 days


#3 posted 01-15-2011 04:09 AM

Hi Dedvw -

That made me cringe reading it! I don’t hear much about using featherboards on a bandsaw. I haven’t tried it yet either but it seems like you could use them some of the time. I know they wouldn’t work if you’re re-sawing an irregular shaped piece but if you’re thinning dimensioned lumber it seems like they might work.

Is there a reason no one uses them on bandsaws?

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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Steven H

1114 posts in 1711 days


#4 posted 01-15-2011 05:24 AM

If I did it again, I would get the green version. These white will get dirty easier than you would think.
I learned a lesson, don’t mess with the V-belt.

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dfdye

372 posts in 1688 days


#5 posted 01-15-2011 10:40 PM

Randy,

Thanks for posting the review. I just got the same saw, and I will definitely agree that it is a well-made tool.

Interestingly, I didn’t have any of the issues you mentioned putting mine together. I am not sure if yours slipped through a crack or what, but mine went together with zero problems. When I added the riser block kit, that did make the top wheel sit about 1/16” back of the bottom wheel, but that is simple enough to fix, and honestly not an unexpected problem with the addition of the riser.

One specific thing I noticed is that your experience adjusting the bearing guides seem quite different than mine. It sounds as if your problem with the bearings moving when you tighten them down is from some slop you put into the bearing mounts when you spread them out with your screw driver. I am not sure how you were adjusting the bearings prior to spreading the mounts, but I found that a hex wrench in the screw holding the bearing in place makes a great handle to allow pretty fine adjustments of the bearing position, even if the bearing mount is a little tight. On my saw, at least, this is pretty easy to do, and it keeps the cams tight enough so that they don’t move when you lock down the screw to fix the bearings in place.

I will agree that the adjustment on the thrust bearing could be better dampened, but I didn’t have much of a problem adjusting that either.

Honestly, I am not sure why there seems to be this difference, but it sounds like you got your saw set up how you like it, and that really is all that matters in the end! Have fun!

-- David from Indiana --

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RandyMorter

227 posts in 1341 days


#6 posted 01-16-2011 09:42 AM

Hi David,

I tried moving the bearings by using an allen wrench in the bearing mounts but they wouldn’t budge, even when I had the locking bolt all the way loose. I was hoping that’d work too. I tried turning them by hand before that. It wasn’t until I spread the mount by using a screwdriver in the cuts that I could get them to move. Based on what you’ve said, I think I’ll contact Grizzly to see if there’s an issue and maybe if I can get different set of guides.

I put on an 1/8” blade tonight and found the lower guide block mount had to be adjusted. The guide bearings could NOT be moved back far enough to keep them behind the blade gullet. The lower guide assembly has quite a bit of adjustment by loosening 2 10mm hex head bolts but I had to remove the table to get to them (I don’t have any open ended metric wrenches and my crescent wrenches were too thick and you can’t get a socket on them.

I found I could remove the table with both of the rails on it when I had the 1/8” blade mounted. I loosened the tension release and was able to twist the table around. Also, with the table off I went ahead and aligned the guides which was quite a bit easier.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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dfdye

372 posts in 1688 days


#7 posted 01-16-2011 09:45 PM

Randy,

If you couldn’t move the guides with the hex wrench, then yea, I do think something was wrong. It may have just been a lubrication issue. I had trouble moving the guide bar (not sure if this is the right name) up and down, and after I worked some white lithium grease in it, it moves quite well. I certainly would want a tight fit on all of those guides to cut down on the problem you seem to be having now with the guides moving when you tighten them. You may want to try tightening them back down with a big pair of pliers (back the jaws with something soft, or some shim stock if you have it) before hitting Grizzly up for a new set.

Either way, thanks for the follow up, and good luck getting it running well. Sorry you didn’t have the good luck I did with mine!

-- David from Indiana --

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woodworkerscott

360 posts in 1464 days


#8 posted 01-17-2011 02:26 AM

Thanks for sharing your experience. I have been curious if they would be good bandsaws. I own a Jet 14 inch and am not impressed at all. Like deke said, it is common to have little problems.
I became experienced long ago on Powermatic, before they merged with Jet (WMH Tool Group as they are known today.), when they were made great. I hope they are still made well despite their association with Jet.

I am in the market for another bandsaw so your information was helpful. Thanks!

-- " 'woodworker'.....it's a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

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Mike

302 posts in 1338 days


#9 posted 01-17-2011 02:29 AM

Randy & Dave,

I too also picked up this band saw. I didn’t have a single problem assembling it other than one of the trunion locator pin holes needed to be cleared out with a 1/4” bit. I did also do a re-saw on it and had the blade track towards the face away from the fence. I think the blade was too new and not tensioned fully. The only thing that would make this saw great was if the tensioning handle was a T shape instead of a plastic knob. When a load is applied to the spring, the handle becomes difficult to grip. I might call Griz to see if they have an alterate solution since I don’t want to bend the tensioning knob’s rod.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - http://www.termitecrafts.com

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twokidsnosleep

1063 posts in 1624 days


#10 posted 01-28-2011 09:30 AM

I love my white polar bear. She cuts sweetly with an aftermarket blade.
White tends to hide dust and dirt better than dark colors (I’ve owned both colors in cars and white hides dirt)
I will get more of the polar bear series

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

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Moron

4666 posts in 2544 days


#11 posted 01-28-2011 11:01 AM

an awefully long diatribe on a short history with a white tool

use it everyday, all day, for a decade

see if she still loves you like the day you bought it

then you, me, and her can chat :)

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View MOJOE's profile

MOJOE

547 posts in 1919 days


#12 posted 01-29-2011 09:47 PM

Hey buddy, if you haven’t figured out the dust collection sizing yet, just put a few wraps of tape around the dust port until it fits the 4-inch adapter you bought…....not the prettiest, but should work fine.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

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RandyMorter

227 posts in 1341 days


#13 posted 01-30-2011 09:02 AM

David from Indiana – thanks – I may still contact them to find out about the guides. Lately I’ve just had the one blade on and haven’t adjusted the guides so it’s been on the back burner.

Woodworker Scott – before I got this I found an overwhelming number of good reviews of the unit. I think it’s a really good tool but I don’t have any experience on any other saws.

Mike – a t-handle for the tension WOULD be great!

Scott H. Burnaby – I agree with you about the white hiding the dust better than green. At least so far most of what I’ve cut has created pretty blond dust (other than the purple heart). I was thinking the same thing as I vacuumed it off – if I had the Green unit the dust would sure be more obvious. Plus, it’s cheaper!

Moron – thanks for the comment.

MOJOE – I had done that and it works great, other than the only duct tape I had was flourescent green! I also did the tooth brush mod on the lower wheel.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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dfdye

372 posts in 1688 days


#14 posted 01-31-2011 05:06 AM

Moron, I have a cheap Craftsman contractor saw that is objectively a dog, but that I love anyway. I’m quickly closing in on 10 years, and it keeps performing better every year I own it and tweak it a little more. Where does that fit on your scale? :)

-- David from Indiana --

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Moron

4666 posts in 2544 days


#15 posted 01-31-2011 05:27 AM

happy for you dfdye, :)

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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