|Review by Alpiner||posted 05-15-2011 11:24 PM||8946 views||2 times favorited||17 comments|
If you had read my previous review of Grizzly’s G0715P hybrid saw that I received week before last, you know that I had a serious unsafe issue with it, and I received permission from Grizzly to return it. It’s been reboxed, and will be picked up by UPS freight Tuesday. I was leery of getting the same saw again, so I went ahead and ordered a new G0690 cabinet saw, which is what I was considering ordering in the first place. I just wasn’t sure if the $500 price difference was worth it. I went out on a limb ordering the G0690 before being reimbursed for the G0715P. It has to be inspected upon receipt to verify the problem, and I wasn’t sure how long that would take.
The G0690 came within two days of ordering it, but St. Louis is only 200 miles up I-44 from Springfield’s warehouse. The saw is about 100 lbs heavier than the G0715P so I removed the top before taking the base unit to my basement workshop. I was very pleased to see that the top had a much nicer milled surface compared to the G0715P. You could see somewhat of a reflection when observed at a low angle. I put the saw in my HTF mobile base. The tape on the saw’s base (not painted as I had thought) kept getting hung up on the exposed bolts of the base, so I removed the tape. Grizzly needs to spend an extra few bucks, and have a painted base, not tape.
I was really disappointed when I unpacked the extension wings. They were not nearly as nicely milled, and maybe weren’t as good in grinding quality as the G0715P wings. So I had a very nice looking, almost shiny table surface, and two dull and actually rough extension wings. I spent a little time and some elbow grease using T-9 lubricant and 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper, and they’re much better. They’re about as smooth to the touch as the table surface, but not quite as shiny. Close, but not quite. There are some discrepancies, but not more than .004”, across the entire top surface using my 5’ straightedge and feeler gauges. I doubt that will have much effect on woodcutting, though. The black extension table is a little swayback in the middle, but that’s better than having it high in the middle. Grizzly should have a center through bolt connecting it to the cast iron extension wing for a height adjustment. I don’t have the power switch mounted, as per the photo, because Grizzly needs to send the two missing mounting screws and washers.
The saw went together pretty easily, especially since I had practice assembling the G0715P first. The overall fit and finish, except for the extension wings, is excellent. I need to tinker with it a little more, but I can’t get the clear panels of the blade guard to set flat on the table surface. They’re about a 1/4” off the surface at the front. Maybe they’re supposed to be that way; however, the G0715P’s blade guard set flat. One nice feature is the nylon filaments that cover the curved opening of the blade height control wheel. Nice touch.
Since I had removed the table top, I had to set the miter gauge parallel to the blade. What a breeze that was compared to the G0715P with the trunnions mounted to the underside of the table top. I’m glad I had removed the top because it made it quite easy to remove all the cosmoline that was gobbed all around the trunnions and gears, and to coat on white grease. With the top on there’s no way to have seen all the cosmoline because the top would have hid it. Using my TS Aligner, Jr. and dial indicator, the blade was .003” off from being perpendicular to the table top. Some tinkering with the stop bolt corrected the problem. The blade was also off .003” at the 45 degree position; however, I have yet to find the stop bolt, even trying to go by the picture in the manual. That will have to wait for now.
I also had to do some adjusting of the fence to get it parallel to the blade. I actually have it set to toe out from the blade about .002”, just to be safe from any possible kickback. I won’t be installing Grizzly’s tape rule as I found it to be off-measurement slightly compared to my steel rule. I will go to Woodcraft, and get their Starrett tape. The saw is definitely more quiet than the G0715P. I put some weatherstripping around the motor cover, which probably helped a little.
So is the saw worth $500 more than the G0715P? I’d say ‘yes’ if the extension wings were the same quality grind as the table surface. I’ll know better after I’ve used the saw for awhile compared to my previous 15-year old Jet contractor saw. All-in-all, though, I’d say the G0690 is a bargain at $1400 with shipping compared to, say, Jet or Powermatic. Delta’s Unisaw and Sawstop are in a different league, and can’t be used for comparison.