|Review by bill4123||posted 08-18-2011 03:28 AM||12707 views||1 time favorited||13 comments|
- Grizzly G0634XP 12" Planer/Jointer with Spiral Cutterhead
- Brand: Grizzly | Category: Jointers
This review is very long and specific. If you’re in a hurry I suggest reading the cons for both the planer and jointer, the finish quality cheat sheet, and the verdict and coming back to the review later.
The first thing I did was put it on the HTC3000 mobile base. The base fits as well as I expected but could use better wheel bearings as this thing is extremely heavy. My 135 lb. self can move it on my own with some hard pushing though. After I got off all the shipping grease I could I went right to work with my new entertainment center project. and some picture frames.
I ran a few test pieces of pine through and everything seemed to be setup well enough so I started with my walnut stock. the spiral cutter is listed as a 12” but when I started face jointing I couldn’t see how I could go any wider than 11.5”...the cutter just isn’t wide enough. I really like the cutters though: they are relatively quiet, leave a smooth finish, and the shavings are very small so there isn’t much chance of a clog in the dust collection.
When we were face jointing 11.5” black walnut I probably could have done it alone but only barely. The machine never bogged but I could barely push the wood over the cutter while removing about 1/32”. A softer wood with fewer burls and less width would have been like butter. I did a non-stop face joint of 1/32” removal on 6” wide black walnut for about 2 hours and although I felt warmth coming from the cabinet when I was cleaning up I felt no signs of the tool getting tired during its use.
When we were edge jointing the same 11.5” boards we felt the fence flexing. There was no flex in a direction that would effect the result of the cut but it’s still annoying. The length of the fence bothers me more than the stiffness of it. I spend most of my time with my hands on the outfeed side of the cutter so if my hands or push pads slip or the wood moves forward suddenly I naturally move away from the cutter. The fence covers the entire length of the infeed table but only a little more than a foot of the outfeed table. This doesn’t give me much to push against when edge jointing. When I’m edge jointing pieces only a few feet long or shorter this isn’t a problem at all but when I’m edge jointing stuff on the order of 6 feet long it would be nice to have a few extra inches on the fence. I would like a longer and stiffer fence.
Cons so far with the jointer:
The cutter isn’t a full 12”
The safety guard behind the fence is cheesy but effective.
The safety on the operator side isn’t mounted properly so even when fully closed some of the cutter is exposed.
The fence isn’t as long or as stiff as I would like.
I’m using the Rockler wall mounted dust collection system and although the Grizzly machine isn’t perfect, the dust collection never clogged and after filling up about 2 lawn and leaf bags worth of dust I only had about a soda can worth of dust so I’m pretty happy. There are a few stray bits of dust that spit out the front onto the planer table so I have to blow them away before planing my next piece but the planer dust collection works great with just the 1 4” hose. I get more dust spitting out when jointing than when planing but the jointer dust collection with 1 4” hose is about the same as a table saw using 1 4” hose so it’s still pretty good. I’m going to try using a y-adaptor while jointing to see if using both ports makes a significant difference.
We had a few instances of a board going in slightly crooked and it jumped a guard rail on the edge of the planer table and gouged the board very badly. Some of the boards had a jagged edge but several did not. Seriously, an extra 1/8” in height on the guard rails would have prevented all instances. I had to go from 0.82” down to 0.62” just to fix the gouge and this was on a 70”x11.5” plank of black walnut so it wasn’t a cheap gouge. I am having a few problems with the spiral cutterhead also. There are 32 cutters which seems nice until you check out the picture of the walnut I posted. Make note of the evenly spaced lines across the burl. These lines are from the cutter while planing. When looking at the spiral cutterhead you can see how there is room for almost double the number of cutters IF the head was machined further. Also in the picture you will see the tear-out in between the lines. This is because the feed rate is too fast. When I joint that fast I get the same tear-out. When I joint about half that speed I get a flawless finish. Grizzly really needs to slow down the feed rate on the spiral cutterhead model.
More on the planer feature: I also seem to have a problem with snipe about 3” away from the infeed and outfeed ends and I am convinced it’s from me using inferior roller stands. Thick about how this style of machine works. When you adjust the thickness you are raising or lowering the table and the cutter remains stationary. This means your stands also need to be raised or lowered to give you a perfect infeed and outfeed. If the stands are the wrong height then as soon as the second feed roller grabs when you are starting or the first lets go when you are finishing you get a change in the angle of the board relative to the table. The stands I was using weren’t meant for this much precision or accuracy particularly in a garage with a floor as non-uniform as mine. A few extra inches of infeed and outfeed (or an optional infeed and outfeed extension) would give me a better chance of combatting the snipe even while using inferior stands. I may very well find some type of infeed/outfeed attachment from someone else’s machine and adapt it to work with this one just so I don’t have to fuss with the stands so much.
Thank you everyone for giving me suggestions on how to reduce tear-out. I haven’t yet tried any but I can safely say my cutters are plenty capable of giving a beautiful finish and the feed rate on the planer is my problem. I tried face jointing a scrap about the same feed rate as the planer and got similar tear-out. I then tried a much slower feed rate while face jointing and got a beautiful finish with absolutely no tear-out. I am 100% pleased with the finish the cutters leave at this slower rate. I have seen varying results on the finish quality depending on the types of wood I am planing. I have a cheat sheet below.
Finish Quality from Planer:
Black Walnut – lots of tear-out (C-)
medium figured Cherry – some tear-out (B-)
mildly figured Red Oak – nice finish (A)
Cons so far with the planer:
The guard rails on the edges of the planer table aren’t tall enough.
The guard rails are painted white instead of being raw metal.
I really want more infeed and outfeed on the planer bed.
The feed rate is much faster than I would like. It gives tear-out on the burls of the walnut and cherry I ran through it. It is the biggest con of this machine and I would consider it THE deal breaker if you can afford the Jet model.
I love how easy the machine is to use and how versatile it is. I will hone my craft on it over the next few years at which point I may or may not switch to a dedicated planer.
Best Piece of Advice for This Machine:
Face joint and plane your boards to about 95% of perfect and then use the joiner to SLOWLY face joint both sides. This eliminates all snipe issues, allows me to feed the wood as slowly as needed to avoid tear-out, allows me to get rid of the streaks left on the cast-iron side of the planed board left by particles sandwiched between the board and the iron, and leaves the surface much smoother in general.
Last updated and revised 5/16/2012