|Review by Vrtigo1||posted 06-14-2012 11:00 PM||3454 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
I purchased this 5/25/12 and picked it up from the UPS freight terminal on 6/1/12. I paid the extra thirty something dollars for liftgate delivery to my home, but UPS contacted me and said they wouldn’t be able to deliver it from their terminal to my house for almost an additional week and I didn’t want to wait. I had no trouble getting it home using my dad’s F150. The UPS guys put it on a pallet and loaded it for me with their forklift. It took three 200+ pound men to unload it and I would’ve felt more comfortable if we had a fourth. I’m including this info in case someone is considering purchasing this and picking it up from the freight terminal or direct from Grizzly.
Initial impressions were good. I used an engine lift to set the jointer onto the base cabinet (which isn’t as easy as I thought it would be due to the two “support legs” on the lift that fold down to stabilize it getting in the way). Fit and finish was good. There were a few minor paint scratches, but definitely nothing to write home about and to be honest I would expect this given the price point of this tool being half that of some competitors (Delta, Powermatic, etc).
I did have a few minor initial issues.
Issue 1 – the spring that returns the cutterhead guard to the closed position wasn’t “tight” enough so if I pushed it away from the fence an inch or two (as would happen when edge jointing) it would stay that way and not return to the closed position. If I pushed it all the way open it would function normally.
Issue 2 – the motor pulley is secured to the motor shaft with two set screws. One of those set screws was improperly machines because the supplied hex key wouldn’t fit it. I tried several other hex keys as well and none would fit.
Issue 3 – the belt guard which mounts on the back of the machine under the fence mounting location to cover the belt and prevent things from getting caught in it arrived badly bent.
I contacted Grizzly tech support via e-mail on Sunday evening and on Tuesday morning I received a response from them indicating they were sending replacement parts via UPS ground. I received these parts a few days later and they corrected all of the previously mentioned issues.
The last issue is really more of a complaint about the design of the bulilt-in mobile base. The mobile base consists of two integral wheels on one side of the cabinet and a third wheel on the opposite side which has a lever you step on to raise the machine up off the floor to move it. I’ve found that this works fine for moving the machine around, but even rolling over a smooth concrete floor the third wheel has a tendency to become “unlocked” and randomly set the machine down mid-move. The process of setting the machine back down once you’re done moving it is also pretty “rough” – there’s really not a way to set it back down gently. This doesn’t affect the usability of the machine, and certainly isn’t a problem if your intention is to set the machine in one location and never move it (as mine is). I’m comparing this machine to the mobile bases for my unisaw and Delta 15” planer which are of the same design but don’t have the issue of becoming accidentally unlocked.
As far as actual usage I couldn’t be happier. Adjustments are easy thanks to the parallelogram tables. I checked the knife height against the outfeed table using my oneway multigauge and they were dead on so I didn’t need to adjust the outfeed table. I adjusted the infeed table to be about 10 thousandths lower than the knives and that seems to work well for me. It requires several passes to clean up a board that has a noticeable cup to it, but that doesn’t bother me. I’ve jointed red oak, soft maple, hard maple, walnut and a few 2×4s and the machine has performed great so far. When the wood gets flat, I get the “suction cup” effect on the outfeed table which makes me happy.
I don’t plan on using this machine to do bevels or rabbets, so I haven’t tried using those functions. One thing I will note is that when Grizzly says you need a good DC, they aren’t joking. I have the Harbor Freight DC and have it connected to the jointer with a straight run of about 15’ of 4” PVC to a blast gate to about 3’ of flex hose and I still get some chips blowing back onto the infeed table. Others have said that the inside of the cabinet has a dust chute that is only three sided (i.e. not enclosed on the top) and have reported better performance after adding some plywood or hardboard to enclose the top and I plan to give that a shot.
The pedestal for the control panel is kind of cheesy. While it’s securely mounted, it does flex a bit when pressing the off button. Also, the light system seems backwards to me. When the machine is in off mode, a red light is illuminated. You have to twist the off button so it pops out in order to turn the machine on, and when you do that the red light goes out. I associate red with danger, so I would prefer that the red light came on when the machine has the power safety (which prevents the machine from turning on by pressing the on button) disabled instead of enabled.
All in all I would definitely recommend this tool.