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Just what I wanted

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Review by Vrtigo1 posted 803 days ago 3316 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Just what I wanted No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

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.




View Vrtigo1's profile

Vrtigo1

430 posts in 1622 days



9 comments so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6647 posts in 2610 days


#1 posted 803 days ago

Hi guy;

Sounds like you’re pretty happy with the machine. What we used to do in the shop is set the jointer to remove 1/16” per pass. This way we can rip a board to 1/8” wider than the finished width we want and joint both edges.

But we found if we use a rip sled and table saw to straighten the edges of our boards we get a whole lot more accomplished. Saves the jointer knoves a considerable amount of work.

It gets used mostly for surfacing one face.

If your machine is anything like the Delta, you can loosen the set screw holding the fence and turn it towards the fence. That will tighten the tension so it covers the blades completely.

Have fun,

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View Vrtigo1's profile

Vrtigo1

430 posts in 1622 days


#2 posted 803 days ago

Lee,

I don’t know anything about the delta, but Grizzly have incorporated a stop on the guard so that it can only spin a set amount. It is kind of hard to explain, but what you suggested was my first thought to fix the problem and I discovered that this stop on the guard prevents you from doing that. They also made part of the metal post that the guard pivots on flat so you get full registration with the set screw, so even if you could simply rotate the guard a bit to take up the slop I have a feeling it would eventually come loose from having the set screw contacting a round surface. The new spring they sent cleared the problem right up though.

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1641 days


#3 posted 803 days ago

Good stuff and congrats! Thanks for the review. When I move into a larger shop this is the one I’d want. Did you consider the spiral version?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Vrtigo1's profile

Vrtigo1

430 posts in 1622 days


#4 posted 802 days ago

I did consider the spiral version, but decided against it because I couldn’t justify the extra cost for a simple hobby shop where the jointer will only see maybe 5 hours of use a year. The finish coming off the standard HSS knives is very good, but like anything I suspect it’ll get worse as the knives dull. I think the big advantage to the spiral cutter (other than being able to fix knicks easily) is that you don’t have worry about setting knife height, but I figure I’ll be changing knives once every year or two so it wasn’t really a big selling point to me.

I wanted to add a follow up – today I received a call out of the blue from Grizzly letting me know that they’d read my review and would be refunding the cost of the liftgate service since I didn’t end up using it. That right there is what I call proactive customer service. While this isn’t my first Grizzly tool, it’s the first one I’ve bought new and I can say I will definitely be looking at Grizzly in the future when I upgrade other tools.

Hey Grizzly – if you read this feel free to send me some free stuff. Maybe I can be to you what Mark Spagnuolo is to Powermatic! Hehe.

View Rob Vicelli's profile

Rob Vicelli

96 posts in 1322 days


#5 posted 802 days ago

Thanks for the review. Looks like a nice machine, I do not own any grizzly products yet but it seems most people are really happy with them.

-- Rob V

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3511 posts in 1109 days


#6 posted 801 days ago

i am curious and too lazy to go see this information but you could shar it how big is this jointer and what was the price I have a 6 inch 54 a from powermatic and i love it I paid 900 dollars for it so i am curious what a good deal is compared to my 54a

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

480 posts in 1770 days


#7 posted 797 days ago

On the DJ-20, which this is a clone of this, you can increase the tension on the guard by first loosening the socket cap screw in the top of the pivot point/axle. Then with some adjustable pliers (I covered the teeth w/ duct tape) grip just the top disk and turn clockwise to increase tension with one hand. Finally, while maintaining tension on the pliers, tighten the socket cap screw with your other hand.

thedude50, the PM 54a is a 6” jointer with dovetailed slides whereas the DJ-20 and its clones (G0490) are 8” jointers with parallelogram movement tables. I know 2” doesn’t sound like a lot, but for some reason all 8-inchers seem to be twice as big as their 6” counterparts.
For comparison, I got my DJ-20 w/ a Byrd shelix head used for $800.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15613 posts in 1497 days


#8 posted 797 days ago

it’s a nice looking machine. Congratulations.

Rufus Carswell

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Vrtigo1's profile

Vrtigo1

430 posts in 1622 days


#9 posted 795 days ago

thedude50, it is an 8” with 72 or 76” overall table length and I believe I paid approx $900 so with shipping it was about $1050. As I recall you were trying to help me get my old rigid jointer to work properly and I was getting to the point of wondering if the problem was me or the machine and I can say that it was definitely the machine as the new one works perfectly.

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