|Review by Tennessee||posted 07-14-2012 11:37 AM||5444 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
Finally pulling the trigger on a new, 17” bandsaw for my larger jewelry box line shaped like the instruments I build, I had to wait a few weeks for my saw. Finally arriving at my day job for unloading, crate and all were carefully inserted onto skids into my Chevy Suburban by 6 guys so I could take it home. Friday the 13th of July I carefully slid it out with the help of my John Deere and some oak ramps, and carefully soon had it upright, unpacked, and finally in position in my shop. Not bad for 90 minutes alone. But it was a hot and sticky day, and sweat was running down my glasses. This would later cause me to not read every page provided by Grizzly….
The machine went together well, and I was using the main manual that came with the saw. I glanced at what looked like an accessory page that came with the saw manual, but set it aside. Had I turned that thin packet over, I would have realized it was a manual insert that showed a new and better bridge that used to be reserved for the 19” saws.
As assembly went together, I tested things manually, and all seemed well. I finally got the bridge box open, and using the main manual it quickly became apparent that this bridge would not bolt on – it didn’t even seem to be the right bridge or table.
I stopped and called Grizzly, still not looking at the manual insert that I thought was an accessory page.
Here’s the kicker – the CS guy did not have this manual insert on his computer and also was working off the main booklet, which showed the old table and bridge. Whoops!
We decided together that I had the wrong table, wrong bridge, (we were both wrong), and they are supposed to be sending me the older unit.
But since the table was bolted on, I figured I could use the saw without a bridge, so off to HD I went for a cordset. While driving I got to thinking about what they did send me, and that those flat standoffs in the bridge packet would fit on my table, so when I got back home I put the bridge on, (as it would go all along!), and I proceeded to wire up the cordset. The saw runs true and smooth, and I love the magnetic brake. (More on that in a minute.)
I then went to the website, and looked at my saw online, and saw a bridge with the extruded aluminum rails and a short, stocky cast bridge. The first saw on their website online Friday, July 13th with the large bridge with the solid chrome rod was the G0514X2F. Hmmm.
Fast forward to this morning, July 14th, and I went down to my shop thinking I will tell all about this on my favorite forum, when I finally picked up that “accessory page”, which turned out to be a new manual insert that obviously even the CS reps at Grizzly don’t have loaded yet!
Then I went to my computer and lo’ and behold…the pictures on the site have changed, and my G0513X2BF now is shown with the new style bridge! And I have a work order with Grizzly to send me a new table and bridge! I guess I should cancel that…but after having to change out the 70 lb. motor that failed in 10 seconds on my 15” spiralhead planer by myself, with my crappy back and arthritic knees, maybe I’ll just see what they send.
This saw basic model has been reported on this site in less appointed models, suffice to say that the blade that came with it I got one good cut out of, then in the trash it went. A new 1/2” Timberwolf is now riding onboard. Everything about the saw is exactly as I wanted. It cuts true, set up perfectly, square, and easily passed the nickel test. I think it might pass a dime test if I could get one to set up on it’s side. Wheels were coplaner, and my only gripe about the roller and thrust guide bearings is the thrust bearing on the bottom, the allen screw is a bitch to get at when you change a blade. And everything is painted or is flat black down there, including the bottom of the table, it’s like looking into a black hole.
But the best part, the part some have resisted buying on this site, has got to be that magnetic brake.
If I had a penny for every second over the last 40 years I’ve stood in front of a bandsaw waiting for the blade to stop…well, let’s just say I would be on some island somewhere.
Later in the day, after all was set up and I was into some bandsaw jewelry boxes, I decided to use my Porter-Cable for a drawer cutout, since the Grizzly was sporting the 1/2” blade, and my PC had a 1/4” blade on it. The box I designed forced me to do multiple “backout” cuts, where you stop the saw, wait for the blade to stop, back it out of the cut, reverse it, blah, blah, we all been there.
After about three of these, I looked over at the Grizzly and I quickly realized how much of my life I have spent waiting for bandsaw blades to stop!
This is definitely one of the best features of this saw, and I am really glad I popped the extra coin for it. It stops cleanly and smoothly in about 3.5 seconds, whereas my much smaller PC takes about 12 seconds to stop. I can’t imagine how long it would take a standard G0513X2 to stop with those cast wheels, and I don’t have to keep my leg on the pedal. I just tap it, and 3.5 seconds later, the saw is stopped, or I can hit the stop button and same applies. It’s kind of like having a power recliner in your TV room. You don’t need it, but doggone, is it nice!
One caveat: There is a key switch on this unit, and Grizzly says in the manual that if left in the on position you will keep the magnetic brake engaged. They mention unneeded power consumption, but what they are really telling you is that the brake solenoid is still activated, and all solenoids have a slight vibration to them due to 60HZ hum, so you will greatly shorten the life of your magnetic brake solenoid if you leave the switch on.
I noticed on another forum one poster decided to wire his key switch across, which would cause his brake to stay on 24/7. Solenoids fail, no use in accellerating that.
On dust collection, I use Rigid vacuum cleaners with fine particle filters, (they call them HEPA, not!), and I simply put a 4” to 2 1/2” adopter on the upper discharge with my Rigid, and it caught 95% of the dust and fines, and almost nothing made it to the bottom. I had almost nothing on the tabletop, on a 5” high resaw. There is another port on the bottom in the back, which I think together would really clean it up if you have the system to pull that much air through twin 4 inchers.
Other than that, this is a fine saw, and the only reason I am kicking it down a star is the CS rep did not know that the bridge/table had been upgraded, the website was still not, (until today), and it caused me an extra hour or two in figuring out the changes. Yeah, yeah, I know, the manual insert was there. See how excited you get with your first 12” resaw capable bandsaw comes home and how much you read the manual and inserts when you get yours! Ha!
-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com