Helical Cutterhead Grizzly G0490X vs Powermatic 60HH

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Forum topic by darthford posted 10-09-2013 09:48 PM 6722 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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608 posts in 1946 days

10-09-2013 09:48 PM

I’m trying to decide between these two machines, Powermatic 60HH $2,444 vs Grizzly G0490 $1,445. I can’t seem to talk myself into the Grizzly which is bugging me because its $1,000 cheaper and a parallelogram vs the Powermatic older style dovetail.

So lets talk helical cutter heads for starters, has anyone used the Grizzly helical cutter head on extremely figured maple?

I have used a Byrd Shelix planer cutter head on figured maple before so I know what it can do. The Grizzly cutter head while helical, is still a straight cut with fewer inserts so I am concerned about tear out.

The Powermatic cutter head is not a Byrd Shelix its a Taiwan clone which for the $1,000 difference in price is a bit irritating. But the Powermatic cutter head is both helical and shearing like the Byrd Shelix and uses the Byrd Shelix inserts.

Some other differences in favor of the Powermatic, cutter head RPM is 7,000 on the Powermatic vs 4,800 on the Grizzly. The PM has a longer, better fence with an anti-scratch insert and upgraded fence controls. It has a more modern large panic stop button, owners complained the button panel on the Grizzly was flimsy. While the Grizzly tables are 3 inches longer overall the outfeed table is actually shorter than the Powermatic. PM motor is made in Taiwan vs Grizzly motor made in China. I don’t like the funky aluminum table ends on the Grizzly near the cutter head vs all cast iron on the PM and read one owner complaining they were poorly fit.

Things in favor of the Grizzly 3hp vs 2hp (if you can believe the specs), superior mobile base, serpentine belt drive vs V belt on the PM, parallelogram not sure how much of an advantage that is really. The $1,000 saved would go a long way towards a bandsaw.

Your thoughts/opinions?

10 replies so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2314 days

#1 posted 10-09-2013 10:09 PM

Powermatic 60 gets my vote, but I have a 1996 (?) PM 60, made in USA and installed a Byrd Shelix in April. I know I’m one of the few that prefers PM, but I’ve had great luck with them, even the ones made in the Asian rim as such production is to PM standards. 2hp is plenty of hp for the PM 60, and I installed a segmented belt years ago (shortly after I bought it). My philosophy has always been to buy the best I could afford as it has always proved worth it to me, I never feel I have to (or want to) upgrade, and I’m simply not a Grizzly fan, even though we have one of the mother Grizzly stores in my town where I can actually go in to see, feel and compare in person. Again, JMHO.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#2 posted 10-09-2013 10:24 PM

Most of your post sounds like you want the PM why not just go for it. I own two spiral head Grizzly tools ,a 12” jointer and a 20” planner both have served me well and plane figured wood better than any tool I’ve own previously. Don’t let someone talk you into something other than what you want if you can afford the price difference.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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608 posts in 1946 days

#3 posted 10-10-2013 02:37 AM

You know I just about had myself talked into the Powermatic then it hit me…I don’t have to be that concerned with the quality of the jointer finish since once jointed flat I’ll be running the stock through my Powermatic 15HH anyway. This eliminated some of the Powermatic advantages like cutter head and RPM. There’s still some things I don’t like about the Grizzly like those aluminum table inserts but considering I could buy a jointer and a band saw for the price of the Powermatic…

View clafollett's profile


114 posts in 2677 days

#4 posted 10-11-2013 12:17 AM

Hey darth, how about going with the G0490 with straight cutter head and then order the Byrd head at the same time. I know Grizzly sells the Byrd head directly on their site. Its a better option than Grizzly’s helix cutters which are straight, not angled. Better than knives but not as good as the Byrd Shelix head. It will add a few hundred to your order though and you will have to do a minor bit of work to your 490 before you can use it.

I’m happy with my G0656P with the traditional knives but have to admit, if I had the spare change, I would upgrade the head unit just to save on time for blade sharpening and setting the blades when done.

-- Don't mind me, I'm just soaking up knowledge

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608 posts in 1946 days

#5 posted 10-11-2013 12:36 AM

I’d have to look into the swap, I did such a swap on a Grizzly planer once and it was a giant pain plus required a hydraulic press. That’s one of the reasons I dropped the coin on the Powermatic 15HH this time around. This is not a bad idea though.

One reason I’m starting to think Grizzly is I don’t think I’m getting the Powermatic quality I’m paying for. The Powermatic is mostly made in China, it looks like the same castings as the other China brands. Taiwan motor vs US Baldor. So manufacturing shifted to Asia yet the price didn’t drop.

I can tell you I was not impressed with the PM2000 table saw, which one of the mobile base wheels already crumbled into pieces and fell off. High spot in the table. Table rusts easily even paste wax rusts it. I just picked up some Boeshield products to try on it. Quite happy with the Powermatic 15HH planer, and at $3k I should be right.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2042 days

#6 posted 10-11-2013 12:50 PM

I just swapped from the straight blades to the grizzly helical head in my 490. I’ve been very pleased with its performance on highly figured woods. I debated a good deal on getting the Byrd, but I couldn’t find anything anywhere saying that it gave a better cut than the grizzly. The only head to head comparison I found, the guy said he could not tell the difference between the two. I ended up going with the grizzly because the carbide inserts were the same as my planer…fewer extra parts to keep on hand.

As for the jointer itself, I’ve been pretty pleased. It’s held up well over the last year of pretty regular use.

View darthford's profile


608 posts in 1946 days

#7 posted 10-12-2013 03:48 PM

Okay swapping cutter heads looks easy so I’m going with the G0490 and will order the Byrd Shelix with it! Its only $65 more plus $24 shipping. Probably throw some USA bearings in it while I’m at it. This way my jointer and planer both use the same inserts.

Compared to the Powermatic I get a real Byrd Shelix cutter head vs the Powermatic Taiwan knock off. Parallelogram vs dovetail, serpentine belt vs V belt, 3HP vs 2HP, foot active Grizzly mobile base which I really liked on my old Grizzly planer vs $200 extra for the Powermatic mobile base with its kneel down twist some plastic knobs lock. About the only thing I’m giving up is the PM 7000 rpm vs the Grizzly 4,800 rpm and the non-scratch insert in the fence, to save about $940 I think I’ll live.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2042 days

#8 posted 10-12-2013 05:44 PM

Sounds like a good plan to me, you’ll be happy with the 490.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2308 days

#9 posted 10-12-2013 07:04 PM

I have the 490 and have used it successfully many times on highly figured maple. I guess you could always change pulleys if you wanted to increase the cutter head RPM, but I’d run it first and see if that’s necessary for you. Good luck with it.

-- John, BC, Canada

View darthford's profile


608 posts in 1946 days

#10 posted 10-12-2013 09:45 PM

Now to select a bandsaw 17” or 19” hmmm….

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