I'm new here on the forums. I've stopped in to the IRC channel several times, but have yet to post here. Anyway, for Christmas, my awesome, super-duper wife bought me a new jointer. Now, if you're paying attention, you'll notice the date of this post is BEFORE xmas 2013 by a few days. Well, I received it a coule of days ago and with my wife's permission assembled it early. The reasoning is; I wanted to make sure everything was okay and not damaged in any way in case I had to send something back or was missing parts......at least that's what I told my wife. While that was the truth, I'm also a big kid and couldn't wait to play with my new toy
So let's begin with the reveiw. Bear in mind, I've only had the G0490x for a few days. I'll offer as much info as possible about quality, assembly and performance. However, I cannot speak to longevity at this point.
The Grizzly G0490X is an 8", parallelogram, spriral cutter head, jointer. Price at time of purchase was $1250 and $150 for shipping. Here's a link to the jointer on Grizzly's website:
The jointer came in two packages. The first packaged component was the steel base, motor, and control box. These items came on a pallet, inside a sturdy corrugated gaylord box. The second packaged component was the jointer bed, fence assembly and other various hardware. The second package was a wooden crate that was about 80" long and reletively flat....about 8" or so high. Nothing on the exterior of the either package was damaged. These were shipped via UPS Freight to my home. If you buy this or another large jointer that's packaged similarly, I hope you have a friendly truck driver. The crate was difficult to get out of the truck and required me helping him in the trailer. Luckily, the UPS driver was really nice and a woodworker himself! He knew exactly what it was and was super careful with it in transit. Also, make sure you purchase the liftgate service unless you have a fork truck. You won't be able to get the crate out of the truck without one or the other....even with two people.
I'll go fairly in depth here since it's fresh in my mind. First, the assembly took me about 4 hours. That includes unpacking and cleaning up afterwards. I'm fairly mechanical and had all the tools necessary at hand. If you're hunting for wrenches, sockets and other stuff, of you aren't that mechanically inclined, I can see it taking 5-6 hours for the whole thing.
The box with the stand in it was a bit tricky to unpack. The instructions are clear in how to do so, but I did it myself which was tricky and in hindsight, stupid. For some of the following steps you DEFINITELY need two people, so I'd recommend having a strong helper with you for the first hour or so right from the beginning. I got a neighbor to help after I unpacked the first box, but it would have been much simpler and safer to have him help me unbox it. Unboxing of the stand is tricky due to the fact that the motor is bolted to the inside of the frame and the control panel is also bolted to the inside of the frame. This requires you to flip the box over, slide it off the stand, then turn the stand on it's side to access the bolts to undo the motor and control panel. It's managable by yourself, but fairly heavy. I managed to scratch the paint in one corner by doing it solo. Not that big a deal, but again, would have been easier with two.
The crate with the jointer bed and fence in it is much easier. Just pry the top of the crate and there you go. Only difficult part could be getting rid of the crate afterwards. My garbage guys took it for me, but it's very, very big.
The first thing to get assembled is the base. Well actually, the base itself is ready to go, but you have to attach the motor to it. I don't know why, but Grizzly decided to bolt the motor to the side of the base. This means you have to unbolt it from there and move it to the mounting points it belongs on. Why they don't just put it there to begin with is beyond me. You'll need your helper here since this would be all but impossible to do alone. While one person holds the motor, the other can undo the bolts from the other side. Make sure the person holding the motor is up to the task since it's heavy and in an awkward position to hold. The bolts are very fiddly and not in good spots either which makes it more of a pain. Again though, if you plan out what needs to be done, it's not that terrible.
Once that's done, you simply move the motor to the mounting brackets and bolt it there. Again, the bolts are in fiddly spots, but manageable. Don't tighten the bolts all the way since you'll have to position the motor a little later. Just snug them. The motor isn't going anywere. There's a few more things that need to be done, but so simple it does not need mentioning. Oh, I'll go into this a bit more later, but it's worth mentioning here. Everyting....and I mean EVERYTHING is covered in either grease or cosmoline. Every singe bolt, every single crevice, every single thing is COVERED in something greasy. Make sure you have a pair of gloves you don't mind throwing away when you're done.
Next comes the jointer bed. Make sure you and your helper ate your Wheaties first. You have to lift this thing out of the crate and onto the stand. It's heavy. Not back breaking heavy, but some might think so. I'd guess about 300lbs. The instructions say to use straps and a fork truck. Myself and my helper just lifted it onto the stand. It's doable, but if you have a bad back or aren't strong enough, you might want to recruit two more people here. If your wife or kid is was helping you before this stage, you most likely will need a new helper at this point.
There's some more general bolting of things here and there. I won't bore you. Just read the directions which I found clear and easy. All hardware that was supposed to be there was in a bag or you were instructed to keep during the unpacking phase. They're easy to find. They're in the bag that's filled with machine oil. When I say filled, think buying a goldfish. You know that baggy they give you with water in it? Yeah, like that but instead of a goldfish, hardware. And instead of water, oil. Did I mention everything is COVERED in grease?
The only thing here that I can see causing a problem is aligning the two pullys for the belt. Once you bolt the jointer bed to the stand, you have to align the pully on the motor to the pully on the cutterhead. Grizzly says to "eyeball" this. One word....DON'T. It may work fine, but I took the time to go to HD and get a piece of angle iron to align to two pulleys. It's going to be hard to describe why an angle iron works here and not something else, but trust me. Go to the big box store and get a piece of angle iron that's about 30" long. It will make the process of aligning the pulleys accurate and easy. Tensioning the belt isn't to tricky. I just used some F-Style clams to pull the motor bracket tight and bolted it down. Grizzly says to put pressure with your hands. Good luck with that. Maybe if you're helper is still around that might work, but the clamps are a lot better to get proper tension. TIP: The instructions say to install the fence bracket before installing the belt. I can't say they made a mistake, but I will say that you should NOT do that. Get the pulleys lined up and the belt tensioned first. Otherwise, you're going to have a heck of a time installing the belt on the cutterhead pulley. I can't imagine how you'd get your fingers in there otherwise.
Normally you wouldn't have a cleanup section in a review would ya? Oh, boy do we need one here. Along the way of unpacking and assembly, you will have filled up about 5 rolls of paper towels with grease, oil and cosmoline. You will also have oil all over your body and clothes. Your helper will look like he just emerged from the Exxon Valdez spill and your wife will bar you from coming in the house. I hope that my machine is an exception. I mean sure, nothing was rusty and the jointer bed was immaculate once I got it cleaned, but the amount of oily things was ridiculous. The cutterhead alone took me almost an hour to clean with q-tips to get under the very sharp carbide teeth. I own a Grizzly G1023RLX table saw and a Grizzly bandsaw. Neither of those had anything like this. Grease and oil, sure. Not to this extent though.
Use and Performance:
The jointer outfeed table was dead on the money with the cutterhead right out of the box. This was checked with a Starrett steel straight edge and feeler gauges. The infeed table was a bit off. Easy to adjust though being this is a parallelogram jointer. The infeed table did have a slight bow in it though. Measured at .003 right in the middle of the infeed table using the same instruments as mentioned above. Honestly, three thousanths over that span is fine in my book. The fence and outfeed table both had slight .001 bow, but that's barely measurable and beyond the straightedge tolerance anyway. The fence angle adjustment is crappy though. Took me a while to get it square as it moved each time I tighted the set screw. I don't move my jointer fence very often though, so once I got it right, I locked her down nice and tight. If you use this feature a lot, you may not like this fence adjustment system. I also tightened up all the set screws that adjust the beds. Some were found to be loose even though I didn't loosen them. It's an easy procedure and I would definitly check this since it could affect your table parallel in use if they are loose. Haven't used it much because I'm not allowed to really play with it yet before Xmas....LOL. I did face and edge joint two boards of 8/4 maple though. Surface came out gorgeous and the edges came out nice and square. The cutterhead and motor were super quiet as well. I'm sure the straight knife cutterhead version would be much louder obviously.
Fit and finish is not perfect. You can see some casting errors and some sharp edges that may need to be filed. These don't affect performance though as they are in places not near the beds or cutter. I think it's a great value for the price. Like I mentioned above, I own a couple of other Grizzly machines and I've been really happy. Although I haven't put this through it's paces, I think I'll be just as happy with this. Oh, one more thing before I forget. The control panel/ on off switch looks and feels cheap. I like that it's in a great position, but seems as though it's going to break someday.
So, in closing; Prepare for some greasy work, some fiddly bolt locations and some heavy lifting. All in all, not too bad. The fence angle adustment isn't the greatest and the on/off switch looks crappy. Other than that, I can see this thing plowing through boards for many, many years.
Sorry this was so long, but I hope it comes in handy to someone. If you have any questions let me know. I'll post some pictures once I get it moved where I want it.