Grizzly G0586 8" Jointer
I recently purchased a Grizzly Model G0586 8” jointer to replace my Powermatic 54A 6” jointer. The 54A was a workhorse. Its infeed and outfeed beds were dead on coplanar and the its long fence was easily adjustable to a 90 degree stop. Replacing it was simply a need for a larger jointer, not any dissatisfaction. So when choosing a new jointer I started by researching the Powermatic line first. But good reviews on the G0586 and its price – about $200 cheaper than the 54A - forced me to take a look. In the end, having never owned a Grizzly and the attractive price, convinced me I should take a chance and expand my horizons. The results of my decision are mixed.
I received the jointer about two days after ordering it. I had expected a delivery time measured in weeks, so you can imagine my surprise when a 53' tractor-trailer stopped on my dirt road at the end of my dirt driveway. Fortunately I had two friends available to help me unload it onto a pickup truck and drive it to my shop.
I inspected the two packages in front of the driver and found no damage (the base and motor in one package and the bed and fence in another). Not even a hint of mishandling. However, when I removed the base from its box I noticed a bend and some paint chipping near the back access panel. The damage was not serious and I concluded that this is a woodworking shop, not a beauty parlor, so I got out my dead blow and straightened it out. Problem solved. Apparently this mishandling occurred at the factory prior to packaging.
The packaging itself was quite substantial. Tar paper was used to protect the bed from scratches and other damage. The bed and fence were covered with a waxy oil to avoid moisture damage. It was easily removed with mineral spirits. The fit and finish was excellent.
Assembly requires two people, both for physical reasons and to help align the belts, but was in all respects simple and the directions were well written. The knives were preinstalled, very sharp due to a good factory honing, and exactly aligned with the outfeed table height.
That's where my problems began. When I tried my first cuts I noticed that after several passes beyond flat the stock began to lift off the infeed table at the far out end. This is a classic jointer problem which is usually easily adjusted out. But I found no information in the manual's adjustments section that addressed this. The only mention of the problem was this one entry in the Troubleshooting Guide:
"Board edge is concave or convex after jointing."
The proposed fixes were:
Number three was particularly interesting since that is why we woodworkers buy jointers in the first place.
I proceeded with the rest of the adjustments with the knowledge that I could address this and any remaining issues with a quick call to technical support at the end.
My next problem was setting the 90 degree fence stop. Setting the infeed table perpendicular to the fence was simple but I quickly noticed that the outfeed table was not perpendicular to the fence. I then adjusted the outfeed table perpendicular to the fence and noticed that the infeed table was not. I use engineering squares for this purpose and they are extremely accurate. I consulted the manual and again found no help there.
Now I realized I had infeed and outfeed tables that were not coplanar. Worse, they were misaligned in two axes. It was time to call technical support. That was a very unsatisfying call. In conclusion it was suggested I use aluminum, cut from soda cans, to shim the outfeed table to achieve co planarity. Now, I have set up a number of jointers in my lifetime, and had to compensate for this particular problem on a few. The solution generally involved gib adjustment. So I decided to correct the problem with my own concocted procedure and achieved a certain amount of success adjusting only the gibs.
I still have infeed and outfeed tables that are not coplanar, but the misalignment now amounts to an idiosyncrasy of the tool which does not render it unusable. Some day I will find the time to shim the outfeed table and remove the remaining error. But for now I simply put all my pressure on the infeed table, none on the outfeed, and turn the board around on each pass. It works great.
I should mention that there are many things about this machine that are better than the 54A. The primary adjustments for depth-of-cut, fence movement back and forth and outfeed table height are smooth and have high resolution. The table is long, 75", making jointing of long boards easy. The machine is heavy and vibration free and it is very quiet.
The bottom line for me is this; if something costs much less than the competition there is probably something you are not getting. In this case it was co planarity and good technical support. That said, if I were making this purchase all over again, with this knowledge, I would have gone with a more expensive tool like the Powermatic. On the other hand, I have the tool and I am learning to like it, idiosyncrasy and all.
My SketchUp Book
My SketchUp Courses