In 1996 my garage/shop was taken out by a tornado, and my benevolent insurance company decided to live up to its contract with me (after vigorous prompting on my part) and replace the shop equipment that was ruined. Being the sort of person I was I had a series of garage sale/inherited/pickup on the side of the road equipment. Thanks to State Farm I was able to purchase new equipment. My mind dreamed of the possibilities, where as my wife reminded me of the actual settlement. This led to the purchase of 3 pieces of equipment from Grizzly Imports, at the prompting of a friend of mine (who I find out owns no Grizzly equipment). This is the review of one of those purchases, the model G1182 6" Jointer.
After the trip from Taiwan a lot of the Styrofoam packing was reduced to bean bag stuffing, but the machine itself was no worse for the wear. It weighs about 275 lbs, and I had quite a wrestling match with it to remove all the Cosmoline which was liberally applied (actually a good thing). The Grizzly manual (not the Taiwanese one that came with it too) was precise, and I had no problems following the directions for assembly and adjustments. Now being an absolute nut when it comes to machine set up (probably from my experience with garage sale/inherited/pickup on the side of the road equipment) I took over 5 hours to tweak my new toy (of course this included a lot of standing back to meditate and produce the proper karma necessary to harmoniously join this new machine to the overall spirituality of the shop, i.e. smoke a few butts). All adjustments went well, and in accordance with the directions. I checked the bed with my neighbors Starrett 4' straight edge, and found no gaps. The fence was as accurate. The blades were well adjusted from the factory. But of course I removed them inspected them, honed them, and replaced them with my new Magmas knife setter (this is truly a nice thing and it came free with the jointer). I noticed some very fine irregularities on the knifes (using a 30X magnifying glass) and removed all traces using the techniques of "Scary Sharp" sand paper honing.
With all the wiring and set up complete I reached for a piece of 2X4 and was prepared to do battle with my warped and twisted opponent, when my wife entered the shop and informed me that my eldest son (3 at the time) was going to be dismembered in gruesome ways if I did not come in and save him from her ire. Knowing the repercussions of a refusal (my own appendages as well as my son's) I reluctantly set down the wood and left the shop, not to return until 5 am the next morning.
I set the depth at 1/8" inch and mumbled a prayer ("Here we go"). I started the machine, and heard the click of the capacitor give way as the blades spun up to operating speed. Vibrations were very minimal, just the nice robust sound of a 1 hp motor, belt and spindle doing their work. I grabbed the 6' piece of pine and fed it 3 ½" face down across the table and was rewarded with the sound of knives busy at work. I inspected the cut, no raised ridges, no chip out, so far so good. I increased the depth to 3/16" and made another pass, same result. I back it off to 1/8" and flattened the side of the board, checking with my machinist square to good result. Now the true test I switched to the 1 1/2" side and proceeded to join a 90 degree. Checking with my square it came out right on.
I have since used it as the beginning point for every project I do (I use rough sawn lumber), and have been rewarded with trued lumber to work with. Other Grizzly products I have owned have not been to the standard of this one, but I must say the only problem I had with this one was the plug on the power cord was defective and Grizzly sent me a new one. I replaced the original belt with flexible v belt, and occasionally check the screws on the cabinet when some new vibration arises. I will also replace the knives with carbide ones, when my honing no longer produces the desired sharpness. If I could be sure that anyone would receive the same quality jointer I have I would unconditionally recommend it, but due to other experiences I fear that may not be the case. Mine does every thing it was designed to do in a precise manner, and my only regret is that I could not afford a larger jointer (my dream is a 12").Jason Steward - 8/20/97