The trouble with impulse purchases ... at the Grizzly scratch and dent sale 2013

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Blog entry by DHS posted 07-08-2013 03:41 AM 6124 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve got a problem. I live in Bellingham, just a few miles from the Grizzly Industrial Headquarters. And in recent years their annual scratch-and-dent sale has occured the same week as my birthday. So, the sale has become a birthday-week tradition. Now, my first experience at the scratch-and-dent was fantastic. I had spent about five years convincing my wife how important it would be for me to purchase a new cabinet saw. Finally, she agreed to let me puchase one at the Grizzly tent sale for my birthday in 2011. I got the G0690 with router-table attachment and I love it.

But, this year I had no serious plan, just a vague notion that I might like a milling machine for building woodworking tools and I thought I might look at some of the smaller, cheaper benchtop machines. My next-door neighbor and I were in line by ~5:00 AM – early enough to be right near the front. We raced in when they opened the doors at 8 AM and I was bewildered by all the milling machines. I didn’t know how to use any of them but a big one caught my eye and in an unusual move, I just bought it without really thinking.

Now, as far as I can tell, this is a terrific milling machine. But, it weighs 700 pounds.

I convinced my neighbor who owns a tractor to lift it out of the back of the truck and set it onto a rolling cart so I could push it into my shop. We did it. And broke the cart.

Using several clamps creatively, I managed to straighten the wheels enough to drag the machine into the shop where it sat for a week. What was I to do with a 700-pound milling machine on a broken cart? I don’t have room for it in my shop, I don’t know how I am going to get it off the floor of the shop, and even if I did mannage to lift it, I don’t know how to use it anyway.

So, I built a heavy-duty bench on wheels with 1000-lb capacity. Then, I built a hoist just outside of my shop. The hoist stands on 10-foot 4×4s and has double 2×8s across the top. A bolt through the 2×8s accommodates the hook for a 3-ton hoist. But, after building it, I realized it was too tall for me to lift it upright. Of course, I could have called my neighbor with the tractor, but I was determined to solve this problem using my own somewhat limited ingenuity.

I used ropes and an improvised block and tackle to lift the hoist and I clamped it and tied it in place. I then lifted the milling machine off the broken cart (I fixed the cart.), set it onto my table, and rolled it into my shop.

The final photo shows the milling machine in its temporary location in the shop. It’s temporary because it is in the way of several other machines but it is the only space I had available with 220 power nearby. Now that I’ve got my machine on its table it looks like I’ll need to remodel the workshop to accommodate it. I have a feeling this impulse purchase has not finished causing me headaches.

Oh, and one more thing… Does anyone out there know how to use a milling machine?

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

11 comments so far

View lysdexic's profile


5291 posts in 3136 days

#1 posted 07-08-2013 03:45 AM

That’s crazy. In a good way.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View BBF's profile


144 posts in 2353 days

#2 posted 07-08-2013 04:23 AM

Congratulations on your new mill.
If you don’t have these here a a few of the accessories that you will want to go with it. Collet set, machine vise, parallels for the vise,T bolts, indicator to make sure the vise is square and the table and spindle are perpendicular. And then if you want to actually cut material you will want some endmills of different sizes. Most common are 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch you can get by with just getting 4 flute endmills for a while.
If you get into a real jam PM me I live in Sedro and go thru Bellingham quite often. Oh and 30+ years as a toolmaker.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View DHS's profile


137 posts in 3738 days

#3 posted 07-08-2013 04:31 AM

Oh great! You mean to tell me I’ve got to spend more $ to get this thing running? Looks like Grizzly will be taking more of my money. Great to know there’s a machinist nearby. I will definitely PM you when I need some help. Thanks for the offer! I look actually am looking forward to using this machine. First job: Slit a groove in machinable brass to hold the saw plate for my next backsaw.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10743 posts in 4566 days

#4 posted 07-08-2013 04:42 AM

Is there a manual?

Maybe the Manual will give you some clues on how to use it?

How are you going to learn how to use it? Safely?

Sure looks pretty! LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 2833 days

#5 posted 07-08-2013 06:56 AM

Nice story. If you want a 20min very basic introduction to milling, I liked those videos:
Have fun and be safe.

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View DHS's profile


137 posts in 3738 days

#6 posted 07-08-2013 02:08 PM

Thanks for the link to the videos, Francois. They are great. And, don’t worry. I won’t be cutting anything until I figure out what I am doing and understand the safety issues.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2786 days

#7 posted 07-08-2013 06:26 PM

Happy Birthday Dave.

That’s quite the machine. yer cookin’ with p-nut oil. Happy, Happy, Happy. 8-)

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View robscastle's profile


6367 posts in 2718 days

#8 posted 07-08-2013 09:14 PM

According to the colour and the code number on the front that particular machine is designed for use in the Southern hemisphere only.

Best give me your details so I can arrange a freight handler to come pick it up and they do all the handling work.

That way no remodelling or other additional equipment costs will be involved.

I have a friend at Caboolture that will know exactly how to use it and we can then make things for you and ship them back to the US .

Don’t forget that address!


Robert Brennan

-- Regards Rob

View DHS's profile


137 posts in 3738 days

#9 posted 07-08-2013 10:32 PM

Thanks, Robert, for your willingness to take the machine off my hands. I was about to print a shipping label when I noticed that Grizzly sells a Coriolis adjustment knob that allows it to be used in either hemisphere. But, if you’d like to take a closer look, send me a PM and I’ll give you directions to my house.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

View robscastle's profile


6367 posts in 2718 days

#10 posted 07-09-2013 08:19 PM

Nice comeback on the adjustment knob,

I would love to visit your shop and many of the other LJs shops I see but sadly it is only a dream.

Thanks for the offer though, its something for my post bucket list !!

Enjoy the mill, looking forward to seeing some of your first work.

BTW there is no reason why you cannot put a huge wood slab or cutting board on it and surface finish it.


Robert Brennan

-- Regards Rob

View DHS's profile


137 posts in 3738 days

#11 posted 10-18-2013 05:30 PM

Update (October 2013): I found a great introductory book on milling machines. It has the creative title, “The Milling Machine”. Subtitle: “For Home Machinists”. Author: Harold Hall, edited by George Bulliss. 2013, Fox Chapel Publishing. I’ve had a great time using this machine for both wood and metalwork. I’m currently busy completing remodels of my shop and kitchen but plan to post some new handtool projects completed using this machine in the near future.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

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