Polar Bear in Arizona (4-1/2 stars)

  • Advertise with us
Review by paulzall posted 02-02-2011 12:16 PM 11817 views 5 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Polar Bear in Arizona (4-1/2 stars) No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them


Delivery and Assembly: I recently bought a Grizzly G0175P Hybrid Table Saw, mainly to get dust collection capability with relatively low operating noise, and I wasn’t disappointed. Delivery was prompt and the packaging was effective with no visible damage. Lacking a forklift or loading dock in my garage, I did have to pay Grizzly an extra $34 freight charge for lift gate delivery.

Fit and finish at first glance looked excellent. The components, including the 2 hp motor, had a reasonably heavy-duty appearance. The cast iron table was flat within .008” (That’s about 1/128th of an inch).

Assembly was straightforward and the manual was one of the best I’ve ever encountered. One of the cast iron wings fit perfectly; the other only needed a piece of masking tape as a shim. I used WD-40 to remove the rust preventative coating (probably cosmoline), which was easy except for the trunnion gear teeth, where it was pretty tedious. I put carnauba paste wax on the exposed iron and white lithium grease on the gears. Also, I mounted the saw on an old Shop Fox mobile base that I had available and which fit nicely.


Solving a Minor Problem of Fit: I did run into a couple of snags though. The shaft for the blade height adjustment knob was grinding against the lower edge of the curved cutout in the front of the cabinet and scraping off paint.

Shaft Scraping on Cabinet

I fixed this by removing the table from the cabinet and adding a 1/16” shim above each of the four attaching bolts. (I had some 5/16” fender washers that served perfectly as shims.) This was a little awkward to accomplish simply because of the weight of the table with the trunnions and motor hanging from it. If you have to do this, I recommend that you loosen all four bolts, but only remove one or two at a time and crank the blade angle to about 30 degrees to get the motor’s center of gravity near the middle of the cabinet.

Shims for Table and Hinge

While I was raising the table, I noticed the hinges on the access door were slightly too low on the cabinet, causing some strain on the locking knob. To fix this, I cut the legs off of a couple of cotter pins and stuck the remaining loop on each hinge pin. This raised the access door 1/8th inch and made life easier. The cotter pins stay attached to the door even when it is removed from the cabinet.


Blades and Adjustments: The supplied blade was a thin-kerf 40-tooth design and was plenty sharp. But I installed a Freud thin-kerf rip blade, which at .094” thickness is the minimum allowable with this saw’s spreader and riving knife. (Even a beginner on a budget should consider spending an extra $60 for a Freud thin-kerf combination blade with its elaborate perforations; your ears will thank you for the reduction in high pitched noise.) Using the thin kerf is equivalent to pumping up the horsepower a tad (an extra 1/2 hp, roughly).

Alignment checking indicated that the blade was nearly 1/32” out of parallel with the miter track, so I adjusted the trunnions to get it down to less than .002”; these adjustments were readily accessible through the rear access panel and the side door. The serpentine belt was quite loose, so I tightened it to spec; a trivial adjustment, which is a bit easier with the blade removed.

Installation and removal of the spreader or riving knife is a breeze, with a little spring-loaded pin locking it in place.

The Fence Design: The fence design looks outstanding to me. It’s a T-square and its weight is supported on the front rail by a pair of brass set screws with what looks like a Teflon button pressed into the tip of each. You adjust these screws along with another one at the far end of the fence to get a 1/16” vertical clearance above the table and to get the side of the fence perpendicular to the surface of the table.

Now for horizontal movement there is another pair of the same set screws, but with their plastic buttons resting against the front edge of the fence guide tube/rail. These should just touch lightly against the square tube when you slide the fence back and forth along it; they have no use when the fence is clamped. (In fact, you should back them all the way out until everything else is aligned!)

There is also a pair of nylon glide pads glued to the ends of a thin spring steel strip riveted to the fence base. These should touch lightly against the back edge of the square tube/rail when you slide the fence back and forth. But the main purpose of these two pads is to press hard against the tube/rail when the fence is locked. This is accomplished by a pair of steel set screws with very fine threads and the relative distance you screw them in is what controls the alignment of the fence. It’s a trial-and-error procedure. You lift the fence out, turn one screw in and the other out a quarter-turn at a time, set the fence back in place, lock it, and check to see if it’s parallel to the miter slot. Repeat until done.

Finally, the last step is to unlock the fence and adjust the two front set screws for smooth gliding.

A problem with the fence: There is a serious flaw in an otherwise great fence. There are no lock nuts for the fence alignment set screws! And regular jam nuts are too thick to fit in the space between fence and rail. You could use loctite on the threads, but that seems messy for a situation where you have to make numerous trial-and-error adjustments.

Here’s what you can do: Buy a pair of cheap plastic dashboard switches at an auto parts store ($4 each). These will have round plastic mounting nuts with metric threads (M12-1.00). Remove the nuts and throw away the switches. Using rubber cement or similar adhesive, temporarily glue each nut to a the end of a dowel or piece of scrap to serve as a handle and carefully sand the nut down to 1/8th inch thickness; it takes about 1/2 second on a disc sander. That will leave 3 or 4 threads for a perfect lock nut. Being plastic, they are good grippers. Tighten them (gently) on the set screws after alignment is complete. Note: Avoid buying any switches with metal mounting nuts; they might mess up the threads on the set screws.

By the way, there is a typo in the parts list in the owner’s manual; these set screws are shown as M12-1.75×10 (standard thread), but they are actually M12-1.00×10 (extra-extra-fine thread).

Fence Bottom View

Fence Top View

Another minor problem with my fence: On my saw, the fence lock lever seemed to need a lot of force to lock the fence unless I jiggled it a bit. Closer inspection revealed that it was binding against the lock foot and actually trying to bend the foot before sliding on by and locking. A magnet embedded in the lever pulls the lock foot away from the rail for easy gliding when unlocked, but in my case the foot wasn’t going entirely back to vertical when it snapped free of the magnet during the locking operation. It needed help from a spring of some sort.

Unable to find a compression spring with fine enough wire and small enough diameter to do the job, I improvised by stuffing a 3/4” O.D. grommet into the top of the lock foot. A pretty crude rubber spring, but it worked. The part of the lock lever sliding against the foot had a rough cast surface, so I ground it down smooth and polished it up and put paste wax on all the rubbing surfaces. After that, the fence was a joy to use.

Grommet in Position to Insert
- -
- -

The fence is great! If you are careful with alignment and take time to make the lock nuts, you will have a fantastic fence on your saw, willing to get down and compete with a Biesemeyer.
- -
- -

Miter gauge not so great: When I tried out the miter gauge, it made scraping noises in the slot. I tried using the miter gauge from my old Delta contractor’s saw and it slid through smooth as silk. Turned out the Grizzly miter gauge had some burrs under its base casting that had just been painted over. Also, the miter bar and T-slot washer had very rough surfaces, and the stop block had been attached to the countersunk holes in the miter bar with pan head screws instead of flat head. In other words, this piece of hardware is a mess and you should expect to spend some time cleaning it up to match the standards of the rest of the saw. I tried polishing up the rough surfaces with steel wool and paste wax, but soon lost interest because I wasn’t planning to use it anyway. (I have an Incra miter gauge that works well for my purposes.)
- -

Electrical Considerations: I needed an extra 220-volt outlet for this saw, but my workshop sub-panel breaker box was full, so I had to put in a couple of 110-volt tandem breakers to make room for another 220-volt breaker, which I added. Then I replaced the appropriate 110-volt wall receptacle with a 6-20 receptacle and was ready to go. I think it took about 45 minutes.

I also made a 12 gauge 220-volt extension cord ten feet long for use with the mobile base. I know this sounds like overkill for an 8 amp load, but the electrical code expects to find 12 gauge wire behind a 20 amp receptacle, which is what you need for matching the plug that comes with the saw. As far as I know, nobody manufactures an extension cord with 220-volt 20 amp molded connectors. Even the 15 amp variety is hard to find.

Speaking of electrical design, I can’t for the life of me understand why the power cord emerges halfway down the front of the base instead of being tucked up under the table, out of harm’s way. Looking inside, I could see no potential problem with operation or maintenance if the cord was moved, and I actually prepared to drill a hole about 7 inches above the access door lock knob for it, but postponed the change when I couldn’t find a suitable strain relief gland in my junk box.

- -

If you need to convert to 110 volt operation: For anyone doing a 110 volt changeover; at the same time you order the saw you should also order the little 20 amp push-button circuit breaker that fits behind the start/stop switch Should be about $3 or $4. You can buy a 110-volt 5-20 plug at a hardware store for $15.
- -
- -

Operation of the saw: When I turned on the saw, it performed beautifully, with no noticeable vibration on the table and only a light tingling on the fingertips out at the edges of the wings. (Yes, it passed the nickel test.) Noise was just a low pitch business-like hum with the Freud blade. I measured about 80 db idling (about the same as a kitchen blender) and 88 db cutting, with several different blades installed and dust collector turned off. Ripping 6/4 hard maple produced a slight change in sound , but no slowing or burning. Dust collection also worked fine, adding 2 db when idling and no increase when cutting.
- -
- -

Personal modifications: Later, I added a router table that I made from a scrap piece of 1” melamine, supported by 1-1/2” steel angle stock bolted to the rails. I still need to make a separate fence for it and a replacement for my temporary dust collection setup. Indulging in a personal quirk, the front of the saw looked too cluttered for my taste so I peeled off the Polar Bear bumper sticker and a couple of decals with the help of some WD-40 and a knife.

Temporary Setup
- -
- -

Customer service: Another minor quality issue in my fence: one round lock nut was cross threaded on a brass set screw and apparently was torqued down at the factory with a pair of channel-locks. Looked like a beaver had been chewing on it. After I finally got it loose, I cleaned up the threads with a metric tap and die so it works fine now. Grizzly customer service was appropriately sympathetic and promised to send me a replacement pair of set screws and round nuts so it would look nice. I pretty much forgot about it until a month later I got a card in the mail from Grizzly apologetically saying they had to back order the round nut and if I was unhappy with the delay they would take back the saw and refund my money. I had to read it twice before I could comprehend what they were offering to do because of a delayed delivery of a nut.

I begin to see why people rave about Grizzly customer service. At any rate, they are not getting a product return from me; I love this saw.

- -
- -

Bottom line: Four and a half stars for a remarkable table saw. (Dropped a half-star because I had to scrounge lock nuts for the fence and because of the deplorable quality of the miter gauge.)
Since my saw was an early production unit, it’s possible that Grizzly has already corrected some of the issues I encountered. If so, enjoy your good fortune in the event you buy one now.

View paulzall's profile


16 posts in 3500 days

30 comments so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3884 days

#1 posted 02-02-2011 03:06 PM

Thank you for the excellent, comprehensive review. I know that Grizzly calls this a hybrid saw but has me wondering. What distinguishes a hybrid from a cabinet saw? Is it anything more than weight?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View paulzall's profile


16 posts in 3500 days

#2 posted 02-02-2011 05:02 PM

Good question, Rich. I propose that we say a cabinet saw has to have at least a 3 hp, 220 volt motor. That means the motor is heavy enough to require heavier trunnions to support it. All that extra weight makes it impractical to attach to the table. (You would start to need a crane to lift all that cast iron.) So the trunnions need to be attached to the cabinet, which has to be solid and rigid enough to support them. The extra weight is just a byproduct of the extra power.

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 3500 days

#3 posted 02-02-2011 05:06 PM

Thanks for the great, detailed review. I’d sure like one of those! Your experience sounds similar to mine with my G0555P Band Saw – really good units but not quite perfect.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3884 days

#4 posted 02-02-2011 05:58 PM

paulzall – - I don’t think your definition of a cabinet saw is the official definition, but it makes sense to me. I think the key point is that the trunnions need to be attached to the cabinet.

Previously, I had not seen a hybrid with a cabinet that went to the floor. I always thought of a hybrid as having a cabinet that did not go to the floor (like a contractor saw) and the top and fence of a cabinet saw.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View woodklutz's profile


221 posts in 3578 days

#5 posted 02-02-2011 06:58 PM

Your review is like your shop, Meticulous! The clarity of the information defines your attention to detail.
It is too bad that the minor problems that you describe occured, but you knew how to deal with them, many of us would not have been so forgiving nor would have known what to do.
I like Griz service response, great company.
Use your saw in the best of health.
Thanks again for your review.

-- honing my craft one mistake at a time.

View stevenmadden's profile


174 posts in 3899 days

#6 posted 02-02-2011 07:00 PM

paulzall: Nice saw and nice review. Thanks for posting.

richgreer: A true cabinet saw by definition has the trunnion attached to the cabinet or base of the saw, hence the name. If the trunnion is attached to the underside of the table top, then it is not a cabinet saw. I think the “hybrid” got it’s name from having something that looks like a cabinet or enclosed base but the trunnion is not attached to that cabinet or enclosed base, it is attached to the underside of the table top.


View Vicki's profile


1127 posts in 4154 days

#7 posted 02-02-2011 07:08 PM

Does your black dust collector top on the bucket do the same job as a Dust Deputy?

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4122 days

#8 posted 02-02-2011 07:32 PM

Nice review and ingenious solutions to some of your minor issues. Congrats on your new saw, looks like you will really enjoy it.

Not sure on what defines what, but one of the main reasons I bought the Ridgid R4511 was because the trunions attach to the cab and not the table top.

Sure makes the alignment procedure easier.

Was leery of the granite top when I first got it, but used to it now and requires very little maintenance.

View paulzall's profile


16 posts in 3500 days

#9 posted 02-02-2011 11:16 PM

Vicki— Does your black dust collector top on the bucket do the same job as a Dust Deputy?

Yes, I think it’s just a cheaper version, made by Woodstock. It’s been giving me a steady supply of garden mulch though. :-)

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 3796 days

#10 posted 02-02-2011 11:37 PM

I too have the Grizzly 0715P saw and am very happy with it! Thanks for a detailed & complete review. I’m glad to say that I didn’t have any of those fence issues but if I experience a problem, I have your info to help. Other owners have reported a problem with set screws not holding adjustment when they set up their fence. I also bought a freud thin kerf blade and didn’t bother taking the supplied miter gauge out of its wrapper.
I haven’t made a zero clearance insert yet for my saw because of the thin recess that holds the metal one that comes with the saw. Some have suggested using a regular thickness blank and making a rabbet on the underside so the blank drops down flush with the table. I would be interested to know your thoughts on this.

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View Vrtigo1's profile


434 posts in 3801 days

#11 posted 02-03-2011 12:04 AM

Great review, very comprehensive. I agree that the location for the power cord to exit the cabinet could be better, that’d drive me crazy. Looks like you’ve got a nice saw and taken the time to set it up properly, i’m sure it will give you many years of pleasurable use.

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 4258 days

#12 posted 02-03-2011 01:06 PM

thanks for taking the time to do such a good review…..

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View DanW's profile


123 posts in 3852 days

#13 posted 02-03-2011 05:12 PM

Over the years I have purchased several tools from Grizzly. My sister lives in Williamsport, Pa and Muncy is a 10 minute trip. Their showroom is unreal. I have a 14” bandsaw with the riser block, a 15” planer, 8” jointer 2 HP dust collector, 20” knife grinder, a variety of corded & cordless tools. I have on a few rare occasions, had to call their service department and their service is unlike almost any other business that I can think of. When you deal with a Grizzly rep, your dealing with a friend.

-- "Let he who does not work in wood, find something else that's half as good." (can't remember who I'm quoting)

View crmygdnss's profile


21 posts in 4571 days

#14 posted 02-06-2011 05:07 PM

Thanks for a great review! I’ve been looking at this saw for a few weeks now, doing my research and wondering if I should make the investment and move up from my Jet contractors saw (which I love, but it’s 14 years old and I’m getting $450 for it from a friend). I’m not sure I’d have paid that much attention to the smallest of details like you did, but I’ll make sure I do when I assemble. Having recently purchased a G0555P band saw from Grizzly and loving it, this seemed like the next fit for my shop.

One question on the power cord – you mentioned you didn’t do that mod because of lack of a strain relief – was that it? I agree it looks really bad and is in a horrible location. It’s probably one of the first mods I’d make but wanted to see if there were other reasons not to do it.

Thanks again!

-- I love woodworking. Except sanding, gluing, cutting long stock, finishing, detail work, sawdust, the cost and loss of time. :)

View paulzall's profile


16 posts in 3500 days

#15 posted 02-08-2011 09:06 PM

moonls: About the zero clearance insert; I ordered the one shown with the G0715P saw in the catalog, but it hasn’t arrived yet. I was assuming it would just drop into place. If I were making one from scratch and 1/8” material wasn’t available, after the outline was cut I guess I would route the entire perimeter with a 1/8” width rabbeting bit and then do the rest of the thin spots freehand with a straight bit. I’m not an expert in this and others might have better ideas. Anyhow, good luck and enjoy your saw!

showing 1 through 15 of 30 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics