Grizzly 8" jointer -- first impressions

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Review by glassyeyes posted 06-24-2011 11:32 PM 9839 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Grizzly 8" jointer -- first impressions Grizzly 8" jointer -- first impressions Grizzly 8" jointer -- first impressions Click the pictures to enlarge them

I purchased the Grizzly G0656 helical head 8” jointer on June 11, and received it a few days ago. I have assembled it and tested it, and feel it is a good—though not perfect—tool. My rating also takes into account that this is very reasonably priced for an 8” helical head jointer; I would expect a little better fit and finish, with fewer issues, on a higher-priced machine.

PICTURES: Plenty of pictures are available online: I included these to show a simple way to tension the belt, and to show a simple addition to prevent the mobile base lever from suddenly releasing.

DELIVERY: I had it shipped to my house, with the optional liftgate service—it was worth the extra $34. The UPS Freight driver rolled it right into my garage, and waited patiently as I checked over the two boxes. There was no external damage.

UNPACKING: The jointer base, with the motor and various small components, is well packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with foam liner. The main assembly was packed in a plywood box and form-fitting foam insert. There was nothing to prevent parts from moving around if the box was inverted or placed on its side or end, but mine arrived in good condition.

ASSEMBLY: The assembly was straightforward, but the quality of the manual is uneven. In some respects it is quite detailed, including descriptions of the exact size and type of nut and bolt—and in other places omits this information.

(UPDATE:) FENCE ADJUSTMENTS: The fence stops were very straightforward, and seem to hold their position (so far, with limited use). BUT IT DOES NOT APPEAR POSSIBLE TO ADJUST THE FENCE TO PREVENT IT FROM DRAGGING ON THE OUTFEED TABLE. A careful filing of the lower edge, followed by work with a 600 grit diamond stone, seems to alleviated the worst of the marking.

MISSING PART: This jointer was missing a small Woodruff key, or spline, that holds the infeed table hand wheel on the shaft. Not an easy part to replace. Customer Service is shipping it, but IS NOT OVERNIGHTING IT. This should have been sent overnight, or by two-day shipping at least.

AN ODDITY: The fence is adjusted by a rack-and-pinion gear, with a hand wheel. The hand wheel is BORED for a handle, but the jointer doesn’t include one. This was a bit confusing.

THREE COMPLAINTS: (1) The three (3) mounting bolt holes to mount the jointer to the base are sized at about 10mm or a little larger—but the supplied bolts are 8mm socket heads, so small I was afraid they would pull through the sheet metal of the base. 3/8” by 2” bolts were much more secure. (2) The belt was stiff and lumpy. It was worth replacing it (Advance Auto Parts, automotive v-belt, #47515 or 11A1205). (3) The fence bottom is rough, and drags across the outfeed table. I plan on asking Grizzly how to adjust the fence to clear the table; I can’t figure out the adjustment for this problem.

NOISE: The unit is somewhat noisy when not under load, and a bit noisier on shutdown, with an odd “grumbling” sound as it slows down. (UPDATE: SOME OF THE NOISE IS COMING FROM THE INFEED HANDWHEEL. My handmade Woodruff key (spline) seems to permit too much movement.) SOME OF IT IS ALSO COMING FROM THE FENCE; when tilted forward, and moved off the table proper, most of the remaining noise disappeared.)

DEPTH OF CUT: The Grizzly helical head design seems to be somewhat self-limiting with regard to depth of cut—I don’t think you can take off anything like the indicated amounts as marked on the tool. (UPDATE:) Well, duh—the scale covers the rabbeting in function, too, of course! “I was tired!”

(UPDATE:) The roller base is very nice, but this is an incredibly top-heavy machine—driver beware—

ADJUSTMENTS: Other than the fence problem noted above, the tables were perfectly adjusted. The test cuts were very smooth, no ridges or scalloping as reported elsewhere with helical heads.

-- Now, where did I put those bandaids?

View glassyeyes's profile


137 posts in 4206 days

12 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4565 days

#1 posted 06-25-2011 01:28 AM

Max. depth of cut: 1/8”
Max. rabbeting depth: 1/2”
Seems to be the norm on all the machines I checked into.
Wondering if the out feed table hand wheel’s handle will fit into the fence hand wheel bore ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View semi75's profile


78 posts in 3777 days

#2 posted 06-25-2011 04:22 AM

I have had this jointer for a month and guess what…

THE DANG KEY WAS MISSING on the infeed table handle too. I took another 4 days for it to arrive.

Everything went together fairly easily other than lining up and tensioning the belt was a real pain in the arse for me. I like you idea and will try it when I need to retension the belt.

I’m also not entirely thrilled with the way the fence slides across the table, it catches. Per the manual this is the updated fence and I can’t say I’m overly impressed with it. I had my mechanic/woodworker father n law to look at it also to see if I was missing an adjustment but he did not find one either.

For the price it’s worth it and adjusting the tables was realitively painless and I did not need to shim anything which was a worry. I did have to adjust the tables and zero the scale but that was expected and very easy to do.

It’a almost like I worte this review.

View scarpenter002's profile


618 posts in 4782 days

#3 posted 06-25-2011 07:02 AM

Thanks for the review. Very informative and complete. Glad to see the tailgate shipping went well for you after another blog entry earlier today on a Grizzly planer. Seems like you lucked out having it delivered by UPS.

-- Scott in Texas

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3952 days

#4 posted 06-25-2011 02:11 PM

Thank you for a well written review.

I have the 6” version of this jointer and I have made one discovery. If I use the jointer without the dust collector connected and running, the discharge chute will plug up quickly. I’m curious if this is also true of the 8” version.

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

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 3470 days

#5 posted 06-25-2011 02:20 PM

richgreer I have the Ridgid 6” jointer( 4” duct) and the same thing happens to my jointer.I think it is just a matter of a large volume of chips at high rate.

View Delta356's profile


463 posts in 3731 days

#6 posted 06-25-2011 05:03 PM

(Not to sound like a brand snob, and nothing bad about grizzly) , but THAT’s why I buy Delta Machinery….
A lot of the reviews I have read on grizzly tools have been some what bad. I wonder if quality control is going down because of the rise in over seas labor cost’s. I’m sorry that you had these problems, great detailed review.

Thanks, Michael Frey
Portland, OR


View glassyeyes's profile


137 posts in 4206 days

#7 posted 06-25-2011 08:48 PM

richgreer, this one didn’t clog, but my test board wasn’t that large.

Dusty56, I guess I’m just slow; I should have figured out the scale setting included rabbeting as well as jointing. I know the bolt size on the handwheel—I will probably just mail-order one.

Grizzly really needs to update the manual/assembly instructions, though. The included manual had multiple differences from the real world.

-- Now, where did I put those bandaids?

View Kevin's profile


508 posts in 4082 days

#8 posted 06-26-2011 04:32 AM

I have the 656P version and it is pretty nice. I too did have the noisy shutdown, but I found out that one of the pins that goes onto the pully needed tightened up. One of the two was loose. After this was fixed it’s all good.

A few of my items were already put on when the unit arrived. Nothing like trying to hunt for an item only to find out it’s already attached, LOL.

I too wonder if quality is going down also. Not with just Grizzly, but with a lot of other companies as well and not just in power tools either. :(

Good review BTW..


-- Williamsburg, KY

View glassyeyes's profile


137 posts in 4206 days

#9 posted 06-26-2011 11:04 PM

As noted in the update above, most of the noise was coming from a loose infeed table handwheel and the fence assembly. The noise level at this point is quite acceptable.

-- Now, where did I put those bandaids?

View glassyeyes's profile


137 posts in 4206 days

#10 posted 06-27-2011 06:41 PM

I like the rolling base—EXCEPT the foot lever collapses every time the front wheel hits a bump. PLEASE SEE NEW PICTURES. I added a keeper that prevents the front wheel from suddenly collapsing. The scrap maple was reinforced with two pieces of plain steel strap for TWO reasons—the first for strength/wear, and the second to shim out the standard 2 1/2” wide board to 2 3/4”, just slightly narrower than the gap behind the lever. Although the pictures don’t show it, when the wheel lever is UP, the keeper rides on top, and deploys automatically when you step down on the wheel lever.

-- Now, where did I put those bandaids?

View glassyeyes's profile


137 posts in 4206 days

#11 posted 07-02-2011 02:32 AM

The Woodruff key arrived. Installation did not cure the wobble of the infeed table crank handle. Any suggestions on how to tighten the fit?

-- Now, where did I put those bandaids?

View Kennyg's profile


17 posts in 3565 days

#12 posted 08-13-2011 10:51 PM

Dusty56 Go look under the Bush!

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