Nice upgrade

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Review by Jarrhead posted 03-05-2016 04:07 PM 9219 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Nice upgrade Nice upgrade Nice upgrade Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve been woodworking for about 15 years now. One of my first machines was a Jet JJ-6CSX jointer. It is your basic entry level floor standing machine. It has served me well over these many years, but I frequently found its capacity lacking. I wanted to upgrade to a 10” or 12” jointer, but was stymied by the fact that my shop is in my basement, and the only access is very limited. So I settled on an 8”. I figured it would do 98% of all the jointing I will ever need. So, 8” it is; but which one. There are quite a few to choose from. After a months long, exhaustive internet research effort, I narrowed it down to the Grizzly G0495X, or the Oliver 4230. You have probably already figured out from the blue color in the photos, I went with the Oliver. I know it isn’t a true “Oliver” like they used to make, but it has some nice solid features. Granted, they are made in Taiwan now, instead of the US, but most all woodworking machinery is made off-shore these days. Many reviews I read advised to stay away from machines made in China. Taiwan apparently has a much better track record for quality control.
The crate was falling apart when it arrived at my door, but the machine was not damaged. The only knock I have on it so far is that they seem to have screwed up the installation of the safety switch. It has a keyed switch in the control panel that allows the owner to “lock-out” power to the machine”. A feature that I really don’t need, and don’t anticipate ever using, but if you were buying for a school or woodworking club, I could see it being useful. Anyway, my machine will only run with that safety switch in the “Off” position. Makes me wonder if they powered the machine up at the factory before shipping. How could you not notice that glaring error?
Three features that I really like about the Oliver are: 1.) It comes stock with a Byrd Shelix cutterhead. 2.) It has a very robust fence. 3.) It has an extremely heavy cast iron base. The totality of those features justified the extra $100 or so in the total price. There are some features on the Grizzly that almost swayed me that way: 1.) 3 hp motor, vs. the 2hp on the Oliver. 2.) Longer bed. 3.) Parallelogram adjustment mechanism. The longer bed was less of a plus actually, because of my limited space access. I have a tight 90 degree turn at the top of my basement stairs. Getting the 75” Oliver bed down there was tough enough. The 82” Grizzly bed would have been even tougher. The Grizzly also comes with a helical carbide insert cutterhead, but it isn’t a Byrd Shelix cutterhead. Rather, it is a Grizzly proprietary design. I read some reviews stating that the inserts were not interchangeable. The Grizzly head requires the Grizzly inserts, and they are 3 times the cost. I just got it reassembled in the shop late last night. Only had a chance to run one test board over it so far, but the results were fantastic, as expected. I will update after I get a few hours of use with it under my belt. I gave it 5 stars, because, at this price point, it is an outstanding machine. It isn”t a Hammer or a Northfield, but it is pretty darn good, and didn’t break the GDP of a third world country to acquire it. I would recommend it.

-- trn2wud

View Jarrhead's profile


91 posts in 4646 days

8 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3743 posts in 4471 days

#1 posted 03-05-2016 05:39 PM

Looks like a good machine. Where did you purchase it from? I would love to own one someday.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Jarrhead's profile


91 posts in 4646 days

#2 posted 03-05-2016 08:05 PM

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9999 posts in 3615 days

#3 posted 03-05-2016 08:24 PM

I get the Oliver ads at work and have thought there machines looked pretty robust.

I like the “heavy metal” approach. Lots of mass to dampen vibrations…

How did the weight compare to the Grizzly?

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View waho6o9's profile


9105 posts in 3864 days

#4 posted 03-05-2016 09:44 PM

Very nice

View Bigrock's profile


292 posts in 4249 days

#5 posted 03-06-2016 12:28 AM

I am also in the market for a 8” Jointer with a Byrd helical head. I just got a new catalog from Grizzly. It noted that for additional cost you can get the Byrd head. I have not called them yet but I am.
Woodworking Journal April 2016 issue reviewed 6 machines including both of there machines and the reviewer says you can’t go wrong with any of them. I think you made a real good chose, because of your space requirements. My problem is I need to be able to move mine from time to time which the Grizzly with it’s built in mobile base, so I am looking at the Grizzly model No.G0490XW and get the Byrd head and still not break the bank.
They did not include the Powermatic machine, but at $3000.00 it’s out of my price range.
I liked your review of the machine and you brought out some very good points. I hope your machine works well for you for years and it should just because of the weight.

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 4234 days

#6 posted 03-11-2016 05:00 AM

Good review, looks like a great addition to any shop!

Anybody else wonder why WWJ didn’t include the Powermatic in their review? The Baileigh was 3k too, so price must not have been a discriminator?

-- Smitty

View twotenths's profile


7 posts in 2089 days

#7 posted 03-16-2016 11:28 AM

Nice! Enjoy it.

View jonah's profile


2258 posts in 4586 days

#8 posted 04-07-2016 11:49 AM

A 2HP motor is plenty for an 8” jointer. Ultimately, you should be taking such light passes with a jointer(~1/32”) that you don’t need a hugely powerful motor.

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