It eventually turned out well, but what a pain

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Review by jmos posted 11-08-2016 03:00 PM 7131 views 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
It eventually turned out well, but what a pain It eventually turned out well, but what a pain It eventually turned out well, but what a pain Click the pictures to enlarge them

I recently decided I wanted to upgrade my 6” Jet jointer. I had gotten tired of cutting board and re-gluing them, and the beds just weren’t long enough. I had upgraded the straight knives on my Jet to a Byrd head a few years back and knew I wanted a segmented head.

I did a bit of research and decided it was worth going for the parallelogram beds; hopefully if I bought a new machine I wouldn’t have to adjust it, but shimming dovetail ways is a whole lot harder then adjusting the parallelogram system, so I decided to go that route.

I’ve heard it said that any tool purchase is a combination of money, time, and aggravation; spend a lot for a new tool and hopefully you invest little time and aggravation. Buy a used/vintage tool, spend less money, but invest more time and aggravation. I stated looking at new machines and found a huge price difference between Grizzly and the other manufacturers (Powermatic, Oliver, Baleigh); the Grizzly is about half the price. I looked hard to try to figure out what would justify twice the price for those other machines, but really couldn’t come up with a huge difference.

I decided to go Grizzly figuring I could live with some additional aggravation for the ~$1,500 savings. Boy, did I.

Grizzly recently phased out the G0490 (I believe it was made in Taiwan) with the G0490W (made in China) – I didn’t know that at the beginning of this process. The G0490XW (new model with Grizzly’s spiral head) was back ordered. The G0490W (new model with straight knives) was in stock, and they had the Bryd head which sold separately. Since I had replaced a head once, and watched the Grizzly video on replacing their heads, I felt comfortable going that route. I called and ordered the G0490W, the Byrd head, and two new bearings for the head in late August.

When the jointer arrived the box was in pretty bad shape, but the components were fine. No obvious dents or damage to the paint. As I was assembling the jointer I noticed a pretty significant issue.

In the base of the jointer there are two welded in vertical supports. Bolted to them are two horizontal bars that the motor mounts to. The motor came installed. All four of the motor mount supports were significantly bent. The second picture shows the vertical mounts compared to a straight edge. The third shows one of the horizontal mounts that was bent exactly where the motor was bolted sharply enough the paint chipped off. I think they slammed the motor into place in the factory and bent the supports; It’s the only thing I can see that would cause that damage but not effect anything else.

The first picture shows an issue with the fence; I checked it for flatness and could get a 0.021” feeler gauge under the center of the fence.

While I was waiting for a return call from Grizzly about the motor mounting, I proceeded to work on replacing the head.

The head came off the jointer without issue. The next step is to get the two bearing blocks off. Their video shows just supporting the assembly by the bearing block and tapping the shaft to knock it loose. I tried, but no luck. Then I looked closer and realize they had changed the design and added a snap ring to the bearing block that had to be remove to get the bearing block off. Unfortunately, the head is so large compared to the bearing block that I couldn’t remove the snap ring with any pliers I had. So, I tried to knock the shaft out of the bearing, figuring I would remove the snap ring after the shaft was out. I beat the hell out of that shaft with a wooden block over a 16oz hammer and it would not budge. (The other bearing block had come of fairly easily.)

I know a mechanic, so I took it to him. He tried every pair snap ring pliers he had, but none of his would fit either. (When I asked Grizzly about how to remove this, then had absolutely no advice.) We decided to go back to trying to beat the shaft out of the bearing. Since I knew I had a new head, I really didn’t care about the old one, and we switched to a mini-sledge. After wailing on the shaft a few times it finally came loose from the bearing. The end of the shaft was badly mushroomed from the beating, but since I didn’t need it, or the bearing, I kept the bearing block and snap ring and tossed the rest. Things were good!

After getting it all apart, I was glad I had bought new bearings. The new bearing popped into the block easily. When I went to put the bearing onto the shaft of the shiny new Byrd head, I quickly realized both ends of the shaft were too big for the bearings. Not a little big, but way too big, they would never fit. Back to Grizzly.

It turns out the G0490 and the G0490W have two different heads, and they are not interchangeable. The CSR who entered my order had put in the head for the G0490, not the G0490W. No problem on the return, but the Byrd head for the G0490W was backordered and wouldn’t be in until the end of September. They also didn’t have the Grizzly spiral head available. OK, I could wait a little while, and I was still waiting on parts for the stand. I returned the wrong head and ordered the correct Bryd one. (I have a Byrd head in my planner and figured better to have one type of insert than two.)

Back to the stand – I talked to Grizzly and got all the problems on file. I agreed to try to straighten out the bent supports, with the understanding that if I broke anything in the process they would take care of it. I removed the motor and the horizontal mounts. Then tried beating on the vertical supports to straighten them, but I didn’t have enough room to get much force. I ended up using a couple of ratcheting straps around the vertical supports and the base to pull the supports and take out most of the bend. A little nerve wracking, but so far so good. The horizontal pieces were just too short and too thick to bend, so I had Grizzly ship me out two of them.

It took a couple of weeks for them to arrive, but then I could finish putting everything together. It was about the third week in September at that point. Of course, I still didn’t have a head for the jointer, so it was of no use.

The end of September rolls around and no shipping notice from Grizzly. I contact them and they tell me the date is now mid-October! I talk to someone there to see if there was anything they could do to expedite either a Byrd head or a Grizzly head. They were able to locate a Grizzly spiral head and get it shipped out to me. Once I had it the installation went smoothly. I finally had an assembled jointer.

Once assembled I checked the beds, and they we out of adjustment. The process for bringing the tables co-planer really isn’t too bad. I like the fact you can see the eccentric cam on the Grizzly. It took less than an hour to get everything good within 0.001”.

After using the jointer for a while I was getting these odd scratches on my boards. It took me a while to figure out where they were coming from, but it turns out the paint on the fence was rough in a number of places an leaving scratches when I edge jointed. A file took care of that.

At this point, everything is working well. The jointer does a really nice job and I’m very happy with it. I think it was still worth the cost savings, even with all the additional aggravation. I ended up paying slightly more than if I had bought a straight up G0490XW – that’s a bit aggravating.

Throughout Grizzly’s support was pretty good. Everyone was very nice. The tech support was OK. I was a little surprised that, for all the issues, they never offered me anything; a discount, free shipping, a tee shirt. Seems like it was OK with them a customer had to jump through all these hoops with their new products.

I still have the original fence with the bow; I just haven’t had the energy to decide if I want to have them send me a new one.

If you’ve followed this to the end, thank you. It’s somewhat therapeutic getting this out, and maybe it will help someone else avoid some of these issues.

-- John

View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3607 days

17 comments so far

View philba's profile


96 posts in 2610 days

#1 posted 11-08-2016 11:17 PM

Glad you got it done. Kind of bad on Griz for not doing SOMETHING for you. I mean they are supposed to be a cut or two above harbor freight.

I replaced the straight head of my 15” griz planer for a byrd. The video they have on that makes it look super easy but they managed to gloss over the one thing that took me 3 days of monkeying around – disassembly of the gearbox. Lots of pounding and cussing but it finally came apart. Anyway, super happy with the planer now.

I had to chuckle – I mushroomed the end of the head getting the bearing off, just like you did. What the heck do you do with an old head? Boat anchor?

View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3607 days

#2 posted 11-09-2016 12:52 AM

Yeah, that’s about what it was good for. Had I realized I might need it I would have tried to clean it up, but I just tossed it.

-- John

View charlton's profile


88 posts in 4647 days

#3 posted 11-09-2016 01:33 PM

Sounds painful but all’s well that ends well.

The G0490 was never made in Taiwan. Was always made in China. You can search for confirmation on this subject.

Enjoy the jointer!

View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3607 days

#4 posted 11-09-2016 04:27 PM

I can’t dispute that; it was something I read online, so it could be certainly wrong. Regardless, the G0490 is not the same as the G0490W, which may be of interest to some.

-- John

View Mikesawdust's profile


330 posts in 4277 days

#5 posted 11-10-2016 01:40 PM

I appreciate the review, the pain you went through to get this going is far more than I could stand. I’m glad others have more patience than me, otherwise we would have even more violence in the world. I still have the laser I bought with a bad controller board, the company wanted me to send them a video of it not working (really?). I’m sure most customer service involves keeping the customer from launching the product at a hard service, repeatedly.

-- You never cut a piece to short, you are just prepping that piece for a future project

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 4121 days

#6 posted 11-14-2016 03:05 PM

This is the sort of story that always makes me hesitant to buy Grizz products; too many reviews of Grizzly products on LJ’s is like this; the ending of the story is always good, and the CS is great, but too much frustration in the middle part.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View ic3ss's profile


404 posts in 4015 days

#7 posted 11-20-2016 08:07 PM

That sucks, John. I’ve looked at Grizzly for my next 8” jointer upgrade as well. I like the price but I just don’t have the mental or emotional stamina to put up with this kind of crap from a manufacturer any more. My time is valuable and by the time I got the tool working, I could have just bought a Powermatic and be more likely to not have this kind of issue. I don’t think I’ll be buying a Grizzly.

Now that you got it working, I really hope it serves you well for a long time. You deserve it after all that. Thanks for sharing your story!


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View dannmarks's profile


1028 posts in 1819 days

#8 posted 11-26-2016 03:28 AM

OK, I purchased the G0490XW. I ordered the one I wanted and waited for to come in. Came in about the same time you wrote your review. Yes it has the spiral head and mine worked first time just fine so far. Still tuning in some stuff. I probably still have a little to learn about it yet.

However, my boards come out very flat and the edges are very square. So gluing up produces nice flat work. It does exactly what a jointer is supposed to do.

I also bought the G0490XW Planer at the same time. Again, every thing worked the first time. I took time to read through a few peoples reviews, watched a few videos and had everything I needed to assemble the Planner. I did have to buy a chain hoist for the planer to get it off of the truck and to assemble it.

It took a lot of work to do everything, check and top off the gear oil. But taking the time to assemble both of them carefully has paid off.

Sorry you had so much trouble. I love that they roll so easily. I just roll mine out on the cement drive way and do the messy work outside. It produces a lot of chips. I live in Tennessee and the weather here is good enough to work outside most of the time.

View mski's profile


442 posts in 5218 days

#9 posted 06-16-2017 03:27 AM

Hi, Know this is old but thanks ,I just ordered a G0490W and a Byrd cutter XW was out of stock but wanted the Byrd head. ended up only $80 more
Thanks for the info


View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3607 days

#10 posted 06-16-2017 11:16 AM

Good Luck! I truly hope everything goes well. I do really like the jointer; works great.

Just don’t forget those snap rings when taking the thing apart, and get yourself new bearings, just in case.

-- John

View mski's profile


442 posts in 5218 days

#11 posted 07-18-2017 10:21 PM

Know this is a old post but
I got this jointer added the byrd head, question, I cant figure out the fence ,
I can lock in 90 but moving it scratches the table and setting another angle seems I would need 6 hands.
Yours the same?


View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3607 days

#12 posted 07-20-2017 11:35 PM

The fence isn’t great; something most of the reviews I read before buying pointed out.

I have mine set at 90 and all the way back to give me the largest cutting area, and never change it, so I really haven’t played with it much. It seems like it should just be a matter of releasing the locking knob with the left hand and using the fence handle to set the fence with the right; that’s what I do to adjust it back to 90 when needed.

I vaguely recall an issue with it dragging on the table when I was setting it up, but I was able to adjust it out. Unfortunately, I can’t remember how.

Sorry I couldn’t help more.

-- John

View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3607 days

#13 posted 07-20-2017 11:37 PM


How did you end up getting the snap rings off? I hope there was an easier way them I ended up using.

-- John

View dannmarks's profile


1028 posts in 1819 days

#14 posted 07-24-2017 11:59 PM

“Moving it scratches the table”

There is a pivot arm with set screws in it at the front of the base that holds the fence up. Loosen up the set screws and lift up the fence enough to place a thin ruler under the edge of the fence. Re-lock down the set screws. Remove the ruler… Now you will have to readjust the setting of the 90 degree etc. I had this same trouble in 1980 on my first 8” Grizzly Jointer. Took me a few minutes to figure it out too.

I love my Grizzly Jointer.

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2724 days

#15 posted 07-25-2017 03:30 AM

Grizzly is a crapshoot. Sometimes you get good sometimes you get bad. No matter what you have to put in a some work deburring and whatnot. I had issues that had been resolved with a tracksaw and a bandsaw riser block. It kinda is what it is.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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