Grizzly - G0490 8" Jointer Mod with Byrd Shelix cutterhead (Rating: 5)


After a year of looking for a good jointer and losing out on three nice ones, due to procrastination, I finally bit the bullet and bought a new Grizzly 8" Jointer with the helix head.

The model number is G0490X. The X indicates the jointer is equipped with a helix head.

Assembled, the jointer is the heaviest tool in my little shop, weighing about five hundred seventy-five pounds.

Now that I've ran some highly figured walnut through the Grizzly, I'm glad I missed the boat on the other jointers. They were equipped with knives.


Generally, the manual is good and lets you know all you need to know to get your jointer up and going. More information could have been provided on installing the guard (details below), but little else is left to the imagination, or others' experiences.

Someone with experience could take short cuts, some of which I note below.


I drove from North Central (Eastern) Washington to Bellingham and picked the jointer up at that Grizzly showroom. Though quite distant, it's an impressive place and one I wish I could visit more often. Meanwhile, the have one heck of a catalog.

Helping the fork lift driver load the two boxes into my little Ford Ranger gave me an appreciation for the size and weight of the jointer. During the trip back, I was concerned about getting the jointer out of my truck and assembled. Moving the assembled unit from the garage into the shop, on the other hand, didn't worry me, because the unit is equipped with wheels (the single one is iron).

I had seen a few guys rig harnesses and lift the bed onto the stand. As fate would have it, and though working with a large piece of missing heart at sixty-four, I was able to do remove the unit from my truck and assemble it by myself with significantly less effort than I used to move my Unisaw.

I was able to ease the base, with the motor, out of the truck by flipping it and easing it down and out. Turning the box upside down is not a problem, since the motor is secured. You have to, if you want to lift the box off the base.

Once the base was on the floor, I removed the side panels and installed the wheels. With that done, I turned the unit on its side, so I could lay the motor on its permanent mount frame, to avoid having to hold it while securing it. When bolting the motor in place, I left the mount bolts somewhat loose, so the motor could be adjusted to bring its pulley in line with the jointer pulley.

NOTE: The control panel mounts on the jointer, once its secured to the base.

After the base was mobile, I removed all but the base of jointer crate, while it was still in my pickup. Then, I was able to push down on and lift the end of the jointer bed to duck walk it off its crate base. I was lucky. The jointer was not bolted to the base, and was undamaged.

After I removed the crating top, sides, front and back, I rolled the base to the back of the pickup and locked the wheel. For my pickup, there was only about 1/2" difference in height between the truck bed and the mobile base top.

I was able to pull the jointer straight back, out of the pickup, with surprisingly little effort. Before easing it onto the base, I put some of the crate foam under the front of the jointer, to avoid scratching the base as I pulled the jointer fully on to it.

Once the jointer was ready to drop off the truck, I put more foam under that end, then finished pulling the jointer out of the truck, onto the jointer. It landed on the jointer softly and smoothly.

If there had been more of a height difference, merely placing boards, 2x's or whatever was needed to fill the gap between the bed and the jointer base would have allowed me perform these tasks will only a little more effort, but still not a lot of brawn.

Once the jointer was on the base, I lifted the ends, one at a time, and removed the foam. The balance of the jointer was such I was able to lift one handed and remove the foam (or wood) with the other hand.

I moved the base and jointer back from the truck, bolted the jointer to the base, then bolted the control panel to the jointer.

With comfortable working room, I just used one of my depth gauges to insure the motor pulley was the same distance from the back side of the base as the pulley of the jointer and went through the expected steps to lock it in position, and lock down the motor. Cake walk.

I did a quick install of the fence and guard, then re-installed the sides and rolled the unit into its place in the shop.

Once in the shop, I had to loosen the top screw of the guard and turn the part it was holding with channel locks to add tension necessary to its working properly. This was not covered in the, otherwise, good manual.

The stock plug was the same as my cabinet saw, so testing the jointer was a plug swap away.


The wheel raising and lowering mechanism is well worth the extra expense. Even if moving the beast is a little like herding a slightly trained cat, it raises and lowers easily and the unit rolled from the garage to the shop just fine.

Once in place, there are two legs that can be adjusted to stabilize jointer on uneven floors. They require a happy medium adjustment. Too long and they act as brakes, when the wheel is being used, and too low and the unit can still rock. Adjustment is easy though (you can do it by finger, but a wrench would be smarter, in case the wheel let down).

There were no sharp edges I needed to be concerned about. The paint, my abuses aside, was fine.

The only thing I, as the end user, might do to the end build quality is, add a small dab of epoxy to the tip of the gauge on the end of the fence. It's not a problem during use. However, during the build, I caught on it several times. I was more concerned about it bending than being cut by it, but that is a possibility. A little epoxy would fill any void, smoothing it, lessening the likelihood of it bending it in the future.

The three horse motor on this unit starts much harder than the one on my Unisaw, but runs smooth. It would be interesting to do actual power comparisons of the two motors, since the Unisaw runs at half the amperage, but claims the same horsepower and has never bogged on me (credit for the greater blade contact surface given).


I was able to get good edge joints on two inch thick stock running the jointer out of the box.

I had to tweak the eccentric bed adjustments to produce six inch stock that could be glued face to face.

The manual indicated the fence should be removed to adjust the tables. I found merely locking it up, out of the way gave me all the working room I needed to complete the task.

I was apprehensive about how complicated it would be to adjust the eccentrics, but it went quickly. It was a simple matter of loosening the Allen screws and using a drift punch to coax minor movement, then seeing if I had more or less air under the straight edge.

I adjusted the bed stops with relative ease, per the directions in the manual.


Setting the in-feed table height is just a matter of turning the table lock, then moving the lever under it. I tapped the lever to get it to move the little I wanted for the setting I was after.

The gauge is a reasonable indicator of the depth of cut. If I need dead on precision, I'll take the faced wood to the planer.

The power button is mounted on a steel tube and feels stout, when turning the unit on or off.

Had I not read the manual, it might have taken a moment to figure out the OFF button has to be turned, before the ON (start) button will start the motor. The red light indicates the unit is off and the knob needs to be turned, to turn on the jointer. New to those of us will older iron.

After the initial start, the jointer felt smooth and the running motor has that nice sound of a power you expect with a cabinet saw.

Using several passes, at about 1/16" per pass, I converted some very rough and highly figured walnut into boards that will require only a little finish sanding. They were were good enough to face joint, so edge jointing would have been a cake walk.

Of course, the spiral head inserts were all new, but I could not see any tear out, even around the tight knot in the most figured area.

Having only used planers with knives up until now, it's comforting to know blade changes will be fewer, because of the carbide edges on the spiral head. Too, it's comforting to know I don't have to change all the blades because of a nick. I just have to turn the damaged insert(s) ninety degrees (maybe).


For the time being, the Grizzly is connected to my 3hp Jet collector via twenty feet of 4" hose. In spite of that, I leave more shavings on the floor sharpening a carpenter's pencil.