Grizzly - G0555P 14" 1 HP Bandsaw, Polar Bear Series (Rating: 4)

I ordered this on 12/31/2010 by phone from Grizzly. It was shipped from the Springfield, MO location via UPS Freight to Phoenix, AZ. I ordered it as a will call since I live pretty close to the terminal, I've got a F-250 to carry it in, and I didn't think a semi could get into my housing development (in Phoenix). It arrived at UPS on Thursday, 1/6/2011, 6 days later (not bad considering the holiday and weather).
The box was damaged. The UPS rep opened it on the spot - the unit was okay. The hole in the box and styrofoam were at a cavity in the box and nothing had been touched by what looked like a forklift puncture.
I also ordered the recommended mobile base but it was delivered separately the following day.
I got the unit home and was able to move the box inside with the help of my wife. I assembled the stand without any issue. It was good and heavy, more than I expected. You have to level it which I did somewhat but since I was going to install it on the mobile base I didn't spend a lot of time on that at that point.
I cleaned the grease off the table and waxed it at that point but learned that the waxing should wait until later.
I waited until the following day to get the base before finishing the assembly because I didn't want to try to lift the assembled unit onto the mobile base.
The base was a bit more of a problem. The space for the bolts to mount the casters are very cramped. I was able to get the washers and nuts on the bolts using a hemostat. They include instructions for how to build the base around a piece of equipment that requires putting the casters on after the equipment is on the base and I don't see how you could do that at all.
One of the casters was damaged but Grizzly is sending a replacement no questions asked. Kudos! (In fact I've had no issues with their customer service at all - I've found them very helpful.)
I got the mobile base assembled and mounted the TS stand on it and levelled it without issue.
My wife helped me lift the saw onto the stand and get it bolted on without issue. I did put a couple of drops of 3in1 oil on the bolts (all of them) during assembly but it wasn't suggested to do so in the manual. I found it made them thread together easier.
I had a couple of issues after that…
The trunions for the table were on the wrong sides of the table. They're "universal" in that the table could be mounted, but only one of them had an angle indicator and it was on the back side of the table which didn't have a corresponding pointer on the trunion mount. I reversed them.
The instructions have you install the table before adjusting the guide bearings but (as I read somewhere else afterwards) it is easier to adjust the bearings without the table in place. I also put some molybdenum grease on the trunions.
When I tried to adjust the table bearing indicator (once the table was levelled) the head of the screw for the pointer stripped out (a phillips head screw). I replaced it with a stainless metric socket head (all of the bolts, etc., are metric).
I had problems adjusting the guide bearings. Remember - it's my first saw…
The thrust bearing was no problem, nor the adjustment for ensuring the guide bearings are behind the gullet. But to adjust the guides so that they "loosely touch" the blade wasn't easy. You loosen the locking bolt and then have to twist the guide bearings which are mounted on an offset cam that rides in the guide assembly. The cam didn't turn easy. I had to pry apart the clamp using a small screw driver to spread it. I took the cams out and put a bit of molybdenum grease on the shaft that goes in the guide assembly. Then I could adjust them a bit easier but I still have to use a screwdriver to spread the clamps. Once I got the bearings where I thought they were good I tightened the locking bolt but that moves the bearings in towards the blade on both sides. You really need to leave the bearings a bit looser than you think before tightening the locking bolt.
The lower guide is even harder since the table is in the way. I found out that I could back the thrust bearing all the way back to get access to the split in the guide assembly to allow me to spread it with a screw driver. Lesson learned - make sure you re-adjust the thrust bearing after adjusting the side bearings if you do it this way!
Another issue I had was (again as I read afterward) I mounted the rail for the fence in the upper holes on the table. It needs to be mounted using the lower holes which I didn't think were there due to being counter bored and inset compared to the upper holes.
Finally, while adjusting the table so that it was parallel to the blade, I had to write on the table a number of times. I ended up having to remove pencil marks after each adjustment using some mineral spirits which led me to fully re-clean the table top and re-wax it.
I'm still not sure about the blade tension but it seems okay. The blade doesn't wander. However, the built in tension guage is quite a bit looser than the marking for a 3/8 blade. Maybe it's because its new. (I'm just using the Grizzly blade right now. I also got a 1/8" because I have a project in mind that I think I may need that small of a blade.)
I haven't cut much with it since I got it - I've been trying to fit dust collection and wheel brushes. I have a 2-1/2" hose on a Ridgid shop vac and was hoping to attach it through an adapter to the 4" port on the saw. I got a 4" to 2-1/2" PVC adapter to try on the saw but the 4" is too big. The instructions have you put 4" hose on the port and clamp it so I'll have to re-think how to attach my smaller hose.
I cut out a pair of push sticks from a 2×4 (fir?). I had to feed the material slower than I expected, cutting through only the 1.5" (well less actually because I jointed and planed the sides parallel first) but it was my first cut so I wasn't quite sure if it was normal. Then I ripped the 2x in two to get two matching push sticks. Again, other than the feed rate being slower than I was expecting the cut was fine.
I think it's a good saw but I don't have any personal experience to base it on. I've looked at others and read a lot of reviews that all pointed me to this saw for the money and 110V, single circuit operation. I like the nice heavy table, the roller guides (even though they seem hard to adjust due to the design), and the miter and fence that come with the machine. The fence does have some play when locked and it's not as tall as the "re-saw" fences Grizzly sells. The non-locking end of the fence just sits on top of the rail on the opposite side of the table - it doesn't provide any horizontal force for "pinching" the fence in place. The miter fits snuggly into the track (but it's loose in my router table track and it doesn't have any adjustment - but that's not Grizzly's problem).
It's certainly heavy and seems solid. I consider it my most "pro" piece of gear. I'd recommend it but with the caveat that I'm no expert.
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Update 1/20/2011
I added the little plywood shelf to the stand (2nd picture) so I could have a place to put the miter and fence when I'm not using them. I can probably store new blades there too. I may try to put a clear shower curtain over the openings, attached with magnets, to keep the sawdust out of there.