Tool reviews are great as they help us make purchasing decisions, but what is normally missing is a retrospective view. Sure, it looked great in the initial evaluation, but how did it hold up in production, and how well did it meet the owner’s initial expectations over time? In that light, I wanted to provide a short update on my Grizzly 490X Jointer, and share some of the experiences I have had with it during the year since I bought it.
Overall it has been great.
There is no twist to the story; after many hours of use the tool has performed quite well and has not given me any cause for buyer’s remorse. But still I have learned more about the tool in the last year, as one would with any major tool purchase.
Parallelogram beds. After initial setup and tests the beds seemed coplanar and I thought I might never have to adjust them. Within a few months, however, I measured a small sag on the infeed table which caused a slight convex condition to appear on jointed edges, which became particularly problematic on longer boards. The parallelogram design made this easy to adjust, and within 30 minutes or so the problem was gone and has not reappeared. This situation made me feel good about my decision to upgrade to a parallelogram jointer over the standard dovetail ways design, as anyone who has had to perform this adjustment on a dovetail style jointer knows that it can be tricky and time consuming.
Mobile base. It is great to have an integrated mobile base, as I move the tool around a bit to access lumber stored behind it and to clean the floor. The only downside to the design of this base is that there is no graceful way to set the tool down. It can be raised easily by pressing the pedal with my foot, but if the pedal is flipped back up with my foot the machine slams down to the floor. So, I end up kneeling beside the machine and using my hand to slowly lower the machine. Okay, but could be better.
Vibration. I had reported a vibration problem in the initial review that turned out to be caused by a faulty motor. As described in part 2 of the review, the problem went away when Grizzly provided a replacement motor. I am happy to report that I have not noticed any excessive vibration problems since, and the jointer still passes the “nickel test”.
Switch design. In my initial review I reported that the switch design did not seem as robust as what I would expect for a tool in this class. I am still not crazy about this feature, but in regular use I have not found it to be a problem.
Spiral cutterhead. This continues to perform flawlessly and impress me. I have run several types of figured stock through and have not experienced any chip-out at all. In retrospect I feel great about this upgrade as well, and because of my experience here I added this feature when I upgraded my planer as well (http://www.wwgoa.com/article/woodmaster-718-review-planer-molder-sander-ripper/)
Capacity. In upgrading from a 6″ to an 8″ jointer I have enjoyed the additional 2″ of width capacity, as I work primarily with rough lumber so I face joint nearly everything. The main reason that I upgraded to this jointer, however, was for additional length (30″ more on the 8″ jointer) to make edge jointing long stock a more pleasant task, and that has proven to be a good move. I have run many boards over six feet long through this machine and have been impressed by how easy it is to get a square edge on these long planks. In fact, I have not faced a single situation in the last year where I needed to edge joint a board that the 490X couldn’t handle. From that aspect alone this machine has been a winner.
In conclusion, after a full year of regular use and abuse the 490X has earned its large footprint in my shop and I anticipate that it will continue to meet my needs for the foreseeable future. It continues to impress me with its power, capacity and finish quality, and it still strikes me as a great value.
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