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Saw number two..

Last Friday I took a day off from work to receive delivery of my new band saw. Right on time UPS Freight showed up at my house and I was there with my utility trailer. The saw came in two packages, the band saw proper weighing in at 200 lbs. and the base, packaged separately weighing in at 40 lbs. Compared to the 405 lb. behemoth table saw, this deliver was a piece of cake and everything went smoothly. It went so well in fact, I didn’t need to get the engine hoist involved this go round. I was able to slide the boxed band saw by myself and getting it off the trailer and in to the garage was easy. I then began the unboxing and assembly process.

Grizz 14" Band Saw Unboxing

The plan was to assemble the stand, then finish construction of the HF mobile base (see previous post). Although I could find the band saw stand dimensions online, I didn’t want to cut and drill the mobile base wooden stretchers until the base was actually in my house and assembled. I could just see that going badly and having to remake them by cutting one of pieces too short. And so the build started.

Stand Bolts Stand Lower Brace

This part was actually pretty easy and so far Grizzly has been perfect with respect to the number and condition of the parts. I’ve found it helpful to sort and group the parts together both to count them and as an aid in understanding which might go together and where. First impressions have been generally incorrect so this method really has been useful. Notice my tools and coffee in the background. I love that cart.

Stand Partial Assembly

I used the cardboard box that housed the stand as a work surface to protect the powder coat and my knees as I assembled the work. So far so good, this part went very quickly so it was on to the mobile base final assembly.

Stand on Mobile Base Stand and Mobile Base - Side View

OK, I have to say that the jury is out on my decision to purchase the HF base versus getting another Grizzly mobile base. I have no reservations about the parts quality of the HF version, it is very beefy and in fact I think probably stronger than the Grizzly version. The process of milling the wooden stretchers took a while and although, we are wood workers you might rather spend you time working on something else. In my case, I had to actually laminate two strips together and then using a jig saw and plane, rip them to 1 ¼” x 1 ¼”. Then I had to carefully measure the dimensions of the tool base before cutting them to length and drilling the 8 holes for the mounting bolts. The Grizzly came with steel stretchers and thumb screws which made installation much simpler. Now that it’s all over, I’m happy with my decision to go with HF and I’d likely do it again especially given that I can use my new band saw in the process.

I took a break at this point to spend the afternoon with my wife in town. Upon my return I enlisted Susan and my daughter Callie and the three of use lifted the band saw onto the base and I secured her to the base with the supplied bolts, washers and nuts. At that point Susan hung around and read out instructions to me as I completed the trunnion, table and fence assembly. With the bulk of the assembly completed, I proudly rolled my new prize into the shop.

Band Saw Assembly Completed - 2 Band Saw Assembly Completed - 1

Saturday, I was rested and ready to attempt the band saw setup process. Not only was I unfamiliar with this new saw, I have never used any band saw before so I took my time. In this instance the Grizzly manual was not perfect. Some of the pictures were a little different from my saw but after a couple of (very significant) misunderstandings on my part I was able to understand how pretty much everything worked. It took me several tries but I finally got it worked out and now I think I fully understand and could easily repeat the process as required to change a blade or tune. I’ll be learning how to use this gear for years to come, I know that.

I give Grizzly an overall A minus on my two builds. The product is very nice, fit and finish are solid “A”. Product delivery I would also give the grade of “A”. Everything was as it should have been. The only mark down I have is that some of the assembly instructions were incomplete, requiring the I make an assumption or two. For a beginner like myself leaving something out, even something very simple, can cause confusion. I can cite two examples but there were a couple of others.

To open the upper and lower blade covers, you simple pull the knob. It was a star knob and I had it in my mind that it was screwed on a bolt. After turning the knob by hand was too difficult, I muscled it off with a wrench. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I need a wrench to loosen this and for heaven’s sake, why would they have put a lock washer on it to further defeat me? Because I’m a moron. At least I didn’t throw the lock washer away and I was able to reassemble the parts that much the wiser.

Second example was the orange-colored blade guard. No mention of a guard and it’s not shown in any of the assembly illustrations. I’m a computer guy and when I unpack a new printer, I know that I’m to pull the orange tape out of the unit before I use it. So do I remove or keep this piece on the saw. After seeing the guard didn’t interfere with its operations and realizing how this guard would contribute to my finger safety, I deduced that I should leave it in place. To me there should be a placard or instruction so the operator doesn’t have to guess. My rule of thumb with Grizzly products is now, assume they did it right and if it doesn’t seem to work, I’m doing it wrong.

One last complaint. As you can see from my unboxing picture above, the 200 lb saw is lying atop not only the other loose components but its lying atop the manual and assembly instructions. No instructions were included in the stand package (which would have been appropriate and a nice gesture). So I’m thinking that maybe I should have turned the saw over and maybe I opened the wrong side of the box, but in fact there are no instructions on the outside of the box to do so, I checked. Plus, the saw came on the pallet in this orientation and all the writing on the box was oriented in this direction. So the good news is that all manuals are easily accessible from the Grizz web site and I had in fact already downloaded them to my iPad so I wasn’t all that worried about it. But I did scratch my head and wonder why they would make it hard when they could easily fix this?? They do so many things right on.

Overall assembly grade “A minus”. I’ll buy more of their products, I’m sure of it. And the good news is, the band saw runs on 110v so I was actually try a couple of test cuts last night. The electrician has my paperwork so I’m waiting to hear back from him on when my 220v service upgrade will happen. Things are coming along now.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

  1. July 2, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Good luck with those new tools. I’ve been mostly power tool-less in my own shop. I have a very crappy Ridgid band saw. Most things I do with power tools I do in my dad’s shop. Though today I brought home a contractors table saw and a table top planer that weren’t being used at work. So I have a couple new things to play with. My shop is in a finished part of the basement and I have another section down a narrow flight of stairs, which is very unfinished. Thats where all the dust making equipment is relegated to. So because of location and what I can and can’t get down the stairs, we’ll see how much use they get.
    Look up some videos on band saw set up. Its not tricky, but much more involved than most other power tools, at least to set it up right.

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