Grizzly Price Reduction
#6
About 5 years ago I bought the G0636X bandsaw from Grizzly.  I think I paid about $2650 plus about $175 for shipping.  I've casually kept track of the cost as each new catalog arrives.  In 2020 the price was $2795 plus $175 for shipping.  I don't remember what it was in 2021, but in 2022 the price was $4015 plus $239 for shipping.  That seemed like an outrageous increase, but everything was on its head in the supply chain. Well, in the 2023 catalog the price is $3395 plus $369 for shipping.  It's probably supply and demand at work more than anything else, but it's nice to see Grizzly offer a lower price as their costs decrease.  I wonder if it will be lower still next year?  

For anyone looking for a top-level bandsaw in the 17" range, I can recommend the G0636X w/o hesitation or qualification.  It is a rock-solid monster of a saw, and the price is substantially lower than anything comparable.   

John
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#7
(01-06-2023, 10:32 AM)jteneyck Wrote: For anyone looking for a top-level bandsaw in the 17" range, I can recommend the G0636X w/o hesitation or qualification.  It is a rock-solid monster of a saw, and the price is substantially lower than anything comparable.  

John, like you, I have been watching the price of Grizzly tools fluctuate.  The other manufacturer still have "to the moon" pricing.  For example, the Minimax s440p is currently "discounted" to  $6,185.01.  (The $0.01 was a nice touch.)

I currently have a G0513x2bf.  The saw has many great features.  It's stiff enough to tension a 3/4" Resaw King to 25k psi. The fence and the table tilt mechanisms are good.  The motor brake is really nice.  However, I've never fallen in love with my machine. Oddities I have noticed:

I have had trouble with the bearing guide alignment.  I finally figured out that the surface of the bearings were not parallel to the blade.  I resolved that by rotating the entire guide mechanism on the post, but that means one of my guides has very little clearance, even when fully open.

Second problem is the bearing guides get packed with sawdust.   The lower dust collector port is below the guides and the bearings are not sealed, so they get filled with sawdust and fail.  I was not in the habit of checking the bearings and a blade rubbed against the bearing, which didn't spin.  That heated the blade, which caused the tire to fail, which caused the blade the break.  (Or maybe the blade broke first.)

The blade detensioning mechanism works by putting the spring in compression.  Most detensioning mechanisms I have seen shift the entire upper wheel assembly down.  But the Grizzly saw doesn't do that.  There is a bolt that pushes down on the spring from a fixed point as you detension the saw.  By "detensioning" the saw, the spring is actually under more load.  Also, since the detension mechanism is from a fixed point, the bolt used for detensioning has to be adjusted for different blade lengths or the detension mechanism doesn't work.  What's worse is that if the bolt is misadjusted, you can't properly tension the blade in the first place.

Which brings me to blade lengths.  Grizzly advertises that the standard blade length for the saw is 131.5".  If you look at the specs more carefully, the blade length is 130" - 131.5".  I have ordered 131.5" blades that were slightly too long, which meant I could not tension the blade properly.  If Grizzly had made the standard length 130.75" or even 131", then the saw could tolerate blades that were a little  too short or too long.  Now that I know about this problem, I have considered just ordering shorter blades, but that means that I would either need to replace all my blades or constantly adjust the detensioning bolt referenced in the previous paragraph.  I suspect a significant number of Grizzly users have had this problem.   It's not easy to detect.

The base of the saw is quite flexible, which has led the vibration.  I was able to mitigate that with Great Lakes castors, but the Grizzly manual says the preferred installation is to bolt the saw to the floor.  If the saw were bolted to the floor, then the flex in the base would not matter, but I bet less than 1% of users bolt their saw to the floor, so that's really not a realistic expectation.

They used a cheap belt, which easily gained a set, which caused vibration.  I replaced it with a Gates AX39, which has notches and that helped a lot.

So my saw at this point is functional, but all these problems I have had over the years have irritated me.

I would like to buy a saw that runs a 1" carbide blade, so I have considered the G0636X, but my experience with the lighter saw has given me pause.  It looks like the heavier saw has the same detension mechanism, same bearing guides, and the same blade length issue as my saw.  Plus the manual says the brake should only be used for emergencies, which I find very odd.  I want to brake to stop the blade to avoid an emergency!  Of course I'm just looking at the saw on paper, so I wondered if you had any thoughts about these issues with your saw. I know you have produced very impressive results with your saw.

Mark
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#8
Mark, sorry to hear of the problems you've had with your bandsaw.  I've had none of them with my G0636X.  The distension lever lessens the tension on the spring and lowers the upper wheel, not like how yours is designed.  To adequately tension the blade you do have to turn the handwheel to apply some force to the blade, because the tension lever alone will not apply enough force on it's own over the distance it moves.  That makes it a sort of suck and seek process, because you have to detension the lever before you can turn the adjustment wheel, but it still only takes a couple of try to get to the correct force.  I use the standard blade length Grizzly recommends, 162" I think it is, and have never had any problems applying tension. 

The guides work fine on mine and their alignment is w/o issue.  I've had the saw for at least 5 years now and have sawn thousands of feet of veneer with it.  I just noticed the lower thrust bearing is not rotating properly and needs to be replaces.  The others all remain in good working order.  I have used the foot brake to stop the blade as long as I've owned the saw and have had no issues, and the friction material on the shoe looks fine.  I press the off switch first, before stepping on the brake.  My interpretation of what Grizzly says in the manual is that you should only use the footbrake to BOTH turn off power to the motor and slow the blade in an emergency.  Why add a footbrake if it's not meant to be used in routine operation?  

My friend has had a G0636X for more than 12 years.  He never releases tension on the blade, for what that's worth.  He has never had any issues with the saw.  He's probably cut less stock than I but it still gets regular use.  When he changes blades he says he has not needed to make any adjustment to the tracking; they have all tracked the same.  I will admit I've have moved the upper wheel slightly to make the blade track in the middle, but it's an easy operation, although it too must be done after detensioning the lever.  

The G0636X is extremely robust and rigid; it weighs over 600 lbs IIRC.   I have mine on a mobile base.  I haven't tried the nickel test on it, but it has essentially no vibration. 

Dust collection is excellent as long as you can have at least 600 CFM to it.  More is even better.  Nothing stays in inside the saw.  That was the biggest issue I had and I had to almost completely reconfigure my 2 hp DC in order to provide adequate flow.  When sawing veneer, this thing makes a lot of sawdust.  

The saw is a joy to use every time.  My experience.  

John
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#9
John, thank you for the comprehensive, thoughtful reply.

I reviewed the manual for the two saws and I see the detension adjustment instructions are quite different.  Thank you for pointing that out.  (And for replying to every single one of my points!).

On dust collection, it looks like the G0636x has guides close to the dust port, which would help a lot.  My saw has the guides above the dust port with just a little slot for air.

   

Just today I hooked up a ClearVue to my saw, so we'll see if the collection improves, but I don't see how having the guides in this position could lead to enough dust control to keep sawdust out of them.

I feel like Grizzly has a marketing problem.  These two saws look very similar, but are actually quite different.  It really takes digging to see the differences.

Mark
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#10
(01-16-2023, 10:17 PM)MarkWells Wrote: John, thank you for the comprehensive, thoughtful reply.

I reviewed the manual for the two saws and I see the detension adjustment instructions are quite different.  Thank you for pointing that out.  (And for replying to every single one of my points!).

On dust collection, it looks like the G0636x has guides close to the dust port, which would help a lot.  My saw has the guides above the dust port with just a little slot for air.



Just today I hooked up a ClearVue to my saw, so we'll see if the collection improves, but I don't see how having the guides in this position could lead to enough dust control to keep sawdust out of them.

I feel like Grizzly has a marketing problem.  These two saws look very similar, but are actually quite different.  It really takes digging to see the differences.

Mark

They really are very different saws, as you have discovered.  Just the weight difference alone tells a lot.  Having said that I've had no trouble with the guide bearings, save one thrust bearing, I just changed blades and noticed that a couple of side bearings no longer rotated properly.  So now I have all of them out of the machine and have ordered new bearings from a third party.  The OE ones are sealed, but apparently either not well enough or I have killed them from all the wood I've run through the saw.  I have cut thousands of square feet of veneer with the saw; I suspect far beyond what most hobbiests would ever do, so it's not surprising the bearings need to be replaced.  

Yes, the lower guides are about in line with the dust port. Perhaps Grizzly did that so the sawdust would be swept away before hitting the guides.  Personally, however, I would prefer them to be higher up under the table for better support when using narrow blades, though I rarely do on that saw.  But it's not possible because the table would hit them when tilted, which likely is the real reason Grizzly put them where they are.  In any case, the saw cuts great with the guides where they are.  

IMO, the G0636X is not only the best value of any saw in that class, but also arguably the best saw.  

John
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