Setting up / Tuning up a Grizzly Jointer

Grizzly G0586 Jointer

I received a Grizzly Go586 Jointer over a year ago.  After un-boxing and attaching the parts, I turned it on and started jointing.  It worked great right out of the box.  Well, the knives are now getting really dull and I’m having a harder time flattening a board.  So, it’s time for a tuneup.

The two things I want to do are to make the two tables co-planar and to install new jointer knives.  The following process is very similar to both The Wood Whisperer (Marc Spagnuolo) and an article by America Woodworker which I used for reference.

Making the Tables Co-Planar

The basic process for making the two tables coplanar is to:

  • Lock the in-feed table slightly higher than the out-feed table
  • Take a (very flat) straight edge referenced off of the in-feed table and measure the gap to the out-feed table at four points: front next to the cutter, back next to the cutter, front at the end of the table, back at the end of the table
  • Unlock the gib screws on the dovetail ways and shim as necessary (more on that shortly)
  • Lock the gib screws and take measurements again.  Repeat unlock, shim, lock until four measurements are all equal

Jointer Front with Shims

In practice this is really straightforward although rather tedious.  Every time a shim is put in it affects all four corners, but you start to get a feel for what you need with a little practice.  And since this jointer has dovetail ways (not parallelogram), it needs shimming along those ways.  I bought .001, .002 and .005 shim stock from Amazon.com – it came in 6″ by 18″ sheet.  I hardly used any of the sheets (only needed very small pieces), but each sheet was just a few bucks anyway.

The goal is to have the out-feed table measurements at the four corners all be exactly the same.  This means that the out-feed is co-planar to the in-feed (where the straight edge is referenced).

To insert a shim I simply lift up on the out-feed table and shove the shim where I need and then let the table drop back down.  I went back and forth to the four main locations for shims: top+bottom of the dovetail ways on both the front and back of the out-feed table.  Eventually I ended up with multiple shims in three of the four points in order to get the out-feed co-planar to the in-feed.

Changing Knives

This jointer has four 8″ knives.  It’s a simple process to release the gib bolts and remove the gib and knife.  Since this is the first time I’ve changed the knives, each knife had both the spring and set-screw in place.  Since I’m using the Oneway Multi Gauge, I removed the springs and went with the set screws as the mechanism for controlling the knife height.

I dropped in the new knife and got the set screws in place to read just about absolute 0 all the way across the knife, referenced from the out-feed table.  As I started tightening the gib bolts I checked the gauge which typically will show the knife rising slightly.  I tried to get the knife about 1-3 thousands above the out-feed table, all the way across the 8″.  Unfortunately I found that these knives are not absolutely straight, having a dip as much as 6 thousands in the middle of the knife.  I did the best I could and the results are looking good so far, so not a problem.  I’ll probably hone a micro-bevel on them before they get too dull, which should make them perfectly straight across as well.

All in all, this process took about 5 hours or so.  Really not too bad at all and it’ll be much faster next time.  Changing the knife blades will now happen more often in my shop and that really only takes about 30 minutes for all 4 knives.

Now it’s back to work!

12 Responses to “Setting up / Tuning up a Grizzly Jointer”
  1. Brian says:

    Hey Morton,
    You shimmed the infeed table…how have those held up as you move the infeed table to different depths while working on projects?

  2. Morton says:

    Brian — I actually shimmed the outfeed table for this reason – it doesn’t move. I didn’t add any shims on the infeed side. At least, as far as I can remember ;)

  3. JC.mtl says:

    Thanks, very usefull.

  4. Bryan says:

    Morton,

    Your guide here was VERY helpful to me as I too have a G0586. I also had seen the Wood Whisperer video; but, your instructions were much better as you adjust the OUTFEED table to the infeed and the WW does it in reverse, which makes no sense to me for a Dovetail table, since the infeed table moves all the time and would mess up the shims. Maybe it is different on a parallelogram table like the WW was adjusting.

    Two suggestions: [1] a clarifying no-brainer step you could add, for us Newbees to jointers, is to first loosen the table lock as well as the gibs screws on the outfeed table. Stupidly obvious as it seems, I followed your instructions exactly and of course the table lock fought with the gib screws. I could align the end two spots but not the inner two spots.

    [2] Sheet stock on Amazon was really expensive, so for my shims, I bought two sets of $4.99 feeler gauges at NAPA and they work great without any cutting size and they are thickness labeled as well! This gave my plenty of shims precut and at a low price.

  5. Michael says:

    Thanks for the great demo and information. I have this exact jointer I just purchased (used) and followed your instructions with great success. One question, I see you took off the fence and all it’s workings. Did you have any changes in the out-feed table position when you reattached it? Did the tables stay co-planer? I too took off the fence and definitely noticed a change in the table after it was off.

    I have not reattached my fence since making the adjustments and thought I would check to see if you recall (I know it has been a while for you) if you had any movement after you put the fence back on.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback. I appreciate your website and all of the info you have published.

  6. Morton says:

    Thanks for the comment! I actually have no idea if the outfeed table shifted when I re-attached the fence – I didn’t even think to check. The jointer’s been working really well, though it’s time for another quick tune-up (blades and check the table) – so I’ll keep an eye out for that this time around. However I did notice a dramatic improvement to my jointing after I did that tune-up, so no doubt the out-feed table was out of alignment and the adjustment made it much better.

  7. cp says:

    too technical! thousanths of an inch! do you ever get anything done? fast forward from start to finish, it is very good info. no doubt! i run a custom shop! if my guys were going into that much depth to set up a joiner, they wouldnt have a job with us………make sure infeed and outfeed are square with one another within reason and make sure the blades are flush with the outfeed. set infeed surface no more than an 1/8” under outfeed unless you have some kind of monsterous machine that chews up to 1/4” in a single pass for a straight edge or surface. a lot of edges will be hand sanded befor finishing, so the time and info for a thousandth of inche is out the door… professionally or as otherwise. if your gauge reads 90 from fence and table without dig out from start to finish, “ur good to go!” if your table surfaces are out of wack and readable with a tape measure. you have been rooked, or, time for a new machine! or better quality machine!

  8. clafollett says:

    Great Video Morton. I just picked up a Grizzly G0656P and needed to adjust for coplanar. It appears Grizzly didn’t want to cover these steps in their user manual. You video makes it extremely clear! Thanks!

  9. pdryden says:

    This is the best information i could find online explaining how to achieve a coplaner jointer. Thanks!
    I really want to make sure I fully understand the process before attempting it. How do you lift the table in order to apply the shim stock?Do you simply apply a bit of upward tension on the table?

  10. Morton says:

    It’s really a lot easier than it sounds or looks. To place the shim stock, just lift up on the wing (once the appropriate bolts, etc are loosened — sorry, I’ve forgotten exactly what needs to be loosened first). Just lift it up, place shim, lower it down. No big deal. The machine is really pretty easy once you get used to it – there’s not much to these guys. Good luck!

  11. Jaime says:

    Mr. Morton,
    Have you ever had an issue with the fence maintaining perpendicular to the table? I have the same jointer and I notice after several passes the fence can lose adjustment. This seems to occur when the blade guard closes and hits the bottom of the fence. The spring tension on the blade guard is not that much so it is not striking the fence that hard. I have reviewed the instruction manual and set the 90 degree stops. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  12. Morton says:

    Jamie — Thanks for the comment. I’ve actually never had trouble with out-of-square table though to be honest, I haven’t checked it that often. I’ve certainly checked my stock and it has been very square. So I’m sorry that I’m not much help. That’s mostly been a “set it and forget it” thing for me. Maybe try to underset it slightly and run a few boards. There might be some play that’ll get pushed back on those first few boards and then be good from there on out.

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