Setting up / Tuning up a Grizzly 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
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.
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!