I got my jointer about a month ago. The first thing you need to know
Is about shipping. Grizzly only does freight on these large machines, and if you dont have a way to unload it from an 18 wheeler you need to purchase the lift gate service. My wife was home with the kids, and the gentleman nicely unloaded my Jointer from the truck (2 large boxes) and wheeled it down the paved driveway and rolled it into the garage. All this shipping and handling racks up to about $130-$150 onto your final price, so consider that when purchasing. It still came in under the competitors, and I couldnt be happier.
The assembly was pretty straight forward. Follow the instructions and you shouldnt have any issues. The only tough part is tensioning the belt which requires you to unbolt the 4 hard to reach bolts on the motor, but it all worked out in the end. After assembly I Checked for flatness and to see if the tables were parralell to one another, and I was pleasantly surprised, and happy that I woulnt need to shim anything... (I hear coke cans are good cheap shins by the way.
Operation: since the two tables are dead flat, I was very happy with the performance. Ive mostly only ran pine through it, but its flattened it like it was nothing. Ive taken up to 1/8 of an inch at a time and it chews through the wood without issue. Im working on a workbench and i had to run 8ft long 6x4 laminated pieces through it. It handled it with grace, although the tables are a little short for something that large. I had an issue with the machine wanting to tip when I got near the end due to my hand pressure, and the cantilever of the wood pieces. If your just doing 1 inch or 2 inch material, you will be fine, but 4 inches gets pretty heavy at those lengths, especially at the full 6 inch width.
The main reason for the tipping was due to the mobile base design. The base has a total of 3 wheels and 2 adjustable feet. One of the 3 wheels has a lift mechanism that allow you to clear the adjustable feet and move it around. When its disengaged the two feet support the machine along with the other 2 wheels. The two wheels are in the outfeed side, so when you feed a piece through the directional force and downward force transfers to the two wheels and away from the two feet as you feed the piece through the cutter head. When you get to a certain point and enough force it teeters and wants to roll... my fix was to take two short cut 2x4s in each corner, so when the weight transfers it transfers to the 2x4s and acts as chucks for the wheels. This worked perfectly. The 2x4s fit snuggly and prevented any rolling or teetering. Like I said, this was due to me using the machine for a piece that probably is too large for the jointer. I just found a solution that helps me do it safely.
Couple other notes: this thing comes covered in waxy rust preventative. You will need a minimum of an hour or two to remove it from everything including the blades (forcing you to reset them and align them), gibs, and the cutter head itself. The tables and the fence will also have it. If you use mineral spirits it will come off with a little work. After cleaning it get some furniture paste wax and coat the top and fence. I also coated the blades seeing as they had the rust preventative as well. Im not sure how practical that was though.
Ive used the machine with and without dust collection, and I can say that you need it. A shop vac wont do the job (i have 2 1/4 hose), it will clog and just cant remove enough chips. Using it without the dust collector and collection hood is a better alternative. You just have to pay attention and make sure it doesnt clog up the shoot. The best solution is to get a proper 4 inch dust collector. I have a 1200cfm collector now and the jointer stays clean. At the end of an intense jointing session I just disconnect the hose and quickly suck up the little pieces that flung up at the end of each board.
This is by far the best tool I have in the shop, it makes working with all my other tools much easier. If I had the money I would
Have gone with an 8 inch spiral helical head, but i can always upgrade that later. Thenhelical head will just help with squirly grain that likes to tear out. It handles pretty well, just making it a little fuzzy, luckily it doesnt rip out big chunks, but a helical head would help with that.