The Too Long Didnt Read Version :
-Excellent quality of cut
-Very little vibration
-Knock-down Base is well executed
-Fence bump-stop mechanism is passable, but not good
-Motor mounting/belt tensioning is frustrating
Nutshell : I am very happy with the purchase. Grizzly really got the big things right, but may have sacrificed some of the smaller details for the sake of an affordable price. I would dock the machine a half-star if I could, but a 4-star rating seems too harsh. All-in-all, great machine that is worth a look for the budget-conscious woodworker.
Assembly of the jointer took approximately 2.5 hours to complete. The manual is good enough to provide all the details needed to assemble the jointer without too much confusion, however the images are more useful than the text. This being the case, it would have been nice if the images were larger/sharper, but that might just be the lego-generations preference. The cabinet portion of the jointer is constructed from sheetmetal with tapped screw holes and slotted clearance holes. This works well enough and provides the necessary clearances to adjust and fiddle so that everything fits nicely. However, only a couple of threads are engaged in the sheetmetal, so if the vibrations from operating the machine start to back out the screws, nylon lock nuts might come in handy.
The most difficult portion of the assembly is mounting the motor and tensioning the drive belt. The motor is mounted with 4 bolts through a slotted track. The motor is heavy, so positioning the motor, getting the belt tensioned properly, and tightening down the mounting bolts took the better part of half an hour. Needless to say, while it can be done with one person, an extra set of hands would certainly have made this process easier.
Features and Design :
The design of the machine is well thought out and executed with only a couple notable short comings. First, the cast-iron in-feed and out-feed tables come flat and coplanar straight out of the box. Based on feeler-gauge measurements with a straight-edge, was about 1-2 mils (0.001-0.002 inches) out of coplanarity, which is good-nuff in my book. Knives are sharp (be careful while cleaning them) and well aligned with the out-feed table. Apart from the belt tension, set up of the jointer was fairly painless.
The fence is flat and well-constructed, but the bump-stop mechanism leaves something to be desired. This mechanism is a small metal plate, a bolt and a jam nut. While this is serviceable, it is difficult to tighten the jam nut without changing the angle of the fence. If you are planning on switching between 90 degrees and 135 degrees often, this mechanism would not be good enough to rely upon.
Ownership Experience :
Owning and working with this jointer has been a very positive experience. The jointer is much quiet and produces glass-smooth cuts. The knock-down base makes the machine easy to move around the shop without reducing stability. In the spirit of full disclosure, my unit was delivered with one of the leveling feet bent. I contacted Grizzly customer service about the issue and they are replacing the part under warranty as soon as the part is in-stock. Working with the customer service department was also a very positive experience.