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Lookin' at picking up a few new wood shop tools. Anyone have any experience with the Grizzly brand (it was recommended from a friend). Lookin' at gettin' a spindle sander, band saw and maybe a jointer. Do a couple project here and there and enjoy it. Any luck with the Harbor freight (or other brands) stuff?
 

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I cqn tell you that the Grizzly 10 inch 3 hp table saw that my step dad has is one nice machine and a heavy piece of equipment. He bought the table saw based on a recommendation from a guy that did alot of woodworking. I've helped him with some of his projects and I've used it a couple times myself and like it.
 

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For what you are looking to do I would say you may be better with Harbor Freight at least to start. I often pick up tools from Harbor Freight when I don't know how much use they will get. Later you can upgrade and you will have a much better idea of what you would like and if you don't end up staying with it you are not out much. Now for carving or cutting nothing beats a fine quality blade. I gave up carving when I was young and used cheap tools. My daughter wanted to carve so I invested in good blades from the start and she hasn't stopped , even I find it enjoyable now and wished I had her knives 40 years ago.
 

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Grizzly tools are well built and have a reputation for holding up well. They are several steps above Harbor Freight in build and precision. But they are not at the top tier for precision.

If you need precision machining, like a lathe or a mill, Grizzly may not do it for you. You'd be better off with used American made machines if you need precision. Drill press, table saws, band saws by Grizzly should be just fine.

Speak to a machinist of a gun smith for more information.

Harbor Freight tools will be ok for around the house things and occasional use. I own several HF, grinder, drill press (I upgraded that one), combo belt/disc sander (works but is under powered).

As Johnbhm posted, they're ok to learn on, but if you're going to use them more than just once in a while, you'll soon want something better. Same thing applies to Harbor Freight hand tools, in my opinion. Yes, I've bought a bunch of them over the years.
 

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I bought a sixteen inch Grizzly band saw about twenty years ago. After a few months past the warranty the 1 1/2 hp gave up the ghost. I called them and asked how much for a new motor. They said send it to them which I did. About two weeks later I got a new motor from them at no charge and it has been running ever since. Last year After not using the band saw for some time, I needed some new guide supports. I got out my parts list, called them up and used my credit card and got what I needed for a twenty year old saw. I would buy from them without any hesitation.
 

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Grizzly tools are well built and have a reputation for holding up well. They are several steps above Harbor Freight in build and precision. But they are not at the top tier for precision.

If you need precision machining, like a lathe or a mill, Grizzly may not do it for you. You'd be better off with used American made machines if you need precision. Drill press, table saws, band saws by Grizzly should be just fine.

Speak to a machinist of a gun smith for more information.

Harbor Freight tools will be ok for around the house things and occasional use. I own several HF, grinder, drill press (I upgraded that one), combo belt/disc sander (works but is under powered).

As Johnbhm posted, they're ok to learn on, but if you're going to use them more than just once in a while, you'll soon want something better. Same thing applies to Harbor Freight hand tools, in my opinion. Yes, I've bought a bunch of them over the years.
“I couldn’t agree with you more completely”!
 
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The history of Grizzly started at a gun range. I would agree they are good for the money.

Long story, but the history can be found on YT. The History of Grizzly Industrial should find it.
 

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I own a 20" Grizzly planer and an 8" jointer the castings are just like Powermatic just cheaper electrical controls. I've used both extensively with no problems. I usually try to buy American, 15 years ago when I bought them I couldn't justify buying Powermatic. Hope this helps.

Tim
 

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Unless you are planning to make a bunch of lawn ornaments you really need a good table saw for most woodworking projects. Of all the tools I have in my shop. I use a band saw the least. Where a band saw really comes in handy is for re-sawing thicker boards but you need a big 16" plus saw for that. I had the 14" saw from Harbor Freight and it was the worst piece of junk I ever owned, after several attempts to upgrade the wheels and guides I took it to the scrap yard.
 

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The Harbor Freight stuff will work and not bust your wallet. For a few handy jobs here and there Harbor Freight tools will do fine. I have a mixture of high end and low end tools - Mikita, Milwalkee, Southbend, Chigaco Pnuematic. Some medium end like Rigid. Also some low end tools like Harbor Freight. I use them often. They all are work well. The difference for me seems to be how fast and easy you can reconfigure the tool. I never used to buy low end tools until a contractor friend talked me into it. He buys Harbor Freight tools for those jobs that would most likely beat the crap out of any tool. "Use it an abuse it until it burns out and then get another one". Drop it off staging, oh well, get another. Gets stolen off of the job site, same deal.

I agree with the really good table saw comments above. Also stick with a 10 inch miter saw and do not go for the big boys. The 10 inch saws make more precise cuts than the 12s.
 

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Grizzly makes quality tools. I don't presently own any grizzly tools but have owned a few in the past.
I never had a problem with them and they all worked fine.
The main reason I don't use them now is because there are no dealers around here that carry them.
Most of my shop tools now are Jet but I do have a 20" Rikon bandsaw and Powermatic table saw.
Harbor Freight tools are on the low side of quality. I don't buy their tools.
 

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It depends very much on what you need to do with the wood. I am a carpenter for more than 20 years so I know what I'm talking about. First of all, you need to know that there are very few ground rules that apply in every situation. Did you know that there are over 52 types of wood that you can use? It is ignorant to think that all of them will be worked on the same way. Again, it depends on what are you doing, furniture? Sculptures? Where will this object be placed? Inside or outside? I will gladly help, but tell me what exactly you wanna do, this will be easier. Here are some Tips for Table Saw Safety for just in case you find it helpful.
 

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Cannot comment on Grizzly other than seconding the cabinet saw; friend has one and it's a beast, However I have done a lot with a cast iron 10 inch table saw and 10 inch miter saw. Still do not have a band saw.
 

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Grizzly has a reputation for standing behind their products, have only heard one serious complaint about customer service. In that case he was just across town, and someone at Grizzly caught his complaint on line. They called him up, apologized, set up a time to come out and pick his machine up, carried it to the plant and fixed it, brought it back, set it up, and made sure he was happy with the way it operated before they left. AT NO CHARGE.

Have the 14" Grizzly Band Saw, excellent machine. Caught it on sale and saved enough to pay for shipping. Should you desire more throat, they have a 6 inch extension kit that raises the head and doubles it. Pretty reasonably priced last time I looked. Have had Zero problems with the saw, it's 5 - 6 years old now. Rip fence is really nice; a lot of cheaper 14" saws don't have one. Ships truck freight, so a semi has to be able to get to you, to drop it off.

Have an old Grizzly lathe I picked up used. Plugged model number in Google, and the discontinued page on the Grizzly website popped right up with full parts breakdown, all specs, whole nine yards. Switch was bad when I bought the lathe, previous owner thought it was starter capacitor and had replaced that, but he said the problem resurfaced occasionally. It acted up first day I had it, was able to sort it out, tracked fault to the switch. Part was reasonably priced, ($7 or some ridiculous something), and received it in timely manner. Blew the belt out on the Reeves drive and shredded it. Had no clue what size I needed; ordered it from Grizzly. Received a Gates belt, so I went to town and got a spare right away. Grizzly was within 25 cents of O'Reilley's price on it. Everything I've ever needed has been promptly shipped, and reasonably priced. No complaints at all.

Harbor Freight... Lot of folks don't hold them in high esteem. Personally, I think a lot of folks set their expectations too high for what they pay there, and are then they're let down. If you pay $20 for a tool and expect it to perform like an $80 tool, and last forever, you're probably going to be let down. Some of their goodies are honestly, not bad quality. Maybe not top of the line, but you aren't paying top of the line prices for it either. And, honestly... Some of their goodies are top notch.

Combination Belt/Disk Sander - As HIKayaker stated above, it's a bit under powered. Paid $56 for it 7 - 8 years ago, used it hard on many occasions, I've changed belts/disks on it and blew the dust out of it, a bunch. It rattles and rumbles, needs a little help taking off occasionally, if it hasn't been used in a while, but it keeps going and going and going and going... Worst repair on it to date, was tightening up a few screws that loosened up. For $56 I got ZERO complaints! It's more than paid for itself, several times over.

Tabletop Lathe - Picked it up lightly used, looked like new... Has been a good little lathe. Headstock and tailstock line up nicely, tailstock is actually tighter than my old Grizzly. It too is a little under-powered, but if you want to turn pens, game calls, most anything small, it's more than adequate, and reasonably priced. Have to move the belt to shift gears, but if you tire of that, and decide you want to move up in the world and go variable speed, they offer an upgrade kit for it that's reasonably priced as well.

Wood Clamps - They have some ugly bluish-gray flat bar clamps that are priced so stupid you would never think they could be functional, let alone of reasonable quality. And, when I bought mine it was a grand opening sale and they were 50% off or something, think I paid $2 each for the 3 footers, and like a $1.50 for the 2 footers. Honestly, they are an excellent clamp. Hands down, better than some name brand $20 clamps I own. You tighten them down, they don't bend or flex, they don't slip, they do exactly what they are supposed to do, and do it well.

Mechanic's Cart - Have the US General 5 drawer Mechanics Cart for my lathe tools, chucks, sand paper, other odds and ends. Had help loading it, unloading it at home, alone, was NOT fun! They are extremely well built boxes. Assembly instructions could have been clearer on a point or two, but after a little cussing and sorting things out, it all worked just like it should. Highly recommend them!!

Miter Saw - 10" compound miter w/slide... is a Kobalt - Again, not something I use a great deal; needed it for a project I was working on. It sits on the shelf in the back of the shop most of the time. Couldn't see spending the additional money on a DeWalt. No it's not as sweet as the DeWalt, but I didn't pay but about half as much for it.

Beyond that, I have on more than one occasion bought cheap tools on-line for assortment, to determine what I might need when venturing off into something new. Router bits for instance, I bought a huge assortment pack of bits. It was reasonably priced, has a wide array of bits I will seldom if ever use. If I ever get into something where I need to use one heavily, I'll upgrade to a better quality bit.

Cordless tools for woodworking... I've watched You Tube video after You Tube video where they stack the major brands up head to head against one another, and 9 times out of 10 DeWalt comes out on top.

You'll hate me later for it, but I personally recommend - www.cpooutlets.com - for a great many tool purchases. If you watch their sales, you can save a TON OF MONEY! Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale 2 years ago, I became heavily vested in DeWalt 20 Volt cordless tools, as did one of my neighbors. I was somewhere in the 45% of list price range when the smoke cleared on nearly a thousand dollars worth of tools, batteries, chargers. Neighbor claims he had me beat. Picked up a 3/8" drill kit, and 1/2" mid-size impact bare tool for work today, saved $40 on the drill kit, $20 on the impact. Drill, Impact, 2 - 2.0 amp hour batteries, charger, and carrying bag was $218.



If you want to know more about who owns and manufactures what tools, this link will tell you more than you ever imagined. It's an eye opener in a lot of respects...

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Quite insightful rocky! Muchas gracias!
 
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Thanks Rocky your post was spot on.....If a person knows what to look for in tools as far as decent quality an functionality HF can be a gold mine,but about 70%of their stuff is pretty iffy.....I think their bad reputation is a carry over from the old days.
My advice if the store is close is buy the tool,use it,abuse it an if ya don't like it take it back fr a full refund,ya have 90 days my store NEVER Q's why,usually they don't even ask....
 

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Quite insightful rocky! Muchas gracias!
You're most certainly welcome.


Thanks Rocky your post was spot on.....If a person knows what to look for in tools as far as decent quality an functionality HF can be a gold mine,but about 70%of their stuff is pretty iffy.....I think their bad reputation is a carry over from the old days.
My advice if the store is close is buy the tool,use it,abuse it an if ya don't like it take it back fr a full refund,ya have 90 days my store NEVER Q's why,usually they don't even ask....

Tool quality is pretty obvious in a lot of the Harbor Freight stuff. You can simply look at some of it and tell it's Chinese junk. That stuff I try to stay away from. But, there is a good deal of their stuff is legit.

Needed a tool kit to throw in my Durango. I don't think my father bought a set of Mechanics tools in his life, EVER. He accumulated crap on auctions and yard sales, picked up some stuff at pawn shops, found them side the road, in the trunk of old vehicles, just wherever, he accumulated tools for 60+ years. Everything is thrown in two tool boxes, in two different buildings, both of which the drawers have fallen out of because they're full of what should be scrap iron, with a half dozen different people using stuff and moving it back and forth between buildings, and you can't EVER find a damn thing when you need it. I simply get fed up with it, and bought my own tools for use at work. Saves me the stress of looking for it. Bought the 199 piece tool kit from Harbor Freight, figured if anything broke, got lost, I wasn't out much. I'm not doing any heavy mechanicing with it, but it gets used often. And, for what I need it for, they are without a doubt, decent tools. Only complaint I have is, I should have spent the extra $50 and bought the 301 piece set, for the simple fact that it has stackable trays in the box, and it's not so big and clumsy. The 199 piece set is in a flip over molded plastic case, and it's a tad large, but in the back of the Durango, that isn't a big problem.

Cordless tools... I was very close to buying the Hercules 20 Volt Cordless drill, but I couldn't find any head to head comparison videos on those, to see how they stacked up performance wise. The Hercules line used to resemble DeWalt cordless tools. The Bauer line doesn't look bad for the money either, it now more closely resembles DeWalt tools. You pick them up in the store and try them some time, they have some heft about them, they feel well built, hit the trigger, and there's some serious torque there too.

Might have gone Milwaukee, but they have a battery saver technology built in now, that's supposed to regulate how much amperage they draw to prolong battery life, and speed up charging, and that sounded problematic to me. In head to head You Tube videos, they proved exactly what I suspected it was going to do, and that was, it shut down when it started drawing too much amperage rather than drive the lag bolt in the oak 6x6 like the DeWalt did. Out of 6 top brands, only 2 drove the 5" lag bolt down tight, Milwaukee and DeWalt, and the DeWalt impact driver, beat the Milwaukee out by SEVERAL seconds, due to delays in the Milwaukee pausing to save the battery.

I researched and compared cordless tools.extensively before buying, because I was tired of 2 - 3 different battery chargers and batteries on the counter. Knew when I started, there was going to be a WHOLE BUNCH of the same brand bought, and they were ALL going to use the same battery. (Although I do have several different sizes.) But, every time I looked, you'd see completely different prices, on the same tool, everywhere you went, and everywhere you looked on line, AND THAT makes me very suspicious. If you go to the CPO Outlets website listed above, you can find a half dozen different prices on the same tool, on the same site.

Biggest difference in most cordless tool kits, is battery capacity. Cheaper the tool kit gets, the smaller the batteries are, OR they only come with one battery, OR they're a bare tool. Occasionally they'll slip in a lighter duty motor, but as a rule, it's generally just the batteries. The 3/8" cordless drill I purchased yesterday, was available in the same package on CPO Outlets with 1.3 amp hour batteries, 1.5 amp hour, 2 amp hour, 3 amp hour, 4 amp hour, and 5 amp hour.

At any rate, my 18 year old Craftsman Drill batteries gave up entirely, no replacements to be found anywhere.

Most brands of cordless tools, you can find after market replacement batteries on Amazon CHEAP.
Don't be afraid of them!


I bought one for my 18 Volt DeWalt impact; made it run like new again. Half the price DeWalt wanted for it. Bought a couple for an old Black and Decker drill at work, $35 for the pair, that drill never had that much power when it was new, and they run forever in it. They've ALL given me terrific service, NO complaints.

Amazon/E-Bay are both good places to shop for things like moto-tool accessories, burrs, die grinder burrs, carving knives, you name it.
 

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Another tool you should consider is an edge sander. Jet brand. Last one we got was a thousand dollars but once your shop has one you can’t live without it. It can take the place of a jointer on things that don’t have to be glued together.

supergrit.com is good folks and where I get my abrasives.
 
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