After doing research on Contractor-type table saws for about 2 months I finally settled on purchasing the newer version of the 1022 Table saw from Grizzly. The major difference between the newer "SM" and the older 1022 is the inclusion of stamped-steel extensions instead of cast iron (which are available for 40.00 as an option if you really feel you need them).
Recommend this product?
I looked at Jet, Delta, Rigid, Craftsman, and Ryobi's BT3000. With the exception of the Ryobi all these saws were in the high 400, to low 600 dollar range, and had various differences in quality and fence design. I also looked at some lesser expensive models that used direct-drive universal motors (i.e. the 36-400 from Delta,Ryobi, and lesser priced Sears brands), but decided against it after getting feedback from work associates, and in some cases, the saw's manufacturers (Delta actually recommended against buying their 36-400). Home Depot associates even pushed my away from their 469 dollar contractor saw because they said the fence was prone to loosing it's parallelism with the blade, and instead recommended their more expensive portable saw. I also looked at the BT3000 at the Depot but found it a bit too flexible- it's myriad of adjustments and table options made me feel as if I'd need to spend more time calibrating it for a cut than actually cutting.
After this initial tire kicking and the inconsistent opinions among retailers, I decided to pull back and do more research. About the only retailer that offered any valuable,impartial feedback and appeared quite knowledgeable were those at the Woodworker's Warehouse. Sadly, though, I wasn't able to reward their professionalism with a sale. Their only offering was a Jet at $550.00- one of the more expensive choices I had heard about.
I had originally heard about Grizzly via a review on Tools of the Trade Online which ironically, didn't speak too positively about the 1022Z's value when compared to the Jet. The review singled out vibration and noise as their main points of contension with the Grizzly. It should also be mentioned that the Z series they tested had an upgraded fence compared to my SM.
For the sake of being thorough, and the fact that that review was but one opinion, I decided to look into Grizzly and went to their website. Once there I found the new SM that undercut the $425 dollar price of the Z by over a hundred dollars. At $299.00 the only difference between the Z and SM was stamped steel wings and a less elegant fence. Even considering these two differences I believed the 1022SM represented a huge value when compared to some of the stuff that Sears sold at the same price. Similar priced Sear's saws were made out of composite plastic, lightweight aluminum, and had direct drive motors, while the Grizzly used cast iron, and steel along with a fan cooled induction motor. The only problem was Grizzly had not local showrooms- for such a costly purchase seeing the saw firsthand would be a deciding factor. So I called Grizzly. During our conversation their representative told me they could give me the name of a person who purchased the saw in my area. After giving them my zip code they found a gentleman who lived 15 minutes from me and purchased the SM 6 months prior. Bonus! Not only did I not need to drive far, but I was going to hear the opinion of an enduser and not a commissioned saleman thatmay have worked in Kids Clothing a month earlier!
I contacted the buyer via the address Grizzly gave me (they do not give out phone numbers) and visited him the following weekend. Not only was he a nice guy he was also quite happy with his 1022SM. It should also be mentioned that like me, this man was not a professional woodworker, but a regular guy who used his saw for around the house projects and hobbies. He did mention that one of his friends, a serious woodworker who was used to Delta Unisaws and the like, did like many of Grizzly's products and believed that their table saws offered 90% of what most people would need in a saw. After a pleasant 45 minute chat with this gentleman, I made my decision- hell I had made my decision 10 minutes after taking a look at the saw. The Grizzly was well-made and easily compared with the offerings from Rigid and Jet, while it totally crushed the $299 aluminum and plastic specials from Sears. It's fence was very simple and it did seem a little bit loud, but for $250.00 dollars less than the Jet and $170.00 less than the Rigid it was an easy decision.
I ordered it that Monday along with a $60.00 Oldham Blade and a Shop Fox Dolly for $70.00 so that I could move the 270lb saw around in my basement. Total price was $470.00 (the price of the Rigid without a good blade and dolly) which included Citywide Frieght shipping for $40.00. I also got a free gift with my internet order. I chose my gift from a category of choices that matched the price range of my final order- and gifts weren't cheezy either. The drop forged set of locking pliers I received are quite nice and durable.
I received the order a week later, and assembled the saw in about 4 hours. The users manual was excellent, with very concise assembly instructions and great phone support- which I needed to use for a wiring question.
The fence was a bit annoying to get initially calibrated, but the blade was absolutely parallel and square out of the box. The steel extensions were a bit difficult to get even with the main cast iron table, but once adjusted and locked down has remained even. I used 100% pure Carnuba wax (as per a recommendation in their instructions)to treat both the steel and cast iron portions of the table so that stock moves along them smoothly and the cast iron resists oxidation. Keep in mind that to assemble the saw you do need some good METRIC wrenches, and screwdrivers, along with some grease-cutting solvent to remove the protective grease that coats the cast iron table. I used "Simply Green" and let it soak overnight. The locking handle for the fence also required some lock-tite to remain tight.
I have now used the 1022SM several times since purchasing it- ripping pine for door casing and building a fireplace mantle were among projects completed. I've used it for cross, mitre, and ripping with excellent results. The saw is a bit loud, but operates with a turbin-like sound and stability, that, in my opinion, underlies a well-made product. I use ear protection anyway, since I am a music lover and don't want to kill my hearing too early in my life.
I have also not noticed any undue vibration coming from the saw a per the review I read.
I am convinced that the blade and shop fox dolly were a great buy as well. The blade, while expensive, is, next to the fence, the heart of a saw and is, in my opinion analogous with buying cheap tires for you car- why would you spend good money on a saw, or car, and cripple it with the accessory that affects it's performance the most? Supposedly one should invest 25% of a saw's price in the accompanying blade. I'm not sure how accurate that percentage is, but from a purely logical point of view it makes sense.
The Shop Fox Dolly that I purchased was made of heavy gauge steel rails which were hollow and designed so one side slid into the other snugly. It was extremely stable once I placed tha saw on it. At $70.00 it was a steal when I compared it to what Sears had to offer at 80.00. Sears' dolly was made out of lower gauge steel, while it's drilled angle design (similar to what is used in heavy duty shelving) did look all that robust for the long run. The casters were also sub-par when compared to the hard rubber ones on the Shop Fox.
So if your a homeowner like me, who needs a saw for around the house and hobby-related projects, but also wants a dependable tool without spending too much, Grizzly is the saw to consider, as long as your not planning on cutting dense oak or maple, day in and day out. And since all the Grizzly contractor saws (non-cabinet) are built from the same basic saw and table the owner of this saw will be able to slowly upgrade to the better accessories- like the shop fox fence, and cast iron table extensions- over the long run.
I also believe that their heavier-duty cabinet saws are probably a great value as well. Most cabinet saws I've seen start at 1000.00 but the Grizzly's start at $750.00.
My ratings are based on my experience thus far, as well as the belief that like anything the Grizzly isn't perfect for everyone.
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