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Thread: Delta DJ20 vs Grizzly GO490 jointers

  1. #1
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    Delta DJ20 vs Grizzly GO490 jointers

    What do I not understand? The GO490 looks like a copy of the DJ20. The specks are about the same except that the GO490 has a 3hp motor whereas the DJ20 only has a 1 1/2hp motor. The GO490 is $839.25 delivered and the DJ20 is around $1660 plus $95 for the moble base for a total of $1725.

    I understand that the new DJ20s are also outsourced just like the GO490s. Is the DJ20s quality that much better or what?

  2. #2
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    Very good questions. In the olden days it was not uncommon to buy machines with no motor. That was up to the dealer to install. I bought a couple of canadian made generals this way and they did not get the power until they were at the dealers dock. This way you can get power that fits the local your in.

    Clearly grizzly is buying these machines the same way and has elected to motor up the machine with 3 ponies. Not sure you need 3 HP on an 8 inch jointer ment for light duty work. After all, my porter only has 5 HP and most northfield 12 HD heavy duty jointers were sold with 3 HP direct drive motors. That gives me 4 in per pony on the porter and 4 in per pony on the northfield. So 8/4 = 2. Thus all you truely need is 2 HP on this jointer. But my oliver has 2.5 in per pony so 8/2.5 = 3.2 hp. So by that standard, the 3 HP motor is just right. I would say you need at least 2 ponies on the low side and 3 ponies on the high side.

    The thing you need to look for is where is it made. Does it have a made in china sticker or a made in taiwan sticker on it? The original DJ-20 was made in a delta plant in taiwan that was ISO 9001 certified if that truely means anything. That is where the jointers and planers that were not OEM invictas were comming from. The status of the taiwan plant remains unclear at this point. Did delta begin outsourcing or not? I dont know.

    But it does appear that there is one plant in china that began making mirror image versions of the DJ-20. This plant may have a name like Jinseng (sp?) which explains why DJ-20 clones are multiplying like rabbits. I have seen one by Jinseng, King Canada, Oasis, Grizzly and of course the delta DJ-20. This DJ-20 population bomb has left me confused.

    By the way, the last price i saw for a DJ-20 was about $1200 dollars for a non X5 version from amazon.com. Normally I would not go for the X5 jazz but should Delta have outsourced this job to china, it may be wise to go this route now because of the uncertainty of castings warping. We simply do not know if the correct alloys (www.meehanite.com) have been used and whether the castings are seasoned correctly prior to and during the machining process. Non of the manufacturers have been very forthcomming with this data.

    Hope this helps a bit....

    P.S. Some makers like general brag about using meehanite. If you talk to Lie Nielsen, you will find that he is the first plane maker to use ductileiron for hand planes. Ductileiron is a registered trademark of the meehanite trade organization for what its worth.
    Last edited by Dev Emch; 01-03-2006 at 12:49 AM.
    Had the dog not stopped to go to the bathroom, he would have caught the rabbit.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Bookout
    What do I not understand? The GO490 looks like a copy of the DJ20. The specks are about the same except that the GO490 has a 3hp motor whereas the DJ20 only has a 1 1/2hp motor. The GO490 is $839.25 delivered and the DJ20 is around $1660 plus $95 for the moble base for a total of $1725.

    I understand that the new DJ20s are also outsourced just like the GO490s. Is the DJ20s quality that much better or what?
    I dont see how the DJ20 could be worth the extra money. Im about to buy the G0490 within the next couple months though. I cant see spending more than $1000 on an 8" jointer.

  4. #4
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    Allen, just my opinion, as I don't own much Delta/PC equipment and no Griz, but I think you will see the Griz move to the $1000 range and the Delta come down to the $1400 range in the not too far future. My impression is that Delta is pricing on name, history, and slightly better finish while Griz is attempting to expand their market share. Based on their specs Griz has more bang for the buck, which is exactly what they are looking for. I have to say that some of their new band saws might have made me reconsider my MM16, but I'm glad I've got the MM.
    Good, Fast, Cheap--Pick two.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Grimes
    I dont see how the DJ20 could be worth the extra money. Im about to buy the G0490 within the next couple months though. I cant see spending more than $1000 on an 8" jointer.
    I agree. That is why you will not find a lot of super duper engineering inovation on 8 inch jointers. If you tear a powermatic 70 (is it?) apart, you will find bearings that are 62 series with 3/4 ish to 1.0 ish journals. Your cutter head is less than 3 inches in diameter and most of the 8 inch jointers have a wedge bed design in which the tables are cast along with the wedge. There are no provisions for shimming the tables and regrinding these is hard because you have to maintain an exact angle between the table and the wedge. On the big boys, all I have to do is shim under the table. Thus I have no brass shim stock shoved into my wedge bed ways and gibs.

    Of all the 6 and 8 inch jointers I have seen, none of them have ABEC class 7 or 9 super precision bearings. Most have sealed for life motor bearings and some actually have magneto bearings supporting the head. The word precision and 8 inch jointer usually dont belong in the same sentence.

    The parallogram design goes a long way to solving the short commings of the 6 and 8 inch wedge bed jointer designs. But at the end of the day, the jointer is still an 8 inch jointer and thus, has not been built with the level of precision that you find on larger jointers. Therefore, paying as much as $2000 dollars for one is probably not a good idea. Delta has raked in quite a bit of profit with the DJ-20 and the clones are most likely more in line with what this level of precision should be worth.

    So which one should you buy? I am not not going to endorse any one but I wil leave you with a quote from the movie Master & Commander.... "Dont you know its about choosing the lessor of two weavils".
    Had the dog not stopped to go to the bathroom, he would have caught the rabbit.

  6. #6
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    Dev, may I ask a question? It seems to me (remembering my amateur status) that the new iterations of the 8" jointer are two or three machines that should be one. Long bed, 3hp motor (your previous comments not withstanding), spiral cutterhead, parallelogram tables, 22,000 cpm, built-in mobile base (not an intrinsic feature I know).....all these features seem like they would make the "ultimate" 8" jointer. Are we being teased or is there a price point that would be too high with all these features? Even with all of these features in one machine I wouldn't think that it would come anywhere the DJ-20.

    And while I'm at it, can anyone tell me why the G0586 and the G0490 weigh about the same, 480# and 461# respectively, and a whopping 558# for the G0593? Aren't the 586 and the 593 the same machine except for the cutterhead? I can't see a cutterhead that is only 1/16" larger (in the 593) in diameter weighing 70# more. If it did, it would have to be a REALLY dense material in those cutters and it would need a much larger motor to turn it. The 586 is even in the pic on the 593 page. What gives?

    BTW, I'm not complaining. I'm genuinely curious while deciding which one to buy.

    Thanks.
    Mark Rios

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  7. #7
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    The short of it is that most 8 inch jointers in the past have been over priced for what they are. One often has to walk on rose pettels here but I do not care much any more so I will be open, frank and objective. As someone else mentioned, the delta products and the import products such as grizzly are converging towards a common point. A common machine with standardized features and an identical price point. And many of the features you talk about such as built in mobile base or upgraded table length tend to be fairly cheap features. Throw in a set of super precision bearings and you just more than doubled the price! If I can even find a class 7 62 series type bearing that fits these tiny journals, it can easily cost $450 to $600 dollars PER bearing without bearing connections! But the hardware for a mobile base out of china... well that costs less than dining at the golden arches.

    Truth is, there is not much practical need to push a 6 or 8 inch jointer to the level of say a 20 inch porter 300 or an oliver 166. You are fighting a battle of dimenishing returns and reduced market value. So even though I am not a grizzly fan, I do find myself in agreement with their new business model for this machine.
    Had the dog not stopped to go to the bathroom, he would have caught the rabbit.

  8. #8
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    Mark, maybe the way, I came to my decision can help you maybe not, but I'll tell you anyway. Last year I was going to buy the G0586 for 2 reasons. 1) It was the cheapest 8" jointer on the market, that I knew of, and 2) I have yet to read or hear a complaint about it.

    Unfortunately, I wasnt able to buy it last year, since I found out in the early months of december that I am a few thousand dollars in debt together. So ofcourse I want to take care of that first.

    So now the G0586 is 90 dollars more, but for only 50 dollars more you can get an extra horse, a parrallelogram and a mobile base. So I decided just to get the G0490 instead.

    Basicly Im making a blind purchase, but the feeling I get from Grizzly customers in general is that they made high quality, low cost machinery, and right now, as somebody, planning to start a furniture business with less than no money, that is exactly what I need.
    Last edited by Allen Grimes; 01-03-2006 at 10:37 AM.

  9. #9
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    As the owner of an older, circa 1996 DJ20 jointer, I think that at $1500 to $1600 that they re very over priced. The X5 seems to be no different from the non X5 other than the 5 year warranty. I do stand corrected if wrong on this. I bought mine in outstanding used condition for $800 and sold my 1953 Rockwell 8" to cover part of the upgrade cost. The DJ 20 is nowhere near a smooth running as my old one and the fit and finish is nowhere near as good, but I do like the long tables and lever depth of cut controls. I would buy the Grizz in a heartbeat if I were in the market. Most of my stuff is used and I refurbish it myself, so I have not bought anything from Grizz, but like others hear better and better things about their products.

    CPeter

  10. #10
    So much great info and comments here on this subject. This is my opinion on the comparison of the two. I have had the grizzly 3 hp 8 inch jointer for a few yrs now. Had issues with the fence being warped, customer service told me put it on ground and jump on it. ( I swear on my mother's grave this is what he said). The finally sent a replacement fence still slightly off but livable. Recently I came across a gentleman selling machines. I bought a 18 inch Laguna bandsaw made in Italy, Delta 3hp 15 1/2 planer and the DJ-20 jointer. I didn't want the jointer but he gave me a bulk price as he wanted all 3 gone. For 3 weeks if compared the 2. Even with the 1 1/2 hp motor the delta is by far better than my grizzly. The finish and the truness of the tables don't even compare. The base is better as well. The motor in the Delta is made in America by Marathon. The machine is assembled in Taiwan. I thought of swapping motors from the grizzly to Delta but changed my mind. I have several Grizzly and Delta and I'll always go back to Delta.

    Just my opinion.

  11. #11
    I like older American machines but if I ever upgrade from my Powermatic 60 it will be to a Northfield.

  12. #12
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    Perfect timing on bringing this post back from the dead I have a DJ-20 that I recently bought and can't wait to get rid of and this will renew the demand and increase what I can get for it!

  13. #13
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    I purchased a DJ 20 in 1990 for $1400. It was made in Brazil. I have been completely satisfied with the jointer. I don't understand how the same machine now costs what I paid for it 26 and half years ago. According to an inflation calculator that is about $2800 in today's dollars. Is the build quality the same? I would like to think no. Circular saws that cost 150 dollars 30 years ago now cost 99 dollars. I don't think there the same either.

  14. #14
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    I've had my fair share of jointers in my shops over the years and feel confident in clarifying a few points that have been raised by others here.

    Delta's parallelogram jointers vrs the knock-offs. I had a DJ-20 which I was trying to sell 10 years ago (I'd just purchased a wonderuly used 12" machine... but that's another story) to a friend who was considering either it or a Craftex CX08. After seriously playing around with my machine in his shop for a few days, he decided to take the plunge and get the CX08. Because he still had the DJ-20 in the shop at the same time, I went over to see for myself what difference, if any, there was. The castings were a bit rougher on the CX08, but that aside, the two machines performed as well as each other. I also couldn't see any difference in the quality of the bearings on the cheaper machine, as the cutterheads on both of them rolled very smoothly with the v-belts off. The motor on the CX08 appeared to be about the same quality as the DJ-20. I guess you'd know after a few years of use if bearings and motors were equal or not. But, given the price difference at that time, I'd have opted for the CX08 myself.

    Adjusting wedge bed jointers. I have had good luck in shimming the outfeed tables on these traditional style jointers, to the point that it's now relatively simple and quick for me to correct most non-co-planer problems on this type. However, the parallelogram system is superior and, to my way of thinking, a reliable system. There is another system, somewhat akin to the parallelogram system which I'll now speak of. I recently tuned the venerable General 12" jointer at the local high school I volunteer at each week, and it was simply amazing to work on. There were 8 ramps (4 on each table) which you adjusted in and out to compensate for any out-of-co-planer problems. It took me about an hour, but when I'd finished it performed precisely.
    Marty Schlosser
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Rector View Post
    Perfect timing on bringing this post back from the dead I have a DJ-20 that I recently bought and can't wait to get rid of and this will renew the demand and increase what I can get for it!

    What do you not like about the DJ-20?

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