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Thread: Grizzly's new South Bend Planer series - first impressions

  1. #1

    Grizzly's new South Bend Planer series - first impressions

    I've had a DeWalt 735 13" planer for about 10 years now. It has been a real champ and I've built some pretty heavy-duty projects with it over the years. Having medically retired two years ago, I've had more time available to do hobby work - when I have the energy - so I decided to order one of the new South Bend planers that Grizzly announced recently. Order went in somewhere in mid-February. They were showing it as arriving in stock on April 7th. That later slipped to the 30th, but I finally received it this past week.

    I chose the larger one - the SB1109. It's a 20" planer, 5 HP, 220v, 719 lb beast. We had a big adventure just getting it from the street down the gravel drive to my shop. Thank the Lord for the SAIA driver - he was a blessing for sure.

    My first impressions are all very positive:


    • Shipping / packing was first rate. It came on two pallets with waterproof film on the floor and all around the machine. The shipping crate was completely enclosed (unlike the last Grizzly machine I bought which had a 'birdcage' style crate around it). The machine was unmarked and SAIA didn't put a scratch on it OR the crate. Quite a change from my last experience with UPS Freight (who I wouldn't trust to ship my septic system outflow materials). I will always request SAIA going forward. Grease / oil / cosmoline-like substance on unpainted surfaces worked well. Easy to clean off using Goo-Gone and it protected the machine from any rust.
    • Runs at about half the noise level of my old DeWalt. You don't even need ear protection to survive it.
    • Pulls boards through that I would have had to push through on the DW735. No comparison to the power level.
    • Finish on milled boards is ridiculously smooth and from the little I've been able to use it, it looks perfect.
    • Digital height gauge set up was a bit different from what the manual specified. I mistakenly trusted it after I set it up via the manual and it was off by about .04". But it was easy to re-calibrate and looks to be spot-on now.
    • Fit, finish and paint are extremely good. Better than the best Grizzly machine in my shop.
    • Table wings are hefty, straight and true. Everything about this machine screams quality.


    Just wanted to share since I was curious as to how Grizzly would do with this new line. I'm very happy that I pulled the trigger on this one.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,361
    I'd hope a planer costing $4,200 would outperform a $600 planer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Collegeville PA (30 min west of Philly)
    Posts
    962
    Blog Entries
    1
    Sheesh tough response there. Shrug, and par for the course in this case.

    Really happy to hear of your positive experience after a big purchase!!! We want pics!!
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    6,242
    I mean no offense to the OP, but $4200 for a 20” 4 post planer? What does the extra $1k get you over the Grizzly version?

    I’m any case, congrats on the new machine. Glad it got in the shop safely, enjoy it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Frederick, Maryland
    Posts
    162
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Rucker View Post
    I've had a DeWalt 735 13" planer for about 10 years now. It has been a real champ and I've built some pretty heavy-duty projects with it over the years. Having medically retired two years ago, I've had more time available to do hobby work - when I have the energy - so I decided to order one of the new South Bend planers that Grizzly announced recently. Order went in somewhere in mid-February. They were showing it as arriving in stock on April 7th. That later slipped to the 30th, but I finally received it this past week.

    I chose the larger one - the SB1109. It's a 20" planer, 5 HP, 220v, 719 lb beast. We had a big adventure just getting it from the street down the gravel drive to my shop. Thank the Lord for the SAIA driver - he was a blessing for sure.

    My first impressions are all very positive:


    • Shipping / packing was first rate. It came on two pallets with waterproof film on the floor and all around the machine. The shipping crate was completely enclosed (unlike the last Grizzly machine I bought which had a 'birdcage' style crate around it). The machine was unmarked and SAIA didn't put a scratch on it OR the crate. Quite a change from my last experience with UPS Freight (who I wouldn't trust to ship my septic system outflow materials). I will always request SAIA going forward. Grease / oil / cosmoline-like substance on unpainted surfaces worked well. Easy to clean off using Goo-Gone and it protected the machine from any rust.
    • Runs at about half the noise level of my old DeWalt. You don't even need ear protection to survive it.
    • Pulls boards through that I would have had to push through on the DW735. No comparison to the power level.
    • Finish on milled boards is ridiculously smooth and from the little I've been able to use it, it looks perfect.
    • Digital height gauge set up was a bit different from what the manual specified. I mistakenly trusted it after I set it up via the manual and it was off by about .04". But it was easy to re-calibrate and looks to be spot-on now.
    • Fit, finish and paint are extremely good. Better than the best Grizzly machine in my shop.
    • Table wings are hefty, straight and true. Everything about this machine screams quality.


    Just wanted to share since I was curious as to how Grizzly would do with this new line. I'm very happy that I pulled the trigger on this one.

    Thanks for sharing the review. Was curious about the new South Bend line and sounds like it is indeed a level above the Grizzly extreme series and has added features such as separate motor for variable feed as well as built in digital height gauge which looks better than one comes on the Powermatic machines.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Posts
    140
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    I mean no offense to the OP, but $4200 for a 20” 4 post planer? What does the extra $1k get you over the Grizzly version?

    I’m any case, congrats on the new machine. Glad it got in the shop safely, enjoy it!
    Matt it gets you a separate variable speed feed motor that should also eliminate the weak drive gear that runs the feed mechanism from the cutter head of the rest of this style of 4 post planers out there.

    Cheers, Sean

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    6,117
    SAIA? why two pallets?
    Bill D

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Upland CA
    Posts
    4,846
    Is the machine an insert head or blades? Just curious. Sounds like a nice machine.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  9. #9
    My guess is that the factory built it on one pallet and then placed the palletized machine on another, larger pallet that they could then enclose in a box for shipping. The result was a bit of a hassle (getting a 700+ pound machine off even one pallet and onto the cement floor without a hoist or a forklift isn't easy) - but I'm very glad they did it. As for SAIA, they are a freight company - no idea how large they are. I've seen their trucks on the highway from time to time, but never gotten a shipment through them. They were spectacular.

  10. #10
    Insert heads in a spiral pattern.

  11. #11
    As written below by someone else, the variable drive motor. I should note that it was only about an $800 difference when I bought it. Grizzly went up $200 after I ordered, but before it came in stock. They obviously honored my price.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,708
    Sounds like a great machine along with excellent packing. Have fun !

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    6,242
    Quote Originally Posted by sean meltvedt View Post
    Matt it gets you a separate variable speed feed motor that should also eliminate the weak drive gear that runs the feed mechanism from the cutter head of the rest of this style of 4 post planers out there.

    Cheers, Sean
    Okay, that’s definitely an upgrade. I thought it might be the old “paint it a different color and add $1k” aka Powermatic.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    New Boston, Michigan
    Posts
    139
    Congrats Brad. That type of planer 30 years ago made in the U.S.A and adjusted for inflation would probably be over $10,000 today. So based on your opinion of the quality I would say this was a great value proposition. Ain't retirement great!!!!
    Ask a woodworker to "make your bed" and he/she makes a bed.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Stump View Post
    Congrats Brad. That type of planer 30 years ago made in the U.S.A and adjusted for inflation would probably be over $10,000 today. So based on your opinion of the quality I would say this was a great value proposition. Ain't retirement great!!!!
    Great it is, indeed.

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