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Grizzly GO513X2 bandsaw

13987 Views 46 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  sgcz75b
Quite a while back, my Craftsman 12” band saw crapped out. Pretty much just wore out and I really didn’t think that “rebuilding” the thing wasn’t worth the time and expense. I began to nickel and dime a stash to purchase a new saw. My target price range was around 1000 bucks. Three things I based the purchase on were 1, longevity, I wanted a saw that was going to outlast me and 2, resaw capabilities and 3, budget. Being a weekend warrior, a good decent saw should out last me easy enough. I don’t use a band saw on every project, but when I do need one, I wanted one that will do what it’s supposed to without a lot of fuss. When it came to resaw capacity, I wanted a saw that could handle at least 10”s easily.
After considerable homework I narrowed my choices down to 3 saws. Laguna 14/12 14”, Powermatic PWBS 14CS 14” and the Grizzly GO5132X 17”. Each of the 3 saws have reviewed extremely well. A few negatives could be found on each, but that’s to be expected. Pricing on all 3 saws were a bit more than what I had originally set my budget at. Retail pricing was generally consistent with the Laguna at 1100, the Powermatic at 1400 and the Grizzly at 1100. Sale pricing brought the Powermatic down to the 1100 range with the Laguna and Grizzly running 10% off pretty regularly. All three saws required shipping charges which varied between 50 and 100 bucks. With drop gate charges being additional depending on where the saw was purchased from. Occasionally you could find the shipping charges waved. Seldom did I find shipping charges waved and sale pricing combined. Both the Laguna and Powermatic would occasionally offer accessories to sweeten the pot. Usually a light or a mobility feature. I never did run across the Grizzly offering any kind of accessory deal. That’s not to say they didn’t run one, I just never came across it if they did. Depending on the saw either could save you a hundred to a hundred and a half give or take.
I think it safe to say that by far, Powermatic has the reputation for longevity. They have a lot of equipment out there that has been running strong for 30-40-50 years and longer. It’s hard to argue with that kind of history. Its safe to say Powermatic has earned it reputation. Everything I could find on Laguna suggested that there was no reason to doubt that their saw would stand the test of time as well. Again, just based on reviews and countless comments made by owners, I think the same can be said of the Grizzly line. All in all, I think all 3 saws are fine pieces of equipment with Powermatic having an historical edge over the other 2. I should add however that I did run across comments on all 3 saws that claimed all 3 were anything from just fair to flat out junk. Make of it what you wish.
When I got down to it, there were 3 things I looked at for resawing. 1st being capacity, 2nd was power to back it up and 3rd was blade. The latter being a subject for another thread. The first two however were researchable.
Resawing: Each saw is easily capable of handling my requirements. Since the majority of my time on a band saw is spent resawing, this was a very important if not the most important selling point I was looking at. Resaw capability for each saw is:
Powermatic PWBS 14CS: 6”s. BUT, it was easy enough to find the 6” riser being offered as part of the sale price. Thereby extending resaw capacity to almost 12”s.
Laguna 14/12: Advertised at 12”s
Grizzly GO513X2: Advertised at 12”s
Hell, that was easy enough _
Ok, so what was going to back up those numbers. Each saw came with a different horsepower rating. The minimum I would have considered was 1 1/2hp. The only thing I can base that on is just a gut feeling. I felt that anything less would be insufficient when dealing with wide hard woods such as Maple or figured woods. Both of which I spend a lot of time with. At some point or another I came across which mfg. was supplying the motor to each of the 3 machines. Off hand, I don’t have the information but I think it safe to say all have quality motors.
Powermatic PWBS 14CS: 1.5hp, 115/230v, 60hz, single phase, 11amp at 115v/5.5amp at 230v, prewired at 115v.
Laguna 14/12: 1 3/4hp, 115v/230v, 60hz, 14amp at 115/7amp at 230, prewired at 115
Grizzly: 2 HP, 110V/220V, single-phase, TEFC capacitor start induction, 60 Hz, 1725 RPM, pre-wired to 220V, Amps: 20A at 110V, 10A at 220V, prewired at 220v
All 3 saws meet or exceeded my minimal requirements with the Grizzly edging out the other 2.
Warranties vary by mfg. Take the time to look at each before making any kind of decision.
Ok, there you have it in a nutshell, the 3 saws that made my short list. There is a ton of data available on all 3, including youtube, retail and mfg. websites. So, which one did I decide to go with? As the thread title would indicate I ended up choosing the Grizzly GO513X2 17”. I could have easily picked either of the other two saws, with the Laguna perhaps edging out the Powermatic. In fact, I probably would have gone with the Laguna over the Grizzly had circumstances been a bit different. Either way, I don’t’ think I could have gone wrong.
Several factors went into the choice of the Grizz. At the time, I was itching to finally get a saw. I had a need, I had a want and I had very little patience left. Grizzly put out on the website that they were closing down their Muncy warehouse. Clearance and closeout pricing. AND they were running their famous tent sale from Sept. thru Oct. to liquidate as much inventory as they could. The possibility of saving a few extra hundred bucks put me over the edge. Off to the Grizzly warehouse my wife and I went. I won’t even get into the adventure of just getting there *L*
Once at the warehouse, first thing I did was head back to the scratch and dent area. There I found TWO saws, just two! One of which I wouldn’t even have considered and the other already had a SOLD sign on it. Disappointed? Yes, Deterred? NO!! Off the the sales floor I went. Looking at the lineup of all their band saws was to say the least, quite impressive. Everything from the 14” 3/4hp up to the 21” 5hp saws were on display. Nothing like being able to touch, feel, open/close and give each a good looking over. I went to the 17”s and starting looking. I looked at the 17 with the foot brake, which I wish I had gotten, but having smacked into a deer on the way up, those extra couple hundred bucks were now already spoken for. So, needless to say, I picked out the 513X2. Priced at 1,095 plus 100 shipping. I thought I’d get a great deal, especially since I was planning on taking it home with me in my truck. Sale price amounted to only 10 percent off. I thought for sure it would have been more. I had even called Grizzly the night before but they would not give me any pricing info for this event at this warehouse. Pretty disappointed with Grizzly in that regard, but not a deal breaker. So, all in all, 10 percent off the saw and a couple of blades that I picked up for it. Saved just a little over 200 bucks with the package, spent 75 on gas and food…so I ended up ahead of the game. *S*
Grizzly loaded up the saw from the back warehouse. The thing is crated, and crated well. It’s quite a big package to say the least. It took two of their guys to get it off of the fork lift and flip it into the back of my truck. From there, you’re on your own. Buyer is responsible for securing the load!!! I can’t blame em for that. So I tied her down and off I headed for the 4 hour drive home. Once home, the fun started. This thing is a beast. It is a BIG saw and at 400 lps a heavy saw. I managed to get the saw off of the truck, to the basement steps and that is where the wife intervened. *L* She would not allow me to muscle the thing into the basement even though I had it under control. So made a call, son-in-law came over and we got her to her new home. This saw is heavy, somewhat awkward and big. It’s not something I’d suggest you attempt to move by yourself. Get some help. For most, this is definitely a 2 man move. If you have a number of steps you have to navigate, I’d suggest an appliance dolly. A 2 wheel dolly may work, but an appliance dolly would make it so much easier. If you are navigating a number of steps, think it out. If the crate gets away from you, it will cause some damage. The saw is very bottom heavy!!!
As mentioned, the saw was crated very well. The saw itself was wrapped in a heavy plastic with the accessories boxed and tucked away nicely. Everything that was to be supplied, was supplied. No surprises there. The only things that needed assembled were the table and the fence. Everything else was pretty much in place and just needed adjustment after getting the table on. The table was the first thing to get cleaned up and installed. Again, no big deal. But the thing is heavy and a bit awkward to maneuver around the preinstalled blade. Once in place, aligning it with the trunnion was a bit tricky but not overly difficult. 4 bolts hold it in place and then a stop bolt at the rear of the table. Fence rails mounted easily with just a couple of bolts. The fence itself is a pretty nice fence. Heavy, well made and locks in place solidly. Takes a little tweaking to get it zero’s out with the blade but here again, no big deal. Nothing unexpected I guess you could say. The saw comes with 1 insert and 1 blade. Adjustment to the fence and the tilt mechanism is positive and sound. Fit and finish on of the overall package is fantastic. Not a single blem would be found. Paint and decals were excellent.
I took some time to get used to all of the new features of the saw that my previous saw lacked. The rack and pinion blade guard is slick as is the tension adjusting arm. The small window to view is the blade as it rides on the upper wheel is handy, but you need a good light source behind you if you are to take advantage of it. Otherwise, it’s pretty dark and difficult to see through. The window for the tension gauge is a different story. You can easily see the numbers. The tension adjuster is massive compared to the old Craftsman. ..
Once everything was in place, time to set the saw up for use. Having viewed the Snodgrass method for setting up a band saw I went with it. First was to get the blade to track properly! I set up things up so that the tip of the teeth tracked just in front of center on the tire. Played back and forth between tension and alignment. Really wasn’t too difficult to get the blade to track properly. According to the owner’s manual you want the tension gauge to read somewhere between 4 and 6. At between 1 and 2 I felt the blade was plenty taunt. So that’s where I left it.
Setting up the guides: Now here is where the fun begins. Dang, this thing has got some seriously large guide bearings. I mean half dollar sized! I still can’t get over how large they are. Especially since the old Craftsman had those cucumber graphite style guides. *L* I can’t say setting up the guides was difficult, just a little fussy. More a matter of getting used to what to expect and making adjustments from there. Using a feeler gauge to set clearances worked well. I used a set that has the bent ends which made accessing between the guide and the blade much easier. After several attempts and a bit of farting around, I got em set up just right . I have to say, I was/am thoroughly impressed with these guides!
I fired up the saw and let things run for a few minutes, just to make sure nothing was going to bind or break or whatever… Nothing did, so time to grab a piece of wood and give this new girl a workout.
First was a piece of 2” square by 24” long block of red oak. I didn’t mess around, I set the fence for 1/8” and began to saw. Very slow, very steady was all it took. The saw responded beautifully. A nice straight line. NO DRIFT whatsoever. Impressive to say the least. Especially considering what I was used to. Grabbed the dial calipers and measured it out. Yep, 1/8”. After sanding, she measured out slightly less. Something like .110. Next I set the saw for 5/32nds. Made the cut, one pass on the drum sander and I was at .123. A little practice and I feel that I can zero this thing out pretty darn nicely. Getting to know what it is capable of is vital. Especially when counting on it for cutting thin veneers. BTW, this was done with the factory ½” standard blade. Not a resaw blade.
I’ve ran a ¼” , ½” and two resaw blades on the saw so far. Each time the saw performed just wonderfully. I’ve also ran approximately 240’ worth of 1 ½ mahogany thru the saw. From 4 ½’ wide to 6 ½” wide. 5 foot long boards. Easily getting one ½” board and one ¾” board with each pass. With a bit of tweaking and a little luck, I might very well be able to get an additional 1/8” board from that 1 ½” mahogany. Very, Very cool!!! Making adjustments to the guides between blade changes is no big deal once you get the hang of the routine. The blade tracking was needed. I could not be happier at this point. I have yet to push the saw to its limits and probably won’t do so for quite a while yet. However, if and when I do, I’ll be sure to post the results. Good or bad.
The only problem I have encountered thus far is a bit of an odd one. During sawing, I was getting this high pitched chatter when pressing material into the blade. Once pressure was relieved, the chatter would go away. It took a little detective work, but I found the problem to be located at the lower support bearing. I suspected the noise was due to vibration more than anything else, but I could not identify exactly what was vibrating. I carefully turned the machine on, pushed a cut-off into the blade and placed my finger below the table and sure enough the vibration was coming from the support bearing assembly. Exactly where, I wasn’t willing to place my fingers any closer to a moving blade. So I took the table off, disassembled the support bearing assembly. And found zip, nudda, nothing. So I had hoped that the problem was just with the assembly from the factory. I cleaned everything up and reassembled. Readjusted and ran some test wood thru the saw. The noise ceased. Nice and quiet. Fact is the saw runs so smoothly its really quite impressive. ..
Other than a little bit of misleading advertising (pretty lame I know) by Grizzly regarding their clearance sale and the 125 pound doe that attempted to become a hood ornament on the way up to Grizzly I got absolutely no qualms at this point with the saw. I could not be happier. I fully expect to get many, many years of faithful service out of this ole girl.
Did I need to get a 17” saw??? Hmmmmmmmmmmm, probably not to be honest. The Powermatic and the Laguna both have similar capacitys but with lower hp ratings. Both may have served my needs well. Footprint wise, there really isn’t that big of a difference between the 3 saws. Maybe 6”s worth either way. Big difference height wise though. The Grizzly is much higher than the other 2. One immediate advantage the PM and the Laguna have is the cost of blades. With the 131 ½” blade being a big more expense than the blades for the 2 14” saws.
I purchased the saw without a mobility base. Mistake!!! Thinking I could walk the saw as needed proved to be a bit much. Shortly after getting the saw I ordered the heavy duty base from Grizzly for 70 bucks. Sweeeeeeet!!! Should have gotten it while I was at the warehouse.
All in all I am totally impressed with the Grizzly GO513X2. It will no doubt open up some new possibilities in my shop. At just a month and a half old, I wouldn’t dare rec. this saw to anyone. But so far, its looking pretty damn good to me 


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Good review Billum,

I am impressed with all of the research that you did before making your decision. In my case, I did very little reseach, to me, due to my lack of experience, I just jumped in and bought the saw. Never having any experience with a BS, I was not impressed with the good features that you described, I pretty much took them for granted. Your review and comments make me realize how good my saw is.

I know that I said this before on the forum, but I'll tell the story again as it fits with your thread. My neighbor helped me set up my new saw. The neighbor is a an experienced woodworker and a very good mechanic, a neighbor to have when you are as unexperienced with mechanical things as I am.

The first thing that my friend told me was that I might as well throw the re-saw fence in the garbge which I was not about to do. He flat told me that no band saw would cut cut a straight cut due to the way the blade will drift. However, fortunately about that time Alex Snodgrasses video was being talked up on the forum and it sure looked good to me. Later, after my neighbot was gone and I had thanked him for helping me, I did the Snodgrass drill and as Bill will has attested to, the saw cuts dead straight using the re-saw fence when re-sawing.

Sometime later my neighbor was in the shop after doing the set up, handed him a board and asked him to try the saw by re-sawing the board that I had handed him. He made the cut and when he finished, he turned to me with a grin on his face and said "That's real nice saw". as the cut had been dead on.

Again thanks for the review on the saw, I really have more pride in my saw now than I did befor, it is easy to take things for granted sometimes.

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I've had my copy of Bill's saw for over three years now and it has been a learning experience for me that has brought me a lot of pleasure.

I have purchase three or four 1/8th blades and while I broke a couple of them I blame the breaks on myself. At one time with one of the blades, every morning when I would go to the shop, and by the way, at that time, it was every morning, the blade would have come off during the night. It was on when I took the tension off but some how popped off during the night. It seemed to me that putting that narrow blade on the wheels was harder to do than was that of the wider blades. My brother was visiting at that time and he was making band saw boxes.

I posted a thread along the way sometime back of re-sawing with the 1/8" blade which of course it was not intended for. However, when cutting a piece of red oak that was about 30" in length and slicing off an eighth inch sliver of the board, the difference in thickness from on end to the other was only a few thousanths.

I have run the one inch blade from Timber Wolve with good results also. The only issue with the saw that I don't like, and it's not the saw's fault is that I have to remove the table every time I change blades. The table is heavy but that's not so much the problem as is that of having to tinker with getting the four bolts back in the trunjuns (sp?) as Bill aluded to in his review. Of course once you get the first one in, the others have to line up, but while it's no big deal it is sort of a PITB. Snodgrass recommends that the table be removed as everybody knows that has watched his video on the subject.

The tires on the saw are one inch wide so with the one inch blade, when you put the gullet of teeth dead center the back edge of the blade extends out past the tire on the opposite side, this may be why the sales person suggested that Bill use a 3/4" blade instead of the one incher.

I have used them both with no problem at all. I must say, that I have used mostly Timber Wolve blades with the exception of the Lenox experience and one very inexpensive half inch blace tha our now deceased friend Dick Willis suggested that I try. As usual, Dick was correct, the less expensive blade cut just as well as more expensive one's cost. I am sure that the life of the less expensive blades is a issue, but if you break one it's not big deal. You can buy nine of the them for the price of the Lenox, and the one I bought, the inexpensive one did not break.

I messed with the tension issue on and off and asked for advise several times here on the forum and found that there are several schools of thought on the issue, none of which are the perfect answer in my opinion, but all will work.

I had suggested an idea to Bill that when he tried to set up the Lenox blade for him to try, but the blade was to short for him to try it. What I had suggested is that he set the tension loose but tight enough to run and not come off of the wheels. Then slowly begin a cut and then add tension in small increments until the blade would cut dead straight and then stop there. This would, in my thinking, not my experience, end up with minimum tension but enough to allow the blade to cut as it should.

The guy that did the welding in the blade told me that most breaks are due to over tensioning, and I tend to agree with him as I am gaining knowledge a bit at a time about such matters.

Bill's future reviews will be very interesting to read as he is more knowledgeable about what to look for compared to me that just jumped in as green as a pea and started on my learning curve.

Bill mentioned that he had to tweak the re-saw fence on his new saw, I never did anything other than to check it for square with the table which it was right out of the box. Squaring the blade with the table is of course important but doing it as Alex suggests works just fine.

I did have the bottom thrust bearing cease up on me one time and now I keep spares on hand just in case. The adjustment on that bottom thrust bearing is a bit tricky but once you figure it out, like brain surgery, there's nothing to it.

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I talked to Lenox today and was told that the Tri Master as well as the Bi Metal blades are made to run on 20" wheels and that the 17" wheels on Bill's and my saws are to small and that they build up to much heat. While that sounds fishy to me, I have no reason to doubt the man in that he was very polite and took a lot of time discussing matter with me. In that he is a tech, he has no reason, in my opinion, to doubt what he says.

With that said, he told me that the only real advantage of the blades for a hobbyist is the smooth finished cut and that he suggested just staying with the lessor standard blades to people like most of us. Wish they had told me that when I first inquired about their blades last spring and before I spent near $300 for the two blade. However, for the moment anyway, the replacement blade is running fine and maybe the Bi Metal blade will run too if I ever need it.

The man took me through the drill of how they weld and anneal the blades which sounded like they know how to do it, of course they should. He did not tell me that Lenox had experienced any problems like I described, and again, who really knows and as Hillary says "What Difference Does It Make At This Point"?

Additional thought, why does Lensox show prices on much shorter blades, ummmmmm????

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OK, I've let you slide. You promised us an update on the Grizz. Where is it, huh? It's after the first of the year. Any further pros and cons to add?

Give us some more insight...

I know that you want to hear from Mr. Twoskies on his saw, from my stand point, stick just said it all. In my opinion, a hobbyist just could not ask for a better bandsaw for the price.

But remember, I'm no expert on such things, I just know how happy I am with my copy of the saw.

I don't recall getting an answer to my question about the limitations of only having a six inch jointer. When I re-saw material, I like to mill it first with the jointer and the planer. With the six inche planer, six inches is the limit. So far I have actually never needed to re-saw materai that is greater in height than the six inches even though my saw can handle 12" material.

Where I buy my rough cut lumber I seldom find any boards wider than six inches anyway.

Can somebody enlighten me about this issue as I only learn about such things from this forum.


To a certain degree, I gotta agree with you about a riser/vs/HP. The HP issue comes into play when dealing with harder, wider woods. If I'm not mistaken, in the 555 series, 1 1/2HP is as big as she gets. But Grizz does make a 14" with 2HP. Given the number of 555 series saws Grizzly has sold and the number that have been upgraded with a riser, you'd think that if the frame were an issue, it would be well broadcast. My 17" can accommodate up to a 1" blade. So when I bought the saw, I inquired about a premium 1" blade because I do alot of resawing. The salesman at Grizz said, don't both, go with the 3/4" Grizzly blade and you'll be happier. So I did. And couldn't be happier. I do believe that there are some mfg's now that offer a 3/4" blade for a 14" saw. I could be all wet about that, but I'm pretty sure. On my previous 12" Craftsman, I used to regularly resaw 4 and 5" hard maple with a 1/2" Craftsman blade with great success. I should add that I firmly believe that in doing this I accelerated the failure of the saw. Everything on her just kinda crapped out all at once. *L*..but it was a good run while it lasted :)
Now if you have a choice between a 17 and upgrading your 14, geesh, I'd go with the 17 any day now. The 555's hold their resale value pretty well. You could easily sell off your 555 and recoup alot of the addionial expenses a 17 would bring...If you really like what a 14" saw brings to the table, take a hard look at Laguna. IMHO right now, for the money, that is the best 14" saw on the market

I do not grasp the issue of the importance of the wide blade for re-sawing. I have done re-sawing with every width from 1 inch all the way down to 1/8". The 1/8" blade made cuts as accurae as did the 1" blade. The only issue that I see is TPI issue that dictates the heat issue. Right now my carbide 1/2" 3 TPI is what I'm using and I don't see how any blade could do a better job, but as I said in an earlier post, I have not tried to re-say anything wider than about six inches. Perhaps the rub lies there. I only learn by asking questions like this so bear with me.

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