I finished setting up my Powermatic 54A jointer yesterday afternoon. I
guess after using the 50 year old 4" Craftsman for years I thought you
always sanded a few mill-marks from wood.
Not any more! Great machine. Good fit and finish. No vibration. Wonderfully
The owner's manual really sucks. In addition to several assembly
inconsistencies, it appears they deliberately removed all references to
rabbeting from the 54A book. The Model 60 book and the similarly formatted
JET books are about 6 pages longer with several mentions of rabbet cutting,
adjustments, safety etc. They even left one of the illustrations regarding
rabbeting in the 54A manual for no apparent reason. I swapped e-mails with
their service folks and the best they could do is "The 54A does have
rabbeting capabilities of 1/2" built into the table. Unfortunately, the
manuals will be different due to the models being different."
Why can't these manufacturers understand that the consumers first
impression, regarding their product, usually comes from the manual? Oh
well - still a great machine. I'll just download the rabbeting section from
the Model 60 book --- Or maybe the Grizzly website.
I've got a 54a also. I didn't buy it for the "quality" of the manual.
AAMOF, I've spent LITTLE time with the manual. You should be thankful
the equipment is good quality. :) It never crossed my mind to nitpick
about any perceived shortcomings with the 54a's manual.
How long have you had your machine? Was it purchased before or after the
JET/Powermatic/WMF marriage? Moreover, was it converted from the JET
I will assure you that the list of problems I sent to WMF went beyond the
rabbeting issue and WAY BEYOND Nitpicking. The book contained incorrect
assembly instructions, an illustration with no apparent use or text
reference, missing instructions that left parts on my bench and missing wire
diagrams. They left me wondering which WMF machine the manual was supposed
In the business I was in for 35 years we took publications very seriously --
they were a direct reflection of the quality and safety of our product. Our
tech writers, engineers and technicians spent hours doing publication
validation and verification at the sentence and phrase level. This was not
evident in this book. Frankly, I think it got hosed in translation.
Again, the finish, fit and operation of the machine is wonderful.
By the way. I just received a 2nd response from WMF. Their service rep
admitted she wasn't as informed as she should have been, recognized the
problems and their product manager has been informed of the errors.
Regarding the rabbeting instructions, she even went over and looked the the
G0500 book on Grizzly's site. Good for her.
She also acknowledged that WE THE USERS are often the best source of
improvement to product and literature. But you have to read the literature.
My manual has a date of 06/01 (top left corner of back page). I didn't
encounter any issues with assembly. What page has missing instructions
in your manual, Ron?
The cover of mine indicates it is ONLY for the Model 54A jointer. Maybe
you DO have a newer and inferior manual?? The last numbered page
(inside cover) is 31.
When I spend $750 for a tool, electronic equipment, or appliance, I expect a
manual that is complete. I don't see how that is nit picking. You evidently
have more experience and did not need the detail, but many do. Sad, but
I've bought $20 toasters with more complete and accurate manuals than some
I don't either, but this seems to be de-rigour with stationary tools. I was
told not to expect much "user" information when I bought any stationary
tools. I was really frustrated with the lack of safety information on usage
when I bought my table saw. Not only did I miss good documentation, I got
home and discovered I had a new saw with no blades!
This a good point. Those of us who used our first table saw 45 years
ago don't even look at the manual. The things haven't changed all that
much in the interim. What we expect in safety is mostly unchanged.
Somebody buying one for the first time expects at least as much as he
gets with a cheap consumer appliance and considering the expense of
producing the manual versus producing the machine, I don't think that's
an unrealistic expectation. Manufactures need to take note. I don't
know where this is going to get their attention. Any of you with the
inside track, THUMP THEM ON THE HEAD!!!
Bob: I, like you, have been woodworking and putting these machines together
for a long time. I guess my main problem is I came out of an industry that
demanded first-rate support and publications. When our pubs and support
were undermined by accountants years ago, It took about a decade to regain
our old Cadillac-type product image (aerospace).
With this background, I had the machine pretty much assembled and noticed
the pulley alignment was off. I checked the manual and the procedure they
described could not work. I figured it out myself. Then I ended up with a
bag of hardware not mentioned. Figured that out too. Then is when I
started comparing the book to a PM model 60 book and found several more
inconsistencies including the one that caused my original post.
Another poster summarized my thoughts well. When you pay good money for a
product, especially premium$ for Powermatic gold, you expect the entire
package. Machine, performance, support. You cannot ensure you are getting
good support when pubs are bad.
Shame on you for casting aspersions on a fine company. Your primary
assumption is totally without merit, Ron. Powermatic provides exemplary
support on their products. I've had more than several issues that have
been resolved wholly to my satisfaction. They have done a far superior
job than Delta with respect to support. I purchased MORE of their
products, knowing that I'd be well taken care of in the event of a
problem. So stop assuming and start finding out the facts before you
make sweeping statements. I've even received approximately a hundred
dollars of free accessories just for a minor "inconvenience" that I had
with my last purchase. Their willingness to go well above and beyond
the requirements of the written warranty is something that should be
I didn't say Powermatic wasn't a fine company. I have used their equipment
and the machine I bought appears to be a great machine. Frankly I wouldn't
have bought it if I had thought it was bad equipment.
Regarding assmuptions, product support is based on customer support and an
accurate and usable product database. When the database fails, the product
support begins to fail. My ASSUMPTIONS are based on living knowledge of the
failure of a company to provide accurate product support. This is called
logistics and when the logistics chain fails, watch out!
I went to work for a company 37 years ago that was considered THE world
leader in its product line. We remained so for about 15 years but were
aquired by another company (like Powermatic - WMF). Financial pressue from
the east eroded our logistics and support efforts and we ended up dropping
to 6th among manufacturers of our product. Pretty depressing when there are
only 7 companies in the game. We heard customer quotes like "Your company
has great people but you are impossible to do business with!" The powers
finally woke up and decided to fix the problem, but once you alienate your
customers it is a long, uphill battle. When I retired 2 years ago they had
climbed back up to 4th (and spent millions doing so).
I am not assuming Powermatic is in that shape!. But look at the host of
power tool company mergers going on now and watch what happens. Accountants
are replacing engineers in a lot of industries and it shows.
If you don't read the manuals, that is fine with me. My son in law makes
good money from folks who don't. He's a doctor.
I did not mean to imply we were acquired by WMF - only an example. Ours was
a completely different industry.
By the way. When acquired we were considered the best managed, most
profitable company in the industry. Our logistics suffered because the
parent wanted to make us more profitable.
Certainly not true in my previous life. The technical data that supported
products received heavy scrutiny. We kept a full department of tech
writers. Engineers checked the manuals in late draft and, in most cases,
setup, repair and operations procedures were validated on a phrase by phrase
basis. Illustrations were checked to actual hardware and photos. Legal had
last review rights.
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