A couple of months ago I was considering the purchase of a Grizzly
G0453 planer; and asking about information regarding Grizzly's new
"Polar Bear" series of machines. There was very little info at the
time. I bought a "P" about 1-1/2 months ago. I suspect some folks
are still wondering what the Polar Bears are all about.
Grizzly Floor Salesman:
They introduced the P this year, if for no other reason, to stimulate
interest and sales. The "P" version is identical to existing machines
except for paint and a couple of minor upgrades that will be passed on
to their other machines later. The most apparent upgrade is the
safety switch, and substantial switch mast at the left of the table.
They introduced the "P" at a substantial markdown to get them going
this winter ($898 vs $995 at the time of my purchase but the standard
machine did drop to $925). He said he originally thought it was a
long shot, but all of the Polar Bear tools have been selling quite
With a pretty close inspection on the Springfield floor the "P" and
non-P versions do appear to the identical. The "P" switch mast is a
sturdy weldment that provides a much more substantial installation
than the original plastic housing. The "On" switch is a safety switch
that requires a quarter turn before you depress it. A nice feature,
and time will tell on durability.
It is Heavy! While we live about two hours from Springfield, I
originally considered having it shipped to our rural location. I
thought better of that because of the hassle of getting it off of the
shipper's truck myself. Hiring a second shipper, with a lift truck
was driving the cost enough that we went after it. Grizzly loaded the
machine at their depot onto our 16' dovetail trailer. It came well
packaged in a plywood crate secured with metal angles and screws. The
machine itself sat on an internal pallet. My wife and I took our time
rolling it (675# shipping wt) to the back of the trailer using pieces
of 1" pvc pipe. At that point we slid it onto the metal trailer
ramps; and onto the garage floor. Took about 30-45 minutes with
minimal grunting. The next morning I tore the carton off (reusable
plywood), and finessed it to the floor using some 2x pieces.
Assembly is fairly straight-forward. Cleaning took about an hour
using a citrus-based spray purchased from Grizzly. Cleaning was much
more tedious than my table saw was, mainly because you have to get the
waxy gunk out of the cutter-head area. That alone took about an
hour. Remaining set-up consisted of installing the tables, assembling
the pedal-operated roller, and checking adjustments as described in
the book. Total cleaning, assembly, and playing 'n smiling took about
2-3 hours (after I got it off of the pallet).
I called this a preliminary review because use has been limited until
now. Some comments so far:
1) The integral roll-around feature is very nice. Assembling it was
kind of fiddly but it is better than conventional mobile-bases. Firm
foot pressure on the pedal lifts the machine enough to allow it to be
moved with minimal force. It turns much better than my 1023S cabinet
saw on its mobile base. Lowering the machine involves only placing
your toe under the lift pedal and flipping it. It drops rather firmly
but onto rubber feet. The overall feel is just firmer, both when
moving and when stationary. When it is down, it is down -- no
fiddling with wheel locks or hand screws.
2) The machine is relatively quite, considering what it does. Its
predecessor was an old Ryobi 12-1/4" "portable"; and the new machine
seems quieter, especially when cutting (however, it does have a nice
start-up sound). I suspect the heavier construction helps keep noise
down. It has provided velvet smooth cuts at both feed rates. However,
slower is a little better for finish.
3) I bought a dust collector at the same time; and dust collection,
from the planer, is excellent. I expected quite a few chips to find
their way to the table but that is minimal - very minimal. However,
the center outlet of the dust collection hood is not a great design.
While it is effective, a side-pointing port would have been better.
As it is your hose is in line with the out-feed which makes it clumsy
to keep the hose out of the out-feed path. Once I get my overhead
collection pipes in place this shouldn't be a problem.
So, those are observations, so far, on the Polar Bear. We are just
starting final finish of our basement and one more upstairs cabinet
project and the house is D-O-N-E. I should have quite a bit more
experience with the machine in a couple of months.