UPS delivered the single, large, extremely heavy box in two days from WI to MA. Given the weight, I expected there would be major carton damage given it was handled by UPS. I say this as experiences through numerous decades of shabby box handing by UPS always has me concerned with large and/or heavy packages. Congratulations to Magna-Matic for they know how to pack and ship using well designed packaging.
All that needed to be done was remove the unit from the box. Yeah, right given the beast was probably close to 130 pounds! So, I turned the box upside down and opened the box, then with the flaps spread open, I turned the box right side up and lifted the box off of the machine. Using a 2 inch thick foam pad as a cushion, I then flopped the unit over onto it's front face, removed the four hex head bolts and large square of OSB the unit was bolted to.
None required - the unit arrives completely assembled.
The documentation is consistent with Magna-Matic's impressive ability to write a clear, well written, grammatically correct manual. No broken English! Very thorough.
The MAG-12008 arrived, as stated on their web site, wired for 220 VAC. The plug and cord is of three wire construction. It uses a BLACK wire for one AC hot conductor, a WHITE wire for the other AC hot conductor and a GREEN wire that is connected to the motor's frame, so this wire is not an AC NEUTRAL, it is in fact a SAFETY (Earth) ground.
If you are required by local code to use a 220 VAC GFCI circuit breaker, you will not be able to connect the load (i.e. motor) NEUTRAL wire (as there is no NEUTRAL wire in the cord set) to the GFCI neutral load terminal (with or without arc detection).
Consult with your electrician with regards to wiring which meets your code(s). You may find it is OK to leave the GFCI Neutral terminal unconnected. Without a Neutral wire, the GFCI will use the Safety ground, however you'll probably find the TEST button no longer works without a proper NEUTRAL conductor.
I decided to first clean what I thought would be the most difficult style blade - an Oregon "Gator" style blade with "teeth" along the trailing edges. I chose this as I thought it would be difficult to get into the machine. It was awkward, but I got it in. Getting it out proved to be met with greater resistance as it seems the curved teeth get stuck - probably behind the right brush set. I found twisting, lifting, and pulling gets it out, and in time I adjusted to this technique.
The blade was cleaned very well. In fact, it is almost as if it is being polished. The brush type appears to work very well.
Dirt, paint, etc. is removed - depending on blade condition, age, extent of rust etc. I tried a few blades so abused that they are in my blade scrap pile. The MAG-12008 did not polish these blades, but it did remove the junk (vegetation, scaling rust, etc.) and even shined the rusty bumps pretty good. The blades were so rusted, the bristle tips couldn't reach into the pits on the blade surfaces. None the less they were "clean" ... given their deplorable condition to begin with!
CONTINUED IMPRESSION and RESULTS:
The MAG-12008 is very fast. What a time saver. And, with the dust collection port connected to my dust mitigation system, there is NO DUST! For the first time -ever- I do not smell dusty grass when I remove my respirator. In fact the dust collection system works so well connected to the MAG-12008 that I find I do not need to wear a respirator.
I took a fairly new, black painted blade and "cleaned" it. It was already clean, or so I thought. When I took the first inserted end out of the MAG-12008, holy cow! No paint, and it was unbelievably shinny! I use this as a visual demo, and have added it to my collection to show customers. And yes, it replaced the prior blade which I previously thought was pretty good. NOT!
I took a previously sharpened (using the MAG-8000) and balanced (MAG-1000) blade, rechecked the balance and then cleaned it using the MAG-12008. I then put it back on the MAG-1000 and could see a difference - very, very slight, but none the less different. I attribute this to paint removal.
I'd urge the cord set be of three wire WITH ground construction and have a dedicated neutral conductor. This would ease wiring to GFCI breakers and I should think meet all codes: National, State, and Local.
Bottom Line - I am exceptionally pleased!!
Thank you for the consice review CQ_DX
If any one is interested in watching our video, here is a link.
Gerd Ferdinand Bauer II
Waldo WI USA
800-328-1110 (toll free USA & Canda)
One Month Later ... (check out the photo)
I thought I'd check back for in two more days, our MAG-12008 will have been in use every work day for a month.
Some may be wondering:
"OK, so you thought it was great right after you got it? What about after using it for awhile?"
My answer is:
We still like it. Some blades take longer (more about this later) and some go very quickly - VERY quickly.
We find those blades which have not been serviced under a routine blade processing regimen take longer due to the seriously caked-on vegetation. Some of the worst build-up on blades has been measured using a metal scale (think ruler, only with more precise graduations) from a quarter inch to close to a half inch. It is faster to do an initial scraping (we like a particular type of a tool which resembles a putty knife, only it has a triangular pointy end) to remove the bulk. I hate this step as I'm spoiled now - ever since we began using the MAG-12008, we don't smell dusty vegetation anymore ... but we do when we scrape off this thick debris.
We still find the "Gator" style blades take a bit longer due to their "teeth".
Some of the three-bolt style blades used in, for example Toro, single-blade walk-behinds take a bit longer - not because of the blade style (hi-lift, etc.) but because of the "C-channel" blade bolt attachment area. Older blades which have rust in this recessed area can take a bit longer to clean. There's no debris in this region, just rust, so it does clean out well just that you have to go slower with it.
All in all, the machine is a real time saver ... AND makes balancing more precise on the MAG-1000 balalncer.
As an aside, I missed a spot of grass build-up on a 21 inch light duty home-owner walk-behind. The blade was perfectly balanced, meaning it was perfectly horizontal with no trend to dip to either side. Then I spotted the grass still stuck to the blade. This spot measured 3/8ths of an inch long by a little under 1/8th inch wide by maybe a bit over a 1/16th inch thick (approximated eye-ball-dimensions). I flicked it off using the scraper, put it back briefly into the MAG-12008 and remounted it on the MAG-1000. I expected the blade might lean a little to one side but never expected it to dip. Wow is the MAG-1000 sensitive!
If you guys who take sharpening and balancing seriously don't have a MAG-12008, think about it. You will provide your customers a better product, or your personal equipment will benefit from a better sharpened, better balanced blade. If you cut for a living, your customers will see a difference when you constantly use a well sharpened blade.
Here's a picture showing two identical blades. I sharpened both, then used both until they needed to again be sharpened. One is older (meaning it has been used and sharpened more then the other) and I cleaned, then sharpened using the MAG-12008 and MAG-8000. The newer blade I had taken to another shop and paid him to sharpen it. The top blade is the one processed using Magna-Matic equipment while the bottom was done using non-Magna-Matic equipment. See the difference? Now if your blades look like the bottom one, you can improve your quality. Our customers have, and so can yours!