Thickness planer cutter head comments - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Default Thickness planer cutter head comments

I have seen several folks mention about cutter heads on thickness planers. Here has been my experiences - maybe it will be of some value to someone.
About 1/3 of the wood that I plane is tiger maple or crotch walnut.

I took a tiger maple board to a friends shop that has a planer with 3-straight knives. It ripped the board apart.
I took it to another woodworking friend's shop with a Steel City planer. This one has spiral cutters. It came out worse than the one with 3-straight knives. The Steel City cutter is sharp on two sides and you can rotate the cutters one time. Cutters on spiral heads are about 3/4" wide.

I installed Byrd's spiral cutters on my DeWalt DW735 and I get very minimum tear out regardless of the wood. This cutter head is sharp on 4-sides so it can be rotated 4-times. This is good if you hit a nail and nick the cutter. Just loosen a screw and rotate the one that is damage.

Hope this info helps someone. Malcolm / Kentucky USA
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2014, 05:47 PM
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Been thinking about the Byrd for my dewalt,good to read positive real life experience
The head is as much as I paid for the planner ,will have to wait,but some day.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Like most tools in the shop it depends on what you will need it for. Regardless of the cutter head or brand of planer, if it does the job(s) that you will be doing then buy accordingly. In my case, I had been taking figured lumber to a friend's shop to have him plane it for me. He had a 20" planer with a spiral cutter. I didn't want to wear out my welcome so I bought the Byrd. There was an article in Fine Woodworking about 3-years ago that compared the planer heads. Byrd's were rated as excellent. I have been completely satisfied. Malcolm / Kentucky USA
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 09:52 AM
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How much is the Byrd spiral w/ cutters, replacement cost for the cutters only and the address please. I'll also be using it on my DeWalt. Thanks for the help.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 09:58 AM
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To buy a nice lunchbox planer to then replace the cutterhead with a spiral head is a bit pricey. DW735X (~600$) + replacement shelix head (420$) = 1020$!

Byrd Tool Shelix cutterhead for Dewalt planer DW735 - Power Planers - Amazon.com

You might as well spend 800$ more and just get a floor model:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/15-3...terhead/G0453Z

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 01:36 PM
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Patience can be rewarded. Bought my DW735 when Sears stopped selling them, got it for under $350. Was 90 miles away, but i was able to buy online then pick up 2 weeks later when i was on my way to somewhere else. Sears Outlet still showed a few available a month or so ago, can't recall where. Ordered the Byrd Shelix from Grizzly last spring with a 10% off coupon. I'm less than $750 in for a first class planing job on a very mobile footprint. I don't care that it's a lunchbox, i can't imagine a finer cut quality. Yes, it's a 13" machine, but if i had a 15" stationary i still couldn't plane a 24" table top in one piece. And it tucks nicely under a bench.

Spare carbides are $35 for 10--each has 4 sharp sides (the cut skin easier than wood). 6 months with hobby use and i haven't rotated one yet. With the DW735 knives, and what i've done since the Byrd install, i'd be close to the end of life on both sides of a set of straight knives. The longevity between changes does help ease the cash outlay over time--but i sure didn't feel that way when i hit <submit> to place the order!!

Another example of patience--a 735 with Byrd Shelix sold on RF classified ads earlier this year, i want to say in the $600 range.

Great upgrade to a very good planer. Painfully expensive, but with outstanding result for me. Your mileage may vary!!

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 07:08 PM
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I personally lov my 735,got a great deal from a guy who got it for Christmas but never used it,it was still in the box with the plastic wrap never torn
Had a 15 inch floor model before, but space is important to me as shop is small so planner and table saw are both portable,router table and dust collector on wheels and what I need gets rolled out.
Even with the 15" tearout was a problem with tiger or Birdseye maple,and putting a bird head on it would be out of my league
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-11-2014, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
I took it to another woodworking friend's shop with a Steel City planer. This one has spiral cutters. It came out worse than the one with 3-straight knives.
A bit late to the party, but it appears to me that the Steel City planer does not have spiral cutters in a functional sense. I think "staggered" cutters is more accurate.

Each cutter insert is offset from the cutter in the next row on the cutter head, so the path from one cutter to the next is indeed a spiral. However, the cutting edge of each individual cutter is oriented straight across- parallel to the cutting head axis (perpendicular to the feed direction), so, just like a straight full length blade, there is no shearing action in the cut.

My guess is that is why the cut didn't come out any better. Personally, I think it's a bit misleading for Steel City to claim it as a spiral head, at least compared to the Byrd head, where each cutter is set at an angle, so you do get a true shearing cut. JMHO.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdonhowe View Post
a bit late to the party, but it appears to me that the steel city planer does not have spiral cutters in a functional sense. I think "staggered" cutters is more accurate.

Each cutter insert is offset from the cutter in the next row on the cutter head, so the path from one cutter to the next is indeed a spiral. However, the cutting edge of each individual cutter is oriented straight across- parallel to the cutting head axis (perpendicular to the feed direction), so, just like a straight full length blade, there is no shearing action in the cut.

My guess is that is why the cut didn't come out any better. Personally, i think it's a bit misleading for steel city to claim it as a spiral head, at least compared to the byrd head, where each cutter is set at an angle, so you do get a true shearing cut. Jmho.
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