Helical Cutter Head

golfdad

Co-director of Outreach
Dirk
Corporate Member
Has anyone purchased the Helical cutter head from Grizzly for the Dewalt 735? If so can you give pro’s and con’s.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
I looked at the specs. Fewer inserts and only 2 sided. Inserts way more expensive than Schlix and they are 4 sided. I would suggest a few too many corners cut to get the sticker price down. Not a great deal. To be clear, I have not used it and have not even bought the 735 yet. All part of my research.
 

jlwest

Jeff
Corporate Member
Be careful. Sometimes they are too large for the 735 and you have to take a lot of things apart to install. Make sure the diameter is the same as the OEM cutter head.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Not meaning to offend, but I can't help but scratch my head about this. Not owning one, maybe I have a different perspective, but I can't see putting $400+ in a $500 machine.

Regardless, if it were me, that fact a helical head is 1) not cheap and 2) going to increase the load on the motor, and 3) cost would buy 80 sets of replacement blades.

If I were concerned about tear out, and needed to outlay that much money, I would be looking at a drum sander. You can get into an open end sander for around $1k.
 

BKHam

Bradley
User
Not meaning to offend, but I can't help but scratch my head about this. Not owning one, maybe I have a different perspective, but I can't see putting $400+ in a $500 machine.

Regardless, if it were me, that fact a helical head is 1) not cheap and 2) going to increase the load on the motor, and 3) cost would buy 80 sets of replacement blades.

If I were concerned about tear out, and needed to outlay that much money, I would be looking at a drum sander. You can get into an open end sander for around $1k.
a $900 entry price point for a 13 inch shelix planer is the reason this is nice. Thats a pretty good starting price. i've owned several drum sanders and in my opinion they do not replace the planer. i use the drum sander for low mass objects and very thin objects.....tenon stock and home made veneer. i don't think i'm patient enough to use a drum sander for thicknessing.

i have not purchases the grizzly head. i have the byrd. i like it.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Be careful. Sometimes they are too large for the 735 and you have to take a lot of things apart to install. Make sure the diameter is the same as the OEM cutter head.
Exactly the issue. If OEM size, you have to take all the cutters off. If the smaller size, only half, but then your thickness gauge and cut depth is wrong.
I think it would be wise to pick up an inch-pound torque wrench too. Only $45 or so at Home Despot.

As far as cost, it is the result that matters. If $900 and some effort will to the job and you really don't need a $3000 machine, then it is a good deal. If it works like a cheap lunchbox, pops the breaker, has too much snipe, then it means to do the job you do need the $3000 machine. For what I do, I suspect not as my Delta Lunchbox actually does what I need, though I do have to go slow and shallow and I did make modifications to it. If the power issue can be correctly answered, I think it is the way I will go. But e-bay blades are cheap. Kind of like the guy who wanted to buy a $35,000 truck to pick up lumber. You can rent a lot of u-hauls for that.

As all three big machines I was looking at are sold out, I have ore time to think and concentrate on my new iron router table that should arrive today and improving my DC system.

For less than about 3/8 of an inch, the sander is the way to go. Planers are not designed for super thin stock. If you can afford really exciting wood, the strait blade machines will tend to tear them up, so the Schelix head is the only way to go. I guess in a perfect world, we would have both a planer and a sander. Darn. Running out of space.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
I don't have direct experience with helical heads, but if this were me, I think I would try to find a medium sized USED machine to convert to a spiral/insert cutter-head, as an intermediate cost option. Any 15-20" floor standing model is likely a lifetime tool. And I know these are not necessarily easy to find, or particularly cheap.
I have a 12" Belsaw planer/molder (freebie from a friend) that I have considered modifying with an insert cutter-head ($600-800?); these Belsaw machines do come up on CL occasionally. So far I have just used the planer (not often) without real issues, so my motivation to spend a lot of $$ is not there. This tool will definitely outlast me.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Good luck finding a decent used machine. Been looking for months. Big 3 phase from commercial shops or a estate sale asking more than the price of a new one.
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
Dirk, I have been seriously considering installing a helical cutter on my Dewalt 735. If you decide to proceed with purchase/installation, let me know if you need a second set of hands, I would enjoy helping.
 

pcooper

Phillip Cooper
Corporate Member
Not meaning to offend, but I can't help but scratch my head about this. Not owning one, maybe I have a different perspective, but I can't see putting $400+ in a $500 machine.

Regardless, if it were me, that fact a helical head is 1) not cheap and 2) going to increase the load on the motor, and 3) cost would buy 80 sets of replacement blades.

If I were concerned about tear out, and needed to outlay that much money, I would be looking at a drum sander. You can get into an open end sander for around $1k.
I put the shelix cutter in my 735 planer, and liked it so much that I put one in my old Delta jointer. The head cost as much as the jointer did when I bought it, but what about a jointer goes bad if you take care of it? I have a "new machine" that cuts far better than it ever did from the factory, and likely I'll never need to replace the cutters based on how I use it. I went through a lot of knives though, and set up was a pain. I see too many positives with the change over to worry about how much it is vs cost of the tool new. I also don't see a huge difference in how much load either of the motors have, and the cuts are far smoother than knives, especially with figured wood that I frequently use.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Sent an inquiry to Sheliz as they list the Ridgid 6101, but not 6100. To set up once and not have to think about it would be very nice. I bought mine used and did not pay as much as a head, but the result is what matters.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
This thread made me wonder if instead of new planer and head, I should keep my Delta and add a drum sander. Looks like Jet, Grizzly and Laguna are the options for not too big, open end. Price jumps big time to the larger closed machines.
So, do narrow boards, glue them up and then drum sand. I doubt I would ever do anything as wide as 16 inches. Really, a 735 + head is not much less than a 16 inch sander.

Seems the comments all lead to how much fun it is changing belts.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
So Jet is Performax, Laguna is Supermax. Grizzly/SF as usual has several
Delta, Baleigh, Powermatic only bigger and too expensive
As usual, a cheap WEN would probably do for a lot of people.

Much to research and think about. The more I think about it, the better a sander sounds.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Good luck finding a decent used machine. Been looking for months. Big 3 phase from commercial shops or a estate sale asking more than the price of a new one.
Agreed, not easy to find.

IF a 12" planer would work for you (and that is a limitation), here's a CL post from 8 days ago, in Sanford NC.
Vintage sears craftsman thickness planer - $350 (sanford)

Don't be fooled by the Craftsman badge, that is a Belsaw planer and a heavy duty machine (230V/24A). Platen raises and lowers, rather than the head. Lotsa 'exposed' drive chains. It's not a perfect solution, but if it were my $$, I'd rather put a Shelix/Byrd/spiral/insert-cutter head into this beast than into any 'portable' planer.

My experience is that this is a trouble free machine - at least mine is. I am not a regular planer user, so I'd say mine has had infrequent use, although I have processed pieces large and small.

As a bonus, it also has a dust blower - hahaha! - that spreads the chips all over the shop. There is no containment strategy - just an open hood back there. Visible in that first picture.

Vintage sears craftsman thickness planer - $350 (sanford)

image 6 of 7
1















condition: good
make / manufacturer: sears craftsman
model name / number: 113. 12320
Thickness planer in great shape for sale. a great addition to your wood shop. It can handle wood that is 12" wide and 6" thick. Single phase 230 V motor. This machine is already on a steel wheeled attached cart. The infeed roll is the only part that needs replacing. It runs great as of 1 week ago.
It has a replacement set of blades that go with the unit. A real solid machine.
Check out the pictures.
If interested, please provide a phone number and I will contact you.

When I respond, it might go into your junk file, so check.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Feed roller looks trashed. I need to do wider searches, as my zip only gives me the Raleigh listings.
 

Barry W

Co-Director of Outreach
Barry
Corporate Member
I am the third owner (prior owners are well known on NCWW) of a well maintained North State 15" planer and have shopped at several sources for a helical/spiral cutter head. I found the Lux Cutter III ($789.00) at My Woodcutters, a Stumpy Nubbs sponsor. This cutter includes both the bearings , a gearbox seal and free shipping. I also looked at the Lux Cutter III for the DW-735 ($439.00) which has all five star reviews with the exception of one four star. I found the price range for the Byrd SHELIX North State to be $823.00 - $791.00.

Here is a comparison of the Byrd SHELIX to the Lux Cutter II: HERE. Is anyone familiar with the Lux Cutter III?
 
Last edited:

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
My general comment on planers or joiners with knives vs helix carbide cutting heads.
I have a joiner with a helical head and my planers have blades. I use them equally when prepping wood. What I have found is I have gone through 3.5 sets of blades on the planer and my joiner is just getting dull enough to turn the carbides. That tells me that the carbides last about 4 times longer per side than the steel knife blades. Considering I still have 3 other sides use on the joiner, projecting 14 sets of knife blade cost to one set of carbides.
Just a trivia thing I found interesting. When a board has been planed or run through the joiner, try this : get a damp paper towel wipe down the planed surface then scrape it. Although you cannot feel it you sometimes can see the blade pattern. The helical kinds leaves a honeycomb type pattern, the blades is a straight lines.
So the cost to replace with blades the cost would total roughly 850 bucks vs 90-100 for the carbides. So 8 times more +/-
 

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