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Accu-Head Helical Head Replacement #1: Received my Accu-Head Helical Head today

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Blog entry by mckenziedrums posted 1689 days ago 2644 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Accu-Head Helical Head Replacement series Part 2: Cold weather + Tight Bearings = fun »

Gotta love when you luck out and the shipper turns out to just be one state away…

Just a quick photo for now. Was hoping to get it installed tonight but ended up watching a movie with the wife instead. These guys do a DARN good job of packaging their product. I had to get my screwdriver out and unscrew 6 pretty heavy duty screws that were holding the lid down on this packaging. Kudos to them for making sure it arrived here in excellent shape.

One pleasant surprise when I opened the box was 10 additional cutters and the thandle tool to adjust the cutter heads. I know they sell them separate but I was not expecting them to include any extras.

Tomorrow I’ll grab some photos of the head itself and hopefully of it in my little Ryobi AP1301. Now I’ve just got to remember if the bolt that holds that head on is reverse thread or not… I’m sure it’s stuck on there pretty good and I don’t have my impact handy. Fun!

Accu-Head Helical Head



6 comments so far

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

506 posts in 1869 days


#1 posted 1689 days ago

Oh wow, you’re going to put that in a Ryobi? Seems like overkill, but I’ll be watching since I have the same model. I paid $90 for my AP1301, so I’m not sure I could justify $250 for the cutter replacement :)

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View mckenziedrums's profile

mckenziedrums

118 posts in 1692 days


#2 posted 1689 days ago

Think of it this way… You’re getting a helical head planer for under $400… It’s the lest expensive helical head on the market but the reviews of the Steel City planer that uses it have been pretty good. I didn’t have the $500 to drop on a new planer so I spent half that and I’m hoping I get the performance out the more expensive one. Guess we’ll see!

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1866 days


#3 posted 1689 days ago

I’ve got the AP1301 as well. Funny thing is that Wood Magazine has done a couple of planer reviews over the last couple of years. I think the 2008 review had the AP1301 listed as a top value, praised for its smooth cuts, accurate depth adjustments, low price, and good (as much as a planer can be) dust collection. The 2010 review is far less flattering…

In all honesty, I like my AP1301. I don’t get what the helical heads do though… Can you clue me in?

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View mckenziedrums's profile

mckenziedrums

118 posts in 1692 days


#4 posted 1689 days ago

It’s a LOT less work for a motor to move a small blade through a small section of wood rather than one big long blade across 13” of wood at once. That’s just for starters…

Helical heads give you a quieter, smoother cut. They’re more expensive to machine, etc but you will get a smoother surface with less lines to sand out. Each little cutter overlaps the one next to it a little but because of the helical design they get to the wood at different times. Another plus is that it’s less likely to give you tear out on figured woods. Not quite the smooth surface of a big sander but it’s headed that direction.

From a long term perspective if you nick a cutter it’s a very inexpensive and easy operation to just swap that one cutter out. Of course replacing all of them hurts the wallet a bit but they should last a little longer than the big long knife.

Basically… lots of good things about heilcal heads… The question is whether the budget version ($250) is worth getting compared to a $750 helical head with more cutters on it.

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

506 posts in 1869 days


#5 posted 1689 days ago

In addition, each of the 4 sides of the cutter is sharpened, so to get a new surface you can just rotate it 90 degrees, so really rather than swapping out new blades you can just rotate your cutters periodically, giving you more time between sharpenings.

The helical head also reduces waviness, since some part of the blade is always in contact with the wood. Like mckenziedrums mentioned, there are still machining marks, but they’re supposedly not as bad as the ones regular planer/jointer blades leave.

Overall, I am interested to see how this one performs. I’ve heard some bad reviews about different brands of helical heads, and a budget one like this could either be really great or really horrible :)

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View mckenziedrums's profile

mckenziedrums

118 posts in 1692 days


#6 posted 1689 days ago

Actually one of the trade offs with this particular one is you get 2 sides instead of 4. Still not bad I suppose.

I look at it this way… The Steel City planer gets good reviews… this is the same head. We’ll just see how it does in the Ryobi frame I suppose. Guess it’s time to get off my rear end and build a infeed/outfeed table.

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