|Review by ChrisForthofer||posted 02-09-2011 03:07 AM||18443 views||3 times favorited||15 comments|
I purchased this unit about 2 weeks ago, and due to all the crazy weather back east it just finally arrived today (no reflection on the vendor). I was like a kid in a candy store, brought it inside and began taking my Dewalt apart for installation. Byrd provides pretty detailed instructions on getting the head in the planer. There could have been a slightly more detail in the instructions but if you have basic mechanical skills it will take an hour or so to accomplish the installation. It does take a little bit of coaxing with a hammer and a hardwood block to push the bearings back into their bores but if you take your time it all goes together just fine. (New bearings come installed on the head as part of the price) Re-assembly is the reverse of taking it apart, no surprises here. Making sure everything spins freely and that the poly-v belt is on the pulleys correctly are the final checks and then the fun begins.
As most people are aware, helical heads are quieter than straight knives by a fair margin. Its still going to take some hearing protection for anything but the very shortest planing jobs but it completely changes the pitch and volume of the machine. It also significantly reduces the audible load on the motor, the rpm sag is much less with this head than the straight knives. I wish I had the equipment to test the amp draw difference but sound is all I have to go buy. I’ve read about other installs of this head on the Dewalt and some folks have removed the chip blower and they said the unit gets even quieter. The planed finish is excellent on either feed speed but it is clearly better on the finishing setting. Grain direction is seemingly unimportant and tear out is practically non-existent. I purchased this because I like to work with a lot of re-claimed wood and as most know the Dewalt knives just dont last. The carbide inserts last and last are are simple to replace if I run across something unexpected.
I gave it 4 stars because after installation it seems to vibrate a bit more than it did previously. I dont know if its because the unit is quieter and its now audible over the head. Either way the vibration doesnt seem to translate into the wood and the finish doesnt suffer for it. Look at it this way, 4 sets of aftermarket knives and this unit has paid for itself. At least thats how I justified it to myself. Thanks for reading.
-- -Director of slipshod craftsmanship and attention deficit woodworking