|Review by tenontim||posted 11-14-2011 04:15 PM||6801 views||2 times favorited||8 comments|
Decided to upgrade my 15” Grizzly planer to the Byrd shelix head. This head not only has the helical design, but the inserts are set at an angle to cause a shear cut to the wood, which will cut down on tear out and give a smoother cut.
The cost of replacing the standard blades was beginning to get my attention, so if these index-able, 4 sided, carbide inserts hold up as advertised, I should be saving some money. I bought this planer head through Grizzly, which is on sale right now for $530. Regular price is $630. If you buy from the Bryd website, it’s $795. This head is listed as a “Generic 4 post planer”. I would bet it will fit most 15” planers, that are constructed with the same basic design as the Grizzly, ie Jet, Delta, Powermatic, etc. Do a little research and you may save yourself some money by going through Grizzly.
The installation is fairly straight forward. It took me about 2 hours to complete. This page from Byrd tool has a good, step by step installation procedure.
The only thing I would add is to make sure you have a gear puller to remove the bearings from the old planer head, if you’re going to reuse them.
After checking all of the planer settings, I turned on the planer and couldn’t believe the amount of noise reduction the new head has. My dust collector drowned out all sounds from the planer. Without the DC on, the most noticeable sound from the planer was some gear noise. Even while planing, the noise level was low.
I ran some ash lumber through, both with and against the grain, with no tear out at all. I don’t have and highly figured woods right now to test it with, but usually I will get tear out in the ash, due to it’s constantly changing grain direction.
Over all, I’m very pleased with this investment. My planer is about 6 years old, so with my initial investment and the cost of the new Shelix, I still spent less than a new planer with the same head. Time will tell how well the inserts hold up, but for now I’m grinnin’.