|Review by eastside||posted 07-07-2009 11:01 PM||22727 views||1 time favorited||19 comments|
I installed a Byrd Shelix cutter head in my new Grizzly 15 inch thickness planer with the thought that it would leave “A glassy smooth cut” and reduce tear out in highly figured wood. This head comes with 75 carbide cutters installed and looks impressive. The cutters are spiraled around the head the same as other company’s do but they go one step further and place them at an angle so that they slice at the wood. I put some nasty birch through it for a test and hade very minor tear out but compared to my old unit it was an improvement. I don’t think my old planer would have left the board useable. That’s the good, now for the not so good. Packed in the box was a small paper with some instructions on how to replace the blades when that time comes and at the bottom In a much lighter ink is a note. “A very slight scalloped look on the wood is normal.” I didn’t think much of it. I did read one review that said the same thing but also stated a sanding with 120 will take care of it and it wasn’t bad at all. I ran Sapele, Birch and some Jatoba through and all have fine groves the length of the board. The Sapele was not to bad to sand out, the Birch will take more sanding than I want to do and the Jatoba will need a drum sander. If you ever worked with Jatoba you know how hard it is to sand. This cutter head adds a lot more extra work to every job. In the past I only had to sand planer marks out if any and the sanding went fairly fast but that’s all changed now. The time I saved buy upgrading to a larger machine is lost on sanding and if your building a kitchen that’s going to suck. I’m seriously thinking of keeping my old machine just for the final pass! I have a Grizzly machine and they do sell their own spiral cutter head so if you’re thinking of changing out you cutter head in your Grizzly do yourself a favor and ask around if the Grizzly head does the same thing. I was completely surprised at how bad the groves are if I had known this I probably would have gone with the stock spiral from Grizzly. I added some pictures of the Birch after it was planed with the new cutter and then stained it dark red. Next I lightly sanded across the grain by hand with some 150 to show what it looks like. You can clearly see the light and dark lines were the stain hadn’t been hit.
-- Mike, Westport MA.