questions regarding 20" spiral planer grizzly

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Forum topic by , posted 10-08-2009 12:31 AM 1597 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2387 posts in 2967 days

10-08-2009 12:31 AM

Hey guys. I just recently purchased a 26” drum sander on CL, good deal and I love it. It is great for flattening my panels, we do a lot of doors for a small family shop. Since seeing this sander make my panels flat, I have been giving a lot of thought to the grizzly 20” spiral head planer. It is costly but one kitchen job would more than pay for it and plus our overhead is none at this time. The thing I am thinking is the spiral planer would flatten my panels just as well and quicker then the drum sander which takes very shallow cuts. I currently own DW735 and it is very noisy. Also, it seems most of the cabinets features panels too wide to go through my 13” planer. Plus, I feel the grizzly with induction motor will be significantly quieter then my dewalt. I am always thinking of speed while maintaining the same quality. I will refuse to expidite something if it means a loss in quality but this planer seems to have the potential to speed up a process while maintaining good quality. It is just that on average we build around 35 doors (counting finished end panels) per job and that is the largest clog or time consumer in the whole process. I would still probably use the 26” sander to run the doors after they are assembled. Of course that too I hope to replace with a wide belt a year or two down the road.

Side note, I have a friend, more of a jack of all but really good at many of them, he is always telling me to outsource doors but seeing someone charge me around 11 to 16 bf on doors and seeing around 1500.00 leave our small pot of change at the end is something I have not been able to bring myself to do… We do enjoy building doors, but we do outsource the installs.

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5 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#1 posted 10-08-2009 01:17 AM

I missed the question but if we like our 20” Grizzly spiral head planner ? I do its great.

-- Custom furniture

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2705 days

#2 posted 10-08-2009 02:48 AM

Jerry, I can’t answer about the planer,but I’ve noticed you have posted a couple times about building kitchens and building your own doors. I know what you mean about paying someone else to build doors but there is another way you need to look at it. If you’re not very busy, then it’s better to pay yourself to build your doors then to outsource them. But if you are really busy and going from one kitchen to another, then you have to look at the best way to spend your time. Example, take the average cabinet door, say a typical square raised panel door made in maple. How much does the lumber cost you for that door. How long does it take you to get the stock, size the stock, run the stiles, run the rails, glue up the panel, plane and size the panel, run the cove on the panel, sand the panel, glue up the door, take the door off clamps, make sure door is exact size, run the profile, do the final sanding and drill for your hinges? What is your shop labor rate per hour? Take your material cost and your shop time that it takes to make that door and you will probably buy a door a lot cheaper then make them. There are a lot of great door companies out there with pretty fast turn around time and in the mean time, you could be building another set of cabinets ready for the next job.
I do it both ways, but have found I can’t really build a door cheaper, but I don’t do very many kitchens, but individual pieces, so it doesn’t pay to order only a couple doors.
Another thing to consider, I’ve never had a problem with a door that the stiles where cupped or bowed and if so, the make you a new one. Just food for thought. I’ve used a couple different companies and will be glad to give you their names. Toll free numbers and they will send you a catalog with all the different style doors they offer. Dovetail drawers is another thing you may want to check into. Good luck.

-- John @

View tooldad's profile


659 posts in 3135 days

#3 posted 10-08-2009 03:32 AM

We have both the 15” and the 20” grizzly’s at our school shop. It is AMAZING the noise difference a spiral head cutter makes. Our shop is 150 ft long. For one semester we had a 10 year old straight blade 20” grizzly and the new 20” spiral. You had to almost yell when the straight blade planer was running even on the opposite end of the shop. With the spiral you can have a conversation barely raising you voices standing right next to the machine. My students have often joked about the hearing protection required sticker the factory put on it.

The 20” is a 5hp motor, you will need a 30 or 40 amp breaker. What they don’t tell you, and it’s the only problem I had is it kept tripping the breaker. In the bottom of the machine is the wiring box and there is an amp dial meter. It is set at 36 amps max. We only had a 30 amp breaker. Once we dialed it down it runs fine.

We can take a 20” wide panel and a full turn (1/16”) and it didnt even bog down. The 15” is only a 3hp, and it bogs down on a full turn 14” wide piece. I know you aren’t considering the 15”, but just as a comparision.

Basically the spiral adds $1000 to the cost roughly, but in a semi commericial environment, it is WORTH the investment.

Here’s my initial review from about a year or so ago.

View jcecil's profile


40 posts in 3070 days

#4 posted 10-08-2009 06:00 AM

I had the Grizzly 20” with straight knives and very much liked the planer but it was noisy. Plenty of power for the full stated capabilities of the machine. Recently Grizzly ran the Byrd Shelix head on sale and I jumped at it and installed it recently. It is tremedously quieter and zero tearout on anything. The Grizzly spiral heads are not at an angle like the Byrd heads, but I am sure they are still quite an improvement over straight knives. It was incredibly easy to install and I would be happy to explain in greater detail if you go this path or anyone wants to know.

As for the comments on circuit rqmts and all. I have it on a 3o amp and all is well. I am a hobbiest so the cost of the 20” and Byrd head was a big jump, but I have to say given Grizzly customer service and the performance of the machine I am more than happy. I have a Grizzly TS, Jointer, and Planer which is how I am able to speak to custermer service.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 2967 days

#5 posted 10-08-2009 06:53 AM

Wow guys, great responses. I love this site. Honestly, 80% of what I know is from sources just like this site. Otherwise, I am internet taught.

I can be wordy, but yeah, my main question was just about the 20” spiral grizzly planer. I am planning on picking it up probably in December after a few of our jobs pay up.

The whole outsource thing, I am honestly on the fence because I can see the advantages both ways. Huff, I agree with everything you said. And now we are getting busier and could go for outsourcing the doors.

Socalwood, I lived in San Diego while on active duty, real nice place to live. Anyway, forgive me if I am misrepresenting my information on my website and if I am I will correct it. We do dovetail all of our drawers in our kitchens, they come out really strong and nice. We use an Akeda jig/PC router, we just love it. If I remember right, in looking up dovetail, I thought I read were it predates written history. Maybe I am saying the right thing but in the wrong way. My point is we use joinery that has been around and proven over the ages, not just thrown together.

Tooldad, your review is very encouraging. Gets me excited. I pay cash for all our tool upgrades/purchases so I will still have to be patient for a couple months. Actually, 75% of the time I get my tools from CL. Great deals to be had but I am confident I will not see the 20” Grizzly spiral anytime soon if at all on CL. So I think I will have to pony up full price on that. I am mostly sold on the spiral cutter and I hope to only purchase this tool one more time (the first time was the DW735), so I want an excellent machine. I suspect it leaves a very nice finish, I know my DW does.

Jcecil, your post is appealing. Please tell me more about your set up. I believe going that route would save a couple hundred dollars but would I loose quality over the spiral head machine? That Byrd Shelix is 850.

Huff, can you give me some door sources you find reasonable and good quality.

Thanks everyone.

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