Steel In-Feed Roller and Segmented Cutter Head Planer Upgrade Questions

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Forum topic by JBrow posted 03-13-2016 03:27 AM 1466 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1354 posts in 913 days

03-13-2016 03:27 AM

I hope to hear opinions regarding the advantages or disadvantages of the serrated steel infeed roller for the surface planer. Also any comments regarding the disadvantages of the segmented planer cutting head are welcome. I worry about rippling from this style of head and the effect of any rippling on joinery and face to face glue-ups.

I have a Woodmaster 12” surface planer and am considering upgrading the in-feed roller from rubber to serrated steel. I believe this will reduce the chances of stalling lumber during planing, but am not sure. FYI, other upgrades that I plan include replacing the knives with a segmented cutter head, installing an UHMW bed liner and maybe an UHMW extension for the out-feed bed. By the way, the planer bed currently is outfitted with melamine coated particle board that is frequently waxed and the rubber rollers get cleaned regularly.


4 replies so far

View runswithscissors's profile


2750 posts in 2018 days

#1 posted 03-13-2016 04:45 AM

I love the segmented planer cutting head (Jet’s version, like a Byrd, I believe). Would not want to go back to straight knives.

I had to buy some S2S beech recently, though I really wanted rough sawn, and found very visible scalloping from the mill’s planer. I never get that with the helical head.

If the yards are going to make us buy their damned planed lumber, at least I wish they’d do a better job of the planing. Been meaning to vent about this for a while.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View pintodeluxe's profile


5653 posts in 2806 days

#2 posted 03-13-2016 05:20 AM

I have the Shelix head in my planer, and the surface is perfectly flat and smooth. No lines, no ripples, and a light held behind a straightedge shows no imperfections. I can’t speak for all brands, but I am confident you’ll be happy with a Shelix.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4980 posts in 2486 days

#3 posted 03-13-2016 11:50 AM

I’ve never seen any tests on it, but I have to think the serrated steel has more grip. Even so, they are not a bed of roses. You can get ripples, but only if you try the lightest of cuts…that’s the one thing I miss with a benchtop. But the serrated roller can need cleaning at times, and it’s no picnic, the resin/dust/whatever can get packed between the serrations and it takes a stiff brush, elbow grease, and sometimes a solvent to get it out…in my case this had been maybe 4-5 times over 12 years or so (even then they feed reliably). I do think the work better on rough sawn lumber than a rubber roller…and they may (just a guess) suffer less damage from it. In your case, it sounds like you haven’t had a stall yet, but are worried about it. If true I think I’d wait and see on the serrated feed roller. But on the segmented head, I have no qualms….go for it. Besides being a delight, they make the planer so much quieter that alone makes it worthwhile. As for all that UHMW, I’ve used a piece of melamine stuck through mine as a table since I’ve had it (15” Delta, 2002) and have never seen the need to change that.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View JBrow's profile


1354 posts in 913 days

#4 posted 03-13-2016 04:02 PM


I am with you; I do not care much for S2S lumber. It is fine for a small and simple project; not to my liking for more complicated builds. It can be more challenging to retain the thickness you want, especially if it has to be flattened. My preference is to ask the limber dealer to do “hit or missing” planing and furnish one straight edge. That way the rough lumber is pretty close to the same thickness, saving a little time at the planer and ripping the rough stock to break it down before milling is quicker.

Fred Hargis,

Thanks for your comments, especially regarding the steel in-feed roller insights. I had not considered maintenance on the serrated in-feed rollers. That would be a nightmare. I had wondered about surface damage from the rollers. I tend to take light cuts, 1/32” and even lighter than that on the final pass to get to the perfect thickness. I would not want to spend any more time sanding or scraping than necessary, which I thought might be required and you confirmed. I think I will stick with rubber rollers.

As for stalling, you are right in that I do not have this problem now. But a couple years ago, stalling was a frequent problem. I contacted Woodmaster, but they were surprisingly of little help. The technician’s answer was the obvious one, make the bed slicker, keep the rollers clean, and add melamine. That’s when I added the melamine, but I had already been waxing the bed and cleaning the rubber rollers. As it turned out, I checked the setting of the in-feed and out-feed rollers and found they were slightly out of adjustment. After re-adjusting the down force tension per factory specs, the problem went away.

I have to believe that a little mentioned advantage of the segmented cutter head it that it results in less force directed toward the in-feed end of the planer. I would think that less force directed toward the in-feed end of the machine would further reduce the likelihood of stalling.

The UHMW bed is required to use the Woodmaster out-feed extension. The out-feed extension table automatically remains even with the planer bed as the bed is raised (on my planer the bed adjusts for depth of cut). The out-feed table extension would be better and easier to use that the roller stand I am now using for longer stock.


Woodmaster does not say who makes their segmented cutter heads and I have yet to contact the company. All they say on the Web is that it is manufactured in Europe – at least it is not made in the Far East. I will also look into Byrd products. I am sure they make one to fit Woodmaster since it a fairly popular brand. So far my fears of hours of sanding and the inability to go straight from the planer to joinery or face grain glue-ups are allayed.

Thanks for sharing your insights!

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