Helic head or straight blade planer

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Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 03-11-2011 09:32 PM 1214 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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469 posts in 3036 days

03-11-2011 09:32 PM

I am in the market for a planer and I really like the Jet JWP-15. The issue I am having is deciding to go with the helical head or not. I have a helical head in my Jet 6” jointer and I love it but its hard to justify the $500 difference in the planer. I know that if money were not an option this would be easy. Does the helical head have enough advantages to justify the $500 or would the straight blades be good?

7 replies so far

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2927 days

#1 posted 03-12-2011 12:23 AM

On a small machine there is less reason to spend the money, on a huge machine it’s almost imperative. The gray zone in between is a balancing act, and this balance is the same one everyone arm wrestles with on just about any purchase; but I have yet to hear 1 person say they were upset with having purchased the expensive, capable tool once it was done and have heard wayyy too many people curse the cheaper ones. Since it’s your money it is mighty easy for me to say “spend it, man!”, but it is your call.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Pop's profile


427 posts in 3915 days

#2 posted 03-12-2011 02:04 AM

Yellowtruck75, The helical is worth every penny. I had a Powermatic 15 in. straight blade plane and it was great. Then the store I worked at got in a Powermatic 15 in. helical head machine. There was a small rusted spot on the table were I kept drooling on it. I finally got the chance to sell my straight blade and buy the helical blade machine. WOW ! It’s quieter, cuts smoother, and the small chips don’t clog dust collectors like the long spiral chips from a straight blade machine. Also when the blades (carbide) get dull you just unbolt ‘em and turn ‘em 90 degrees and tighten ‘em up.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

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2387 posts in 3515 days

#3 posted 03-12-2011 06:52 AM

Im sold!!!! Who wants to b my rich uncle bc i need some ching.

-- .

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469 posts in 3036 days

#4 posted 03-13-2011 04:23 PM

I have decided with the Jet Powermatic 15% off sale starting this week I am going with the Jet 15” HH planer. The sale takes $350 off so theres no better time than now.

View Madtapper's profile


10 posts in 2609 days

#5 posted 03-14-2011 07:02 AM

Yellowtruck—I have the Powermatic 15” helical head planer. It performs like a dream. Like Pop said, the “blade change” is a snap. You essentially have four “new” blades on every cutterhead. I hope you enjoy your purchase!

-- -- Jerry, Gig Harbor, Washington

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3893 days

#6 posted 03-14-2011 08:04 AM

I was going to take the plunge as well but unless you are doing production work I would not spend the money

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3043 days

#7 posted 03-14-2011 04:41 PM

I know I am in the minority on this issue, but I can’t justify the extra expense for the helical head. The most significant advantage is longevity of the blades. For many, they may never need to buy new cutters for the rest of their lives. However, you can buy a second (and third and fourth) set of knives for less than the extra cost of the helical head.

Other minor issues – (1) Helical heads are quieter – but you should be wearing hearing protection anyway. (2) Helical heads need more power to do the same job but the difference is hardly noticeable and will vary with the sharpness of the blades and cutters.

IMO – Helical heads make since if you are running a production shop and using your planer several hours each day.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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