Jointers - Straight or Helical blades?

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Forum topic by Bob posted 03-18-2012 08:56 PM 6459 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 2500 days

03-18-2012 08:56 PM

I am getting bogged down trying to decide between a 6” jointer with straight blades or helical blades. The consensus seems to be that the helical all but eliminates tear out and has a much longer blade life, but leaves a very shallow scalloping effect the length of the wood. Most people agree the scalloping is easily removed via sanding, scraping or planing. The straight blade proponents think the scalloping is completely unacceptable. Most feel you should be able to go directly from jointer to glue up and that the scalloping prevents this. I need some perspective please. I really like the Jet 6” jointer with the 56” table. It is available with quick set straight blades (JJ-6CSDX) or helical blades (JJ-6HHDX). The helical model also has the raised power switch in the back rather than on the cabinet face. I have read the raised power switch if much preferred. I am leaning hard towards the helical model and need to know if there is a compelling reason to avoid it.

10 replies so far

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2611 days

#1 posted 03-18-2012 09:06 PM

Can you go to your dealer and have them do a demonstation, so you could decide for yourself?

I have always hear good things about the helical cutter heads. They are more expensive. If you ever run a board through with a nail, only the particular cutters in line are impacted. The overall cost in blade replacement may be actually cheaper.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3586 days

#2 posted 03-18-2012 09:16 PM

I put a Shelix in my DeWalt 735 planer and haven’t noticed any scalloping and now I’m thinking of getting one for my jointer so I’d go with the helix but as suggested see if you can try it yourself and decide for yourself. If I put one in my DJ-20 and it scallops I will not be happy. I’m going to go look at some boards I recently planed and see if I can see or feel any scalloping.

Helix cutterheads are pricey initially but in the long run cheaper to use. The carbide inserts each have 4 cutting edges. When it gets dull or nicked you rotate it 90 degrees and it’s sharp again. You’d have to nick it four times in the exact same spot before you would have to replace any of the carbide inserts and then, last time I checked, it might cost you $10 to replace the 3 that got nicked in that spot. And the Shelix I got for my planer came with 10 spare carbide inserts

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3978 days

#3 posted 03-18-2012 09:20 PM

I switched my Grizzly planer and Powermatic jointer to the shelix heads and couldn’t be happier. I noticed more scallops with the straight blades. I’ve used mine for several months now, and haven’t even noticed any dulling of the inserts. My machines get used several days a week.

View a1Jim's profile


117416 posts in 3811 days

#4 posted 03-18-2012 10:07 PM

I have a Grizzly 20”planner and 12” jointer they are both great.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View wee3's profile


76 posts in 2505 days

#5 posted 03-19-2012 08:35 AM

Great stuff to know,id been researching a planer, with the same question.

-- BiLL @wee3

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2714 days

#6 posted 03-19-2012 09:58 AM

I have been reading lots of magazine reviews and things like that and not one ever mentioned this scalloping effect. I am considering upgrading my Jet 6” jointer with a helical head. Now I will want to research further.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View Bob's profile


19 posts in 2500 days

#7 posted 03-19-2012 12:47 PM

View KenBry's profile


484 posts in 2681 days

#8 posted 03-19-2012 12:48 PM

Helical is better….That’s why they cost more.

Seriously, if you work with figured woods, you can’t go wrong. Oh and eventually…. you will work with figured woods.

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

View yank's profile


57 posts in 4366 days

#9 posted 03-19-2012 03:14 PM

I have the Grizzly 6” jointer with the shelix head also. I have noticed any scolloping, if it is there, it is not prominent. I have had my shelix head for about three years, and have yet to adjust a cutter. Seems like they stay pretty sharp. Planer blades dull much quicker in my view.

-- My Father was my mentor for my woodworking hobby and knowledge. Luv ya Dad.

View Bob's profile


19 posts in 2500 days

#10 posted 03-21-2012 10:37 PM

Well I ordered the JET 6” jointer with the helical cutterhead (JJ-6HHDX). I’ll let you know how it works for me. Thanks for the advice.

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