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Thread: Installing Jet Spiral Head in JJP-12 Jointer/Planer

  1. #1

    Installing Jet Spiral Head in JJP-12 Jointer/Planer

    Anybody done this? Any videos or inks out there? Thanks...

  2. #2
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    I had been considering this as well, but the JJP12 and JJP12HH have different belts, gears, pulleys and a bracket between the two units that also need to be changed from what I understand. I think there about five components that are different and are probably available from Jet. The new Jet manual, available online shows the different parts in the parts diagram. The non HH model is specified at 20 fpm feed rate whereas the HH model is at 12 fpm with the spiral head, although I think others may have been successful. I'd be interested as well if any one has made this conversion.
    Last edited by Dick Mahany; 11-02-2011 at 12:50 PM. Reason: Edited for feed rate specs
    Dick Mahany.

  3. #3
    Dick, I spoke to the tech service rep at Jet the other day and he said the only difference was the head itself. However, he was just looking through a parts list and did not have experience doing the changeover. The Jet head sells around $620, which is way cheaper than the Byrd. In the new Fine Woodworking, they gave the Jet very high marks. The plot thickens...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Mahany View Post
    I had been considering this as well, but the JJP12 and JJP12HH have different belts, gears, pulleys and a bracket between the two units that also need to be changed from what I understand. I think there about five components that are different and are probably available from Jet. The new Jet manual, available online shows the different parts in the parts diagram. The non HH model is specified at 20 fpm feed rate whereas the HH model is at 12 fpm with the spiral head, although I think others may have been successful. I'd be interested as well if any one has made this conversion.
    That's what I saw on Jet's site as well. There was someone here selling a straight knife JJP-12 cutter head whose machine had been converted to Byrd. He said the feed rate was no problem yet Jet delayed introduction of the JJP-12HH for months supposedly due to delays in the redesign. I doubt they'd have taken that delay without a reason. I'm not sure what to think but the straight knife version is doing what I need it to do and I don't have an extra $1,000 laying around. Then again I only work with vanilla stock, no birdseye or curly or anything exotic.

  5. #5
    In my shop we work with curly maple, ebony and other wide, figured woods. The straight knives do a fair job, but ebony bounces around on the jointer, despite being perfectly set-up. And sharp blades are soon toast. Also, I would not mind a nicer finish with less tear-out on the expensive exotics.

  6. #6
    Waiting for a reply from Meier's tech service to my e-mailed inquiry about this...

  7. #7
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    In my shop we work with curly maple, ebony and other wide, figured woods. The straight knives do a fair job, but ebony bounces around on the jointer, despite being perfectly set-up. And sharp blades are soon toast. Also, I would not mind a nicer finish with less tear-out on the expensive exotics.
    Working those woods could pay for a spiral head pretty quick it seem like.

    Waiting for a reply from Meier's tech service to my e-mailed inquiry about this...
    My guess is that Jet would rather sell you a new machine. I emailed Byrd and got a reply that they had sold several shelix heads to owners of the Euro version of the JJP-12 -- I don't recall the model # with no complaints. This was when the JJP-12 was just being introduced to the U.S. market. This leaves unanswered why it took Jet months and a redesign to get their helical head machine to market. Does the Byrd head somehow use less power compared the Jet's spiral head?
    Last edited by Curt Harms; 11-04-2011 at 7:47 AM.

  8. #8
    I put a Byrd head on mine with no other changes. The cutter works fine. Absolutely worth doing.

    It's pretty straightforward. You just need a gear puller to get the bearings off and some patience and creativity to get them back on the new head, unless you have a press with that much clearance. They are tight. I forget exactly how we did it but I remember trying a few different things. Having a second pair of hands was helpful at times but not a must.

  9. #9
    Thanks, Kent. Would you mind elaborating on the job of replacing the head? I'm not a mechanic, and I don't own a gear puller, so the job seems a little scary to me.

  10. #10
    Hmmmm, to be honest, I really don't recall much. It seemed pretty obvious at the time. It was way less complex than doing a conventional planer. I think you just have to start removing stuff until you get to the bearing blocks that hold the cutter. Nothing complex until you get to pulling and replacing the bearings.

    A gear puller is a $10-15 hardware store item. I think I tried to use my drill press as an arbor press to get the bearings back on but I don't think it could handle the torque. Finding someone with a large arbor press would sure make that part easier and safer.

    Sorry I'm not more help. Good luck.

  11. #11
    Thanks again Kent. Anybody here swapped their straight-bladed head for the Jet spiral head? It's way less expensive than the Byrd, and FWW rated it highest in its recent test of spiral heads.

  12. #12
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    Arnold, I would add that you could keep a digital camera beside you while disassembling. Take pictures of each step, you probably won't need them for re-assembly.. but if you do, you have them .

  13. #13
    I have ordered the new spiral head from Jet. With cutters and shipping, around $650. Now I'm looking for a local machine shop to switch out the bearings. Thanks for all the advice and info, folks.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnold E Schnitzer View Post
    I have ordered the new spiral head from Jet. With cutters and shipping, around $650. Now I'm looking for a local machine shop to switch out the bearings. Thanks for all the advice and info, folks.
    Please let us know how it works out. $650 vs. $1095 is considerable. I'm still curious why Jet felt it necessary to re-engineer (slow down) the planer feed.

  15. #15
    I think it's because the spiral head will draw more power than a straight-knife head at the same feed rate and depth of cut. They probably slowed it down to prevent users popping their circuit breakers. My solution will be to keep the cut depth on the shallow side. This only affects the planer, which I rarely use anyway.

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