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Thread: Byrd Tearout

  1. #1
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    Jun 2014
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    Byrd Tearout

    Ive wondered this for years, but what levels of tearout is everyone getting off their byrd cutterhead? I read nothing but praise for that cutterhead, and personally, ive always been sorta let down. The longevity of the cutting edges(times 4, too) is superb, as is the chip compaction in my cyclone bin. However, the finish quality always left me wondering what other people are seeing. Im not expecting finish ready surfaces off the planer, nor am i that concerned with the ridges/scallops. I am a little miffed by 1/32-1/16" tearout on somewhat mild reversing grain. I havent done a side by side test comparing my tersa jointer to byrd planer, but i am pretty sure the jointer isnt giving me tearout like the planer in similar situations. This is a knot, and the grain dips down and then comes back up on the opposite side. This means no matter what direction i run the board, im going to be fighting the grain on one side of the knot.

    Planer is a PM209, and i think im running it on the lowest feed speed. I rotated the knives once last year, and didnt experience any difference in finish quality afterwards.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Three Rivers, Central Oregon
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    Your pic seems to show tearout on the knot only. I have byrd heads on both jointer & planer and will occasionally get knot tearout. You didn't mention if you're getting excessive tearout on surfaces clear of knots.
    Scott Vroom

    If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Bernard Baruch

  3. #3
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    Certainly there are areas of reversing grain in materials that would challenge even the sharpest hand plane or card scraper. This can be aggravated by the way the lumber was cut, dried and stored. If these areas have to be used, or if you want to for the figure which describes me pretty often, you can treat them depending on additional milling and your finishing plans. I have flooded areas or reversing grain with shellac to stiffen the fibers and yield me a cleaner cut.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    So Cal
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    That’s what I get from my Bryd Head also. But I call it tear back. I find softer woods are not that great with the insert head.
    If we really think about it what do we expect trying to cut wood with a knife that has a 30 degree facebevel.
    Aj

  5. #5
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    May 2013
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    Northern Virginia
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    That minimal tearout happens, as does "fuzz" on really soft sections of lumber. I notice it on air dried poplar that has some minor spalting (about as hard as warm butter)

    Though any medium hardness does not seem to tear out around knots. I ran a bunch of rustic white oak recently and it was tearout free.

  6. #6
    When I have a piece like that, I leave the stock about 1/16 extra thick, and finish with the widebelt. You get NO tearout with a widebelt.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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    Try and wet the knot area with a dipped and squeezed out rag just before you feed it into the planer. It's what I do with my planer/jointer and it has sharp straight knives.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Perfect. See, I’m not expecting a magic bullet, but I see a TON of YouTube videos, Instagram posts, and forum posts praising the Byrd head for being able to plane birds eye maple against the grain and all other borderline unbelievable tales. There were enough posts to make me believe something was wrong with mine or I was doing something incorrect. No tear out on anything other than tough grain like crotch/knots.

    I will add that I had better surface finish off my dull straight knife Dewalt 735. Comforting to know my cutterhead wasn’t made at 4:50 on a Friday.

  9. #9
    Well, it's like a lot of things...if it sounds too good to be true than it probably is. I too have been disappointed with the difference between what I have heard, read and seen online and what happens with the two Byrd equipped machines I currently own.
    "So quiet you cant hardly hear it" and "zero tearout" are spoon fed hog slop. The big advantage is the ease of setup when changing out the cutters or going to new surfaces and the length of time/use you get with carbide inserts. I mean, it does not tear out no where near as bad as a straight knife machine, but "zero"...no, I haven't seen anywhere close to that.
    Biggest thing about it is that if I had other machines with straight blades I would still change them to a Byrd for the resale value. I am currently about to pull the trigger on a new 12" PowerMatic jointer and for the extra I will get the one with the Shelix head. It doesn't even pay to try and find a used one and add the Shelix later...been there, tried that and couldn't even find a used straight blade machine. When you do they want too much.
    As to the finish, I work with a lot of black walnut, cherry and hickory. No, it certainly isn't "finish ready", but it is a very good finish for figured wood.

  10. #10
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    I think maybe the reason a lot of hobbiest woodworkers don’t get good results from straight knives is they don’t use good hss. And they don’t set the knives in a close enough cutting circle.
    Another reason might be they take very small cuts thinking that it saves the edge.
    It’s much better to take one or two good passes.
    Always best to find a middle ground with our machines so we’re not just doing well with one particular species.
    I have a bryd head in my planer. I can say with reservations my jointer leaves a better surface then the planer.
    Esp when the knives are fresh. When the feed pressure goes up I take them out and put a new set in.
    with a dial indicator that has a round button tip.
    Ive gone months with t1 in my jointer just using common domestic woods.
    Nothing exotic.No barn wood.And nothing that was laying on the ground or tumbling around in the back of my truck for weeks.
    Aj

  11. #11
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    Good steel, a large diameter head, and a sharpener who understands what the cutting circle and type of wood to be cut make a huge difference too. Dave

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by David Kumm View Post
    Good steel, a large diameter head, and a sharpener who understands what the cutting circle and type of wood to be cut make a huge difference too. Dave
    Yes. And and like some new cars are sold with cheap tires , most planers are sold with low quality steel. When you call
    around for quotes on knives you usually get a number for the lousy stuff; hey, it's original equipment! And they don't want
    to lose a sale.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    Yes. And and like some new cars are sold with cheap tires , most planers are sold with low quality steel. When you call
    around for quotes on knives you usually get a number for the lousy stuff; hey, it's original equipment! And they don't want
    to lose a sale.

    All new cars come with the wrong tires. Dave

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Deep South
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    My experience with the segmented spiral cutter head on my Jet JJP12-HH jointer/planer has been very similar to Patrick's. However, I used to have a planer with straight knives and the results were much worse, even with new sharp knives.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Crystal Lake, IL
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    I've had really good results from the byrd head installed in my Dewalt 735, especially with curly and birdseye maple. I use a lot of hard maple, and notice a huge difference in the amount of tearout vs. straight knives -- maybe not all the way to zero, but darn close to that. I've never intentionally run boards in the wrong direction to test that scenario. Perhaps it relates to the density of the wood? I'll have to plane some of my walnut stash as a test.

    Good steel with a well-honed edge makes a big difference in my straight-knife jointer, no doubt, but I would still give the edge to the byrd head in the planer overall.

    "So quiet you cant hardly hear it" and "zero tearout" are spoon fed hog slop.
    I can't say that you're wrong about the extremes that people claim, but I'm surprised if you haven't noticed a reduction in noise with the spiral head. My Dewalt is still loud, but not nearly the screamer that it was with straight knives. Maybe it's just a frequency change to which some people are more sensitive and the noise level is overall the same... all I can say is that it's way less obnoxious to my ears.

    --Dan

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