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Thread: Shelix Head DW735 Expectations

  1. #1

    Shelix Head DW735 Expectations

    Hi All,

    How smooth should I expect this head to cut? I planed some red oak through it but it left some lines like a nicked blade. I couldn't really see any nicks so I pulled all 40 blades off and inspected them with a magnifying glass. I didn't see any nicks in them. I even ran my fingernail over each one and couldn't detect any. So I cleaned each blade and the head and reinserted each one following the Shelix directions and used a torque wrench to tighten them. I ran a board through and still got the ridges along the length on the board. I send Byrd a picture and they said it looked like the blades weren't inserted correctly. I did it again and still getting some ridges although not as many as before and you can only see them in a certain light.

    I've watched some Rob Cosman videos and he talked about milling marks from planers and jointers.

    Is this normal? I don't recall seeing it with the original 3 blade on the Dewalt and I don't get them on Grizzly 858 helical head jointer.

    Thank you,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    The Hartland of Michigan
    The head can produce shallow skallops that sand out easy enough.
    How about showing us the picture you sent Byrd.
    Never, under any circumstances, consume a laxative and sleeping pill, on the same night

  3. #3
    It will produce slight scalloping as mentioned, every about 3/8" or so. It sands out easy. A picture would definitely help us.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    The way to find defective or damaged inserts is to plane a wide board against one side of the planer bed. Mark the defect with a dark line, raise the head, insert the board with the same alignment and remove the top. The dark line will appear below the defective or damaged insert. This is how I discovered the defects in my first Shelix which was exchanged for another by Byrd. Good luck.
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  5. #5
    I’ve been through this exact thing on a 735 with a Shelix in a shop I used to work in. This started happening at one point after some of the cutters were rotated to a new side of carbide. I spent an entire afternoon once removing every knife, cleaning pitch/debris/etc from both the cutters and the cutterhead mounting points. This alone didn’t solve the issue and the ridges / lines persisted. I ended up noticing a few mounting points on the cutterhead that had tiny burrs that prevented the cutter from seating properly and I filed them flat.

    The main factors that I found through trial and error were both having the cutters properly seated in the cutterhead and how much torque was applied to tighten them down. This sounds simple and should be, but there was much fussing that ensued before I stopped with results that were acceptable. I was unable to tune the cutters such that the ridges were 100% eliminated, but it was eventually much improved by the time I decided to stop adjusting it. There were no ridges initially with the cutterhead as it came from the factory.

    It was a frustrating experience. I don’t personally see the benefit of the helical heads unless you happen to work with really figured wood on a regular basis, which I do not. The tiny scallops are always there even under perfect cutterhead conditions, which annoys me. I guess I just prefer sharp HSS knives in a planer and jointer for my work and feel like helical heads are a bit of a trend that most folks don’t really need.
    Still waters run deep.

  6. #6
    Here is the picture I sent to Byrd:

    Shelix Marks.jpg

  7. #7
    That makes sense about burrs not letting the inserts seat properly. The history on this particular head leads me to think that now. When I first got this head the screw hole for the gear was not tapped all the way and I had to finish tapping it after they sent me one. Then the pulley key would not fit in the slot like it should and I had to hammer it in after they told me it was "normal" to do that. I'm curious now about possible burrs. I'm really regretting buying this head.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Elizabethtown, PA
    don't forget that the shelix heads have caused many planers to have overheating issues. They may be made for a 735, but the 735 isn't made for it..

  9. reading about those problems, did you try using a bottom tap in the insert threads? maybe not threaded deep enough or metal/dirt in the bottom?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Comfort, TX
    Blog Entries
    Is there another solution besides Byrd Shelix? Surely someone else makes these type of heads?
    Tim in Hill Country of Texas

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Salline View Post
    reading about those problems, did you try using a bottom tap in the insert threads? maybe not threaded deep enough or metal/dirt in the bottom?
    I haven't tried retapping yet. Maybe as a last resort I will try that. I did blow out al of the holes with air.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Doylestown, PA
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Yeaglin View Post
    don't forget that the shelix heads have caused many planers to have overheating issues. They may be made for a 735, but the 735 isn't made for it..
    That's a good way to state it. Does the DeWalt 735 have a 2 speed feed feature? Maybe use the slower feed speed exclusively if it does. I've thought about replacing the straight knife head in my Jet JJP-12 but I know that the segmented knife head version feeds slower - 12 FPM - compared to the straight knife version - 20 FPM. People have done the conversion including replacing feed drive components to slow it down. I doubt Jet would have slowed the feed rate if it weren't necessary and I haven't had issues with the straight knives to make the conversion worthwhile. I'm sure if I worked with figured or gnarly grained wood I'd feel differently.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Grafton NY
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Yeaglin View Post
    don't forget that the shelix heads have caused many planers to have overheating issues. They may be made for a 735, but the 735 isn't made for it..
    I have been running a shelix head on my 735 for 6 months now. I do mostly cherry, oak, hard maple etc. Have not had any problems with over heating sometimes running for hours. If your having an overheating issue replace your onboard circuit breaker. That should solve your problem.
    Some Blue Tools
    Some Yellow Tools
    A Grizzly Collection
    Blue and White 50 Watt

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Northern Illinois
    I think that, if Dewalt intended the 735 to be a helical head planer, it would have offered that option by now. There is enough interest that, making it an option at purchase, would probably generate business. Sure it would add $500 or $600 to the price, but that's still a great price on a helical head planer that performs like the 735. I also hear enough problems with it after installation that it makes me wonder whether it is a good after market choice. While not a common source of issues, it does seem to cause problems enough that there is some question about whether the planer is made to handle the added load in the long run. I have owned my 735 with the original steel knives for close to 15 years (or maybe it just seems that long) with no issues at all. I wouldn't mess with that. The real issue for me has always been that tools are designed to operate in a particular way and, when a tool like the 735 operates as well as it has for as long as it has the way it was designed, why mess with that. If you want a helical head planer, buy one. I have a helical head jointer and would never go back to the steel knives but the jointer was designed for a helical head.

  15. #15
    I tried the 735 shelix. Total disaster. Cut quality was completely unacceptable. I removed, cleaned and re torqued the inserts 3 times. I’m not talking about the .0015” scalloping, I’m talking stair steps, ridges, non parallel planing. I went back to the stock knives and will stick with them. It’s funny though, I have a shelix in my jointer and it’s fantastic. The conclusion I came to, is the 735 just doesn’t have enough power for a 13” helical head, so the 735 byrd only has 40 cutters over three rows. That’s 3.07 cutters per inch of width. My 6” jet jointer byrd head has 30 cutters in 5 rows. That’s 5 cutters per inch of cutting width. I think the higher tooth count provides better tooth overlap and leaves a much more consistent finish. IDK, maybe I got a bad head, but I lost 2 days fooling around with the thing and would much rather buy a couple sets of knives every year.
    Last edited by Joel Cohen; 06-06-2023 at 11:19 PM.

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