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Thread: Helical cutterhead difficulties

  1. #16
    Wondering if there are Tersa heads to retrofit a Grizzly jointer?

  2. #17
    Don’t know that you’d like the price, but you never know until you inquire. Tersa retrofits are pretty pricey from what I remember.

    While you’re exploring, you might try to price a Hermance helical head. If I had to choose a helical carbide cutterhead that’s what I’d get, but again, I’m sure the price is likely more than the Byrd and other brands of more “available” heads for more hobbyist oriented machines.
    Still waters run deep.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    N.E. Ohio
    Posts
    6,271
    Watch this video and see if it helps:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWkGXL2Jp88
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  4. #19
    Thanks, Rich. Good video. Been thinking about a luxcut replacement head.

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    I've come to the conclusion that helical cutter heads can be more trouble than they're worth. The issues discussed in this thread are by no means uncommon. About the only thing that would drive me to switch is if I regularly worked with extremely hard/abrasive wood that destroys HSS knives.

    Every time I hear about issues with helical heads there are always lower end machines that sport them or machines with byrd heads which btw are not true helicals.

    I can tell you after being a straight knife guy for 25+ years I would never be able to go back, I almost never pay attention to grain direction and rarely get tear out and have never seen the ridges everyone is talking about. it’s quieter uses less power and the chips are smaller whats not to like!

    if i had separates then my jointer would be a straight knife, i see no reason to have it on a jointer.

    If you are going to replace a head do it with a Hermance not a byrd

  6. #21
    I just bought Grizzly’s 12” jointer planer with their new V helical head. Still in the process of getting it set up, but managed to get a few boards though the planer for test cuts. I took all the 48 inserts out, degreased the head with a brush, cleaned all the inserts, and blew out the holes to make sure everything was as clean as possible.

    Was very happy with the results. No scallop marks and a clean cut. You’re ready for 180/220 sanding.

    You shouldn’t have much work to clean up a helical head. You have something wrong with your inserts or the out-feed roller is making impressions. Marks could be coming from the metal out roller and most have switch to rubber.

    What’s so impressive about the helical head is how quiet it is. Straight blades are incredible noisy, especially when you go up to 16-20 inches. I ran my planer without hearing protection. My dust collector is noisier than my planer jointer.

    I could run my helical jointer at 11pm and my neighbors wouldn’t know. Would never go back to straight blades. I could see Tersa being a great option for those who still like straight knives. A compromise on both but still easier to work with than straight blades.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    3,185
    I have a planer with a bryd head it’s on the second set of inserts. I used to have a jointer with a insert head. I sold it because I realized when I hand feed wood across the head sharp wins every time.
    Heres a pic of port orford cedar from the planer and the other side off the jointer. Can you tell which one is which
    Sometimes I clean up the bryd head furrows with the jointer.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Aj

  8. #23
    Is that 1st pic what it normally looks like from a byrd head or is it just yours?


    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hughes View Post
    I have a planer with a bryd head it’s on the second set of inserts. I used to have a jointer with a insert head. I sold it because I realized when I hand feed wood across the head sharp wins every time.
    Heres a pic of port orford cedar from the planer and the other side off the jointer. Can you tell which one is which
    Sometimes I clean up the bryd head furrows with the jointer.

  9. #24
    Over the last several days I have cleaned and reset the inserts several times. I'm ridiculously careful to clean the inserts, the screws, and the cutter
    head beyond reasonable expectations. This includes carefully removing any evidence of pitch on the inserts and cutterhead, blowing out the threaded
    holes, etc etc, and inspecting everything with a 10x eye-loupe. I'm super-careful to make sure the inserts seat properly, as that is an obvious pitfall.

    In spite of all this nonsense, the scallops are still there and ridges show up. The detailed locations of these defects vary from attempt to attempt,
    but the basic result is unchanged. Seems like I am barking up the wrong tree!

    Aside from edge jointing for glue-ups, I could live with the scalloping; my planer (DW735, straight HSS knives) leaves beautiful surfaces after the jointer.
    But edge jointing is pretty essential...

    The Luddite in me is considering replacing the helical cutterhead with a straight knife job. Based on the responses I've gotten, a Byrd or Lux-Cut may be throwing
    good money after bad.

  10. #25
    The scallops are expected from a Helical, they are the signature mark so to speak of a Helical or Helical imposter, nothing wrong with this its no different than say what a straight knife leaves just in a different pattern.

    Here is what my scallops look like and I would consider this severe. This is on White Oak, in jointer mode and probably about a 1/8” cut at a fast feed rate on a Felder with the silent power helical head. It would take no time to sand these out with 180 but the reality is that it’s usually better then this when it comes out of the planer with a controlled feed rate.

    I would like to know how it compares to what others are seeing on non Felder,scm,Hermance helicals because it seems like helicals get a bad rap on this site and I can’t understand why because I am blown away by the results by my machine, i can only come to the conclusion that good engineering cost money and bad less.


    B7A00E87-FD8E-444A-B406-F2EA7727FC20.jpg


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Eisenstein View Post
    Over the last several days I have cleaned and reset the inserts several times. I'm ridiculously careful to clean the inserts, the screws, and the cutter
    head beyond reasonable expectations. This includes carefully removing any evidence of pitch on the inserts and cutterhead, blowing out the threaded
    holes, etc etc, and inspecting everything with a 10x eye-loupe. I'm super-careful to make sure the inserts seat properly, as that is an obvious pitfall.

    In spite of all this nonsense, the scallops are still there and ridges show up. The detailed locations of these defects vary from attempt to attempt,
    but the basic result is unchanged. Seems like I am barking up the wrong tree!

    Aside from edge jointing for glue-ups, I could live with the scalloping; my planer (DW735, straight HSS knives) leaves beautiful surfaces after the jointer.
    But edge jointing is pretty essential...

    The Luddite in me is considering replacing the helical cutterhead with a straight knife job. Based on the responses I've gotten, a Byrd or Lux-Cut may be throwing
    good money after bad.
    Last edited by Mark e Kessler; 01-08-2022 at 1:54 AM.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    916
    I have two machines with Byrd heads, a Powermatic 54a jointer and a Hammer A3-31 jointer planer. Couldn't be happier with the performance. I get perfectly smooth results and the knives stay sharp for a long long time. Rotating the inserts is quick and painless. I wouldn't go back to straight knives.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    3,086
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark e Kessler View Post
    The scallops are expected from a Helical, they are the signature mark so to speak of a Helical or Helical imposter, nothing wrong with this its no different than say what a straight knife leaves just in a different pattern.

    Here is what my scallops look like and I would consider this severe. This is on White Oak, in jointer mode and probably about a 1/8” cut at a fast feed rate on a Felder with the silent power helical head. It would take no time to sand these out with 180 but the reality is that it’s usually better then this when it comes out of the planer with a controlled feed rate.

    I would like to know how it compares to what others are seeing on non Felder,scm,Hermance helicals because it seems like helicals get a bad rap on this site and I can’t understand why because I am blown away by the results by my machine, i can only come to the conclusion that good engineering cost money and bad less.


    B7A00E87-FD8E-444A-B406-F2EA7727FC20.jpg
    My results on my Felder A941 jointer and D951 planer with the silent power helical head pretty well always look like this or better. No issues on my end. I agree that the power feeder with the controlled feed rate on the planer helps.

    The wide belt can clean this up in one tiny pass.
    - “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  13. #28
    Tersa heads are awesome but having dealt with only spiral heads since coming back into the industry, I have come to the conclusion spirals give the ownership experience most weekend warrior ww’ers are actually looking for. Yes, there is no better finish than HSS Tersa but that is only on properly dried domestic softwoods and hardwoods. The moment you get into tropical species or some of the oddball domestics like mesquite, you’ll want carbide unless you plan to be scooching/flipping/discarding your knives regularly. Carbide Tersa knives are available but uber-$$$. Back in my Italian days, I sold a 20” Tersa planer to a commercial flooring shop that was running lots of teak. They called me pretty soon thereafter, complaining about knife longevity. I think I suggested carbide knives. They either sold the machine or went Byrd not long after. The cost of perpetually replacing 510mm carbide knives must have been astronomical. What they really needed was a spiral head.

    Not shilling for my employer but I have sold LOTS of jointer/planers over the last few years (all spiral) and zero complaints. Not a single one. Folks love that cutterhead and I never have to have the “what alloy knife should I use for this or that species of wood?” conversation any more. If I were a one-man outfit, ONLY did kiln-dried poplar, cherry, oak, etc., and was dead-set against any finish work, I would go for Tersa. But I would also make sure to have a number of extra knives on hand, which is adds to the MRO cost. Nobody gets away with the same set of Tersa knives for long. If I were shopping for a machine where I just never wanted to have to worry about species of wood, the odd nail or piece of grit, or being lazy about rotating inserts, spiral hands-down. All this being said, there is probably a difference between the mass-produced Chinese heads and a Silent Power or Xylent cutterhead as far as tolerances and insert quality, which could explain some of the complaints about finish quality that was mentioned.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    I sold a 20” Tersa planer to a commercial flooring shop that was running lots of teak. They called me pretty soon thereafter, complaining about knife longevity. I think I suggested carbide knives. They either sold the machine or went Byrd not long after. The cost of perpetually replacing 510mm carbide knives must have been astronomical. What they really needed was a spiral head.


    Erik
    Seems like a fair comparison would be between carbide Tersa and carbide inserts. Four carbide knives from Tersaknives.com cost $548.80, or $274.40 per knife change. https://tersaknives.com/products/car...nt=14070872646 108 Byrd inserts for a 16" cutterhead replacement for a Powermatic 160 cost $4,482, $1,120.50 per changeout. https://byrdtoolexperts.com/checkout Are other brands of inserts less expensive? Do carbide inserts last any longer than carbide Tersa knives? A hobby user might never wear out their first inserts, but a commercial shop certainly would.

    I think I recall that Joe Calhoon runs 2 carbide knives and 2 dummies in his Tersa jointer.

    Here's Sam Blasco's opinion. https://www.elitemetaltools.com/arti...expert-opinion

    I have no horse in this race. I have a 16" jointer with carbide straight knives and a Powermatic 160 with an onboard grinder. I have a 10* face bevel on my planer knives for diminished tearout. I know from limited experience that the helical heads are far quieter, easier on dust collection due to smaller chips and better on highly figured woods than straight knives.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 01-08-2022 at 11:54 AM.

  15. #30
    Teak has sand in it. So you are saying that the carbide tersa didnt last and were replaced with the carbide spiral? Carbide spirals have Kryptonite?

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