Customer Reviews: Byrd Tool H7768 Shelix Cutterhead, 15-Inch
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on September 12, 2011
I have a Powermatic 15 S Planer. I killed 3 sets of planer blades in 6 months on hardrock maple, oak and Beech wood. At nearly $100 per set, these blades became expensive quickly. I installed the Shelix cutterhead in about 1 hour by myself. The only problem I had was holding it during bearing installation and the installation into the machine. I wrapped it in a terry towel at the beginning but still cut my hands in several places just bumping the sharp edges. I am currently making furniture out of Beech and in two weeks time, I generated over 100 pounds of sawdust with this item with no noticeable wear, no tearing of wood and no chattering. The machines tendency to skype with wide pieces of hardwood is greatly reduced with this cutter. When I am doing all four surfaces on a piece of hardwood with this cutter, the edges of the wood come out so sharp that I cut myself handling the wood if I am not very careful. I like this product so well, that I also bought a cutterhead for my jointer. Terrific bargain for the serious wood worker
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on August 23, 2007
I am very pleased with the Shelix planer head. I put it on my old 15" Grizzly and it's like i have a new machine. I do a lot of hickory cabinets and had been fighting tear out for a long time. No more! This planer head is awesome.
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on June 24, 2012
I bought this head for a Powermatic 15S planer that I picked up used on Craigslist, to replace the spiral head/knives that came with the unit. My main reason for wanting to upgrade to a Shelix head was to reduce planing noise. I do my woodwork in the 2-car garage of my townhouse, so I have to be as courteous as possible for the neighbors. With the stock spiral head, this planer was a screaming 98-100db beast that I was too embarrassed to use due to the noise. After replacing the spiral head with the Shelix, the noise was down to 90db (the planer and dust collector is 82db without load). That's 8-10x quieter than before, and makes the Shelix head worth its weight in gold to me. The reviews that say "I wasn't even sure if it was planing, it was so quiet" are definitely a stretch, as the noise level obviously increases when a board is ran through the planer -- but it's still in a whole different league of sound versus the old spiral head.

The instructions do not call for it, but you WILL need a bearing puller in order to get the bearing off the old planer head (the bearing has to be transferred from the old head to the new Shelix head). Bearing pullers can be bought for $10 at Harbor Freight, so that's no big deal. However, pressing the bearing on the new head WILL require a bearing press. The instructions tell you to pound the bearing onto the new shaft using the planer's pulley and a hammer, but that will most certainly damage the bearing if you do that. Instead, I took the bearing off with a bearing puller, and then took it to a car service shop and had them press the bearing onto the new shaft for me (call around your area and find a shop that has a bearing press). They did it in 2 minutes and didn't even charge me anything. Start to finish, less travel time to the service shop, the installation took about 3 hours (I wasn't in a hurry). Unless you want to remove all of the cutters from the head (I didn't), installing the head back into the planer is definitely a two-person job. Someone has to hold the head and keep the bearings lined up, while a second person has to hammer/seat it into final position. I also replaced the gear oil with new 80W oil, rather than reuse the old oil (the instructions say to reuse the old oil -- not a good idea, as mine was full of dust by the time I was ready to put everything back together).

All in all, this is an excellent upgrade and the best $630 I have spent in a LONG time.

Last thing, keep in mind this is the EXACT same head as the $795 model that Byrd sells direct. I called and asked what the price difference is about, and the lady at Byrd told me they are cheaper from Grizzly because Grizzly buys them by the pallet, so there is a quantity discount. So, don't buy direct from Byrd unless you want to spend an extra $200 for no reason.

3/29/13 UPDATE:

I have been using this head for a while now, and it still works like new and I haven't rotated the cutters yet. This is probably the single best investment I've made in my shop to date.
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on November 30, 2012
I upgraded from a lunchbox planer to a used Grizzly 15" G1021 about 18 months ago. My old Grizzly had quite a few miles on it so I completely rebuilt the headstock and table. All new bearings, reground the table and new bearings in the bed rollers, new outfeed roller, everything that was worn was replaced and set back to factory specs. After two months of work, I reassembled it and could not get it to plane wood without as small amount of washboard across the grain of the wood. I'd been to every blog, website, and Grizzly's tech support that I could find, I can adjust all the clearances on this thing in the dark, nothing worked. As a last resort, and after lots of discussion with Byrd and blog reading, I bought this cutterhead. Magic!!! it's absolutely everything you'd expect. Don't be concerned about the comments about "scalloping" or small "lines", truly, you need to use chalk to find them. 220 in your ROS takes them off in seconds. I'm not a professional, but my Dad was and my woodworking friends think I'm a perfectionist. Take it from a perfectionist, this thing works and the scalloping or lines you read about are truly next to nothing.

By the way, if you have a 15" or 20" planer from Jet, Delta, Powermatic, General or probably others, go to Grizzly's website and download the instructions for installing their spiral cutterhead as the Shelix comes with no instructions. All these planers are made in the same place in Tiawan or China and other then the roller clearances their all essentially the same. But buy the Shelix, as the shearing action of the Byrd is for real. Hope this helps
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on February 1, 2011
This is the cutterhead I should have bought with the tool.

It's not that I was unhappy with the cut quality of the 4 blade cutterhead...I don't expect to go straight from the planer to the finishing room in the first place, so any sanding/hand-planing that needed to be done wasn't a problem. And even though the quality of the planed surface is a little better, I still will be smoothing the surfaces before finish, so it's better, but not enough to change the way I work.

What is much better, though is the noise level. When I attached my dust collection system to the planer before, it was like the neighborhood tornado siren sounding off. The noise was loud enough to make me restrict my shop hours so as to not unduly disturb the neighbors. With this cutterhead, the noise is way, way down. If I close the garage door while I work, it's hardly even noticeable from the outside! Even though I'll still wear hearing protection while its running, it's now more of a "want to" instead of a "need to" type of deal.

When you do the installation, go ahead an replace the bearings. It took nearly an hour to get the one on the gearbox end off of the old cutterhead and I still managed to bugger it. A set of brand new bearings was about $30 and they're higher quality to boot. Go ahead and have the new ones on hand and save the aggravation.
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on December 17, 2013
A bit of work to install, but worked out well (there are good tutorial videos on youtube). The results are great - much less tearout than I was getting with even new, sharp blades, especially on wild and figured grain in brittle wood. It is also easier on the motor and is much quieter than traditional heads.
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on September 25, 2014
Freaking Amazing! I wish I had purchased one with my planer. Those times when you just want to shave a 1/64 or 1/32 of an inch off of a board to get it right where you want it and bam, your knives tear a hunk of wood out, almost eliminated with this! Tearout will be the exception rather than the rule, and it's so minimal it can easily be sanded out. Expensive, but you'll love your planer afterwards.
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on January 20, 2011
The results of using this cutter are very impressive. No tear-out can be seen even when planing highly figured lumber such as tiger or quilted maple. (This was not possible with the straight blades that came with the machine.)

This cutter was installed in a Powermatic 15" planer. Removal of the existing planer head from the planer is relatively simple with basic tools and reasonable mechanical aptitude. However, transferring the bearings from the original to the new shaft will require the assistance of a machine shop unless you have bearing pulling and pressing tools. Blades are extremely sharp and good gloves should be worn. (even so, I still managed to nick myself)

Two other significant benefits: (1) runs much quieter than straight blades (2) chips are less likely to plug your dust collector.

Finally, the planer head arrived well packaged and within 3 days. Overall, I highly recommend it!
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on November 17, 2012
This cutter head fits the Delta DC 380 15" . I had no trouble switching out the old to the new and even used the old bearings. If you go this route plan to buy a torque wrench, a bearing puller and some anti-seize. I did remove all the inserts before assembly, they are sharp and brittle. After I installed the head I torqued them down and put anti seize on all the screws, something I learned to do in the metal cutting business.
I bought this head to reduce noise, extend tool life, improve chip control, eliminate or reduce tear out, make the job of getting a new cutting edge painless and reducing snipe.
The planner ran very quiet, it surprised me even though I read it in other reviews. Tool life and edge changes are a no brainer as you just index the carbide which will out last HSS knives as we all know already. The finish was excellent no matter which way I fed Cherry or Oak through the machine. I did get snipe, it was about the same as a standard cutter head, maybe a bit less but still not good enough to eliminate the waste at the ends. Horse power was about the same, no noticeable difference. I had to play with the belt adjustment to be sure all three belts were the same tension but the machine took deep roughing cuts without a problem. Chips ran through my dust collector no problem but issues in the past have been with green wood, because of the cutting action of this type of head I am confident this will solve the jamming problems I have had in the past.
This is an expensive upgrade, when I got over the sticker shock and thought about it for awhile it seemed to be a problem solver for me. I don't ever expect to have to replace all the inserts in my lifetime, when you figure that inserts are $10 each and there are 70 inserts you would be better off to buy a new head than to just buy the inserts!
Overall I am very pleased with this upgrade, I am not a production shop so I expect that the inserts will last longer than me. I did not do this to increase the value of my machine but if I should ever sell it I would think it would help hold its value.
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on December 3, 2013
What a great improvement over the standard 3 knife cutter head on my Grizzly planer . Quieter , smoother , well worth the money saved in blade changes especially since I didn't change them often enough leading to extra sanding. But , what they don't tell you is , and what should be sold as a package ... The two bearings , oil seal and case seal that should be sold as a package. So be sure to have a couple of 6205 bearings on hand , you might get away with reusing your oil seal if you don't damage it on removal, and the case seal i cleaned and applied some hylomar to . So far so good on those bits. Also do yourself a favor and watch the youtube video put out by Grizzly to make sure you're up to the task. If you're not mechanically inclined and don't like working on machines you may want someone to help you. In my case.. well the case halfs didn't separate as easily as they should have leading me to have to reassemble the gears on the bench . Fortunately I have some experience with such things , but for a newbie it would have been a real pain .
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