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Other topics for members => General Woodworking => Topic started by: xlogger on November 23, 2014, 05:54:59 AM

Title: Spiral heads
Post by: xlogger on November 23, 2014, 05:54:59 AM
Just looking at the different planers on Amazon I see where some have the Byrd heads and some say just spiral head. Is there a big different in the two heads? I see where Powermatic is a good bit more with the Byrd head over the Jet with just saying spiral head.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: WDH on November 23, 2014, 07:50:48 AM
My 15" and 20" Grizzly spiral heads could not plane boards any smoother. 
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Bill Gaiche on November 23, 2014, 09:21:55 AM
Grizzly has there own spiral head for there machines. The cutter contact face is square with the wood. A Byrd cutter is turned at a slight angle to the wood so it shears the wood. Byrd cutters are a little thicker and larger in size than the Grizzly cutters. I just purchased the 8" Byrd Thursday for my new 490 jointer. The jointer is on back order. bg
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Don_Papenburg on November 23, 2014, 06:19:00 PM
I had a byrd custom made for my 16" planer .  I have a straight insert cutter head in my jointer.  My opinion is go with the straight insert as it cuts smoother and less sanding to remove cutter lines.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Larry on November 23, 2014, 07:51:11 PM
I had my Byrd head in a planer for a couple of years before Grizzly came out with there version.  A friend bought one of the first from Grizzly and we compared results on a couple of real knotty erc boards.  No visible difference.  The only question left to be answered is which would last the longest.  We thought that went to the Byrd.  Since our tests Grizzly has changed insert supplier.  I suspect if we tested again it would be a toss up for a small time user.

Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: sawwood on November 23, 2014, 08:24:29 PM
Ricky are you still looking for a planer? I just ran 2000Bf of erc threw my woodmaster
and the spiral head cutters still seem sharp. I have the 8" grizzly jointer and after
Christmas I am going to buy the spiral head cutter for it from them. Have a good Thanksgiving.

 Sawwood
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Bill Gaiche on November 23, 2014, 09:42:08 PM
Sawwood, I went ahead and bought mine Thursday because there sale ends sometime after Christmas on the Byrd. bg
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: xlogger on November 24, 2014, 08:06:53 PM
Still looking, one came on CL a few weeks ago 718 for $1200. Sold before I got a chance to see it. The main reason I would like one is to do what you did with the ERC. But might need to built a solar kiln first. I'm not sure how it would work with air dry cedar.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Larry on November 24, 2014, 09:47:18 PM
Air dried erc can be planed just as well as kiln dried.  I've ran a bunch of air dried cedar through my planer.  Used it to line all the closets when I built our new house a few years ago.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: xlogger on November 25, 2014, 05:12:46 AM
Larry, do you t&g the cedar also? If you did what do you use for that? Ricky
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: WDH on November 25, 2014, 08:09:42 AM
I have planed about 12,000 BF through my GO544 20" planer and have not had to turn the inserts yet. 
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: woodworker9 on November 25, 2014, 12:56:55 PM
I have planed about 12,000 BF through my GO544 20" planer and have not had to turn the inserts yet.

Are they carbide, or hss?  That's a lot of BF.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: WDH on November 25, 2014, 04:36:39 PM
Carbide.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on November 25, 2014, 06:04:02 PM
A word of caution, the spiral heads take more HP to run than straight knives.
I know from first hand experience with  sales pitch from a spiral head machine salesman.
Don't know about the helical head.
WDF what species, I plane mostly Hard maple, cherry, ash and some pine.
My machine is 20" and now 12 yrs old and am on my 4th turn of the cutters.
Had to upgrade from 5hp to 10hp  3 phase and still doesnt take a very deep bite even on softwoods.
Pete
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: DeepWoods on November 25, 2014, 07:12:02 PM
I would agree that the spiral head takes more power.  I have a Grizzly 12" jointer with a spiral head.  It has a 3 HP motor, but will trip the motor relay if I push it to hard.  The way it was explained to me, by Grizzly, was that there is never a time when the spiral cutters are not in contact with the wood.  On a three blade head, there is no load on the motor between blades, so you need less HP.  I'm not sure that I agreed with Grizzly on this, but that is how they explained it to me.  But I will say that with a 12" head and a 3HP motor I feel that it is under powered.  Their 8" jointer has a 3HP motor.  Why would they think 4" more on the head wouldn't need more HP?

I am still getting a very smooth cut on the original carbides, but should probably turn the carbides.  Don't know how many bd ft, but it's a lot.  If I ever let the magic smoke out of the motor, I will upgrade to a 5 HP.  I like the spiral head, but would really like to take a deeper cut on the wide boards. 
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: WDH on November 25, 2014, 08:18:50 PM
Pete,

Lots of red oak, walnut, poplar, white oak, pecan ( smiley_devil), red maple, chinaberry, hackberry, etc. 
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Bill Gaiche on November 25, 2014, 11:35:39 PM
I have had the 15" and now 20" planer with the Bryd heads. I feel like they put less strain on the motor than the knives did. Just me I guess. DanG sure quieter. bg
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Cedarman on November 27, 2014, 08:12:36 AM
Went from straight knives to helical several years ago.  Have 15HP on the 26" planer.  Rarely bog the  motor or burn a belt now.  Uses less energy IMHO by far.  I would say we run 100,000 feet before rotating knives unless someone runs some dirty wood which they are not supposed to do.  ERC under 15 to18 % runs just fine.  8% to air dried 12% runs great.  Much , much less tear out than when we used straight knives.
Normally we are taking 1/32 to 1/16 off when we plane.  I rarely see check marks in cedar when it dries.  It shrinks the least of any native woods from green to kd. 
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: red oaks lumber on November 27, 2014, 11:19:06 AM
i run about 50,000 b.f. per side then change weather they need it or not. the inserts are cheap $1.27 ea. why struggle. :)
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Cedarman on November 27, 2014, 12:45:19 PM
Running 100,000 feet through a 26" planer is like running 50,000 through a 14" planer.  We run until the quality of the planing starts to deteriorate. When  noise level starts to rise is a good indication of excessive wear.
Our knives are about 9/16" x 9/16". 
RO, where to you get the inserts for $1.27 each.
We run 100%  ERC.  Wood species probably makes a big difference in board feet on a set of knives.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: red oaks lumber on November 27, 2014, 03:30:15 PM
we order through great lakes custom carbide
 i'm going to the shop in a little while i can get their number and i'll check the size

edit *** www.glct.com      mine are 9/16 sq. 1/8 thick
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Cedarman on November 27, 2014, 07:26:07 PM
Thanks, RO,  I'll check them out.  26" head uses about 180 and the shaver head uses about 90.   
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: xlogger on November 30, 2014, 04:53:26 AM
Cedarman, do you T&G the ends of your cedar boards? What do you see as what people want on this? Ricky
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Cedarman on December 01, 2014, 09:49:10 AM
We do not T&G the ends.  Cedar is rather brittle , so bends very little.  Most people put the ends of the boards on a joist.  We normally leave the boards with rough cut ends, as most customers will trim them anyway.  Cedar boards have a lot of character.  Some customers will leave the knot holes and love them, others will trim them out.  We send extra lumber.  We do our best to grade according to the customers expectations and specifications.  Some are picky, some love the extra character.  We price accordingly.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: BmoreReclaimed on January 03, 2015, 10:28:57 AM
Not sure anyone pointed this out, it is my belief that Byrd is one of the pioneers, "Woodmizer" of spiral inserts.  Now that they are common practice, Byrd is sold as a reputable brand, like a Baldor motor, but isn't that different from other heads. Either way, they are expensive as hell!
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Larry on January 03, 2015, 11:41:27 AM
I'm not sure who was the first with the concept of an spiral inserted tooth head but it wasn't Byrd.  Oliver had there ITCH head years before and actually may still be the leader.  The inserts can be re-sharpened in place with a diamond wheel which completely eliminates the faint lines common on today’s insert heads.

Byrd does have one feature that separates them from the rest on the market.  The inserts have a shearing cut.  I'm not sure this is a big advantage in use, but it certainly is a selling point.  BTW the Oliver ITCH also had a shearing cut.

It would not surprise me if others had insert heads even earlier.

I will agree that they are expensive but worth the price.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Don_Papenburg on January 04, 2015, 09:17:25 PM
I prefer the inserts to contact the wood straight on .The one I put in my jointer is set up that way and it does a good job with no lines.  The byrd that I put in my planer leaves the faint lines in the wood and pronounced lines in knots and the wood surrounding the knots.  It adds sanding time to the job . I hate sanding.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: WDH on January 05, 2015, 07:08:03 AM
I believe as the cutters dull down, those faint lines start appearing. 
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Larry on January 05, 2015, 10:21:47 AM
When my Byrd was new I got those faint lines.  I never investigated or tried to correct as they were so light that one swipe with fine sandpaper would erase them.  The first time I turned the inserts I pulled them all (after marking the used edge).  Washed the head with lacquer thinner and scrubbed with a brass brush.  Blew it out with compressed air.  Re-installed the inserts and presto....no more lines.

Based on that experience I think there may have been a chip or two of metal under an insert when it was assembled.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Bill Gaiche on January 06, 2015, 08:58:14 PM
Larry, I haven't seen any lines in the lumber that I have ran thru my Byrd heads on jointer or planer. I did check all the screws that hold the carbide cutters and found that they were not all tightened equally. I checked everyone and tightened as needed. This may be a problem with leaving lines if they aren't all tightened the same also. bg
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: xlogger on February 24, 2015, 05:59:03 AM
local wood workers shop has the jet 20", 5hp with the spiral head on sale with 15% off. I kind of wanted a woodmaster but just might go that way. Now to just off my wallet. Also going to get a router table, is the router lift worth the extra money?
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Evergreen Man on February 28, 2015, 11:40:47 PM
I'm thinking of getting a spiral head for my woodmaster with carbides, but I'm nervous of how long they will last. It's pretty common for me to be planing lumber with some grit on it, nothing I can do to avoid it. It's not uncommon for my straight blades to start leaving lines after less than a 1'000 feet, thier cheap to get sharpened, but most of the time I have to just put up with nasty lines and try to sand them out.

Will the spiral carbide stand up to a little grit or will I be wasting my money?
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Bill Gaiche on March 01, 2015, 10:51:53 AM
E/M I can't say for sure how much longer a carbide cutter will last over a high speed steel blade. But I would think it will last at least 3 to 4 times longer. You can change the dull ones as needed without doing all that blade setup every time. It only takes a few minutes to rotate or change a cutter. That alone would be a big time saver. bg
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: 21incher on March 01, 2015, 11:47:07 AM
I'm thinking of getting a spiral head for my woodmaster with carbides, but I'm nervous of how long they will last. It's pretty common for me to be planing lumber with some grit on it, nothing I can do to avoid it. It's not uncommon for my straight blades to start leaving lines after less than a 1'000 feet, thier cheap to get sharpened, but most of the time I have to just put up with nasty lines and try to sand them out.

Will the spiral carbide stand up to a little grit or will I be wasting my money?
I just made a bunch of glue ups for maple tops and the inserts on my jointer head stood up to the hardened glue with no problem while the steel blades on my planer got small nicks in a short time. I think the carbide inserts will take 10 times the abuse of steel blades. :)
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: Evergreen Man on March 01, 2015, 03:00:25 PM
Thanks Guys!
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on March 01, 2015, 03:38:11 PM
Takes me a good hr to rotate the cutters on my 20" bridgewood, 128 cutters,
I clean the head well to be certain no stuff is under when rotating.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: xlogger on March 06, 2015, 05:22:39 AM
The sale on the 20" jet planer with the spiral head ends Monday. The reviews I see are mostly good on the machine. But most are about 4 years back with one newer one being not so good. Anyone here got one and can tell me how it does? I think most what I hear is about the motors, probably China made.
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: WDH on March 06, 2015, 07:02:22 AM
Most all the new planers are all made in the same factories in China. 
Title: Re: Spiral heads
Post by: xlogger on March 06, 2015, 05:59:13 PM
After looking for over a year I went ahead and order one today so now I guess I will give the reviews. Thanks for all the advise I got here.