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Thread: Shelix cutter head on DJ-20

  1. #1
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    Shelix cutter head on DJ-20

    I am considering the purchase of a Shelix cutter head for my Delta DJ-20 and was looking for feedback from anyone who has had hands on experience with these cutters as well as the reputation of Byrd Tooling. My main concern is the complexity of installing the Shelix on the jointer and would appreciate any feedback pertaining to the difficulty, risk factors and length of time involved in the installation process.

    Sincerely
    Dan Owen

  2. #2
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    Southern York Co, PA
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    Dan,
    You might look at these threads:
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...highlight=byrd
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...highlight=byrd

    I think there is at least one Creeker that has it on his DJ20...

    Eventually, my 12" jointer will have one. Byrd's reputation is excellent.

    Cheers,
    -Mike
    Last edited by Mike Weaver; 08-04-2005 at 11:32 AM.

  3. #3
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    Dan,

    Take a look at the threads at the bottom of this page.
    It gives quick reference to like threads.
    TJH
    Live Like You Mean It.



    http://www.northhouse.org/

  4. #4
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    Feb 2003
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    Mesa, Arizona (Phoenix area)
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    I have a Byrd Shelix cutterhead on my Delta 8" jointer (not the DJ20 -- the "Professional" model with the rack & pinion fence adjustment). The cutterhead itself seems to be beautifully made with crisp, clean machining and good balance. Byrd installed good quality bearings before shipping the unit. It was shipped in a small sturdy wooden "crate" with internal blocks that suspended the cutterhead via the bearings so that no part of the cutterhead could touch any part of the crate -- a very nice effort that ought to make it almost impossible for the unit to be damaged in transit.

    Installation was fairly straight-forward and probably took a total of 1-2 hours, including some head scratching and re-adjusting the outfeed table. It came with no instructions but I figured out how to install it by studying the expanded parts diagram supplied by Delta. Anyone with average mechanical aptitude ought to manage just fine. In my case I had to remove the fence, the cutter guard and the castings on which they were mounted. That gave me access to the nuts at the end of two long bolts directly under the cutterhead bearings. I removed the nuts and the old cutterhead lifted out (once the drive belt was removed). Installing the new cutterhead pretty much consisted of moving the drive pulley from the old cutterhead to the new one and then reversing the tear-down process. The Byrd cutterhead fit perfectly.

    I've very happy with the performance of the Byrd cutterhead. It leaves a beautiful cut and seems to be quieter, as well.

    My only complaint is that it took a couple of months for Byrd to ship the cutterhead. At the time they apparently had WAY more orders than they could handle. Things may have improved since then. They said they were trying to hire and train more staff to deal with the volume.

    I think it was a worthwhile upgrade.

    Hope this helps. -- Paul

  5. #5
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    Dan, the thread which Mike pointed out ( http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...highlight=byrd ) will give you my experience with it.

    Now, several months later, here's what I find: Once the cutters have had a bit of a workout, you will see some machining marks. BUT, still zero tearout on anything I've tried and I really don't even pay attention to grain direction of the more docile species. Just doesn't seem to make a bit of difference! Is the surface ready for finish? Nope. A quick swipe with your favorite smoothing tool (plane, scraper or sanding) will take care of that in a hurry. Would I do it again? In a hearbeat! (I wouldn't go to the same vendor for all the tea in China [Sunhill] but, I now see that Wilke Machinery carries the Byrd's, as well.) As it is, I'm seriously trying to figure out how I might be able to swing the same for my planer!
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

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  6. #6
    I have one on my Bridgewood planer and it cuts smooth, and as others have said, you dont have to worry about grain direction and it is quiter. I do have a problem with it leaving long ridges, similar to if a regular blade is nicked. I just havnt had time to really look close at the blades.
    It took about 2 months to get mine, hopefully they have improved on that. I got mine thru-http://www.woodtechtooling.com/ByrdTools/ByrdToolJournalHeads.html.
    There are some downloadable instructions at their web site.
    It is definitly worth the money, in my opinion.
    My 8 in Grizzley jointer is next.

    Dave
    Mission Furniture- My mission is to build more furniture !

  7. #7
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    Thanks to all for the great advice and suggestions. My main concern was the intallation of the head. I just didn't want one of those scenarios where I pulled the wrong set screw and 500 BBs were dancing on the floor. Anyway, thanks and I'll keep you posted. By the way, Byrd said there is still a 2 month wait. I'm wondering about other alternatives.

    Thanks
    Dan

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Owen
    Thanks to all for the great advice and suggestions. My main concern was the intallation of the head. I just didn't want one of those scenarios where I pulled the wrong set screw and 500 BBs were dancing on the floor. Anyway, thanks and I'll keep you posted. By the way, Byrd said there is still a 2 month wait. I'm wondering about other alternatives.

    Thanks
    Dan
    Dan, the installation is not bad at all! The "toughest" part was pulling the bearings off the stock unit and putting them on the new Byrd, although you could get new ones right off the bat. If you already have the proper gear puller, then it's no big deal.

    As for the 2-month wait, I think these things are just simply gaining wide popularity and Byrd just can't keep up and maintain quality. IMHO, I'd rather wait and be assured of the quality then quickly get a half-baked product. I"m not sure that there are "other" alternatives for this particular head. To the best of my knowledge, Byrd is the only one marketing a true *helical* cutting head. Others are spiral, but still only take a straight cut. Some advantage, but still not the same animal.

    Also, FWIW, Wilke Machinery now distributes many of these heads and you may be able to get better pricing through them, instead of going straight to Byrd. The lead time would be the same. BEWARE: There is another vendor out there (they primarily sell blue colored equipment)distributing these pieces and, while their pricing is similar to Wilke's, their sales policies leave much to be desired. In my experience, they did NOT tell me about the extreme lead time and charged my bank card *immediately*! Byrd, OTOH, did NOT charge them until the item was shipped. Not exactly above-board way of doing business, IMHO. (You're welcome to PM me if you'd like other details. )

    In the final analysis, I believe you'd be happy with the Byrd unit. As I stated before, my plan is to get another one for the planer, as well!
    (NOTE I am NOT affiliated with either, Byrd Tool or Wilke Machinery, just had good experiences with both.
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

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  9. #9
    I can also vouch (Is that how you spell that?) for the quality and other advantages of the Shelix head. I have tested out John's and man what a difference! Face jointing 7 inch wide hardwood requires almost no effort at all. Also, the thing is QUIET!! Much quieter than my standard head on my DJ20. Finally, the finish on the peice is outstanding.

    That head is on my list of upgrades, unfortunately, shop purchases are on hold for the extended future
    Jeff Sudmeier

    "It's not the quality of the tool being used, it's the skills of the craftsman using the tool that really matter. Unfortunately, I don't have high quality in either"

  10. #10
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    I got one for my Grizzly and agree completely with Johns assessment. Mine came delivered with bearings attached. I can't speak for DJ-20 installation, but it took me around 20 minutes. About half that time was spent playing with and comparing the two heads.
    I used the same vendor as John and had the same experience. The difference is that I knew it would happen and decided it was OK given the cost savings of the sale they were having at the time.
    The only problem is that I need a new planer with one in it now.

    Jay
    Jay St. Peter

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Miliunas
    Dan, the thread which Mike pointed out ( http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...highlight=byrd ) will give you my experience with it.

    Now, several months later, here's what I find: Once the cutters have had a bit of a workout, you will see some machining marks. BUT, still zero tearout on anything I've tried and I really don't even pay attention to grain direction of the more docile species. Just doesn't seem to make a bit of difference! Is the surface ready for finish? Nope. A quick swipe with your favorite smoothing tool (plane, scraper or sanding) will take care of that in a hurry. Would I do it again? In a hearbeat! (I wouldn't go to the same vendor for all the tea in China [Sunhill] but, I now see that Wilke Machinery carries the Byrd's, as well.) As it is, I'm seriously trying to figure out how I might be able to swing the same for my planer!
    John,

    Would you post the machine marks you are seeing? Give us some nice angles so we can see them. I'd really appreciate it.
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Padilla
    John,

    Would you post the machine marks you are seeing? Give us some nice angles so we can see them. I'd really appreciate it.
    OK Chris, best I could do on short notice. I milled up some Black Walnut today and was able to capture some of the machine marks I speak of. The marks are basically the width of the last cutter that hits the board. It shows up a heckuva' lot more on the dark woods than the lighter ones. Whether your preference is sanding or planing, a couple very light and quick swipes take care of it. I'm leaning more and more toward smoothing w/hand planes just prior to finish and a couple very, VERY light passes take care of it. Less than a thousandth, so even a light hit with a scraper would be more than enough, as well. As stated already, the real beauty of these Shelix heads is the ability to do figured woods w/o tear-out and not having to pay any special attention to grain direction, speeds up the process.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by John Miliunas; 08-07-2005 at 11:51 AM.
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

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  13. #13
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    Thanks, John!! Perfect...exactly what I was looking for...PURTY wood!
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  14. #14
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    Feb 2003
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    Easley, SC
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    From the personal experiences related here I have read that a benefit of the Shelix is reduced effort in feeding the stock across the cutterhead. I would think that this would translate to a somewhat reduced load on the motor.

    Has anyone actually measured a before/after amp draw difference between the regular cutterhead and the Shelix?

  15. #15
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    John,

    Have you ever tried birdseye on your Shelix? Any tearout?

    What about curly maple?

    Thanks for all of your info. It sounds like a worthwhile investment.
    Martin, Granbury, TX
    Student of the Shaker style

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