Steelex Helical Head 15" Planer, Model ST1012

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Review by PPK posted 02-20-2020 04:56 PM 1022 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Steelex Helical Head 15" Planer, Model ST1012 Steelex Helical Head 15" Planer, Model ST1012 Steelex Helical Head 15" Planer, Model ST1012 Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ll not write a really lengthy review, since there is a lot of information out there about this style of 15” planers. It’s been discussed before that most machines are produced in the same plants in Taiwan or China, and then individual companies customize slightly and apply their own paint colors/decals. I’ll limit this to what makes this unit stand out from the others.

1) Price. This machine can be had for about $2100 shipped to your door.

2) Helical Head style. This machine has what appears to be a direct replica of the Byrd helical head. See second photo. There are 75 inserts. Some other Helical head models (Grizzly for example) have less, 54 or so. I’m not sure that this is a benefit, but I’d image it could produce a smoother finish. I have been very pleased with the finish so far.

3) Mobile base is incorporated. I’m very pleased with the base. It’s built-in, and doesn’t take up extra space around the machine like an “aftermarket” base would. The mobile base is mounted in a pretty sturdy steel tube frame at the bottom. Steel wheels, so I don’t have to worry about rubber cracking.

4) Tolerances. I’m sure it’s not 100% perfect to the Nth degree, but right off the crate, everything seems to be aligned and working perfectly. I can’t vouch for how other machines come aligned, but this one was spot-on with no adjustments needed. Even the depth gauge indicator was accurate.

5) Dust chute on the back is straight. Most chutes are at a slight angle to get the dust collection pipe/hose out of the path of the lumber exiting. This is minorly annoying, but I solved that with a 45 degree fitting. Not annoying enough to lose meriting a 5-star review.

In summary,
I have used the machine a modest amount and am pleased with the fit and finish, the power, and the accuracy. It leaves wood smooth, with virtually no tear out, and I can’t see any ridges that some say are inherent with helical head machines. Perhaps best of all, the machine is whisper quiet compared to any lunchbox planer.

Luckily there was zero shipping damage (even though UPS shipped it). See third picture for how it was shipped. There was also a wood crate over top of the whole unit (not pictured)

Would recommend to any who are in the market for a 15” planer.

-- Pete

View PPK's profile


1670 posts in 1485 days

7 comments so far

View DMiller's profile


527 posts in 1149 days

#1 posted 02-20-2020 05:09 PM

Thanks for the review! I recently got a taste of what helical heads are and WOW! Definitely quite and a step ahead of traditional heads. Thanks

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

View Jerry's profile


3388 posts in 2324 days

#2 posted 02-20-2020 07:07 PM

Green with envy here. It’s a real beaut!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

666 posts in 1968 days

#3 posted 02-20-2020 09:02 PM

Looks like a great tool.
I can’t tell the difference between Steelex and Shop Fox.
Except for the name tags.

I couldn’t find if they were made by the same company. Woodstock International.

-- James E McIntyre

View CaptainKlutz's profile


2659 posts in 2170 days

#4 posted 02-21-2020 07:56 AM


FWIW – It is the 15” Taiwan made planers that offer an angled dust deflector chute.
The Grizzly G1021Z parts list offers a low cost ($9) angled plastic dust chute (PN P1021X2179).

Have mounted the Grizzly angle dust chute on both a Delta DC-380 and Powermatic PM15 using standard mounting screws with success.
If you really want the angled chute as I did; buy one with next Grizzly order and give it a try.
Note: Has been reported that the China produced 15” planer head casting overall dimension are ~6mm wider than older Taiwan design. Worst cast you need to add some aluminum tape to seal edges, and/or drill some new mounting holes in plastic flanges? :-)

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View mafe's profile


12507 posts in 3765 days

#5 posted 02-25-2020 08:41 AM

Wauuuu, that’s all I can say right now, as my mouth is watering.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View sheartak's profile


5 posts in 44 days

#6 posted 03-27-2020 09:16 PM

—There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.
- Jerry

Feel very comforted at these warm-hearty words.

-- Mike, Waterloo, ON, Canada,

View sheartak's profile


5 posts in 44 days

#7 posted 03-27-2020 09:21 PM

Congratulations. If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.

- CaptainKlutz

I am new in LJ. It’s so inspiring reading the reviews left by so many genius woodworkers.

-- Mike, Waterloo, ON, Canada,

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