LumberJocks

Steelex Helical Head 15" Planer, Model ST1012

  • Advertise with us
Review by PPK posted 02-20-2020 04:56 PM 4503 views 0 times favorited 16 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.

Update 4/20/2020: The dust collection is proving to be annoying. I don’t recall so many chips escaping from other 15” planers I’ve used. I may try the aftermarket angled dust chute. I did seal up any little gaps around the chute, and that didn’t make significant improvements. I do have a decent CFM dust collector (1500 if I remember correctly). Still not annoying enough to back down to 4-star.

Update 9/27/2020: I fixed the dust collection issue. There’s a strip of foam under the dust collection shroud. I have NO idea what is was supposed to do, but I removed it, and problem solved. 99% of the chips are sucked up. Here’s a picture of the approximate location of the foam. If you’ve got problems with this, just go tear out that stupid foam, and your planing will be much more enjoyable…

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

PPK

1861 posts in 1972 days



16 comments so far

View DMiller's profile

DMiller

546 posts in 1635 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

Jerry

3488 posts in 2810 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. http://www.geraldlhunsucker.com/

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1366 posts in 2454 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

CaptainKlutz

4679 posts in 2657 days


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

Congratulations.

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, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View mafe's profile

mafe

13204 posts in 4251 days


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

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

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

View sheartak's profile

sheartak

9 posts in 531 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, www.sheartak.com

View sheartak's profile

sheartak

9 posts in 531 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, www.sheartak.com

View Taberian's profile

Taberian

3 posts in 432 days


#8 posted 05-26-2020 02:07 AM

Hey Pete,

Wondered if you could comment on the feed rollers. I’m very close to snagging this machine but I’ve read that the serrated infeed roller can be a pain because it leaves indents on the wood unless you take a deep enough pass to remove them. Any trouble with that? The Steelex also appears to have a knurled outfeed roller instead of a rubber roller—do you notice any marking from that? I can see avoiding the infeed indents by planing enough material but falling prey to an outfeed roller which marks up the wood—I hope this isn’t the case.

I was also considering the Grizzly G0453Z because it appears to come with an upgraded rubber outfeed roller but it’s currently out of stock at Grizzly. How has the Steelex treated you so far?

Thanks for your help and all the best!

-Forest Taber

View PPK's profile

PPK

1861 posts in 1972 days


#9 posted 05-26-2020 02:15 AM

FT,

I have only run into problems with the infeed leaving marks on my work once, and that was when I wasn’t paying attention and ran some wood through that had already been planed down to the set dimension. So, the planer wasn’t taking any wood off. And the marks came out pretty easily with normal sanding. Unless you’re taking of only like a couple thousands (I’m never that precise) it’s a non issue, IMO. Concerning the outfeed: mine came as a rubber roller. I know, it was advertised as knurled, but its definitely rubber. It’s pretty nice. I’d call Woodstock international and just ask. I asked a few questions on my machine and they were quite helpful. Hope that helps.

-- Pete

View Taberian's profile

Taberian

3 posts in 432 days


#10 posted 05-26-2020 02:25 AM

Hey Pete,

Rock on. That’s good news. Sometimes trolling through forums to learn about these machines in order to make an informed buying decision can lead to making mountains out of mole hills. Thanks for putting my mind at ease.

Did you purchase your machine through Amazon or a local dealer? It looks like I’ll be going through Amazon so I wonder if the machine in question is the most “up to date” batch (rubber roller update?).

One final question would be your experience with the helical inserts. I have a Byrd upgrade for my Dewalt planer and it’s been a bear to get all the inserts cutting at the same heights after flipping them. Some cut too deep and gouge and others the are the opposite leaving high ridges. The finish is terrible and has to be saved using the drum sander. This could be because the whole unit, planer and upgraded head, came to me second hand and well used but I worry that down the line that getting 70 off inserts perfectly placed in the Steelex might lead to the same problem.

Okay, mate, thanks for your help!

Be well,

-Forest Taber

View PPK's profile

PPK

1861 posts in 1972 days


#11 posted 05-26-2020 02:55 AM

Well, I can’t speak to how easy it is to get the inserts reset, since I’m still on the first side. I can’t imagine it’d be that difficult though, based on the design. The inserts register against a little bar, and there’s only one position they can go in. I wonder if your trouble is that your inserts are not machined well or not matching? The fellow before you may have thrown in some inserts that didn’t quite match up… Who knows.

Yes, I purchased thru Amazon.

-- Pete

View Taberian's profile

Taberian

3 posts in 432 days


#12 posted 05-26-2020 02:57 AM

Good deal. Yeah, I think a few misfit cutters might be to blame now that you mention it. Lookit that, saving the world, one post at a time. Thanks, Pete!

View PPK's profile

PPK

1861 posts in 1972 days


#13 posted 05-26-2020 03:03 AM

Haha, idk about that. But glad to help where I can.

-- Pete

View Autotom's profile

Autotom

1 post in 383 days


#14 posted 07-14-2020 10:45 AM

Greetings to all
A little late for post or question but thought I’d try.
Are the wheels on the ST1012 planer usable, as I’ll be rolling in and out of storage position due to small shop.
I’m running a 2 blade 12 in. Royobi set on roller base with in/ out feed rollers. This will be a HUGE upgrade for us. Good info. On hear. I hope to post more in the future.

View PPK's profile

PPK

1861 posts in 1972 days


#15 posted 07-14-2020 12:05 PM

Yup! The wheels work quite well. As long as you don’t have a dirt floor or a bunch of uneven surfaces. But most people have a wood or concrete floor. I roll mine around the shop all the time, since I deal with the same issue of space…
The wheels work better than the aftermarket wheel kits I’ve used on some of my other tools.

-- Pete

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com