Byrd Shelix Cutter Head for Dewalt DW735

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Review by ChrisForthofer posted 02-09-2011 03:07 AM 28527 views 3 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Byrd Shelix Cutter Head for Dewalt DW735 No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them


I purchased this unit about 2 weeks ago, and due to all the crazy weather back east it just finally arrived today (no reflection on the vendor). I was like a kid in a candy store, brought it inside and began taking my Dewalt apart for installation. Byrd provides pretty detailed instructions on getting the head in the planer. There could have been a slightly more detail in the instructions but if you have basic mechanical skills it will take an hour or so to accomplish the installation. It does take a little bit of coaxing with a hammer and a hardwood block to push the bearings back into their bores but if you take your time it all goes together just fine. (New bearings come installed on the head as part of the price) Re-assembly is the reverse of taking it apart, no surprises here. Making sure everything spins freely and that the poly-v belt is on the pulleys correctly are the final checks and then the fun begins.


As most people are aware, helical heads are quieter than straight knives by a fair margin. Its still going to take some hearing protection for anything but the very shortest planing jobs but it completely changes the pitch and volume of the machine. It also significantly reduces the audible load on the motor, the rpm sag is much less with this head than the straight knives. I wish I had the equipment to test the amp draw difference but sound is all I have to go buy. I’ve read about other installs of this head on the Dewalt and some folks have removed the chip blower and they said the unit gets even quieter. The planed finish is excellent on either feed speed but it is clearly better on the finishing setting. Grain direction is seemingly unimportant and tear out is practically non-existent. I purchased this because I like to work with a lot of re-claimed wood and as most know the Dewalt knives just dont last. The carbide inserts last and last are are simple to replace if I run across something unexpected.


I gave it 4 stars because after installation it seems to vibrate a bit more than it did previously. I dont know if its because the unit is quieter and its now audible over the head. Either way the vibration doesnt seem to translate into the wood and the finish doesnt suffer for it. Look at it this way, 4 sets of aftermarket knives and this unit has paid for itself. At least thats how I justified it to myself. Thanks for reading.


-- -Director of slipshod craftsmanship and attention deficit woodworking

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150 posts in 3834 days

22 comments so far

View CarlR's profile


36 posts in 3787 days

#1 posted 02-09-2011 04:00 AM

Thanks for posting. I had no idea that a spiral cutterhead was available for the 735.
I really like mine but as you mentioned the blade life is pretty short.
Also I may be an exception but changing blades is not fun. The screws that hold the blades were extremely tight. I ended up slotting several of the screws with a wafer cutter so I could turn them out with a screwdriver. Has anyone else experienced this? I think a Byrd Shelix is on my wish list.
Thanks again.

-- Carl R Mesaros

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 3657 days

#2 posted 02-09-2011 05:08 AM

Great post, Thanks I see a new cutter head in my future.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3941 days

#3 posted 02-09-2011 05:46 AM

I’ve got the Ridgid R4330—a notch cheaper, and not quite as good as the DW735, so I’m told.

But … it also makes it a bigger stretch to imagine a $350 helical head.

Not that I never think about it, but … at nearly the same price as the planer … a used 20” w/a helical head already in place seems to make more sense, in my case.

Just the notion of being able to turn one cutter head 90 degrees, and have—effectively—a new knife … is pretty cool.

Enjoy !

-- -- Neil

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3856 days

#4 posted 02-09-2011 07:27 AM

I was thinking of one of these for my planer as well, but I had seen people saying that it can leave a striped pattern in the wood, some saying that it was very noticable, and others saying it was more like the cutters just compressed the wood along stripes and became visible when the wood was stained. I talked to the tech support guys from byrd and they said it was because people overtightened the cutters and caused them to cup. anyway, im curious if you see anything like this with it set up from the factory, with all the cutters properly torqued down.

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347 posts in 3600 days

#5 posted 02-09-2011 09:14 AM

man i wish i could buy some

-- Ben L

View Oldwest's profile


86 posts in 3571 days

#6 posted 02-09-2011 09:50 AM

I’ve been waiting for years for someone to come out with this?
How much did you pay and where did you buy it from?

-- Anyone who isn’t totally confused just doesn’t understand the situation.

View ChrisForthofer's profile


150 posts in 3834 days

#7 posted 02-09-2011 05:18 PM


I saw no such evidence of what you described. Everything was properly tightened from the factory. I have yet to stain anything but under very close visual inspection in very good light all I could see are they typical minute waves (120 grit would make them disapear in a blink) that any planer, helical or otherwise, leave in a board. I think it would be pretty clear if the head was “burnishing” the wood and compressing fibers because I would expect those areas to be shiny looking for lack of a better way of saying it. This head certainly cuts and does it very well. As for changing the inserts, we use these types of cutters in metal working. Most manufacturers only recomend 15 to 20 inch pounds of torque on the screws that hold the inserts to the cutter body. And yes, overtightening can cause issues if you get too heavy handed.

Another benefit of this head is that the chip collection is better. With the straight knives I would typically get some chips coming back on to the table that would need to be blown off if I was finish dimensioning lumber. Not with this unit, everything goes into the chip collector.


I got mine from I paid a $407 for it and no shipping charges. It stings a little for sure, but given that I am working out of a 2 car garage a larger machine with a helical head already installed just isnt practical for me. Someday I will step up but I think this unit will still be used for little jobs as it is portable after all.

Thanks all for your kind words.


-- -Director of slipshod craftsmanship and attention deficit woodworking

View ChrisForthofer's profile


150 posts in 3834 days

#8 posted 02-20-2011 02:00 AM


After many more board feet of lumber through the unit with the new head I have an update on the “vibration” I mentioned above. I’ve concluded it was already there and is now just audible with the quieter head. It turns out it is the top cover resonating.


-- -Director of slipshod craftsmanship and attention deficit woodworking

View Blue Mountain Woods's profile

Blue Mountain Woods

110 posts in 3701 days

#9 posted 02-20-2011 02:24 AM

It’s a great head. I put one in my DW735 about a year and a half ago, and it’s a different planer. Since then, I added one to my Powermatic jointer, purchased a Powermatic 15HH, and even sprung the extra $1400.00 for a 25” one for my Woodmaster.
Never looked back.

-- Pete -----

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 4120 days

#10 posted 06-14-2011 10:49 PM

Posted a blog that I guess could be consider a review here so if anyone needs a second opinion…

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3903 days

#11 posted 06-14-2011 11:52 PM

I’m in for 1. I haven’t used my planer much except for the past 6 months or so, and I’m still on the original blades. It didn’t take long to get a nick in the blades, and it wasn’t from a nail or anything AFAIK. And I have gotten a bit of tearout from time to time.

-- Greg D.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6149 posts in 3580 days

#12 posted 10-23-2012 11:09 PM

You mention some people remove the blower fan. How do you do that?
If it reduces noise, and still provides adequate dust collection with a D.C. system that would be great.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View dennettfarm's profile


4 posts in 3898 days

#13 posted 12-28-2012 01:49 PM

I too sprung for a Byrd Shelix replacement cutter for a DW735 planer. Actually I went out looking for a nice used or refurbished DW735 specifically to upgrade with the Shelix head. The installation process took less than 2 hours as I worked slowly and carefully. It was not mentioned in the instructions but spring loaded locking mechanism which keeps the old cutter head in position for blade changes becomes obsolete with the Shelix installation. Surface quality with this cutter head is beyond belief. I’m very pleased with the upgrade. Now I feel like I need to dump the old Rigid planer I moved to the barn and have two DW375’s with Shelix cutters!

I do have one question regarding the DW735 planer. After installation of the Shelix, I’ve noticed a bit noise in the gearbox on the left side of the planer. (This is the gearbox that is partially removed during the installation procedure and dangles on a single rod.) Everything seems to be in place and running as expected but the noise is a little disconcerting. Is this noise normal for a DW735 or did I make a bad purchase with this used machine?

View pintodeluxe's profile


6149 posts in 3580 days

#14 posted 12-28-2012 06:14 PM

What kind of noise is it? Did a cover plate rattle loose, or something more serious?

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View dennettfarm's profile


4 posts in 3898 days

#15 posted 12-29-2012 11:56 PM

I’ve taken the cover off the left side to inspect the situation. Everything seems to be in place. The chain idler is in place. The rollers work slower and faster, respectively, in 1st and 2nd gear. The sound is something like poorly meshing gears but is it not continuous nor does it have a distinct period. I guess its more like something random bumping around in the gear box. I should stress that this is not a terrible or loud noise but it is not normal sounding to me. I guess the next step is to disassemble the gear box and see if there is a broken tooth or something like that. Maybe this purchase was not such a bargain after all. Never-the-less. the Shelix Cutter is still superb.

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