Grizzly T10128 15-in. Spiral Cutterhead on ShopFox 1723 Planer

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Review by wbrisett posted 05-18-2013 04:06 PM 10131 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Grizzly T10128 15-in. Spiral Cutterhead on ShopFox 1723 Planer Grizzly T10128 15-in. Spiral Cutterhead on ShopFox 1723 Planer Grizzly T10128 15-in. Spiral Cutterhead on ShopFox 1723 Planer Click the pictures to enlarge them

It was time to purchase new blades for ShopFox 1723 15-in. planer. I started thinking about the price of sharping the blades and the price of a spare set of blades and then wanted to see what sort of price I could get on a spiral cutterhead.

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve wanted one for a while now. I loved the idea that you didn’t have to replace the entire blade, only the cutters that needed it, and you didn’t have to do that until you had turned each three times, so you had a lot of life available on the cutters.

When I looked at the Grizzly site for replacement heads, there were three options available to me. Two were Grizzly’s and one was from Byrd. After reading the review here on the Byrd, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go with it. Yet, there were other positive reviews. I remembered one of the guys at work mentioning he upgraded his Grizzly with a spiral head, so I asked him what he had. He gave very positive reviews of the Grizzly H7655 he bought. As I was comparing the three, I could tell little difference between the H7655 and the T10128 (except price) and one had 72 cutters vs. 74 cutters. Hmmm… Then I saw them highlighting the German cutters on the T10128. I thought I read it came from Germany. In fact, until it arrived at my door, that’s what I thought. Then I opened up the package and saw the Made in China. Huh? So, I went back to the website and reread the description again. Oh! The cutters were made in Germany. Erm… OK, so what’s the difference between the T10128 and the H7655?? Got me!

After kicking myself in the pants for spending extra money I probably shouldn’t have spent, I opened the box and looked at all the cosmoline on the head. So, I broke out the mineral spirits and toothbrush and spent about 20 minutes getting all the cosmoline off the head. The result was quite good.

Next, I started reading the instructions for assembling. Just my luck. I didn’t order any replacement bearings or gaskets for my ShopFox. So, the next morning I called Shopfox and they directed me to Fastnal to order the parts. Knowing the ShopFox is just a Grizzly with a paint job, I found the parts I needed and called Grizzly and order the parts. Two days later I had parts and could really start taking the planer apart.

Once I got the gearbox open (it was a lot harder than I expected), I started putting on the new bearing on the new cutter head. I had issues putting it on, so I wrapped the head in heavy paper and put the unit in the freezer. The next morning, I was able to coax the bearing to fit properly. The only downside to putting the unit in the freezer is all the moisture that started collecting on the unit. I kept wiping it down, but it was still much cooler than the surrounding air, so moisture keep accumulating. I then broke out my heat gun and kept warming up the unit enough so it stopped sweating.

I spent a little time trying to get all the gears back into position, but after a few minutes it all went into place. I was glad I bought a new gasket because when I took the gearbox apart, it fell apart. I turned the unit on the side and started filling the gearbox with new gear oil. That was until I realized that was a bad move since there were four openings at the top that allowed the gear oil to pour out…. grrr… Now I had a workbench covered in gear oil. Man, I hate the smell of gear oil, now I’m sure my shop will smell like it for months. After cleaning up the spilled oil, I put the unit back into the planer.

I finished buttoning her up, then came the moment of truth! I grabbed a scrap of mesquite I had laying around and fired up the planer. First thing I noticed is how much quieter the unit was just spinning. Then I fed the wood through the planer. I intentionally left my ear muffs off. Holy cow, I couldn’t believe it. While I don’t plan to make a habit of not wearing ear protection, if I ever wanted to run a quick piece through without my ear muffs, I could do it!

The real moment of truth however was the piece of wood at the end of my out feed. I rubbed my fingers over it and couldn’t believe how smooth the finish was. I picked up a small scrap of mesquite that I had run through the old planer head and kept comparing the two. My wife was just outside my shop, so I had her examine and feel the two pieces she was impressed at how much smoother the new planer head was making the wood.

The manual claims it will take you three hours to swap out your old head. It took me about 4.5 to 5 hours. But I did make some silly mistakes (gear oil), and did have some issues getting the gear box back together properly.

I would certainly recommend the head upgrade to anybody who is sitting on the fence about upgrading their planer. I’m still confused about the real difference between the two Grizzly replacement heads (if anybody knows, let me know!). At this point, it’s way too late for me to do anything about it. But even spending the extra money on the head, when I compare what a new unit cost from Grizzly at $1600 to $1700, and what I paid for my Shopfox (I got a great deal on it as a leftover closeout) and the head, I’m still slightly ahead of the game (not by much mind you).

I’m looking forward to many years of smooth surfaces from the new head. :)

View wbrisett's profile


205 posts in 3122 days

5 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3633 posts in 3958 days

#1 posted 05-18-2013 04:29 PM

Sounds like the swap was a lot of work, but the results are worth it. I wish I had one as well. How well does it handle weird grain directions, knotholes, etc? Mine loves to chip out at any opportunity.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View wbrisett's profile


205 posts in 3122 days

#2 posted 05-19-2013 09:32 AM

I’ve not run enough board feet through the new head to come to a forgone conclusion on strange grain, but what I’ve run through it so far, it seems to handle pretty much everything I throw at it. I’m just amazed at how much quieter the unit is now than before.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3066 days

#3 posted 05-19-2013 04:11 PM

Last weekend I swapped out the head and blade assembly on my PM Model 15 that I acquired back in the 90s. I installed a Byrd Shelix and was thinking about doing a review with some tips. My experiences were much the same, but I had more trouble with re-assembling the gear box. I opted for the Byrd because it’s made right here in the USA. The Byrd has helixical shaped cutters (supposedly for better shearing action, but I’m not convinced anyone would notice). And. I got it through my buddies at Ballew Saw & Tool here on Springfield ( )—although we have a Grizzly here in Springfield, I much prefer to do business with a local company. Kenny at Ballew suggested I order the Shelix with bearings, which turned out to be a great help. However, even with the benefit of Kenny’s suggestion it took me 6-hours to do the job, but I enjoyed playing with my toy! Yes, the cut is far superior with no waves. I’d do it again without blinking an eye.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View wbrisett's profile


205 posts in 3122 days

#4 posted 05-19-2013 05:18 PM

I actually liked the idea of buying a US made head. However there were a couple of reviews that had me second guessing if I should go with the Byrd. In the end, I thought I was going with a German design, but then found it wasn’t (that will teach me to read stuff at 5 AM!)... :)

Anyhow, I would be very interested in knowing what you think about your Byrd and if you have any of the issues some folks seem to have with the blade design.

View wbrisett's profile


205 posts in 3122 days

#5 posted 05-21-2013 12:47 AM

I got an email from Grizzly’s tech support today. Apparently the only difference (other than the extra two cutters) between the H7655 and the T10128 is where they are made. The H7655 is made in Taiwan, the T10128 in China. So there you go… Still not sure why one cost more (quite a bit more).

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