Planer has been a horse - till I went to rotate the carbide cutters.

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Review by Tennessee posted 09-18-2013 03:17 PM 9347 views 3 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Planer has been a horse - till I went to rotate the carbide cutters. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

UPDATE: When I bought this planer 18 months ago, for some reason I also bought a pack of ten cutters. When I received the planer, I found a very small black piece of cardboard with a little blister pack stapled to it, with a couple of extra cutters. Completely forgot about it and put it with the odd wrenches we all have to collect. In this case, in a clear container with my router table wrenches, planer wrenches, and jointer wrenches, since the tools all sit pretty close to each other in my shop.
This morning, trying to finish, I found that the cutter where I switched out the bolt had cracked so I went for another cutter and found that little piece of cardboard. Along with five extra cutters were: Three extra bolts, two allen style T-20 wrenches, (essentially useless), and two very nice hardened T-20 insert bits that fit nicely into my Husky hand driver which accepts hex bits. Problem solved!
Just chalk that up to a senior moment, please…
FYI, the bolts are still coming out hard, soft, one even had a gouge in the top, most likely from the factory air bit. But I will be done soon. Just wanted to let you all know. And you will go through some extra bolts over time.

Bought this planer about 18 months ago. I don’t run it every day, but definitely a few thousand board feet of lumber has gone through this, all on the initial cutting edge of the four sided carbide cutters.
Recently I’ve noticed a slight raising of grain on certain pieces, it was starting to chip up a little around knots, and when a customer wanted to buy some blank, 2.5MM thick wood stock to make his own pickguard, I really noticed for the first time the cutters were starting to scream like a regular knife planer.

Time to rotate the cutters…

Decided last night after work it probably would take about an hour, so I got a beer, turned on the radio and removed the machine head covers.
First thing I noticed was the bolts holding the cutters are flat head torx. Not a problem, but they are T-20, and that is kind of small.
I found a hand held screwdriver style T-20 torx in my tool box and went at it. Two cutters in, I decided that it would go a lot easier with a Torx ratchet driver on a breaker bar. I had a nice Torx 20, 1/4” drive, and also a 1/4” drive breaker bar with a small extension. Good to go, and faster.

Started noticing that the torque was different for each one. Some came loose OK, some were bears. Factory air assembly, I’m guessing. Kept on going until the first row was finished, but this was taking way longer due to the variance in tightness. Also have to make sure everything is clean underneath the cutters after rotation, and make sure you are hitting about 55 inch pounds going back down. I didn’t use a torque wrench, but you can tell when you’ve tightened thousands of bolts over a lifetime when things are tight enough.

Finished the first row and on the first one in the second row it was immediately obvious that this one was way too tight from the factory. Looking down the row, there were two or three really buried in the cutters. Uh-oh…
Went on the first one and sure enough, the torx stripped out of the head. Did all the usual, used a square driver, tried a screwdriver, allen wrench, actually got a square drive in it really tight, and broke the driver!

Out came the machinists drills and drilled off the head. Removed the cutter and looked at the head. VERY flat taper on the thread side of the head, definitely NOT a normal M6 X 15 flathead torx. Drilled the bolt stem and extracted it with no problem. even though I knew I probably would not find that head, I went over to Ace Hardware and found M6 X15 – 1.00 hardened allen flathead bolts, and although the heads were too big, bought six for 40 cents each.
Ground down a head on one bolt, tapered the backside till it fit pretty good, (fairly flush and below the cutter surface), and torqued it down. Did two more without incident and quit for the night.

This morning I decided that I didn’t want that bastard bolt in the setup with the speed of the head, so bit the bullet and called Grizzly.
Each replacement bolt is $1.00, (bought 10), and also got hit with a $7.95 shipping charge.
$17.95 for ten lousy little M6 bolts.
Not impressed…

The cutters, by the way, have the initials JP on each cutter. JP Enterprises is a HUGE carbide manufacturer from India who sells a large line of carbide tools under the Ablaze Tool nameplate. Not sure if these are the same, the font on the Grizzly cutters matches the JP in the logo. I have no idea of their quality, but my cutters did last a long, long time on their first edge, and I got three more edges to go. I also know that when I have to finally replace all 72 cutters, that will be a big hit.

Overall, I am truly happy with the performance of this machine and the life of the cutters. They can, however, take their silly M6 special taper flathead bolts and put them where the sun don’t shine.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3360 days

14 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118134 posts in 4422 days

#1 posted 09-18-2013 03:27 PM

Thanks for the review most interesting since I have Grizzly spiral head machines that I have never turned the cutters.


View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3360 days

#2 posted 09-18-2013 03:34 PM

Buy yourself a really high quality T-20 wrench before you go in, that’s for sure.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4154 days

#3 posted 09-18-2013 03:55 PM

I have the same Grizzly planer with the spiral carbide cutters…haven’t rotated the carbide cutters as of yet but hope it goes easier and less problematic when I do.

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2977 days

#4 posted 09-18-2013 05:20 PM

Thanks for the review. Very thorough and in-depth.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3138 days

#5 posted 09-18-2013 07:23 PM

Thanks for the review. I’m just glad I bought Byrd Shelix for my jointer and planer—I spot checked them when I received them and all were torqued correctly—just like advertised on their web site. Don’t mean this as a gloat of any kind, so please don’t misunderstand. I bought my from Byrds because they’re made in the USA and frankly I’m not a big Grizzly fan, having one of their mother stores in our town and being able to compare their products with other name brands locally.

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

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3849 days

#6 posted 09-18-2013 10:04 PM

Wow, what a work out. But it appears it will be a long time before another change is required

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2794 days

#7 posted 09-19-2013 12:33 AM

Thats crap you would think they would send you the bolts for free as a customer satisfaction kind of thing. after all It’s their fault their people over tightened them. great review

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3887 days

#8 posted 09-19-2013 01:57 AM

You’ll find that even if you tightened them down yourself that when you take them back off there is a good chance they will be at different tightness. Everything expands and contracts at different rates, I guarantee you those suckers heat up. At least from my experience, which probably doesn’t mean much. I always have a couple of little buggers on my DW735.
Good to know though.

View DocSavage45's profile


9017 posts in 3688 days

#9 posted 09-19-2013 03:44 AM

difficult easy change? LOL! Anything you would have done different? eg check the bolts when new? Looks like you like the work that it has done for you.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Woodn88s's profile


82 posts in 4387 days

#10 posted 09-19-2013 10:56 AM

I have the grizz 12” Joiner and have turned the cutters once. the one thing I found out was to make sure there is no dust lodged under the cutter. I used compressed air to get it out.
Took about an hor to turn the cutters, love this machine

-- I want to know Gods are details "A. Einstein"

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3894 days

#11 posted 09-19-2013 12:43 PM

I tap the head with a brass punch to loose them before I unscrew them that really help. If they still resit I apply a little heat, that also helps.
I also have a Shelix head, I never yet had to turn a cutter even if one a small nick in it.
The cutters from Shelix are inexpensive.

-- Bert

View barlow's profile


129 posts in 4585 days

#12 posted 09-19-2013 01:03 PM

If you have an impact driver use that to loosen them, we use that on our big planers when we rotate 500 inserts, also soak the screws in a light oil before re-torqueing such as air tool oil, and be sure to set with a torque wrench

-- barlow

View robscastle's profile


7314 posts in 3050 days

#13 posted 07-12-2016 12:23 AM

Hey Paul,

Great review down to earth and well explained.
Factory assembly of all components is something which needs to be checked by the user/owner even before powering on. Loose bolts, screws and fitings are normal, either caused at the factory assembly plant or from vibration experienced when shipping occurs.
The Torx bolts holding the tungsten inserts is recommended as 3.75 to 4.6 ft lbs or 45 to 55 inch lbs.

-- Regards Rob

View dannmarks's profile


1017 posts in 1427 days

#14 posted 11-29-2016 05:10 AM

My Machine is new. So far of course it really cuts like a champ. Now I do run knots through the machine I would not have done on an old 3 or 4 knife system because I like the look of knots in my work. However, I assume this means at some point I too will have to look at indexing the inserts sooner. I am glad that I read the review as I will check what came with the machine again. Funny I have all the extra stuff with my Router tools too so they will not get lost. I will look at using an impact wrench to loosen them as I don’t want to strip them out. I will order some extra screws ahead of time when I order something else from Grizzly to save on shipping.

All of the information provided by each of you has been valuable. Thanks.

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