Byrd shelix cutterhead

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Review by eastside posted 07-07-2009 11:01 PM 39159 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Byrd shelix cutterhead No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I installed a Byrd Shelix cutter head in my new Grizzly 15 inch thickness planer with the thought that it would leave “A glassy smooth cut” and reduce tear out in highly figured wood. This head comes with 75 carbide cutters installed and looks impressive. The cutters are spiraled around the head the same as other company’s do but they go one step further and place them at an angle so that they slice at the wood. I put some nasty birch through it for a test and hade very minor tear out but compared to my old unit it was an improvement. I don’t think my old planer would have left the board useable. That’s the good, now for the not so good. Packed in the box was a small paper with some instructions on how to replace the blades when that time comes and at the bottom In a much lighter ink is a note. “A very slight scalloped look on the wood is normal.” I didn’t think much of it. I did read one review that said the same thing but also stated a sanding with 120 will take care of it and it wasn’t bad at all. I ran Sapele, Birch and some Jatoba through and all have fine groves the length of the board. The Sapele was not to bad to sand out, the Birch will take more sanding than I want to do and the Jatoba will need a drum sander. If you ever worked with Jatoba you know how hard it is to sand. This cutter head adds a lot more extra work to every job. In the past I only had to sand planer marks out if any and the sanding went fairly fast but that’s all changed now. The time I saved buy upgrading to a larger machine is lost on sanding and if your building a kitchen that’s going to suck. I’m seriously thinking of keeping my old machine just for the final pass! I have a Grizzly machine and they do sell their own spiral cutter head so if you’re thinking of changing out you cutter head in your Grizzly do yourself a favor and ask around if the Grizzly head does the same thing. I was completely surprised at how bad the groves are if I had known this I probably would have gone with the stock spiral from Grizzly. I added some pictures of the Birch after it was planed with the new cutter and then stained it dark red. Next I lightly sanded across the grain by hand with some 150 to show what it looks like. You can clearly see the light and dark lines were the stain hadn’t been hit.

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-- Mike, Westport MA.

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97 posts in 4599 days

19 comments so far

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 4664 days

#1 posted 07-07-2009 11:38 PM

Holy crap eastsdie !!!! Thats just not right…we have the same planers, but mine has the Grizzly cutter head. When mine comes out it almost seems finish ready it is so smooth, When I finish my last pass through the planer many times depending on the wood….I am able to go straight to 220 grit sand paper.

While I have not had mine that long…A1Jim has had his (Same as ours but a 20” with a grizzly head) for two years, use’s the heck out of it and has yet to even rotate the blades once yet.

-- Don S.E. OK

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5688 posts in 4646 days

#2 posted 07-08-2009 02:19 AM

It definitely sounds like a problem with the byrd shelix cutterhead. I have the Grizzly Extrema 15” planer with the carbide heads and like Don, I always get excellent results when plaining all types of wood. I have plained oak, walnut, teak, cumaru, cocobolo, leopardwood, cypress, pine, iroko and several other woods. Results have been exceptional with all and I have yet to rotate the carbide cutters.
If I were you I would call Byrd Shelix and become the squeaky wheel.

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4801 days

#3 posted 07-08-2009 04:42 AM

Good to know, thanks for the heads up. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4914 days

#4 posted 07-08-2009 04:58 AM

Hey Mike
I have the grizzly 20” planner and 12” jointer both with Grizzlys spiral cutters and like Don my wood comes out glassie smooth.


View Dusty56's profile


11868 posts in 5025 days

#5 posted 07-08-2009 08:02 AM

O M G !!! How the heck could that happen with a spiral cutter head ? Is that what they consider “slightly scalloped ”?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Julian's profile


884 posts in 4863 days

#6 posted 07-08-2009 05:30 PM

Did you contact customer service BEFORE posting this? I would assume that you should be able to get this resolved if you email them the pictures and state the problem.

-- Julian, Homewood, IL

View eastside's profile


97 posts in 4599 days

#7 posted 07-09-2009 12:51 AM

Yes I contacted Byrd this morning and asked for tech support. She asked what the problem was and took my name and number. I was told the guy to talk to was busy and would call me back today or tomorrow!!! Still hadn’t heard from them yet.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View bigk's profile


4 posts in 4581 days

#8 posted 07-09-2009 07:54 AM

I recently purchased the Powermatic 20” planer with the Byrd cutterhead. I have not had that problem at all. Have run a ton of 1/4-sawn red oak, some hard maple, and some fir timbers through it and have had only excellent results. I wish Eastside the best of luck getting his problem resolved.

View eastside's profile


97 posts in 4599 days

#9 posted 07-09-2009 01:51 PM

Bigk welcome to lumberjocks. As you can imagine I’m trying to resolve this with Byrd going on the second day now. In my situation I hope you can understand it looks a little suspicious that you have been with lumberjocks for 6 hours and made only this one statement. I do apologize if I stepped out of line here but I think it had to be said.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View MikeandBart's profile


2 posts in 4583 days

#10 posted 07-09-2009 02:33 PM

I live within a half-hour of the Springfield, Mo. Grizzly outlet. I had them convert my planer to the Grizzly spiral cutterhead. Glass smooth results on Oak and Walnut—no problems.

View eastside's profile


97 posts in 4599 days

#11 posted 07-11-2009 05:54 PM

I have an update, I talked to tech support and they are also concerned about the quality of this particular head and are willing to take it back and refund me all my money. They seemed to be truly concerned about customer satisfaction and are paying for the return shipping. At this point I couldn’t ask for more. I guess I’ll plan on breaking this machine down again this week.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 4664 days

#12 posted 07-11-2009 06:26 PM

Glad to hear they are standing behind their product Ken….are you going to go with another of the same, or get a Grizzly ??

-- Don S.E. OK

View Samel A. Livingstone's profile

Samel A. Livingstone

19 posts in 4928 days

#13 posted 07-11-2009 09:09 PM

I have a 20” inch jointer with a bird head. It has about 170 cuters almost twice per inch of cut and boards are very smooth. The fuzz that everyone talks about comes out with 150 grit sandpaper.
Sorry about your problems. I am sure bird has a better cutterhead for your machine. Do not give up Hope.

-- Sam, upstate

View stairdoc's profile


1 post in 4395 days

#14 posted 01-10-2010 09:48 PM

I’m also having challenges with a Byrd cutterhead I recently installed on my Powermatic 209 4 post planer(same machine as the grizzly and others). I bought the Byrd cutter almost 3 years ago from Grizzly but only recently installed it. My challenge is tiny cuts the length and width of planed boards; they appear to be knife knicks from not just one but many of the inserts. I too have spoken to Byrd who sound sincere about solving my problem. In the end, did they help you, and what was your final solution? Thanks.

Stairdoc, WA State

View eastside's profile


97 posts in 4599 days

#15 posted 01-10-2010 11:51 PM

Stairdoc, I called Byrd and informed them of the problem. They said that slight lines were normal and should be easily sanded out. Mine as you can see were not slight and could not be sanded out. My situation is going to be different that yours because I called them within days of delivery. They agreed to take the head back and refund me all my money. I then installed a grizzly head and the difference was great. A nice smooth finish with only a quick finish sanding needed.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

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