Shelix cutterhead for jointer

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Review by Jim posted 09-25-2009 09:58 AM 9119 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Shelix cutterhead for jointer No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had my Grizzly 8” G0490 jointer for about 5 years. I’ve been very happy with this jointer. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy this same jointer again.
About 2 yrs ago I decided to modify it by replacing the cutterhead with a Shelix head. I was working with some highly figured koa and wanted to maximize the utilization of this expensive wood as much as possible by not losing any to tearout.
Many people want to know if the helical heads are worth the money. Short answer—maybe.
First, I received the head from Grizzly and had to replace my existing knife blade head. This was not an easy task. Not terrible, but not real easy either. Instructions were non-existent but I managed to get it installed and the adjustments to the machine were minor. Think twice about doing this yourself however. There’s a lot of potential for headaches (and smashed fingers).
Now for the results. The helical head definitely reduces tearout. It does however, leave some lines that knives don’t. The lines are faint and sand out easily. If you joint a lot of figured woods you’ll be very happy with this cutterhead. The current price is about $350. Not sure I’d pay that again but I could see paying $300 extra to get a new machine with the head already installed. But only IF you need to joint woods that are subject to tearout.

-- Jim,

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80 posts in 4923 days

9 comments so far

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61 posts in 4133 days

#1 posted 09-25-2009 11:50 AM

Thanks for the review. I’ve been thinking about carbide teeth for my jointer and planer for a while. Maybe you cold post back after some time and let us know about the longevity of the knives – how long they stay sharp. I’ve used one and was very, very pleased with the results. It’s much quieter, and I found I could pretty much just ROS it with 150grit and be done.


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Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4667 days

#2 posted 09-25-2009 01:44 PM

Thanks for the review, Jim. I have been considering doing this but the price tag for a cutterhead from Powermatic was $900. So I was a little reluctant to put that kind of money into a replacement cutterhead. But the cost of the Shelix cutterhead in more in my price range. I will have to consider doing it but, at the same time, I do not work with a lot of highly figured woods.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4945 days

#3 posted 09-25-2009 03:16 PM

I have an 8” Grizzly jointer with the spiral head cutter and I have incredible results with it in figured wood.

I purchased my jointer with the spiral cutter head and so it has the Grizzly cutter head in it.

I think that you are right, in saying that it would be better to buy a unit with the head already installed. Tearing a heavy machine apart is akin to doing mechanic work on a motor and I am not really into that. My time is too valuable in other ways.

I get the lines also but they have been a non-issue.

The carbide knives stay sharp for a long, long, long time. When it is time to change them you just loosen the set screw and turn them to use the next edge and tighten into place. There is not setting of knives they are fixed. That is worth a lot.

The two key machines that have allowed me to work highly figured wood are the spiral head jointer and the drum sander for machining to thickness without tearout.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View khop's profile


134 posts in 4522 days

#4 posted 09-25-2009 04:28 PM

Jim, Sorry about your disapointment with the cutter head. I have the Grizzly G0586 Jointer with the H7654 spiral cutter head and I am very happy with it. I bought the cutter head later and installed it myself. It came with the mounts and pulley already on the unit. After the installation, I tweeked the outfeed table and added the existing metal shim to the pulley side and it is right on the money. It cuts sooo much better than the old beater bar method. Hope things work out for you.

-- How am I doing? Better than I deserve. Dave Ramsey

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4568 days

#5 posted 09-25-2009 07:14 PM

I’ve been eyeing this type of cutterhead and surprised and a bit disappointed in your review as it was an intriguing tool I was highly considering when I purchase a new jointer. I wonder if the cutterhead you have is a newer model, maybe manufactured in a different country than the one that others who like this cutter head have?

Thanks for the review. I’ll still consider this option, but with more knowledge.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4115 days

#6 posted 09-25-2009 08:08 PM

I purchased the Grizzly planer without the spiral…for cost reasons…and it was cheaper to upgrade later on…cheaper but complicated…..I haven’t had to upgrade though as the beater bars are doing just fine without much tear out or snipe (and I have run alot of highly figured cocobolo…and some of the rosewood I got from Bibb). I put in the upgraded carbide knives though. For now I will live with the knives…I have the spiral here to put on it (got it on sale and with free shipping)....but haven’t had the time or need to change it out… On the 20” planer the difference in price is $1,000.00 dollars….you can get the spiral head on sale for $600.00 with free shipping….(either a shellix or the grizzly)...I got the shellix as I got free shipping with it…Change out is not for the faint hearted though….you must remove almost the entire upper part of the machine (gears, pulleys…belts…)...I believe it is similar with the jointer…I don’t have a problem with that…and there are instructions included with the upgrade cutter.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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946 posts in 4200 days

#7 posted 09-26-2009 06:46 PM

I have heard from a lot of people that these cutter heads are the best

View sillac's profile


644 posts in 3609 days

#8 posted 11-26-2010 05:14 AM

Great review, you have had the tool for some time now, have you changed out the blades yet? How do they wear? Are they easy to change? Any info would greatly be appreciated. Thanks for sharing, Steve in Oregon

-- Steve in Oregon,

View Jim's profile


80 posts in 4923 days

#9 posted 11-26-2010 08:25 AM

Yes, I’ve changed out a couple of blades. Very easy to change. Nice to ‘repair’ a nicked blade in just a minute! Overall I’m happy with the cutterhead.

-- Jim,

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