I am looking on Amazon for a spiral cutter-head to replace the one on the 8" jointer Powermatic I bought.
I see basically two brands of spiral cutter heads.
Which one do you prefer and why?
I just found Sunhill cutter-heads, do you have any experience with them?
Sunhill went under some time back, though it may have been resurrected. I suggest the Byrd cutters, although the Grizzly are also good. Glen Huey did a side by side comparison in PWW and found no difference in cut quality. But Grizzly prices the Byrd at a discount and there is very little cost difference between the 2, go with the Byrd. In most cases it has more cutters (and the cutters are slightly larger) , and while that sheer angle doesn't seem to do much (by most reports) it's just seems like it would be better on the really squirrelly wood. Also, if you intend to outfit a planer as well, I suggest you choose the same make, at least then you will have interchangeable cutters. I have the Byrd heads on my planer and jointer and couldn't be happier…...but again, I think the Griz heads would be just as good.
Bert, I forgot to mention, that the spiral heads need more power to operate, since there's always a cutter in contact with the wood. I have a PM 54 jointer and the 1 hp motor will bog down when face jointing, especially really hard wood. I'm planning to upgrade my motor to at least a 1 1/2 hp, maybe a 2 hp.
The 3hp motor on my planer seems to have enough power for anything that I run through it.
I have an 8" WoodTek with a Shelix. It has a 1 1/2 hp motor and does fine. I do take light passes for wide stock. I actually found the jointer ran smoother, quieter. Tim mentioned that the spiral cutter head required more power, but I can't really tell with my machine. I would think that the shearing action of the smaller blades would help reduce the power needed, but that's just my opinion.
Bert - Been following your post on this machine and hope you get it running
That's a common comment, that the spiral heads take more power. I really wish I had checked the amps on mine (before/after) when I installed the Shelix. But in everyday use it doesn't seem any different. Mine has a 2 HP motor (8"). My planer does just fine with a 3HP motor (15") so I would question the need for a 3 HP on a jointer.
I was rather skeptical when I first heard someone mention the additional power requirement for the spiral head cutters, but I've used my jointer for about 7 years with the straight blades and when I switched to the Shelix, I could tell the difference, mainly when jointing to the max width. It could be that the 1 hp motor is on the edge of the power requirement necessary for the 6" jointer. I'll know more when I get the chance to switch the motors.
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