Trying to make a planer decision

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Forum topic by WoodCup posted 06-24-2017 07:47 PM 2118 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1109 days

06-24-2017 07:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planer helical shelix question

Howdy all. I am trying to make a planer decision and keep on getting my head in a knot. I am looking for some guidance.

Lately I am into building bulky furniture out of 6×8 reclaimed posts and beams. I have been struggling to get these squared and true and I am thinking I need to do something with my planer (the jointer is OK as I know a helical cutting head will help me here).

I currently have a 30 year old BusyBee B325 16×8 planer. Just like a Makita 2040, but with a 4 blade head, 3hp motor and weighs 200 lbs more. The machine has been functionally restored with resharpened blades, but the rollers are worn. It does a poor job of planing my reclaimed posts/beams. I could get the rollers covered (About $300 from Canada) and get a Helical head ($1500CDN) but that is a lot off money in my house.

I took my posts to a buddy and ran them through his DW735 with Shelix head. It was impressive how well it worked. The planer was working hard, but it did a nice job.

So I am thinking I have a few options:

1. Spend the big bucks and upgrade the B325 planer. 8” cut would be nice. About $1500CDN

2. Buy a DW735 and Shelix head, about $1400 CDN. Can only plane up to 6”

3. Buy a King/Magnum (the old Steel City) helical head lunchbox planer for $700CDN. Same power as the 735, but a lighter duty machine. Can only plane up to 6” depth.

Money is quite tight for me. Heavy mortgage and business expenses, so I am trying to find some create solutions.

P.S. I will be upgrading my Rockwell 8” to have a Shelix head.

12 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

6241 posts in 3265 days

#1 posted 06-24-2017 09:21 PM

Is there somewhere you can have the beams planed (besides your buddy’s Dealt)? All your options except #3 is a fair sized outlay. Seems like the Busy Bee is adequate otherwise (?) so maybe paying a much smaller amount to have them custom planed might be an alternative. I do think an ongoing diet of these would be the end of any benchtop planer.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


773 posts in 2234 days

#2 posted 06-24-2017 09:45 PM

Seems like upgrading the one you have is only a little more than the Dewalt.
And you said the Dewalt was really working hard. Save a $100 today, but how long will it last.
And also, 13” X 6” vs. 16” X 8” mill capacity.
spend the extra $100.
I understand the big expenses. I tell my wife, she can have anything she wants. Just not all at once.
Got to pick what you want and save till you can do it. In the end, you won’t regret waiting for the better machine.
And like Fred’s post, can you send them out to mill?
All I have is a 13” Ridgid lunch box planer, but have have access to a 24” planer at a local woodworking school. Cost me $12/hour U.S. to use the shop on Saturdays.

-- John

View WoodCup's profile


4 posts in 1109 days

#3 posted 06-25-2017 06:05 AM

Thanks guys – I do like both of the suggestions. Maybe I will borrow my buddy’s 735/shelix planer in the short term and then fix the rollers in my B325 and eventually get a shelix for it. Sounds like a plan.

View daleragel's profile


1 post in 1110 days

#4 posted 06-25-2017 05:42 PM

View WoodCup's profile


4 posts in 1109 days

#5 posted 06-25-2017 06:26 PM

That is for a Busy Bee jointer – not my B325 16×8 planer. For my planer, the shelix head is $1500.

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


8089 posts in 2971 days

#6 posted 06-25-2017 06:33 PM

IMO, going from what you have to the DeWalt would be a step backwards. And I bet that you would pretty quickly toast the little universal screamer motor in the DeWalt by feeding it a steady diet of those huge pieces.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1276 days

#7 posted 06-26-2017 11:39 AM

I have a Dewalt planer and it is fantastic. It planes boards very smooth and works great…all that said, I don’t think it is the tool you want to be feeding 6”-8” beams thru. It just doesn’t have the weight to handle wood this large.

View Robert's profile


3742 posts in 2253 days

#8 posted 06-26-2017 05:36 PM

If money is tight, then $1400 for a benchtop planer you should be able to buy a heavy duty planer for that. The DW has a motor with a lower ceiling before it fails. I certainly wouldn’t run heavy timbers like this through it on a regular basis.

No way to upgrade or replace some parts on yours?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View LDO2802's profile


167 posts in 1202 days

#9 posted 06-26-2017 05:36 PM

Have you thought about just using a block plane and hand working it? They are cheap and work really well. Not the answers you were looking for, but it is AN answer.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7873 posts in 3686 days

#10 posted 06-26-2017 07:17 PM

I know there seems to an interest in spending a lot of $$$$ on upgrading an old, or for buying a new planer. All I can say is that I accomplished everything that a 13inch lunchbox planer can, and I did it for less than $400.
I managed to plane my workbench tops that measured 12”x3”x90” with this thing. I had to help the 8ft board along and through the planer, but it worked. In a pinch, WW’rs can always finaggle and get things done.

That being said, I would personally bite the bullet and restore the rollers on your BB135 and skip the helical head cutter for now. That could come later. Keep that BusyBee humming…;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View WoodCup's profile


4 posts in 1109 days

#11 posted 06-26-2017 08:12 PM

Mike – looks great. I like the infeed and outfeed for the planer.

...and yes- like I posted above – I will “make do” with my buddies planer and slowly upgrade the BusyBee.

View pirate's profile


19 posts in 3959 days

#12 posted 07-04-2017 11:06 PM

If the 735 was laboring cutting the wood, I wouldn’t want to borrow one. Who pays for a replacement, when it dies?
I would repair the real planer you have.

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