How come nobody's ever manufactured a "skew planer"?

Yes, it's already been invented:
http://www.google.com/patents?id=I1tjAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA7&dq=skew+planer&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ok8HT_LOCaX-sQLz0IiRCg&ved EYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=skew%20planer&flse
Seems to me such a contraption could address a number of issues with regard to planing... Even spiffier would be if the entire planing head could pivot so you could control the amount and direction of skew.
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On 1/6/2012 1:52 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

...
That's basically what the helical knives do...
One (out of many)...
<http://www.byrdtool.com/ <http://www.byrdtool.com/journals.html
I have seen some with solid curved knives years ago but afaik they've gone the way of the dodo bird--they're nearly impossible to mount evenly and are _very_ expensive to fabricate...
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On 1/6/2012 3:02 PM, dpb wrote:

Yeah, I've never used a planer with a spiral cutter head, but I can see how they would do a much better job of managing tear-out, which is one of the things I'd imagined a skewed cutter head would excel at. Do the spiral cutter heads do anything at all to alleviate snipe? That's another problem that I'd think a skewed cutter would help to solve.
Of course, having a skewed cutter begs the question of how you combine that with feed rollers that keep the board moving in a straight line, especially with my thought of being able to vary the angle of the cutter head...
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On 1/6/2012 4:17 PM, Steve Turner wrote: ...

Cutterhead itself has nothing really to do with snipe...that's a problem of the feed rollers set improperly or too much clearance on a bottom roller for planers that have them.

Shouldn't really matter that much...
I should mention one can achieve the effect simply by feeding a board at an angle--with all the planers I've used (and I will admit I've never used one of the newer lunchbox or portables or open-frame of modern popularity, I have now an old Rockwell/Delta Model 13 and have had PM 180s/240s and Delta 18 industrial machines in the past exclusively[+]) they don't really care; the material runs through driven by the feed rollers past the knives and they really don't affect it's path much at all. I can imagine in the lighter-weight machines that _might_ not be true; somebody w/ experience with them can comment on that.
[+] And I've been kicking myself ever since I didn't keep the 180 when moved back to the farm--thought I'd find the 13 enough. (It is, except when it would be really really nice to have the extra width for glued up panels, etc., since there's nobody locally w/ a large thickness/finishing sander that had access to and got used to before I wasn't clearly thinking about at the time was paring down...)
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On 1/6/2012 4:32 PM, dpb wrote:

Or not having support on the exit table is another favorite, of course...
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