Installed Byrd helical cutterhead in DJ-30 jointer (w/pics)


Hello everyone,
I was getting very tired of tearout on my jointer; so about two months ago I ordered a Byrd Shelix helical carbide insert cutterhead for my jointer. We sell helical cutterhead jointers at work and I have had a chance to play with a few. I was impressed with fact you could feed the board in any direction and get no tear out. Delivery on the cutterhead was a little over 8 weeks.
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/byrd1.jpg
Taking the old cutterhead out was a pretty simple affair. Remove jointer fence (two bolts), remove cutterhead drive belts, lower tables, remove the bolt for each bearing pillow block and slip the cutterhead out the rear of the jointer.
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/byrd2.jpg
I took the old cutterhead to work and with a bearing puller removed the drive pulley and pillow blocks with bearings.
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/byrd3.jpg
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/byrd4.jpg
Over to a hydraulic shop press to press the bearings out of the pillow blocks,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/byrd5.jpg
One of the four cutterhead bearings was a little wonky, so I bought four new ones. As a habit I simply do not reuse bearings. When going to this much trouble it is cheap insurance to replace them all now rather than later.
The easy part was over, one of these is not like the other.
The DJ-30 cutterhead that Byrd sent me did not match mine. Opps. I waited over two months for them to make me this cutterhead, and while it was close to the original, it was not going to work as built.
On each end of the original cutterhead there were fine left hand threads cut for ring nuts that threaded onto each end of the shaft to hold the pulley in place on one side (the pulley is on a keyway, but no set screws) and on the other side to hold the bearings in place.
What I was sent did not have any threads on the outside ends of the shaft, but instead, had M10x1.5 left hand tapped holes in each end of the shaft. As anyone who has tried would know, trying to find left hand metric bolts is a tad hard.
Hmmm.... What to do....
I called Byrd and they were not as helpful as I would have hoped. I was told they had made several DJ-30 cutterheads like the one they sent me and not had any problems. I faxed them the parts breakdown for a DJ-30 from the Delta web site that clearly shows ring nuts on the ends of the shaft, not bolts. They did send me a drawing of what they were going to make me, and I checked critical sizes like overall diameter, overall cutting surface length, bearing shaft diameter, etc. I just didn't realize I had to strip my machine down to compare the fine details of how the bearings were held in. It looked like I was on my own on this one.
Fortunately I have access to the services of a very good local machine shop that does excellent work. I took both cutterheads over to the machine shop to see what could be done to salvage this. Bill (machine shop owner) sat on it for a few days (not literally) to talk it over with his brother and a few other shop guys to figure out the best way to make the cutterhead I was sent work in my jointer. He called me wondering why the pulley side had a left hand nut? It would self loosen, not self tighten, why was it not a right hand thread? The non-pulley side made sense as a left hand thread, but the pulley side did not. He asked if the Byrd head had to be made to be exactly like the original cutterhead; as it was going to be rather hard to cut such fine left handed threads through a keyway. I said it didn't really matter to me how the bearings and pulley were held in, I just wanted it to work. He was happy with that answer as that allowed him to use a new standard right hand bearing retaining ring nut for the pulley side, as that was much easier to accomplish. For the non-pulley side, the shaft was shorter than the original and there was no room to cut threads for the ring nut. Bill made a left hand metric M10x1.5 bolt to hold the bearings on on that end. Bill also pressed on the new bearings into the pillow blocks and onto the cutterhead assembling it for me, making it ready to install back on the jointer.
Most shops won't even look at oddball stuff like this. When you take things in for "one off" custom work you really don't know how much it is going to cost and you can be at the shops mercy when it comes to price. When Bill called to let me know the head was done, I asked him how much it would be, he said, "I don't know, how about a hundred bucks?" I said, "That will be fine, what kind of beer do you drink?". So, for a case of Coors Light (shudder) and $100, the cutterhead was saved.
Time to reinstall the cutterhead, just the reverse of taking it out,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/byrd6.jpg
Cutterhead installed,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/byrd7.jpg
Raise tables back up, adjust outfeed table level with top of cutterhead arc and spin by hand to be sure the cutterhead isn't going to whack into a casting or some other part of the jointer and self-destruct. Nope, spins by hand fine.
Time to plug jointer in and fire it up.
I looked in my offcut pile for a gnarly piece of ash. I find one with a big knot, huge curl and grain reversal. As I fed the board through the jointer it felt different and sounded much quieter, none of those nasty tear out sounds a jointer makes when you know big chunks are being torn out of the board.
After facing and edging the board I examine it, *ZERO* tearout on what would have been a mess with the old strait knifed cutterhead. Even my Dad who was helping me was impressed.
Check out the board,
http://www.federatedtool.com/david/img/byrd8.jpg
The Byrd cutterhead wasn't the plug and play replacement it was supposed to be, but I am very happy with the end result.
I wonder if I should get one for my planer.
David.
Every neighborhood has one; in mine I'm him.
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David F. Eisan wrote:
snip story of a Byrd Shelix helical carbide insert cutterhead.....
David, You suck.
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David -
not only do you suck but I think I've been buying too many router bits. You have way too much cash available!
Vic
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You can avoid much tearout if you start the board at an angle, away from the fence at the back end. This lets the blade head ease into the board gradually nstead of chomping off a long parallel line of chip. This works on thickess planers, too.
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snip installation

I'd send Byrd the bill, that is, the head of Byrd. Had you not had access to the things you did, you'd be out a lot more than $100.
oh and I like the calendar to the right of the press....
Gary
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I am lucky that I have the resources that I have. I expect a mere end user would have been screwed and returned the head for a refund.
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David F. Eisan wrote:

Hi David;
Thanks for the writeup.
Question for you: How would you describe the finish left by the Byrd head? Ready for finish? Couple of swipes with a scraper then ready to finish? Start sanding with 80 grit?
I'd consider the cost of one of those heads fair enough if it gave me a glassy finish, eliminated tear out, AND eliminated the need for knife changes. Might even want one for my planer but that would add up to a few bucks.
Thanks,
Jim
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Ready for edge glue up, which is all I was looking for.
David.
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