Spiral Head Jointers


I am in the market for a jointer..having never owned one before. Since I have a very small shop I will most likely purchase a 6" model. I have recently checked out reviews of jointers and noticed that many models offer spiral cutter heads. How difficult is the process of changing knives on regular three blade jointers? I've heard "hours" mentioned for this process. My two possible choices have come down to a 6" Powermatic jointer with regular blades and the Grizzly 6" jointer with a spiral cutting head. I think both are good tools that should last for a long time...but will the time saved with the spiral head cutters justify the extra cost? If you were buying a new jointer would it be a three or four blade head or a spiral head?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Guy at work bought an 8 inch with spiral, but he got the kind with the carbide inserts. He really loves it. The inserts fit in only one way, so far he hasn't made an adjustment, they come with four sharp sides, and they're a standard size.
So, yeah, I'm thinking of getting a jointer within the next year, and if I do it'll be a spiral but with the carbide inserts, not regular knives.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Bob, While changing the knives can be a pain, you probably will not have to do it very often unless you have a commercial operation. The first time you do it it may take a couple of hours but after some practice 20 minutes should about do it if you have a good memory. Someone else will have to answer as to wither of not a Spiral head is worth the cost for doing regular woods as I have never used one and don't know where you would realize savings to justify the extra costs. Cheers, JG
Bob wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If you were buying a new jointer would it be a

Blades. I'd save the pennies for a spiral where it counts most - thickness planer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've had good and bad in both planers and jointers (It's very similar). It's not hours on a tough machine, but more like 45 minutes. It recently purchased a Yorkcarft 8". It has jack screws that make tuning in that last bit of adjustment pretty simple and repeatable (20-minute procedure). My only no-name six, had alignment jig that (you) pressed down against springs. It was difficult ot hold it steady while tightening the bolts. The tightening process would often shift the knives too.
In planers, my old delta had a similar jig with spings (it was maddening). My Dewalt 733 came with an excellent magnetic holding jig.
The short answer is that ease of knife setting *can* be engineered into the product. Don't avoid knives in general because of this reason. Just find out from a real user how good or bad that model is.
-Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Just my opinion.. I have a 6" jet blade jointer. I've had it for about 3 years of hobby use and never had to change the blades. I even bought an extra set of blades when I bought the machine, so it's not a matter of me trying to save money.
Other people may use their jointer more than me, but the point is ... a blade change isn't a very frequent task.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

cutterhead and they are two different things. The helical cutter has a number of carbide cutterheads, with 4 cutting edges that are rotated when dull and replaced when worn out, No setting jigs are necessary. The spiral cutter heads use insert blades that are replaced rather than resharpened. I have a friend who has a new Powermatid 16 inch jointer with the helical cutterhead. It is a lot quieter, and you can run the boards through without worring about grain orientation. The spiral cutters look almost like a pencil sharpener. They are supposed to cut at more of a shear angle rather than a square angle, and give cleaner cuts. I am looking into getting helical cutterhead for both my jointer and planer. There are some conversion kits available, and I am looking into that as well.
robo hippy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
robo hippy wrote:

16" jointer? That's a manly beast. What does it take... 880V three phase?
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

snipped-for-privacy@carolina.rr.com.REMOVE
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Question: How you gonna sharpen helical blades? You won't. You'll have to buy new ones. I use an old Delta 8". The amount of work I do I have to replace blades often. Straight blades are cheap to sharpen. Helical blades are expensive. I hone newly sharpened blades before I install them. Tear out does happen but it is not a significant problem for me. If a piece tears out, I go slower. If it still tears out I throw it in the cull pile and chalk it up to "loss factor." If you go with a helical joiner then you're going to want a helical planer. Blades for the Powermatic 15" helical go for about $180 a set, enough to sharpen straight blades 6 times. Some helical blades are segmented and you can replace just a part of the blade except that when one segment is dull, the whole blade is dull. Helicals do cut cleaner. The effect is the same as using a hand plane at an angle it increases the apparent angle the blade is sharpened at. For me the bottom line is the bottom line. I can't charge more for the work because I use helicals and the wood I may save is not going to pay for the increased blade cost. Rabbit
--
--
Lon Marshall < snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net>
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joe Mama wrote:

Don't believe any of the "helical" heads OP's talking about are truly helical knives--they're the segmented four-sided carbide inserts. In theory they ought to be simpler to replace than straight knives (assuming good initial tolerances and good tolerances on the replacements). In some back-of-the-envelope calculations I did some time ago in another thread I ended up deciding they would in the end be roughly equivalent in price to a set of straight carbide knives.
I don't think they're worth much additional initial cost for the average recreational woodworker, however. I think the only justification other than the gee-whiz factor would be if one worked a significant amount of very difficult to machine woods.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

they are very easy to change. the only slightly hard part is finding out how tight to tighten the screws sown when you rotate them. I figured this out by finding the touque setting on my drill that worked to loosen them. it would be hard to justify the cost for most people i think. the head can really add to the overall cost of the machine. but if yo uwant a fantastic surface and very little maintenence then it is the way to go. I usually have to sharpen my knives every month or 1.5 months. I have had the head since late feb and I still have not had to rotate the cutters. usually you can get by better on the planer then the joitner as far as tearout goes. the weird thing is that maching tropicals is far easier with elss tearout with standard equipment then it is with north american woods. Knight-Toolworks http://www.knight-toolworks.com affordable handmade wooden planes
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.