spiral / helical cutterhead conversion kits?


I was browsing the Sunhill Machinery website the other day and I noticed this:
http://www.sunhillmachinery.com/Spiral%20Cutter%20Conversion.htm
It seems to be a conversion kit to convert my Jet (and other brands) of 6" and 8" jointers from standard blades to either a spiral or helical cutterhead. What I want to know is has anyone tried one of these and what do they think about it? The helical looks more like what Grizzly sells on their higher end models, but the 6" spiral jointer cutterhead is only $150 upgrade (which is easier to sell to the SWMBO than the $320 helical cutterhead conversion kit).
Thoughts? -Winthrop
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"Winthrop Chan" <winthrop_chan at hot mail dot com> wrote in message

IIRC Steve Knight of Knight Tool Works just installed a helical on his jointer. Do a google search on his name and it should come up. This was a recent thread within the last month. I think he went with a different vendor.
David
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The cheaper spiral one is from Taiwan and the Helical one is made by Byrd. I checked on ordering one for my 50's Rockwell Crescent 4 knife jointer. The Taiwanese ones fir the standard models currently available. The Helical one comes in two models, the standard one and then they make one for the older Rockwell and Delta machines. Byrd is very nice to deal with. Sunhill on the other hand tried to be helpful but didn't really listen to what I was asking and I lost a lot of time. max

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I received a fax advertisement from Sunhill a few days ago which may be what you saw. I called to talk to them about the spiral and helical cutterheads and the guy I spoke with wasn't particularly knowledgeable. The spiral ones they sell are HSS blades arranged spirally. The helical ones are made by Byrd and I then called them to ask a few questions. I ended up speaking with the VP. They call their design the Shelix and it is similar to other spiral cutterheads, such as Grizzly's, except for one thing. While both have individually replaceable square carbide knives, the Shelix knives are arranged in spiral fashion such that the knife edges are parallel to the helix on the cylindrical cutterhead (so-called helical, like DNA), whereas the Grizzly one has knife edges parallel to the long axis of the cylinder (so-called spiral). The helical one is supposed to shear the wood and significantly reduce tear-out, particularly noticeable on figured woods.
I learned that they design and manufacture/machine the cutterheads themselves in Kentucky on a CNC unit and make several versions for various machines. They made a DJ20 version a couple of years ago at the request of a woodworker in Ohio, who sent them his factory cutterhead as a template. I spoke with him and he swears by his new helical cutterhead. Byrd is selling them for a hefty $445, so I doubt I'll be buying one anytime soon.
Having just pulled my DJ20 cutterhead to replace a damaged table lip, the installation process seems like it would take only 20-30 minutes or so.
Hope this is helpful.
Stu

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Yes they are nice people took almost two months to get a generic 6" but still. http://www.woodcentral.com/cgi-bin/messages.pl?noframes ;read!3748 here is the post I made with pic's. my only complaint is it tends to leave plane marks. those slight ridges you see with a straight sharpened iron. but that is not a big deal. it cuts far cleaner then anything else makes hardly any more noise when cutting then running. cuts endgrain very well too.

I was suspired how easy it was. the only pain was grinding a bit off the lips of the tables and putting on the bearings without the right tools.
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two different heads. but it looks like a cost effective way to go over regular knives. I have a Helical Cutterhead that is far more expensive. nicer too but 3 times the cost.
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Custom made wooden planes at reasonable prices
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