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Shelix Planer

I have typically flattened one side of a board using traditional bench planes and used a Delta 22-560 Planer to flatten the other side. This has sped up my work process and kept me sane when I have limited shop time. I’m guessing the planer was purchased 20 plus years ago and I have been extremely happy. Sometimes I consider a larger planer but in reality the 12 1/2” has worked fine and it is very rare that I use a board that it can not handle. Over several years I have been watching many people install helical cutter heads in their planers and claiming better performance and lower noise.

Over the last couple of years the typical planer blades that I have purchased have disappeared and the blades purchased recently wear quickly. Many years ago Delta was the go to planer but this has quickly been overcome buy the Dewalt Planers. Subsequently knives are harder to find and I think most manufacturers focus on the higher volume sales for the Dewalt Planers. Where does that leave the owners of the Delta tools? Poor knives, new Planer or new cutter head.

Maybe I will look at larger pieces of equipment in the future but for now, I am content with the lunchbox planer. The Dealt planers have a good reputation but why change what I already have for a similar system. I opted to install a new Shelix cutter head and ordered it a few weeks ago.

I took about four hours to remove and install the new head and along the way I have a few observations. Tools the average home owner may not have….15/16 wrench, and a bearing puller. Most home wrench and socket sets stop at 7/8”, fortunately I had the larger wrench and more importantly a bearing puller. Why I have that, I don’t recall, but it has sat in the bottom of the tool chest for years. The instructions were a little shaky and there are none for my model, but between instructions for other brands I figured out what needed to be done.

Once complete I took it for a test run immediately smelling burning plastic and managed to locate a couple of pieces of plastic. And a hole in the pulley guard.

Obviously something wasn’t right and after a little search I realized that the nut that came with the nut on the new head was a different thickness and rubbed on the guard. I contemplated looking for a different nut but instead opted to put a couple of shims to push the guard above the nut.

Overall the installation process was ok, but I wouldn’t want to take it on without the right tools and some mechanical knowledge. The instructions definitely leave something to be desired. The cut quality is excellent and for that I’m happy with the product.

Categories: Tools
  1. March 21, 2022 at 5:24 am

    What was the cost of the shelix vs buying a new planer worth it?

    • March 21, 2022 at 6:30 pm

      Ralph the Shelix was $405 for my planer excluding shipping, A new planer (Dewalt) looked to be in the $6-700 range. Since it included the bearings I felt like it would last a long time and therefore was lower cost to have the “better” head. So far it cuts well but I’d like to try it over a period of time and with different lumber. If I were to buy a new planer I would be tempted with the Helical head anyway.

  2. Joe
    March 21, 2022 at 9:30 am

    As a hand tool woodworker, getting wood to uniform thickness is the least fun thing to do. Saving for a bandsaw (and a dust collector) first. There is a very good chance I will also buy a lunch box type planer as well. Probably will go with a DeWalt but if I had one like you do, I would have also swapped out the head. Makes complete sense to me. Rather recently, someone local to me was selling a used DeWalt 735 with a Shelix head in it for $300. I immediately reached out to buy it but the ad was two hours old and that unit (at that amazing price was long gone). I rather recently discovered you can buy from Shelix directly a DeWalt 735 with their head installed in it. If I go new, I will buy it that way. It is a spendy option but I don’t have some of the tools and I get a bit anxious about doing the install myself.

    • March 21, 2022 at 9:43 am

      Every once in a while there is the magic deal that someone grabs!

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