Byrd Tool Experts


Scroll below to find tutorials on how to properly install Byrd Tool Shelix heads on various models of planers and jointers, trainings on how to correctly install KN400 carbide knives, Frequently Asked Questions and more.

Why byrd tool makes the world's best Shelix

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Planer & Jointer Specific Install Instructions

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Generic 15 Inch and 20 Inch Planers
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Byrd Tool Dewalt DW734 Installation
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frequently asked byrd tool shelix questions

Our most frequently asked customer questions and answers

Are the carbide inserts the same for all SHELIX heads?

Yes, the carbide inserts are the same for all SHELIX heads, so you can simply order a box of replacement blades and they will fit whichever tool you’re using. We recommend purchasing a box of replacement heads to keep in your shop in case of broken blades from nails, rocks, etc.

Spiral vs. Helical What’s the difference in a Spiral Cutter and a Helical Cutter?

When you have finally realized that your straight knife in your planer and jointer just aren’t cutting it, you’ll then have to pick from a spiral cutter or a helical cutter. This is a major decision, considering the price, but go to any woodworking forum and you’ll soon realize making the switch is worth the money.

So the big question is:  What is the difference between the spiral and helical cutter?

Spiral cutters have several small, carbide cutters. These are easy to replace and have the advantage of turning once chipped or dulled. Most spiral cutter heads claim to actually be a spiral and a helical cutter.  When looking closer at these spiral cutter heads, you’ll notice that though the knives spiral around the head they are still positioned straight, performing a cut like a standard straight knife.  A straight knife still offers a good cut, but these are much more likely to create tear out on certain types of wood. 

When looking for a helical cutter, most people are referring to the Byrd Tool Shelix cutter head. These are once again replaceable carbide cutters. Once nicked or dulled they can easily be turned or replaced.

The difference with a Byrd Shelix cutter is the knives aren’t just on a helical pattern around the head, but positioned at an angle.  The knives work in pairs, with one row of knives sitting between the previous row of knives. This makes for constant cutting with the knives scooping at the wood instead of scraping as the other spiral and straight head knives cut.

This is where the two heads differ considerably, especially when working with figured wood. Since the Byrd Shelix cuts at an angle there is little to no tear out on your wood. If purchasing other spiral cutter heads you are essentially still purchasing a straight knife, the only benefit being an easier replacement for a nicked knife.

Why spend so much money on a specialized cutter head insert if it’s essentially the same as the one you are replacing? Go with the Byrd Shelix to get your money’s worth.

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Do I need to replace my bearings?

If your machine isn’t too old, you could probably safely use your old bearings. The problem is, most bearings are press-fitted onto the shaft, so when you try to remove them, you may end up destroying them. For this reason, if you intend to reuse your old bearings, be sure to remove them before you place your order to be sure your bearings are in good condition.   

BUT, if you are going to invest in your machine by purchasing a SHELIX head, we recommend you replace the bearings to be sure the heads are properly installed without the fear of old bearings hindering its efficiency.

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How much longer is the life of my carbide inserts from Byrd tool compared to my current steel straight blades?

We don’t have a lot of repeat customers, they never seem to change inserts!

We’ve heard most customers say our carbide inserts last 5-15 times longer than the standard straight blades. Plus, each carbide insert has 4 sides, giving you the life of the blade, times four!

How much longer is the life of my carbide inserts from Byrd tool compared to my current steel straight blades?

When we assemble the SHELIX we torque the inserts down to about 40-45 inch pounds.  If you don’t have a torque wrench, no problem.  Hand tightening works well also. 

What kind of carbide are the blades made out of?

The blades are made from carbide grade C-4. That strength of carbide, along with the fact that each blade is four sided, gives your SHELIX head a long lifetime. If the carbide blade breaks from hitting a nail, etc. simply turn the blade by one quarter to get a fresh cut!

What RPM will the SHELIX be able to run?

Go ahead and put it to the test! Our SHELIX is able to handle whatever you throw at it, we’re confident. It is rated far above the capacity of your planer or jointer, we promise. It has been successfully used in routing applications up to 10,000 rpm range.

Why does the hole look offset when I’m replacing my insert blades?

Let the screw head guide the insert into its proper position. There is a slight offset to ensure the blade is in securely. This is all part of the Byrd Tool design.

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Why is my Shelix Head so much quieter than a traditional head?

When you’re purchasing power tools you expect them to be loud. Your neighbor or wife might complain about the racket you’re causing in your garage or wood shop, but there’s not much getting around it. That’s one of the huge advantages to a Byrd Shelix cutter head over all other planer and jointer heads. Compared to the traditional straight knife the drop in noise is considerable. 

Why does the Byrd Tool Shelix head present a quieter cut? With a traditional straight knife you have one large, long knife hitting the wood all at once. This causes a much louder sound hitting your ear drums. The difference with the Shelix is it’s a segmented cutter head, with several small knives in rows across the length of the drum. With several small knives cutting in intervals this creates a several smaller sound waves hitting your ear drums. 

To give you an idea, we did a sound test and the Byrd Shelix had a 20 decibel drop compared to the straight blade. Your neighbors and wife will be thanking you for making the switch from your straight blade to your new Byrd Shelix!

All Models of Byrd Tool Shelix Heads

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