Insert Cutterheads for Finish Planing
From contributor J:
I don’t think these type heads are suitable for finish cuts. The Leitz catalogue says their HeliPlan spiral insert head is not suitable for finish planning. This head is similar to the Byrd. Three years ago I was shopping for a S4S machine and new planer. I tested some of our boards on machines with different type heads and ended up going Tersa. I was disappointed in the finish surface of helicoil and one piece spiral knives.
I think the advantages to these heads are the power and noise reduction and they are better for rough planning. A lot of molders you see this type head on the first spindles but usually followed up by straight knives for the finish cuts. The wide belt sander – planer has these also because the sander cleans everything up.
Normally everything out of the planer is wide belt sanded so it’s not a huge issue. But we do a lot of face gluing for door parts right out of the S4S and planer. And a lot of edges we don’t like to sand, so for us the Tersa type is a better system.
From the original questioner:
I want to update my experience with the Shelix. I'm actually very happy, and for me it's very, very close to a "cure-all". The glue line issue I had mentioned about is, I now think, more due to use of Titebond 111.
I make end grain cutting boards, and they're made by stacking planed glued up boards, and crosscutting, revealing a grid work of glue lines. I couldn't tell the difference between boards made with conventional head and Byrd, despite my anxiety over it.
It is true that one can feel the irregularity of the boards’ surface but these scallops, maybe .003 at most, don't under most circumstances anyway, translate to objectionable glue lines. It’s not the best for woods that aren't tear prone to quickly bring to final finish, but if you have a widebelt a pass or two with 120 cleans to perfection.
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