Upgrading a Jet JJ6-CS Jointer

In the process of building my shop, I decided to acquire tools that I could afford and try to get the best quality without sacrificing too much money.  One of the decisions I made was to purchase a used jointer from one of our club members when it came up for sale.

It was a 1990’s era Jet JJ6-CS, but like most well made tools it was built to last.  This jointer was no exception.  When I purchased the jointer, I was given an extra set of sharp blades to go on it and some basic tools for setting them.  

After about a year’s worth or use, I decided it was time to change the blades but realized I really didn’t want to have to fiddle with setting the blade height and fussing with turning the bolts on the cutting head, etc.  It’s a pain to change them.  Besides, the jointer was pretty loud and with the dust collector running too, it just seemed like a good idea to make an upgrade.

I had heard about the Byrd Shelix heads and was thinking it might be a good time to make the switch, so I went online and started the research.

My search landed right away on https://shelixheads.com/.  When I saw the prices I was pretty surprised because the last time I checked it was about $600 to replace my cutter head. My replacement head was only $309. Even so I wasn’t convince I should make the purchase.

In the meantime, I decided to go old school on some panel glue-ups and used my hand planer to do the job, partly for fun, and partly because I needed the practice.  I rarely make a purchase without sitting on it a few days and evaluating the value of what I’m getting vs. what I’m giving up.

While I was waiting, Stumpy Nubbs released this video on his youtube channel:  

The thing that I really liked about his review is that he reviewed the cutter heads 2 years after he’d bought them and was still really happy with the results.  

So, yes, I bit the bullet and did the upgrade. I contacted Shelix Heads and asked them which head I needed for my jointer and they sent me information on how to figure out which one would fit.  I placed the order and had a box show up at my doorstep less than 1 week later… much faster than they advertised.

The next thing I had to tackle was how to install it.  I’d never opened this jointer up to that degree yet so I figured I was in for an all day upgrade.  The actual process only took me about an hour.  The hardest part was getting the bearing casing off the bearings.  By the way, I also decided to upgrade my bearings and I’m glad I did.  The replacement head came with the bearings already set on the shaft so I didn’t have to fuss with bearing pullers, etc.  In all, it was a simple install.

When I reset the jointer and started it up, I was shocked at how much cleaner the cut and how much easier the wood moved over the heads.  It was also a LOT quieter.  

With the upgrade, that puts me at about $800 for a 6″ long bed jointer all in and I’ve got a quiet machine, and one where I might not have to change blades again for a couple years.  A brand new unit runs 

Also, Shelix through in a box of 5 replacement blades.  I’d considered buying extras, but didn’t want to fork out any more money.  They also provided a bold driver and a socket with the tool to change cutters.

Ask me in two years if I made a good purchase. 

Also, I have a 6″ jointer head with an extra set of blades for sale if you need one.