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.