Easy-to-install spiral cutterheads for $250
If you want one of those new-fangled spiral cutterheads in your planer or jointer, the ones that a have multi-sided carbide insert teeth and make smooth cuts for years on end, until now you had two so-so options. One was to spring for a pricey new machine with the new cutterhead built in; the other was to buy the cutter head only, but then struggle through a difficult installation process.
At the Steel City booth, I ran into the folks from Taiwan (Shinmax) who make the segmented cutterheads for Steel City’s benchtop planers. Shinmax is now offering those same cutterheads, with the same two-sided cutters, as a retrofit for many other manufacturers’ planers and jointers. To make installation easier, the new Accu-Head cutterheads include the bearings and pinion gear for the machine in question, and also a detailed instruction sheet for eeach model. All models 13 in. wide and smaller are priced at $249. Click on the “order” button on the Accu-Head Web site to see if there is a cutterhead for your planer or jointer (that button was being repaired as I posted this blog, but Steel City said to call 510-780-9108 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org as a backup plan).
Shinmax's Accu-Head cutterheads are available for retrofitting to many popular jointers and planers. They come with the right bearings and pinion gears attached for each specific machine, making installation a drop-in procedure.
If you want to buy a planer with the Accu-Head helical cutterhead already built in, look for Steel City's new 40200H 13-in. planer ($599). The cutterhead rides on four posts for good stability and the motor is 15 amps.