Thread: Spiral head thicknesser
5th Sep 2010, 09:02 AM #1
Spiral head thicknesser
For general cabinet work, is a spiral head thicknesser worth the extra? I am looking at the Carbatec model, 15 inch. Also, the 6 inch jointer. These will be my first pieces of equipment, I don't want to make a mistake. I work with hardwood.
Does anyone have any experience with the Carbatec models. I have used the standard cutter model of thicknesser and found it very good.
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5th Sep 2010, 09:27 AM #2
from what i learnt here on the forum. you will not regret buying the carbatec machines. they are a great piece of equipment.
but lets be honest, it is the cheapest brand available and you may have to do some fine tuning.
a lot of people here have had very positive experiences with carbatec machines, so you should be right.
as far as the spiral head goes, i would highly recommend buying one.
i have seen these spiral heads in action and it blew me away!
i was at the wood working show, and there was a carbatec thicknesser with a spiral head attached.
i was amazed at how quiet they are when passing a 1.8 metre x 150mm x 150mm hardwood through the machine.
i was standing right next to the machine talking to the carbatec salesman as he was passing the timber through. i was not shouting at all, just talking normally because it was so quiet.
the quality of the cut was absolutely beautiful.
no doubt whatsoever, the spiral head is a fantastic/expensive piece of kit.
but in my opinion, well worth the dollars.
i would also recommend looking at the jet models, i think they are of a slightly better build quality and a little more expensive too.
personally i would prefer an 8 inch(200mm) jointer, as a 6 inch(150mm) would not suit my needs.
have you looked at the combo models?
5th Sep 2010, 12:00 PM #3
Just be aware the Carbatec planer and thicknesser are not true spiral cutter heads, but a straight cutter head with an imitation spiral machined in. They use the same style cutters as the Byrd, and because they are spaced it’s still very quiet and the cut quality is still better than conventional blades, but they do not shear cut like true helical heads.
My advice if you really want the Carbatec, is to get the 15” without the fake spiral cutter head and with the $1000 you save add another $600 and have a genuine Byrd Shelix helical head installed. Months/years down the track you will be so glad you spent the extra. Also it will have better resale value if you ever wanted to sell it.
Also Jet has a combination planer/thicknesser JPT-310HH No idea how much they are as you would need to speak to your local Jet dealer. That’s a great option if space is a little tight, and you are saving heaps because there is only one head. And that machine uses the Byrd Shelix helical head.
I have the Byrd on my 8” Jointer and love it so much. Apart from my Domino, it’s the next best thing I own.
5th Sep 2010, 12:10 PM #4
Spiral head cutters
Thanks for that advice, I will bat that off to Carbatec and see what they say. Space is not an issue for me, thats why I am not thinking about the combined machines. I have seen the Jet stuff and believe it is well made.
5th Sep 2010, 12:56 PM #5
For me, the number one issue for choosing a cutter style is ease of knife adjustment and change.
The spiral/hellical/Shellix style of head is supposedly dead simple to change and would have to be worth it for that factor alone. I think the cutting action is an added bonus.
5th Sep 2010, 12:57 PM #6
Ditto what Lignum said - all spiral/helical cutterheads are NOT created equal.
Advantages (to various degrees with the different versions) are lower noise, no time wasted setting blades/easier to fix nicks in blades, and ability to handle weird grain without tearout. It depends which of these is important to you - for me its just the last two, and bear in mind that you could address the tearout issue using a drum sander for final finishing at about the same price as a spiral cutterhead....
The Shelix will give by far the best cut quality - the only noise you will hear is your wallet screaming . I got a quote for a Shelix to go on my JET JPT-310 jointer/thicknesser, and its around $1700 (+ fitting). Mind you, having seen the Shelix demonstrated at the Sydney WWW show, it really is the ducks nuts....
JET will be bringing out the JPT-310HH with a spiral cutterhead around November. The single-phase version of the machine has a slower feed rate on the thicknesser part to suit the spiral head. I was told that my 3-phase JPT-310 could possibly have the JET spiral cutterhead retrofitted without altering the feed rate, as the 3-phase motor has more grunt. JET charge about another $1000 for the spiral cutterhead option, so I'm hoping I could get just the cutterhead part for maybe $1200 to upgrade my machine.
I don't know what spiral head JET will be using - I haven't seen one, and I'm not sure its actually a Shelix. More likely a Chinese copy.........Sherix maybe?
5th Sep 2010, 01:03 PM #7
5th Sep 2010, 01:07 PM #8
5th Sep 2010, 01:18 PM #9
Below is a pic of my Shelix helical head and the Carbatec spiral head.
You can see the Shelix cutters are on a 17deg angle spiraling around the head giving a shear cut in the process.
The Carbatec has the cutters all parallel with the cutter block and the spiral is just machined in. The machined groove still aides chip ejection, so it does serve some purpose apart from falsely claiming to be a spiral cutter.
5th Sep 2010, 01:29 PM #10
5th Sep 2010, 01:46 PM #11
I heard about $4200 for the JPT-310HH with (whichever) spiral cutterhead, vs $3200 or thereabouts for the standard machine with normal blades.
Mind you, in true JET fashion, all prices are probably "ex-Brisbane"......
Last edited by Mr Brush; 5th Sep 2010 at 01:47 PM. Reason: Just thought of something
5th Sep 2010, 02:01 PM #12
5th Sep 2010, 02:27 PM #13
thanks for the photos and explanation lignum.
i was not aware of this discrepancy until you pointed it out.
5th Sep 2010, 03:27 PM #14
The pic below is a bit of Blackwood with a huge knot going straight through, and the grain very tight going in every direction. This is always a problem with standard cutters
The first pic shows it after being pushed over the Shelix. Not one single bit of tiny tear-out, all soooo smooth.
The next pic shows it after then being put through the thicknesser with new very sharp conventional blades. Heaps of small tear-out on the yellow line, and big deep tare-out on the red line.
The head for the 8" jointer is $900 plus gst, but worth every cent.
5th Sep 2010, 04:35 PM #15
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