Installing a Shelix Cutterhead in a DeWalt DW735 Thickness Planer, Part 1

The DeWalt DW735 Thickness Planer is probably the best benchtop planer on the market today.  However, the stock HSS (high-speed steel) planer knives don’t last very long.  Replacement carbide knives are available from Infinity Tools and are a longer-lasting option (the set of carbide knives I am replacing in the video remained sharp for two years).  Infinity Tools also offers their own HSS knives (which I have not used).  I think that either of the options is better than the stock knives, but in the long run the best value is a Shelix (shear + helix) cutterhead from Byrd Tool Corp.

This video is the first of three (duration – 7:33).  I start by discussing my motivations for the purchase of the Shelix cutterhead, then unpackage the cutterhead before beginning disassembly of the DeWalt planer to remove the stock, three-knife cutterhead.  To guide me through the installation, I followed the Installation Manual (PDF) written by Byrd.

I hope that you find it informative and interesting.  I am much more comfortable on camera now, as compared to the first video where I had to talk to the camera.

The next video shows the remainder of the disassembly and the installation of the new cutterhead.  While you’re waiting for me to process Part II, you can read about how I installed a Shelix cutterhead in my Delta DJ-20 8″ Jointer three years ago.

10 thoughts on “Installing a Shelix Cutterhead in a DeWalt DW735 Thickness Planer, Part 1

  1. Chris, does that ever bring back memories. I did this a few years ago. At the time the Shelix did not come with its own bearings, you had to use the existing ones from the original Dewalt cutter. The instructions said to use a hammer to remove the bearings. A machinist friend told me I would be crazy to do that. He had a bearing puller so we used that. He also had a specialized bearing warmer so that the refitting went very smooth. I hate to think of the damage a non machinist like me would have done!

    Bearings aside, it took me a few hours to do the whole job. I remember getting frustrated with the chains. Fortunately I took pictures as I was dismantling and that helped putting it back together. Well worth it. You will see the difference in figured woods.

    Looking forward to seeing your next videos on this.


    (pity about the LeeValley sharpening class this week)

    1. Hi Peter,

      When I installed the Shelix on my Delta DJ-20 Jointer, I used a pair of pry bars to carefully and gradually ease the bearings off the original cutterhead shaft. I can’t imagine using a hammer to drive off the bearings.

      I’m glad that you had your friend to help you with the changeover. It sounds like you are still enjoying use of the Shelix head in your planer.


  2. Nice tutorial. I look forward to seeing the conclusion, and any observations regarding how well it works. I recently purchased this planer, so this might be something that I’ll undertake down the road.

  3. How about an update on the performance of the cutterhead? Are you still on your first side or did you rotate them? Is it worth it? Any other info?

    1. Pat and Marty,

      I’ve been meaning to write some tool reviews of tools that I’ve used for at least a year.

      I’m still on the first side of the cutters, but a couple are leaving tracks. I still think that the cutterhead is good value and performs very well.


  4. Hi Chris, i’m on the fence on whether or not to go Dewalt with Byrd or go stationary planer route. Are you still using it today? Also do you have your dewalt hooked up to a DC system?

    1. Hi Nabil,

      I am still using the DeWalt with the Byrd Shelix. I run it hooked up to my dust collector with a 4″ hose.

      And I’m still using the first set of edges.


      1. Hi Chris,

        Some have mentioned the depth guage being off since the cutterhead diameter of the byrd is smaller. Do you find this to be an issue or is there a way to adjust the depth gauge?

        1. Hi Mike,

          I have never actually checked the thickness of the material coming out of my planer – all I care about is that the boards are smooth and of a consistent thickness.


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