Installing Byrd Shelix Head for older Delta DJ-20


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I just bought a older 8" DJ-20 jointer off of Craigslist.  I checked it out pretty well before buying and it seems to be in pretty good shape - EXCEPT for the knives.  They look like someone in the past hit something and knicked them pretty good on one side.  I can still use it for rabbets and smaller boards but kind of defeats the purpose of having an 8" jointer if you can't do an 8" board :)

 

So, i've been looking around and it seem like finding replacement knives for it is not as straight forward as I thought it should be.  As a result, I'm considering spurging and upgrading it to a Byrd Shelix Head.  I've googled and found several different postings on various blogs and forums and as usual, it seems like you get conflicting information.  Some say it was pretty straight forward and took them under 1 hour.  Other say that the instructions from Byrd are incomplete and it took over 2 hours.  Some say no special tools needed.  Some say that you need a gear puller (I'm not even sure what that means).

 

Here are my questions:

 

Has anyone done this?  How hard was it?  Do I need a gear puller?  If so, maybe post a link to a decent one on line that I could try and purchase.  Or if there are any other special tools that are required, please let me know.  I hate getting in the middle of a project or an upgrade and realizing that I can't complete it.  Also, given that this an older machine, is there anything else that I should do at the same time?  (just fishing here)

 

Finally, if you know of any videos out there, that would be great.  A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is probably worth a million!  :D

 

Thanks to all for reading and for any help!

 

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I would think knives would be the one thing easy to track down, but if you are upgrading the cutterhead...

Yes, you will need a bearing puller to get both the bearing blocks and bearings off the old cutterhead. You can rent one, but I think I found a decent one at Autozone for $7. You're going to need to press the bearings and blocks onto the new Byrd, but I would buy new bearings first and toss the old ones out. Or I think Byrd can add bearings themselves at additional cost.

While some people have the means to press the bearings themselves or use something makeshift with a vice to do so, I would personally take all the components to a machine shop and get it done right, shouldn't cost very much to do.

One the new bearings and blocks are on, bold the cutterhead back on. That's the easy part...tuning the jointer beds to the cutterhead is the hard part. Since you can't exactly adjust the spiral blades like you would straight knives, you'll need to do work on adjusting the tables. Shimming under the blocks of the cutterhead may be a last resort too.

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I would think knives would be the one thing easy to track down, but if you are upgrading the cutterhead...

 

Yes, you will need a bearing puller to get both the bearing blocks and bearings off the old cutterhead. You can rent one, but I think I found a decent one at Autozone for $7. You're going to need to press the bearings and blocks onto the new Byrd, but I would buy new bearings first and toss the old ones out. Or I think Byrd can add bearings themselves at additional cost.

While some people have the means to press the bearings themselves or use something makeshift with a vice to do so, I would personally take all the components to a machine shop and get it done right, shouldn't cost very much to do.

One the new bearings and blocks are on, bold the cutterhead back on. That's the easy part...tuning the jointer beds to the cutterhead is the hard part. Since you can't exactly adjust the spiral blades like you would straight knives, you'll need to do work on adjusting the tables. Shimming under the blocks of the cutterhead may be a last resort too.

 

I would have thought the same about the knives, too.  Honestly, I knew there was a nick in them.  The guy even pointed it out, but I figured that for as long as DJ-20s have been around that knives would be easy to find.  But, Delta doesn't have any that I can find on their website.  And the ones on Amazon have 1 star because the reviewer didn't feel like they were genuiene parts.  ???

 

If anyone has recently bought new knives for a DJ-20, please post a link and also if you thought they were quality.

 

That's when I thought I might go the route of upgrading to a Shelix.  Feels a bit like killing a fly with a shotgun, but if it works and gives me good cut, then I'm still out less money than a new 8" parallel-o-gram Griz.

 

Questions for you:

 

So, I should inquire with Byrd about adding bearings themselves?  I think I've read this in other posts, but I don't seen an option when ordering on their website.  Maybe someone else can speak to that.  Finally, do you think I need a 2 or 3 jaw gear puller for something like this?

 

Also, shouldn't it be pretty easy to adjust the outfeed table?  It's a parallel-o-gram to and then you just lock it down.  Right?  Or is there something I'm missing here.  I guess I just don't see any need for having to shim anything, but I may be missing your point.

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Jointer knives are sold by size...  L x W x T.     They don't need to be Delta, and many local sharpening shops, as well as most mail order woodworking suppliers, can supply them.

 

I'm a big fan of spending my Shelix money on a planer first.  Why?   A jointer only makes a flat face for the planer to reference.  Once you parallel the second face, it's easy to flip the board and plane both faces.

 

Straight knives do better when seeking glueline edges, the other job of a jointer.

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Questions for you:

 

So, I should inquire with Byrd about adding bearings themselves?  I think I've read this in other posts, but I don't seen an option when ordering on their website.  Maybe someone else can speak to that.  Finally, do you think I need a 2 or 3 jaw gear puller for something like this?

 

Also, shouldn't it be pretty easy to adjust the outfeed table?  It's a parallel-o-gram to and then you just lock it down.  Right?  Or is there something I'm missing here.  I guess I just don't see any need for having to shim anything, but I may be missing your point.

 

They may not have it directly on their website, but I could have sworn that Byrd offered this as a service. As I said, I personally would have them put the bearings on, unless you have access to a bearing press or something that will play the role of one. As for the puller, the tricky part about the typical jawed bearing pullers is that the thick jaws may not get under the bearing (depends on the cutterhead). That was my dilemma. The one I bought from Autozone was a two jaw one, but the jaws were thin and bent in at a 90 degree angle which made it perfect to get underneath the bearing/block and get those suckers off.

 

That's right, the DJ-20 is a parallelogram, isn't it? You will probably have a better time of it than I did with my Powermatic (dovetail ways). My original point is that the advantage of the standard knives is that you can also adjust the knifes along with the two tables to make all three meet up. You can't do that with a spiral cutterhead, all those knives are bolted in place. 

 

When I installed my Byrd, I got the tables very, very close, but the cutterhead was ever so slightly raised towards one side. At that point, rather than risk losing my perfectly tuned tables, it was much easier to just slide a very small shim under the other side of the bearing block. I would think you wouldn't need to do that since micro-adjustments is far easier on a parallelogram. 

 

One other words of advice I can say: before turning the thing on, make ABSOLUTELY SURE the bolts that hold the cutterhead down are not only tight, but the bolts are in good condition. That's why I had to buy a new cutterhead in the first place, the used jointer I bought had a stripped bolt and the cutterhead threw and got ruined. I replaced the bolts with more heavy-duty ones from Fastenal.

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  • 7 years later...

I ordered a Lux Cut III head with bearings for my Delta 8" Jointer DJ-20 and the Bearings supplied were a open race type and the original were the sealed type. I am thinking that the Sealed Type of Bearing is better because that they will keep out the wood fiber.

What do you think?

Thank You

Harold Reehs

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On 2/3/2013 at 7:05 PM, CessnaPilotBarry said:

Straight knives do better when seeking glueline edges, the other job of a jointer

Thank you. It makes sense. Never thought of it. I bought a DJ-20 20 years ago. It has been good to me. It came with solid carbide knives. Several sharpening services would not sharpen it. I now understand they are carbide tipped. When I bought this tool the brand was iconic. Now the name is abused. No parts. The switch blew out. The only thing I could get was a universal switch. It works .  But this jointer does get it done. I check the square of the fence frequently. It moves every now and then but if it went down my shop would be down until there was a remedy. My jointer is the starting point of most projects.

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On 2/3/2013 at 11:33 AM, dsaracini said:

So, i've been looking around and it seem like finding replacement knives for it is not as straight forward as I thought it should be.  As a result, I'm considering spurging and upgrading it to a Byrd Shelix Head.  I've googled and found several different postings on various blogs and forums and as usual, it seems like you get conflicting information.  Some say it was pretty straight forward and took them under 1 hour.  Other say that the instructions from Byrd are incomplete and it took over 2 hours.  Some say no special tools needed.  Some say that you need a gear puller (I'm not even sure what that means).

The shelix head "should" come with the bearings attached.   Contact shelix to find out for sure.  It took me about 15 minutes to swap the heads, but the jointer was not fully assembled at the time.  I did need a puller to remove the pulley from the head.  Harbor Freight carries them puller, something like this would be just fine.  My jointer is a Grizzly but it is a clone of the DJ-20.

DSC_0556.JPG.b65179720d5f99da43d1de2e3080c1c9.JPG

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  • 2 weeks later...

I might be a little late to this party, but I ordered a Shelix for my 6" delta jointer a few weeks ago, waiting on delivery currently. 

Anyway, they give the option of including bearings for an upcharge, I believe it was like $30.

After researching, I went for the bearings along with the cutterhead. 

I'll let ya all know how it goes after I get it and attempt the install.

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Replacing the bearings at the same time as the cutterhead is pretty much a have to. The Shellix beads have the option of coming with bearings and the price is about the same as if you were to buy them separately. It makes installing the head a simpler job.

If you pull the old bearings, you usually make little Nick's in the bearing balls, which will cause the bearing to fail later. The new bearings really really need to be sealed it they will get loaded with sawdust and chips, causing them to fail.

If you have any mechanical apptitude, changing the cutterhead isn't hard. Lining it up takes a little care, but not hard.

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