Byrd cutter head on a Delta/invicta DJ-20 8" jointer


Well-known member
Well I was able to get a Delta Jointer, made in brazil 8" Jointer, and have been considering putting on a Bryd cutterhead to handle figured wood. After many posts and disscusions I was ready to order but i came across a machinery dealer that disliked the idea because the jointer has 1 1/2 HP. Not enough, some of his clients /customers have returned to striaght knives(tersa) because of this . The machines bog down and in a case of a 12 inch machine ( an italian machine i never heard of) acually was tripping the breaker on the motor. This seem to be in contrast to what is popular today on the websites across the internet. So..... Does anybody have a byrd head on a delta DJ-20 Jointer??? Do you have issues with the lower motor HP? (other 8" machines have 2-3 HP, tiawaneese or china motors , This jointer is older with a USA 220V Motor) Should it change my mind? I know I'm beating this to death but I don't want to spend the $ and be dissapointed.
Don't fall prey to this idea that spiral heads won't tear out like so many people do! They still will, just a bit less. If you want to completely eliminate tear out plane heavy enough to wide belt sand to final thickness. This notion that a Byrd head needs more power than straight knives whether HSS or carbide is just plain wrong. The horsepower requirement comes from the number of rows of cutters. 4 knife heads (or 4 rows of inserts) need more power than 3 knife heads. The hp gain from less knife in the cut at one time with spiral is so slight it isn't worth considering since the head is moving so fast. Momentum balances it out. The biggest REAL advantages to insert heads are how much longer they stay sharp and how you can change only the dull inserts rather than the whole knife. Is that really worth the money to you, not me! The hp difference with a good old HEAVY motor really does matter! People will try to tell you 220v has more power or uses less electric... NONSENSE! Your electric bill is based on kilowatts which is volts times amps. 220 lines are cheaper to install because the amperage is cut in half so you can use smaller wire. It seems like 220 is more powerful because people don't increase the wire size enough for 110 and you get more line loss.
Not having a byrd head I am far from an expert. But the little experiance I have with them shows a better result on the wood, less tearout, less ripples, easier maintance, much quieter. As far as horse power goes your jointers motor has enough power to remove a certain amount of wood. if it's bogging down you are taking off to much. This is true if you motor is 1/4 hp or 500 hp. so if you put in the head you may need to take a little less off in a pass.

I personally cant remember ever taking more than an 1/8" off. I keep my table set for 1/32 and almost never move it. I would prefer to take of the bulk of wood with my planer.

I have a 12" wadkin with a 2 hp motor and never have problems with full width cuts.

And as far as 220. It will not give you more power what it will do is reduce starting current and has a little more on the back end, so it prevents bogging a little better. But those differences won't be enough to notice. My understanding was that 220 was better because less current = less heat = longer motor life.
I installed a Byrd Shelix in my old DJ-20.  It works great!! 

Like ttalma, I do not take very deep cuts with the jointer.  So, the jointer has plenty of power for me.  I am very happy with it.  Yesterday, I squared up a 6 in wide piece of bloodwood by taking 1/16 in cut.  It never phased the motor at all.  It just purred right through it.

The one thing that I really like about these cutter heads is that I can finally adjust the outfeed table to eliminate snipe.  I was never able to do that with straight blades.

I will warn you, you will need a bearing puller (split half type and not a 3 or 4 leg puller) to get the bearing off on the pulley side of the shaft.  The bearing on the other side is a looser fit.  Other than that, I found this article pretty useful for my installation.