As a worker of wood, often you’re tasked to turn your rough lumber into smooth wood that you can work with. For that you can use a helical head planer, and 2 of those are available from Jet.
Now it’s time to find out of the Jet JWP-208HH and JWP-15HH helical head planer models give you full value for your money.
What Is A Helical Head Planer?
The main difference between a regular woodworking planer and a helical head planer is the iron. You have straight knives for your planer, often just 2 or 3. But in a helical head planer, you have a helical insert cutterhead featuring dozens of small carbide cutters. In the JWP-15HH you have 68 of these, while in the Jet JWP-208HH there are 92 of these small knives.
It may be worth the extra expense to obtain these machines due to the advantages they offer. They’re much quieter when they operate, as the regular planers can be 10 times as loud. You also get reduced tear-out on tougher woods with burls and knots. You have more knives and they’re typically made of carbide. When you change cutters, you’re basically guaranteed to place the cutter properly in the head.
All these advantages much more evident when you switch from a hand plane to a planer like these.
Jet – JWP-208HH: 20-Inch Helical Head Planer Review
This comes with a 5HP motor powering 92 carbide knives to turn your rough boards into smooth wood quickly and a lot more quietly. Its performance is just about the best you can get in a full-size planer, and you sure get the full value for your money.
Features and Specs
This can work on boards that are 20 inches wide and 8 inches thick, so you can use this for larger boards that other planers can’t accommodate.
Not only that, but this lets you work on a large volume of these boards. It’s a very steady planer with its use of heavy-duty steel and cast iron for its build. The infeed and outfeed tables are also made from cast iron, while the 1-piece welded steel base also enhances the stability of the planer.
You can make fast and accurate table adjustments with the large hand wheel, with an increment scale of 1/16 of an inch. You’re also able to adjust the feed rate, so you can opt for either 24 or 31 feet per minute.
You have sets of 3 steel infeed and outfeed steel rollers here, which really help in reducing snipe. There’s also a 5-inch dust port to make things neat.
Once you try this monster, it may take a lot of will power to keep yourself from buying large amounts of huge rough lumber just so you can experience the sheer joy of planing them. It’s a rather jarring feeling for some woodworkers who in the past didn’t exactly relish the thought of planing wood.
Now with this, it’s just fun. Put in some of the hardwoods that you’ve had trouble with in the past with your plain bench planer, like red oak or rock maple. This won’t have any trouble at all, and you’ll be amazed at just how quickly it can give you the smooth results you want. You get no snipe either.
After just 2 or 3 runs, the face of your wood will be just about perfect, and all you’ll need for them afterwards is a small touch of your palm sander. After that, you’re done. You can do this all day and everyday, as it’s meant to be a heavy-duty planer.
There’s also about a 10-decibel difference between the noise this makes and the absolute ruckus caused by a small bench planer. A difference of 10 decibels basically means the bench planer is 10 times as loud! Unlike before when you need superb ear protection (even using earplugs and ear defenders over them, with this the noise is so tolerable you can even have a conversation with friends as you use this.
It’s not perfect, of course, and that’s not just because it costs more than 10 times as much as a bench planer. This is a heavy machine, so you better figure out how to take it off the pallet and into a mobile cart. This weighs in at 753 pounds!
The power cord is also ridiculously short at just about 5 feet. This limits where you can place the planer. If you want to move it about on your mobile cart, you may want to get a 25-feet cord replacement.
At this price range, the purchase of the Jet – JWP-208HH doesn’t really make much sense to infrequent users. This is meant for those who need to plane rough lumber on a regular basis.
Jet – JWP-15HH: 15-inch Helical Head Planer
If you want to save about $800, instead of getting the Jet – JWP-208HH you can go with the Jet – JWP-15HH instead. Here you get a 3HP motor with 68 carbide knives. You also get the terrific features that made the Jet – JWP-208HH special.
This means you also have the solid cast iron and steel build, the big hand wheel for fast and precise adjustments, and the 2 available speeds for the feed rate. You can go with a feed rate of 16 feet per minute, or go faster at 20 fpm.
- Helical insert cutterhead with staggered carbide inserts for a superior finish and quieter cut
- Heavy-duty cast iron and steel construction for added strength and durability
- Two-speed gear box with automatic chain tensioner lets you adjust the feed rate to meet your needs
- Large, cast iron, precision ground table for precise workpiece support
- Powerful 3 HP TEFC induction motor with three V-belt transmission for smooth and consistent power
To secure the table when you use this, you have the heavy-duty table locks. It’s actually somewhat portable, as you have lockable casters. There’s also an angled 4-inch dust port that keeps the dust hose from bothering you as you work.
This also gives you fast, smooth results without making a lot of noise. This makes more sense to get if you only work with boards that are 14.88 inches wide at the most.
Yes, from these two jet helical head planer reviews you should understand that they are downright expensive compared to the other woodworking planes you might get.
But if you’re no longer a hobbyist and you’ve begun to work on large amounts of wood on a regular basis, getting either the Jet JWP-208HH or JWP-15HH makes a lot of sense.
You get superior results in a shorter time, and if you’re starting a business this investment gets you more money in the end!