Helical head for planer which one?
I don't know how much you will get out of the Ridgid on the used market. I bought one locally for $75 about 6 years ago that was in really good shape. Its the grey model which I think is the older version though.
If I can’t get more than $75 out of the rigid, I’ll just keep it or give it to a family member or friend.
Unfortunately it looks like the local seller of the grizzly g0891 is solid at 75% of retail so I’m still looking.
I still have my DeWalt lunchbox planer, it owes me nothing and its good to have for an out of shop project.

I think the Belsaw is similar to my Woodmaster. I ended up buying a head from Sheartak. At the time they were about 400 less than what Woodmaster offered.
I want to replace the two knife head on my 12" Jointer. I will probably contact them.

If it can't kill you it probably ain't no good. Better living through chemicals.

I have one of those Rigid 13" planers that I bought new at Home Depot many, many years ago. Built a rolling stand for it from a plan that was in a Woodsmith issue. Great planer that still does a great job. I don't use it much anymore as several years ago I bought a new Shopfox 15" planer with the spiral carbide cutting head directly from Grizzly back when PapaGriz use to frequent these pages - he had a little "special" going that was enticing.

I use the 15" Shopfox pretty much exclusively now. The ease of cutting and noise reduction are so much superior to straight knives there is no comparison. Not to mention no longer having to sharpen or change out dull cutters.

I also found a "smokin" deal locally on a new 8" Shopfox jointer some time ago. Later changed out the cutterhead to a Byrd with one from "Brian in Sunny Florida." This will change your jointing life. Not having to sharpen jointer knives and then set them to properly cut is akin to discovering you no longer need a root canal. Whether you find a used larger planer that already has a spiral carbide cutting head, find a good one that you can replace the head on, or decide to bite the bullet and purchase a new one (Grizzly does occasionally run sales) once you have one, you will NEVER want to go back to straight knives.

As has been said many times on this forum, it only hurts once when you buy a tool that performs well and that you really enjoy using.

Good luck,

Just so you know, it takes more power to run a helical head than one with straight knives.  Unlike straight knives, there always are inserts engaged in the wood, and that takes power.  Helical heads are quieter but require more power.  

I have a 6” jet jointer with helical head that I got for almost nothing due to a wiring misadventure by previous owner. Was able to correct that and it runs great.

I really like the advantages of the helical head.
Now it’s just a matter of finding a planer that I’m willing to spend the money on.

I’m also somewhat torn on getting rid of both of the Belsaws as it would be nice to keep the ability to make molding although I’ve only ever done a single run of molding, so I probably could use the space more than keeping that ability.

The Belsaws have 3 and 5hp motors so I’m not that concerned with them having enough power to run a helical head, I’m more concerned with the trade offs that went into making them molding capable as well, such as feed rollers being further from the cutting head.

Add the $1400 price tag for a cutter head and you’re close enough to buying a new machine that was designed to work as a unit from the ground up that it may not be worth a retrofit.

Some one mentioned another vendor that was significantly cheaper for the heads, I’ve emailed them to see if they have one for Belsaw, but considering how long it’s been since these machines were made, I doubt they will.

I had a Foley Belsaw planer/molder.  It's a rugged, reliable and crudely built machine.  I wouldn't put $1300 into one that I paid $275 for.  That's what I paid, and later sold for $400.  Sell them both and look for a used planer with a helical head.  

I made molding several times with the FB.  It does a good job, but isn't as easy to set up as a Williams and Hussey or the Jet knockoff.  


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