• Monday, March 07th, 2011

The Byrd Tool website has outstanding illustrated step-by-step instructions for the DW735. The photo above shows the parts laid out after the OEM cutterhead was removed. It is without its blades just behind the Shelix in the photo above.

Referring to those instructions, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Step 4. The cutterhead lock cannot be reinstalled with the Shelix which does not have a flat on its shaft.
  • Step 10. Also remove the rocker tensioning arm (it is removed in the second photo in Step 11).
  • Step 11. It is difficult to remove and reinstall the nut on the end of the head. It seems to be about 22mm  is a 23 mm hex (per report from a reader, see comments) for which I do not have a socket head. I used a locking pliers on the nut and gripped the pulley with grip gloves.
  • Steps 13 and 15. You need a snap ring tool for this installation. The small external snap rings in step 15 are delicate.
  • Step 14. There are 3 screws on that cover, not 4.
  • Step 22. Removing the helical gear from the OEM cutterhead is very difficult. The ridiculously tiny hexhead is very hard to grip, and it quickly gets rounded. Locking pliers finally worked. The same goes for reinstalling the helical gear on the Shelix. In order to tighten it, I needed a helper with heavy gloves to grasp the cutterhead which I wrapped in layers of cloth. Yes, it is standard right-hand thread, in case, like me, you have doubts when trying to remove it from the DW head.
  • Step 24. The supplied plastic cover sheet helps a lot but cut it a few inches narrower.
  • Step 25. The bearings fit VERY tightly in their housings. Lots of pounding with a dead blow hammer is necessary to seat them.

Next: the Shelix design and its performance in the shop.

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10 Responses

  1. I’m interested to see how this goes. From all acounts the shelix is a fantastic tool. Expensive though.

  2. 2

    More on this is on the way.

  3. 3
    Jesus Garcia 

    Rob, did you had difficulty pulling out the snap ring on step 13. I’m currently performing the installation. I find it pretty quickly and easy. I’m ready to tap out the OEM head from the planer, but I had to skip step 13 (removing the retaining [snap ring] from the head. It seems to be jammed and I already broke the tips of two snap ring pliers. Any thoughts that you could share would be greatly appreciated.


  4. 4

    Hi Jesus,

    I did not have difficulty removing the large snap ring in step 13. It is a large ring but should compress readily with a moderate strength squeeze of the snap ring pliers. Remember, it is an internal ring so the snap ring pliers must be set up with the proper pivot arrangement to compress the ring (not expand it).

    In any case, you must get that ring off in order to remove the cutterhead.

    A snap ring should be able to slide within its groove. Test this prior to attempting to remove the ring to ensure that it is not stuck in the groove with gunk or corrosion, though this is unlikely.

    I hope this helps. If you’re still stuck, perhaps the people at Byrd or DeWalt can help.


  5. 5
    Jesus garcia 

    I’m aware of the direction of the snap ring. I’ll give rotating the ring a try and perhaps using some WD40.


  6. 6

    Rob, thank you for the helpful tips. I installed the Byrd cutter head yesterday and I have a couple additions to your tips. Step 11 requires a 23mm socket to remove the nut on the end of the OEM head. Step 22 requires a 6mm six point socket to remove the helical gear. When I re-installed the chain/screws (Step 8 & 9) I had to rotate the chain while simultaneously moving the feed speed lever. This engaged the gearbox and prevented chain slippage allowing me to tighten the screws on the chain. Thanks again for the tips, they were very helpful to me during the install process.

  7. 7

    Thanks, Bruce.

    I corrected the text regarding the 23 mm nut.

    The helical gear’s hex recess quickly stripped out for me. I finally got it free using locking pliers.

    When reinstalling the chain and sprockets (steps 8 & 9 going backwards, for assembly), I think I just held the sprockets while tightening the center screw. I don’t remember having to play with the feed speed lever. But it may be helpful for readers to try your way too.

    Thanks for the feedback. I hope the cutterhead works well for you. I’m delighted with the performance of it in my shop.


  8. 8

    On Step 22, I found it easier to avoid the tip of the gear and grip the much larger round base with a pliers. Regarding the bolt that holds on the pulley, I found that one of the ends on my tire iron fit it perfectly. The large snap ring was a challenge with my cheap harbor freight snap ring tool. I had to take the replaceable jaws off to get them open enough to fit the holes in the ring. I then used a pliers to squeeze the jaws closed. It took a couple tries but worked fine.

  9. 9

    Hi Rob,

    Just wondering if you still like this setup? I had read somewhere else on the web that somebody had experienced a crowning across the width of the board, as if the Byrd head had flexed over it’s length. Have you experienced anything like this?


  10. 10

    Hi Jeff,

    Yes, I’m sold on the Byrd cutterhead. It has really changed the way I work in dressing wood, especially for figured boards. I recommend it.

    I have not seen crowning across the width of a board, or any other evidence that the Byrd cutterhead is flexing in use. As you know, a planer reproduces on the top face whatever contours are registering against the bed, so perhaps this is the explanation of that person’s experience; I don’t know.