I too have the helical head King Canada benchtop jointer. Not much good for long boards, but great for anything up to 4’. I also have the King Canada lunchbox helical head planer and it’s damn amazing. The surface finish is perfect, and almost no snipe, if I remember to lock in the height. Doing really hard wood is a matter of patience… was taking 0.53"x6" sugar maple down to 0.47" and it took a lot of passes
I have extensive experience with planers and jointers, own a custom cabinet and millwork shop. So snipe and surface finish are 2 only slightly related issues. The snipe in your case is the entire top head assembly moving downward or upward when the board enters and exits. Look inside, you’ll see rollers that push/ pull the material thru the machine. On the small machines, the cutterhead assembly and feed mechanism are mounted together and move up and down on the height adjustment rods. When the board enters, it lifts the entire thing just slightly. That results in snipe on the front end. When the board passes the infeed roll moving towards the cutterhead, the assembly drops slightly resulting in snipe on the tail end. Some of the small planers have a locking device to limit this. One method to overcome this pesky problem is to have a little extra material in length or add small pieces that are longer than your finished piece.
Surface finish is not controlled by this, the knives in the cutterhead do, the spiral cutterheads do much better on surface finish with most woods. Downside to spiral heads is that the mirror finish is not always possible after you have rotated the knives and they get out of factory alignment ever so slightly, you will see tiny lines down the length. Not very deep but annoying to get out without further work. Single edge or the replaceable knives don’t last for squat in rustic woods with knots in them or wild figure but give a really nice surface on regular woods.
So can one thing affect the other? Yes, but start with sharp knives and a properly setup machine and see where your problem is before spending a bunch of money you may not need to.
Is there a trick to getting the knives into perfect alignment?
The knife gauges that come with the machines are pretty good but when I had machines with straight knives, I double checked with a dial indicator and usually had to tweak just a hair to get them right on the money.
Thanks for the feedback, the head shifting is what I had previously read somewhere online and it makes total sense. The PC machine wasn’t nearly as stout and the mechanism for lifting/lowering rose only on two jackscrews in the middle and four smooth columns in the corners, whereas the Dewalt has four jackscrews. To me this seems like a more robust way of keeping the head flat. The initial results at least support this idea, we’ll see if it stands through time. Gonna see how far I get with the 2 pairs of stock blades and look more into the resharpening aspects. Doesn’t look like they’re too hard to swap, and I already have two sets, definitely happy with the finish so far.
Just installed the Wixey DRO. Very easy install and it reads in decimals and fractions as well as millipedes! Cool stuff!
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