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Steel City 13" planer has helical cutterhead

Steel City Tool Works has introduced a patented helical cutterhead to its 13" portable planer, the first company to include that feature as standard fare. The 2" diameter cutterhead has 26 indexable HSS (high-speed steel) inserts, with each knife having four cutting sides.

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“It’s a much less expensive style to do a helical-style head,” says Scott Box, president of Steel City Tool Works. “The segments are indexed so you stack them together in a shaft. If you get into a problem like on a Byrd head or one of the other Shelix-type heads, when you tear the seat up, you’ve torn the entire cutterhead up. On this, you can actually move that segment if you run into a problem and put it back together and go on your merry way.”

Steel City decided to use HSS inserts instead of carbide on its helical cutterhead.

“With high-speed steel, you can get it sharper than you can with carbide,” Box says. “It performs with a better finish and, on a consumer-type planer, we felt it was probably the best way to go. Cost is really about the same between high-speed steel by the time you machine it, and carbide. Life tests have been going on for six months so far, and we haven’t worn a set of cutters off yet on them.”

The Steel City 13" Deluxe Portable Planer is driven by a 15-amp 120-volt single-phase motor, which the company says provides plenty of power for full-width planing or long-run jobs. The cutterhead operates at a speed of 9,000 rpm, and the planer has a single feed rate of 26 fpm. Capacities include a maximum width of cut of 13", maximum thickness of stock of 6", maximum depth of cut at 6" of 1/8", and maximum depth of cut at 13" of 1/16".

Steel City’s “Snipe Lock” holds the cutterhead assembly in place to minimize snipe.

“It locks the four columns across,” explains Box. “Because of the way the small planers are built with the aluminum castings, there can be flex in there on large pieces of wood. This really takes care of that.”

Other features include preset thickness settings, depth of cut indicator, 12" x 14" infeed and outfeed fold-up tables, and a dust port opening of 2-1/2" or 4", according to the company.

The Steel City 13" Deluxe Portable Planer with patented helical cutterhead, model 40200H, weighs 83 lbs. and is priced at $599.

Contact: Steel City Tool Works, 901 Dashiel St., Murfreesboro, TN 37129. Tel: 877-724-8665.

This article originally appeared in the May 2009 issue.

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