Different Heads, Different Shavings


For most of the days I’ve been a woodworker, I’ve used machines that were of the three-knife variety. As a result, and due to my passion to build with tiger maple which seems to toss off major shavings, I have had to remove the small piece of metal that divides the dust collector intake chute to get shavings into the bag. If I left the metal in place,  shavings would build up prior to the intake chute and quickly choke off the suction. This is also the reason that we don’t have our shop’s 12″ jointer hooked up directly to dust collection. In fact, our 8″ jointer stays off the hose, too.

In the photo on the left side (click the image to make it large, then click the top right-hand corner to make it extra large), you can see the shavings on the floor just in front of the jointer.

On the right in that same photo is a look into the dust collection bag. Notice how the shavings differ. On the left are big curls, but on the right you see smaller pieces of wood shavings. Those in the bag are from our planer, which is a helical-head machine.

Is one better than the other? I would not purchase a new planer without a helical head. As for my jointer, I’m OK with the three knives. As for the waste, it’s OK for horse stalls only if there is no walnut in the mix – walnut can founder horses. I imagine that some exotics would be excluded from horse stalls, too.

— Glen D. Huey

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