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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I am a new wood worker and have aquired a planer (13" bench planer). I have been making many shallow cuts instead of fewer, deeper cuts. While I find it pleasurable to spend the time making many passes (I am a hobbyist), I started to think that my method will cause the blades to dull more quickly.

Is there a general consensus on the best way to use a planer? I do not plan on using wood with knots for the foreseeable future.

In a related question, is there a rule of thumb about how long the blades will stay sharp? For instance, let's say that as an experiment, I only ran knot-free red-oak through it (and did this sporadically so the blades did not overheat), could anyone guestimate how many feet of oak I could put through it before the blades would dull? I guess if I could get a sense of this, it would help me decide when to resaw off the excess before using the planer to get to the exact dimension.
Thanks,
Duncan
 

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where's my table saw?
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Hey the blades dull when they get dull

Just use them!:yes:
What brand of planer is it?
Shallow cuts, meaning 1/64th?
Acquired meaning used?
Blade condition unknown?
It's a tool use it. When the blades get dull sharpen them, flip them or replace them...don't worry about it! Have fun! :thumbsup: bill
FYI, a heavy cut for almost any planer is 1/8".
Knots are knots, yes they are harder, but not as hard as HHS.
 

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Old Methane Gas Cloud
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An engineer from PC told me that shallow cuts (1/64) would cause the blades to dull quicker due to heat. (Key words "due to heat".) He didn't understand how my planer blades lasted over three years and I do use the machine a lot.

How do you keep blades cool? It's very simple. Feed your stock into the planer on the diagonal. Aim the stock so that the leading edge starts at the extreme left edge and finishes at the extreme right edge of the blades. Obviously the longer the piece of stock being planed, the straighter the angle.

Also as the stock is planed, take it and place on the bench before feeding the next piece. I usually leave the planer running while adjusting the depth of cut. (More air passing the blades to cool them.)
 

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How do you keep blades cool? It's very simple. Feed your stock into the planer on the diagonal. Aim the stock so that the leading edge starts at the extreme left edge and finishes at the extreme right edge of the blades. Obviously the longer the piece of stock being planed, the straighter the angle.

Also as the stock is planed, take it and place on the bench before feeding the next piece. I usually leave the planer running while adjusting the depth of cut. (More air passing the blades to cool them.)
Couple of good tips there Rich. Thanks! I'll have to remember those next time I'm using the planer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Rich & Bill!

re my planer: it is a new Steel City with the helical head.
I guess I am a little wary of using it too much as I am not sure what kind of adventure rotating the 26 blades will lead to. They each have four sharp edges so it is not that I worry about running out of sharpness, but I figure that the factory folks know just what to do to get all 26 working as one. I would have to discover any pitfalls and then devine how to avoid them.

At most I do a 32nd but usually do a 64th (1/2 or 1/4 turn of the handle respectively).

Another background worry is that each of the 26 blades seems fairly fragile: just over 1/16 in thickness with a countersunk hole in the center. What will happen when they get dull? Can they crack and come flying out? That is the worry-wart in me talking.

Perhaps if there are no issues rotating the blades and the operation is not too long-winded [(loosen, rotate, tighten) * 26 ] I could rotate them often so each edge is used for a period of time, then not used for a while, and then used again, etc. All the four sides would then lose their edge evenly over a period of time. Just a thought.

Thanks again for your suggestions.
 

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If you have a helical head, that means you are using carbide. You will probably chip them before they go dull, so just rotate them as they get chipped, not all of them at once.

Yes, carbide is much more brittle than hss but I have not heard of pieces coming flying out, if a piece breaks off, it will probably be directed out the dust chute. Not saying accidents can't happen. Be extra careful when machining used lumber and always wear safety glasses.
 

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OLD DUDE AT WORK
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I guess I am a little wary of using it too much as I am not sure what kind of adventure rotating the 26 blades will lead to. They each have four sharp edges so it is not that I worry about running out of sharpness, but I figure that the factory folks know just what to do to get all 26 working as one. I would have to discover any pitfalls and then devine how to avoid them.

At most I do a 32nd but usually do a 64th (1/2 or 1/4 turn of the handle respectively).

Another background worry is that each of the 26 blades seems fairly fragile: just over 1/16 in thickness with a countersunk hole in the center. What will happen when they get dull? Can they crack and come flying out? That is the worry-wart in me talking.




I have set-up and ran about every machine out there that uses carbide inserts, so I wouldn't be too worried about those inserts flying out to kill you.

Follow all the common safety rules and you'll be OK. I've never had it happen to me, but I've read about brazed carbide tips flying off the table saw blades. I'm sure a lot of that was presenting the work to the blade improperly.

Carbide doesn't like shock or vibration, could shatter.

Most carbide failure is when it just chips out. Make sure those inserts are seated firmly before tightening the holddown screws. If you ever need to replace them all at once...go back through and make sure they ALL are tight. Those screws are hardened, but they could break if overtightened. Some carbide grades are tougher than others.

I'd say go at it and you'll get used to it. Sounds like you're leery about taking a deeper cut. It'll handle it. I was a little worried the first time I buried a carbide (Brazed) 1/2" deep in steel, but later I was taking much deeper cuts.:yes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your response Harrison.


In retrospect, the concerns I had for the blades are unfounded. I'm sure that during the development of this product countless hours were spent subjecting their protiotype machines to much worse treatment than I can even conceive of. The blades passed their tests (so will certainly pass mine!). I also note that there is a complete lack of commentary from other owners on any woodworker site about such a situation.

I go on about this as I now feel a touch of chagrin about my inital comment. I know that people search this and other sites for issues related to any tool they are considering buying and raising false concerns does not help anyone.
 
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