A planer is a woodworking machine used for flattening, smoothing, and thicknessing wood surfaces. It typically uses rotating blades or cutterheads to remove material from the workpiece. The type of blades used on a planer depends on the specific design and configuration of the machine. Here are some common types of blades used on planers:
1. Straight Blades: Straight blades, also known as straight knives, are the most basic type of planer blades. They are typically made of high-speed steel (HSS) or carbide and have a straight cutting edge. Straight blades are commonly used in entry-level and smaller planers. They are relatively easy to sharpen and replace.
2. Disposable Blades: Some planers use disposable blades that are pre-sharpened and ready to install. These blades are often made of HSS and come in sets. When one blade becomes dull, it can be rotated or replaced with a fresh blade from the set. Disposable blades offer convenience and time-saving benefits, as they eliminate the need for manual sharpening.
3. Tungsten Carbide Blades: Tungsten carbide blades are known for their exceptional hardness and durability. They are highly resistant to wear and can maintain sharpness for a longer time compared to HSS blades. Tungsten carbide blades are commonly used in high-end or industrial-grade planers. While they are more expensive than HSS blades, their longevity and cutting performance make them cost-effective in the long run.
4. Helical Cutterheads: Instead of using individual straight blades, some planers feature a helical cutterhead. A helical cutterhead consists of a cylindrical drum with multiple small, square carbide inserts arranged in a helical pattern. This design provides a shearing action and produces a superior finish on the wood surface. Helical cutterheads reduce noise, minimize tear-out, and require less power compared to straight blades.
5. Spiral Cutterheads: Similar to helical cutterheads, spiral cutterheads also use multiple small, square carbide inserts. However, the inserts are arranged in a spiral pattern rather than a helical pattern. Spiral cutterheads offer advantages such as reduced noise, smoother cutting, and less tear-out on figured wood. They are especially beneficial when working with highly figured or difficult-to-machine wood species.
6. Insert Blades: Some planers use insert blades, which are small, square, and indexable carbide inserts. These inserts can be rotated or replaced individually when one becomes dull or damaged, rather than replacing the entire blade. Insert blades provide convenience and cost-effectiveness as they eliminate the need for sharpening and reduce downtime. They are commonly found in modern, high-end planers.
It's important to note that the specific type of blades used on a planer can vary depending on the manufacturer, model, and intended application. Different planers may have unique blade mounting systems or proprietary blade designs. When replacing planer blades, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and use blades specifically designed for that particular planer model to ensure proper fit and performance. Additionally, proper maintenance, including regular cleaning, sharpening, and adjustment, is essential for optimal planer blade performance and longevity.