Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Bane of My Existance


Stupid dull planer knives

Well perhaps that's a bit too strong, but I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my planer. 

I love how quickly and easily it levels out wooden boards to make them nicely flat and perfect, saving me many hours of sanding. That is until the knives on my planer start getting dull. 

When the knives start getting dull, my planer becomes my worst enemy, literally chewing up any boards that I try to feed through it, all the while complaining as loudly as possible. 

Granted, I realize that blades get dull, and replacing the knives on a planer is all part of owning one. I actually don't mind replacing the knives on my planer,

What really gets my goat is replacing the knives. Most planer manufacturers seem to insist that you buy new knives each time you need to replace them, The issue that I have is that they need to ask premium prices for what is essentially is just a piece of steel that has a point along one edge. In the case of my particular planer, a set of new knives will set me back almost 100 dollars. This can quickly become the case that I would spend more on planer knives than I spent to buy the planer itself (I sometimes wonder if tool manufacturers sometimes take their cues from ink jet printer companies - sometimes it's cheaper to just buy a new printer when the ink runs out!)     

Being made from steel, I would assume that you would be able to sharpen planer knives and reuse them again. 

Assuming I would not be the only guy facing this dilemma, I ran to my favorite online emporiums to price out tools that would allow me to easily and quickly sharpen my knives and beat "Big Tool" at their game. 

Alas, I was shocked at the decided lack of options that were available. Sure there were plenty of tools to sharpen scissors, drill bits, and wood chisels, but anything that I found that was capable of doing planer knives was also almost the same cost as my planer.

The only remaining option that I had was to do some kind of homemade solution. Doing some searching on the net, I found a lot of videos from other woodworkers that had the exact same problem as mine, and each had their own solution to the problem.  One video in particular, by William Ng, was particularly helpful and very easy to understand.  

Based on his video and a few others that I saw, I am now pretty confident that I could make my own tool to sharpen my knives. While I probably won't completely do what William did, I definitely want to give it a try - I'll let you know how I made out next week. 

It does make me wonder though, why isn't there isn't something commercially available that is nice and cheap.  Hmmm...

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