I bought a new planer (Dewalt 735) and made a new sharpening jig for the
knives. On my old planer the knives would sit in the cutterhead on
springs and be set with a jig. My new planer has the knives regestering
on pins (knives have pin holes). I usually sharpen my planer knives but
with this new planer I might have a problem with the way they designed
the cutterhead and knives. Had I known this I would not have bought it.
If I do not remove the same amount of metal from each knife I might
end up with three knives of differing widths. On my old planer this was
not an issue with the way the knives were set.
The only solution I can think of is elongating the holes in the knives
that sit on the pins in the cutterhead. This way I could make a setting
jig to ensure that the knife edge is always extended out of the
cutterhead by the same distance.
Video of new jig if you are interested:
Remember, the planer is a thicknesser. You can spend a lot of time
trying to make it produce a baby butt smooth surface or you can spend a
couple of minutes sanding/scraping the wood after running through the
Now I realize that this planer produces pretty smooth results but it was
designed to do so by using precisely ground knives that index precisely
on the cutter head. IMHO if you change the indexing holes you will
never get as smooth of results as with putting fresh brand new knives in
the machine, regardless of how good the indexing jig is.
It is only a matter of milling a few board feet before the knifes
develop a nick and and you are back to square one.
I see a few possible options here .....
1) Enlarge or elongate the holes as already mentioned.
2) The pins appear to be pressed-in dowels .. it is very possible that
you might be able to pull them. If you wish to pursue this one, let me
know and I can give you a few tips.
3) Cut off the pins ... not recommended, but still a possibility.
4) Grind all three knives to the same dimension ... you would at the
very least, need a decent set of calipers to go this route. Grind each
knife the same number of strokes ... then measure and regrind any that
are too tall until they are within a few thou. of each other. I
mention that a SMALL deviation is acceptable ... if one blade is a few
thou. proud, it will wear a bit faster at the tip until it ends up at
the same arc as the other two. This wear in should only take a few
minutes of run time. You can also make a small "honing" block that you
would use after reinstalling the knives ... a chunk of
tile/marble/Corian with some abrasive stuck to it. Place the block
under the cutterhead ... rotate the head by hand in reverse. It will
form a small secondary bevel on the knives and is also very handy for
"If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you're not a racist you'll
have to vote for someone else in 2012 to prove you're not stupid!"
I also have this planer and I'm not sure you could get enough clamping
pressure to hold the blades at a specific level if you elongate the
holes. As it is, the pins hold the blades in place and the bolts just
hold them on the head. Elongating the holes just enough for proper
registration could be very tedious. At least, more so than I want to
Even though the blades are advertised as disposable, I have read several
accounts of people sharpening them. They claimed to have good results
with no more complicated a technique than taking the same number of
strokes on each blade. I've never tried it.
You could go whole hog and get one of the new segmented carbide cutter
heads made for this machine. Fine Woodworking thought they worked well.
Infinity also makes carbide replacement blades for the original head.
A test in one of the woodworking mags said they lasted 5 times as long
as the HSS versions. The downside was they cost 5 times as much. Oh, well.
My planer has carbide segmented cutters and they can be rotated 4 times,
so while carbide may last 5 times longer, since you can rotate them,
they last 20 times longer. They also cut sweet, create small bits of
sawdust that will not overwhelm a dust collector, and are quiet, they
sing rather than scream/screech. I'm seriously considering replacing
the heads on my jointer or the whole jointer, they are that much better
than straight cutters.
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