Friday, April 03, 2009

Installing planer blades

At least I remembered to have some gloves handy for re-installing the blades on this planer. It's not that I mind the sight of blood; I just don't like seeing my own.

The planer came with this device for helping to re-install the blades, it's called a knife press gauge.

After just changing the blades in my 8" Delta jointer last week, I really appreciated the fact that this device came with the planer. The jointer blade changing procedure is time consuming, mostly due to having to install the blades at critical heights that are difficult to achieve. A device like this would be very helpful if it accompanied every machine with cutterheads like these have.

See the little notch, under that nut?

The notch sets a perfect height of the blade, every time.

Once you slip the blade into place, you position the blade into the notch. The small spring under the blade presses it up. The notch sets an even height, across the whole width of the blade.

These blades are razor sharp.

The knife slot is cleaned out, ready for the spring, which goes in first.

Of course, as I started to put the spring in place, I noticed some sawdust. So I blew the area clean with my air hose and all of the springs went flying across the shop.

Once the knife is placed on top of the springs, it wants to pop up, since it's not bolted down yet. I wrapped a piece of wood in a cloth, and used it to hold the blade down, temporarily.

Of course, I had to remove the gloves, as I couldn't get a good "feel" for the blade placement.

Once the blade was held down, I slid the knife press gauge over the blade, carefully aligning the sharp edge with the notch.

Although the manual didn't offer a lot of information about tightening the nuts, or square head bolts, as they call them, I started by tightening the two outer bolts first, then going back and alternating sides, so that the pressure was even on both sides. Sort of how you're supposed to tighten the nuts when changing a tire. It just seemed like a good idea.

Before I tightened everything for the last time, I checked the blade height one last time.


As I was starting to tighten the bolts for the last time, I remembered that this was around the time that I sliced my knuckle open.

So I put the gloves back on. It's safe to say I'll never be hired to do any modelling work with my hands.

The first blade went in in less that five minutes. Sweet. I had always heard what a hassle it is to change planer blades. And just last week, I changed the blades in my Makita 2040 planer. Their system for adjusting the blade height is amateurish compared to using the gauge. Still, in all, it took less than an hour of total time.

Here's a video showing how well the new blades are working.


Anonymous said...

Did you go with someone local for sharpening or mail them out?

Jamie Y said...

Went with a local shop, their prices were great, and they had them back to me in three days. E-mail me privately if you'd like the name of the shop.