Wednesday, June 25, 2014

V5.25 - Is it Dull Knives, or something else?

I just got to thinking that these past couple of columns have been more and more like a Saturday morning cliff-hanger…I set out the problem and just when you think I’m gonna give up the answer, I put it off until next week…?

Alright, this week, I really will give you the final solution to the problem.

We do need to recap, if we have some new readers…So here it is: you’ve been using your lunchbox planer, and it has been working just fine…but all of a sudden, it refuses to plane the wood. You can’t even shove the wood in and get it to work. It used to be that it practically pulled the wood out of your hand as you fed it…now, it ain’t happening. Last week, we brought up a dirty, or pitch encrusted bed surface and dirty or wood flour-caked-up feed rollers.

I left you with a teaser about there being one more solution that many people think should be number 1 on the list.

Here it is… Dull knives. Yep, that’s it. I have seen many a planer, just quit planning and the owner changes the knives, or flips his over to a fresh edge, and the planer resumes ‘doing it’s thing’ just fine. One needs to understand that when the knives get dull, they start beating on the wood and they actually create more resistance to the job the feed rollers can do (that being push the wood through the planer). Yes, changing the knives CAN do that.

Now, if you’ve read the past couple of columns, you may be asking: “If it’s that simple, why didn’t he just say so?” Well, here’s why… let’s pretend that your planer quit working as we have described and you change the knives…and…it…still…doesn’t…feed. Now what? Well. More than likely, your problem was a dirty bed or caked up feed rollers (or maybe both)…which you will now have to clean, with those freshly sharpened knives right within a finger’s reach. Do you know how easily fresh knives will cut flesh? LIKE BUTTER.

So, as I suggested, clean the bed and the rollers first. That way, your fingers are at least close to used knives. Don’t get me wrong, they will still cut the mess out of you, but not quite as easy as fresh knives will.

Also, there is a possibility that you will get more board feet cut with your knives before you need to change them, if you will clean the bed and rollers first. That was my thinking behind my suggestions.

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you. 

No comments: