Jointer & Planer Knives “the question”

April 4, 2013

I’ve recently been getting a lot of questions regarding whether or not I sharpen my jointer and or thickness planer blades myself. And my usual response is “I don’t do it myself” if anything I send them out to be sharpened.

There’s a whole list of reasons why, but at the heart of it is because I don’t want to risk messing them up and I’d rather be doing something else.

But this got me to thinking perhaps maybe I’m completely missing something? So this raises the question what do you do?

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Comments (16)

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  1. R.G.Daniel says:

    My planer knives (DeWalt DW735) are designed to be “single use”, because of the way they’re fixed in place by the guide pins. My sharpening service agreed they could probably stand up to ONE sharpening, if they weren’t too badly nicked and therefore would need a lot of material removed. On the other hand, my Delta 6 jointer knives, as with most jointers of its type, can be lifted into position with a magnetic jig before locking down, and so can handle multiple sharpening passes. It’s so cheap to get them done by the local sharpening service that I would never bother spending the time to do it myself.

    • L. Willey says:

      I owned a DW735 for over a year and planed approximately 100 bf per week. Deulen ( a knife sharpening jig that is the ticket. I sharpened (actually honed) one set several times and they lasted through at least 2000 bf. of curly maple. All of the nonsense you see people posting is from years ago and Dewalt has since starting making the m2 knives. Infinity tools sells the best knives for this machine but compared to the $35 you can pay for a new set of Dewalt oem’s on ebay and then sharpen them over and over with the deulan jig ($90), this is the cheapest and best way to go. Finishes like glass when you sharpen on a DMT fine then extra fine stone.
      I also seen that Byrd Shelix is making a spiral head for the DW735 for $495, not sure I would spend that kind of money on a lunchbox planer though.

  2. Jim Kilcoyne says:

    I tried once to sharpen DeWalt planer knives on my Tormek 7
    Not able to get them sharp, very frustrating.
    Happily send them out to a sharpening service

  3. I work in a tool & die shop. I have access to surface grinders and fixturing to setup and grind my own stuff. Several fellow co-workers have made a fixture to setup planer blades. That really saves me some bucks.

  4. Bob Egbert says:

    Hey Matt, Saw your video on sharpening your own jointer & planer knives and I’d like to comment. I think it depends on the equipment. I have a boat anchor 20” Grizzly Planer I picked up used and an 8” Grizzly Jointer. I do not sharpen them myself but I do hit them with a honing stone and it helps significantly. The planer blades are too expensive to just toss in the trash; thankfully I got a spare set for the planer when I bought it. Not so with the jointer I have a small nick in one blade that leaves a 1/64” high round bump the length of what I am jointing “drives me nuts”. All I do is hit it with a block plane and the line is gone before I send it through the planer. But as you say “It’s for doing rough work”

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for sharing Bob, I like that idea of knocking down the bump with a block plane…I’m going to steal it for my shop.

  5. Lokesh says:

    If you sharpen your own chisels and hand plane blades, why wouldn’t you sharpen your planer or jointer knives?

    My 12″ delta planer wouldn’t feed the board at an even speed so it was (long past) time to sharpen the knives. The knives are double-sided so I could always use the other side if the experiment didn’t work.

    Maintaining the right bevel while sharpening one-blade-at-a-time is tricky at best. So I made a jig similar to this for my 12″ delta planer knives. I think there is an article in Shop Notes #118. The two knives are sharpened at the same time so there shouldn’t be any balancing issues when you’re done.

    Here is the link:

    Remember, planer blades are HSS (high speed steel) not carbon steel. The diamond stones cut HSS quickly and effectively. They’re nice and flat so your knives will be straight if you use a consistent stroke. I started with 150, 300 then a 600 grit plate. The pair of blades were good to go in around 20 minutes. Total time (remove knives / clean / sharpen / remount knives) was around 1-hr. The learning curve is small so next time should be half-hour or so.

    • Matt says:

      I’ve seen the jig you’re describing and I know a lot of folks do just this to their blades, but I’m still going to send mine out for now.

      I do like the idea though that eventually I would have a technique to fall back on if and when I decide I want to try it myself.

      Thanks for responding.

  6. Richard says:

    I agree with you. I use my plainer and jointer to get it square and to rough size. Then I do the final touchs by hand. Nothing better that feeling the smoothness that comes from working the wood by hand.

  7. Brian says:

    I don’t sharpen my blades, since both my jointer and planer are indexed mounting arrangements, I worry about keeping it even. As a result, I just change the blades when the nicks get to bad, or they seem to get dull. Like you, the planer and joiner are “not-so-rough” dimensioning tools. I’ve used hand tools to dimension wood – and am convinced that while I could do it all by hand if the worlds power goes out — I’m going to keep using them while the powers on. Hand tools are for refining, joinery and pleasure.

  8. Lamar B says:

    I have the Ridgid just like you in your video. I have been buying new knives when needed but I saw that accu-head has a replacement spiral head that fits and its $249. I am considering that at my next blade change. There are some videos on youtube with the spiral head. It looks like the website for ordering is down now. 🙁

  9. Jeff Giersch says:

    I use my Jet Jointer, and Dewalt lunch box planer constantly. I don’t want
    To have them down for any length of time and am too cheap to buy replacements. I sharpen the blades fairly frequently ( perhaps every 2 – 3 )
    Months. I use a Duelen ( Spelling ) Jig and Sandpaper on a glass plate.
    Easier and quicker to sharpen than my chisels and plane irons. They
    Don’t require being razor sharp. I run through 4 grits up too 1000 and

  10. Doug says:


  11. Paul says:

    What about using a segmented tool like the Byrd Shelix? Loosen and rotate each of the knives and you don’t have to send out to sharpen nearly as much! Just a thought.

    • Matt says:

      That’s what I’ve heard too, I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet but the reasoning behind it is solid.

      Thanks for sharing!

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