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Carbide Cutterheads for Jointers La Plata MD

On average, the initial additional expense of a segmented carbide cutterhead is about the same as the cost for 20 HSS knife sharpenings, so you’ll eventually recoup your investment on the carbide model. With a segmented cutterhead, you basically pay up front for sharpenings but you get to enjoy all the benefits of carbide right away.

Maryland Select Hardwoods - March 2010 Specials
(301) 753-6120
7470 Mason Springs Rd
La Plata, MD

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(703)619-5124
7710 Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
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Lowe's of La Plata, MD
301-539-7960
300 Rosewick Road La Plata, MD, 20646
La Plata, MD
 
La Plata Mill & Supply Co Inc
(301) 934-8161
213 Kent Ave
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ABC Supply Co.,Inc/Waldorf
301-932-9700
44 Industrial Park Dr Waldorf, MD, 20602
Waldorf, MD
 
The Home Depot
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12050 Jefferson Farm Pl
Waldorf, MD
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6003 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD
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Lowe's
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300 Rosewick Road
La Plata, MD
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Belair Road Supply
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10370 Theodore Green Blvd
White Plains, MD
 
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3472 Rockerfeller Ct Waldorf, MD, 20602
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Carbide Cutterheads for Jointers

Carbide Cutterheads for Jointers

Cut manufactured materials and make fewer knife changes.

by Dave Munkittrick

The latest thing in jointers is the segmented carbide insert cutterhead. Instead of high-speed steel (HSS) knives, the cutterhead is peppered with an array of solid-carbide inserts (photo at right). During our 8-in. jointer tool test (see “Tool Test: 8-in. Jointers,” page 52), we had a chance to compare these new cutterheads head-to-head with their straight-knife cousins. We like what we saw and now use some of them in our shop. They’ve received unanimous thumbs-up from all users. Carbide took over in a hurry when it was introduced on saw blades, router bits and shaper knives. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same trend occur with jointer and planer knives. Cost

At $300 to $400, segmented carbide cutterheads aren’t inexpensive. But consider the cost of sharpening HSS knives (about $15 a set) and the need for an extra set of knives to replace the ones being sharpened (about $30). On average, the initial additional expense of a segmented carbide cutterhead is about the same as the cost for 20 HSS knife sharpenings, so you’ll eventually recoup your investment on the carbide model. With a segmented cutterhead, you basically pay up front for sharpenings but you get to enjoy all the benefits of carbide right away.

Replacing the inserts after all four edges are dull will cost $120 to $200, depending on the number of inserts in the head and the cost of each insert. 

Changing Inserts

Rotating or changing the inserts is a somewhat tedious but straightforward task. You must be meticulously clean when changing or rotating inserts. Even a little sawdust under one insert can leave an uneven cut. 

Segmented Cutterheads Take More Power

I’ve noticed that the segmented cutterheads take more feed pressure and demand more horsepower from the jointer. According to Curt Wilke of Wilke Machinery, which distributes several brands of jointers, this is because the segmented cutterhead always has several inserts cutting at any given time. A standard straight knife has an impulse cutting action. Each knife takes its cut with a rest period between. 

5 Big Advantages

1. Longevity 

A single set of carbide inserts will outlast a conventional knife set by approximately 40 times. That’s because each insert is made of solid carbide and has four cutting edges. Each edge will last up to 10 times longer than a typical HSS knife-edge. Multiply that number by the four edges on each insert and you get 40 conventional knife sharpenings built in to each set of carbide inserts. Remember that when you’re weighing the extra cost of a segmented carbide cutterhead. 

2. Jointing Manufactured Materials 

Carbide inserts allow you to joint manufactured materials, such as melamine and MDF, which would instantly dull HSS knives (photo at left).

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