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Carbide Cutterheads for Jointers Sewickley PA

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.

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware #31
(412) 364-7751
7402 McKnight Road
Pittsburgh, PA

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The Home Depot
(412)494-2844
440 Home Dr
Pittsburgh, PA
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(724)779-5180
25 Dutilh Rd
Cranberry Township, PA
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The Home Depot
(412)363-9150
400 N Highland Ave
Pittsburgh, PA
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The Home Depot
(412)835-4271
4000 Oxford Drive
Bethel Park, PA
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The Home Depot
(412)367-7346
999 Ross Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA
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The Home Depot
(724)449-4440
4960 Route 8
Allison Park, PA
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The Home Depot
(412)220-2241
1025 Washington Pike
Bridgeville, PA
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The Home Depot
(412)824-9406
3550 William Penn Hwy
Pittsburgh, PA
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2670 Constitution Blvd
Beaver Falls, PA
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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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