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Carbide Cutterheads for Jointers Springfield VA

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.

Woodcraft - Springfield
(703) 912-6727
Concord Shopping Center
Springfield, VA

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The Home Depot
(703)642-3660
6555 Little River Trnpke
Alexandria, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)205-1245
2815 Merrilee Drive
Fairfax, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)619-5124
7710 Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Vienna Hardwoods
(703) 255-9663
241 Mill Street Northeast
Vienna, VA

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The Home Depot
(703)924-0193
6691 Frontier Road
Springfield, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)534-9580
6210 Seven Corners Ctr
Falls Church, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)823-1900
400 S Pickett St
Alexandria, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)591-6808
3201 Old Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)670-3699
14025 Foulger Square
Woodbridge, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

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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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