The Changing of the Cutterhead
In the February 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (PWM), we discuss differences in carbide cutterheads – some shear as they cut, and some have carbide knives that meet the wood straight on. There are only a few choices, but there are many differences. I learned a lot while researching the article.
This past week while in the PWM shop with a bit of free time on my hands – it was the days between Christmas and New Years – and because we promised a video on changing out a three-knive cutterhead with a staggertooth head (a Byrd cutterhead from Byrd Tool Corporation to be exact), I set up the video camera and pulled mechanic-type tools from the tool chest so I could swap the cutterheads.
The process was much easier than I had anticipated – the change was quick and without problems.
The results are astounding to say the least. There is a dramatic reduction in noise and the surfaces left on boards straight from our planer are killer. While the video is about 12 minutes in length, the change-out time was just more than three hours. It might just be the most productive three hours I spent during 2010, with dividends reaped for many years to come.
Sit back and take a look at the video. Chances are you’ll want to find a few hours during the new year to make your shop time more productive.
Here’s a book and an article that provide additional planer and cutterhead information:
Woodworking Machinery Basics Jointers and Planers (click here) demonstrates how to adjust knives to compensate for small nicks, discusses table parallelism adjustments and much more.
Setting Jointer and Planer Knives by Robert W. Lang is an article to download that gets your blades installed the right way and gets you back milling woods quickly.