Carbide vs HSS

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Forum topic by CaptainChemical posted 07-31-2013 09:49 AM 3944 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1790 days

07-31-2013 09:49 AM

I have owned a Hitachi Jointer planer, Model F-1000A for 30 years . I am trying to decide weather it is worth paying 4 times the $ for carbide blades for the 6” jointer and 12” planer. I would Appreciate any feedback on your experience with the carbide!

10 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2999 days

#1 posted 07-31-2013 12:21 PM

5X to 7X the life, depending on usage and what you are planing.

A piece of grit or metal can wipe out a carbide blade just as fast as HSS.

For me the most worthwhile upgrade would be to helical head with carbide inserts.
That runs much quieter, has 4 cutting edges per insert and a chip out of one insert does not destroy the entire blade.

But, I don’t know if your machine can be retro-fitted.

View Redoak49's profile


3289 posts in 2017 days

#2 posted 07-31-2013 12:31 PM

There is no doubt that carbide blades are better than HSS and that a helical head is an upgrade.

I have two planers – one a 15” Jet and the other a DW735. I have looked at the same questions myself. I looked at how much wood I typically plane in a month or year and generally it is less than 300-500 board feet per year. I looked at the cost of all of the options and decided on getting the best HSS that I could and bought from Infinity. These blades cut very well and typically last more than a year and gave the lowest cost per board feet over several years. I do not plane very much really difficult woods and therefore, the helical head with inserts was not a consideration.

No matter which blades that you try, you need to really look at the boards that you plane looking for nails, staples, grit and dirt. Any of these will damage all of the blades.

There is no one good answer for everyone. It well depend on what you are going to plane and how much of it and how much extra money that you have.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2543 days

#3 posted 07-31-2013 01:29 PM

I agree with both of the above posts.
I also own two planers, a 15” Grizzly with the spiral carbide helical head, and an older Rigid with HSS blades. The Rigid, I bought about five sets of blades in the ten years I used it, and always resharpened the blades myself. Worked out fine.
But once I got the Grizzly, with that carbide, the only thing was I had to really concentrate on any older wood I put through, looking for dirt or steel. Other than that, now in it’s 18th month in my shop, I still have yet to rotate any of the carbide cutters. (There are four sides to each cutter – I’m still on side one)

So it depends on what you plan on doing. I use a planer about 3-4 times a week, planning anything from one plank of pine to four-five planks of purpleheart, so I never know. But I still use the Rigid occasionally since it will go down to 2MM, one millimeter thinner than the Grizzly.
Overall, you cannot beat the spiralhead cutter with carbide inserts, IMHO.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3677 days

#4 posted 07-31-2013 01:42 PM

really depends also on how much you use your planer. if it’s running 24/7 – carbide may be a good option to consider. if it’s occasionally – maybe that 4x cost isn’t all that worth it. really boils down to your finances. as mentioned, at 4x the cost, I would be looking at a helical head upgrade though myself.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View CaptainChemical's profile


5 posts in 1790 days

#5 posted 07-31-2013 02:17 PM

Thanks for your advise guys. Might just buy 2 sets of HSS and always have a sharp set!
regards Paul in Petrolia

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2605 days

#6 posted 07-31-2013 05:38 PM

If it’s not a spiral head cutter, hss.
I was wondering the same thing for my jointer (hss vs carbide vs spiral head); if you nick the carbide knives, it’s the same as nicking hss knives. Best to leave the carbide to spiral cutters.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10476 posts in 3676 days

#7 posted 07-31-2013 05:42 PM

You could spend the money on a Makita sharpener instead.

If you don’t abuse jointer and planer knives, the hss
steel ones have decent life and make nice finishes
when sharp.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2842 days

#8 posted 07-31-2013 06:01 PM

Planers like the Dewalt 735 use a pretty steep blade angle, and are not really designed for carbide straight knives.
The helical heads change the blade approach angle, and seem to work well.

Straight steel knives work okay on walnut and cherry, but not so well on QSWO.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Aj2's profile


1444 posts in 1827 days

#9 posted 08-01-2013 04:18 AM

I have infinity carbide tipped knives in my 735. Also use a planer with the bryd head but its nice having the small noe for short stuff..I bought the straight knives before the HH heads were offered.I think I have sharpend them three or four times.

-- Aj

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4234 posts in 2590 days

#10 posted 08-01-2013 04:56 AM

I also have the spiral carbide helical head on both of my Grizzly 6” jointer and 15” Planer amd in 4 years have not had anything happen yet and they cut as good as the day I got them.

If I had to change a carbide head they are 15mm or 18mm squares and all I have to do is turn it one time and I have another sharp blande again.

They work great and leave it very smooth even on punky or figured woods. Well worth the price.


-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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