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jointer straight blade or indexable carbide insert, which is better ?

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Forum topic by bradnelson posted 02-01-2015 03:54 AM 1915 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bradnelson

52 posts in 1609 days


02-01-2015 03:54 AM

I’m going to be buying an 8 in jointer soon I wanted to know which is better the straight blades or the carbide insert cutter head? I know the straight blade is a lot cheaper but the price doesn’t matter. Does the carbide cutter give a perfectly smooth finish? I have a planer with the indexable cutter and I don’t get a smooth finish.


13 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1772 days


#1 posted 02-01-2015 08:47 AM

Point 1

A jointer is usually part of the 2 machine process. A jointer flatten, squares and straighten stock. A planer is use to make parallel cut to referenced off the cuts the jointer has made and to bring to a thickness. Neither the jointer or planer are finishing machines. They are prep and dimensioning machines. Once you have processed your stock through these two machine, then they are ready for finishing (sanding,scraping etc).

Both the jointer and planer cut with circular cutter heads. This means the cutter head are actually scooping out the material. Have you ever held a board up to a raking light and looked and the wavy surface. That wavy surface is a bunch of small scoop. Even if you can’t see them, they are there and need to be sanded, scraped out.

Point 2
It never made since (to me) to run stock over a jointer with a byrd type and run it through a straight knife planer. So now you need to upgrade you planer too.

The advantages as I see it to the Bryd type head are, if you use a lot of exotic, hard, squirrelly grained woods, for less tear out and the cutters last longer.

I think a lot of guys are going to the Byrd type head because they have a hard time changing and adjusting straight knife machines. Flipping the little square cutters is easer and being carbide should last longer.

Just my opinion.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View BoardSMITH's profile

BoardSMITH

121 posts in 1726 days


#2 posted 02-01-2015 11:36 AM

Straight knives are:
1. Hard to change and properly adjust.
2. Noisy
3. LOUD
4. Produces large chips, tougher for a DC to collect.
5. LOUD
6. Cheaper

Insert Cutters are:
1. Much easier to rotate to change edges.
2. Quieter in operation.
3. Produces smaller chips, easier for the DC to collect and store in a barrel.
4. Less likely to tear out figured woods.
5. Carbide is much longer lasting although more expensive up front. Cheaper in the long run.
6. Cheaper to, operate since the drag on the motor is less. You do not have one large knife contacting the stock at any single time.

No matter if you use HSS knives or carbide inserts, you will always have to sand, neither will produce the perfect surface that doesn’t require sanding. BTW Most use carbide saw blades so why not use carbide cutters for the jointer and planer. In my shop, both the jointer and planer have the inserts. In 2014 I ran over 5000 bd ft through both and they worked well with no down time and terrific results.

-- David www.TheBoardSMITH.com

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3935 posts in 1956 days


#3 posted 02-01-2015 12:17 PM

I agree with all the points offered above, just want to mention about the perfectly smooth finis. As Alaska Guy said, it’s a scooping action, so you still have the waves. But with some carbide heads, you also get lines that run the length of the boards. (note the word”sometimes”). I have Byrd heads on my machines, and while the planer doesn’t leave the lines, my jointer does. This isn’t much of a problem because they are small enough that literally 3 passes with an ROS and 180 grit removes them….but it’s still an annoyance. Sometimes you can pull the inserts, clean the seats, and re-torque to proper tightness and it will solve the problem, but not for me. That said, the advantages of noise reduction (far less on the jointer than the planer), no knife setting, and long edge life more than make up for the other stuff.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

689 posts in 1261 days


#4 posted 02-01-2015 03:25 PM

I have run both type of heads in a jointer,I did like the Bryd head for faceing boards,But not soo much for edge jointing if I did not refine the joint with a hand plane glue lines would show in up later in table tops.
I have the bryd head in my planer and straight knives in the jointer currently. I get the rows others described from the planer.

View Drew's profile

Drew

304 posts in 2563 days


#5 posted 02-01-2015 05:53 PM

Spiral heads for the win.
I can give you some lengthy reply full of pros and cons, but the bottom line is the spiral heads are simply better in almost every way.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

View unbob's profile

unbob

718 posts in 1366 days


#6 posted 02-01-2015 07:29 PM

I am looking to get a spiral head for my shaper. From what I have gathered, the spiral heads are great, but not perfect. Many that have them don’t consider them to be a finish tool for edge jointing as Aj2 stated.
I just don’t run the quantity of wood to change over the other machines.

View Timberwolf323's profile

Timberwolf323

65 posts in 306 days


#7 posted 10-30-2016 08:09 PM

Having spent the past 6 hours sharpening and resetting the blades on my jointer, I wish I was lucky enough to have a spiral head on it. The plus side to all that work is my jointer now leaves a mirror finish on black walnut.

View Loren's profile

Loren

8302 posts in 3111 days


#8 posted 10-30-2016 08:42 PM

My position on the issue is the jointer is not a finishing
machine and for that reason, on a budget I don’t
see the appeal of insert cutters. In a busy shop
however carbide inserts won’t get burned by jointing
plywood, so that’s a plus for casework.

I’ll probably eventually find myself using a spiral
head planer but I don’t see going to the expense
of upgrading my 16” jointer or replacing it anytime
in the future.

But, hey, if the money is burning a hole in your pocket
go for it, more people buying these means more of
them will show up on the secondhand market where
I buy my machines.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2568 posts in 1720 days


#9 posted 10-30-2016 09:28 PM

Brad, as has been mentioned, you still will need to sand after machining with a spiral head cutter. However, you may be able to start with 120-150G rather than 80-100G. Cutting out one sanding step is huge in my book.

-- Art

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 949 days


#10 posted 10-31-2016 12:01 AM

I bought an 8” Byrd head and I love it. Zero tearout so far.

If I feed slow I could get a finish worthy surface but that isn’t really my goal with either planer or jointer.

The biggest plus for me is never having to set a knife again in my jointer. The time I save is the number one reason I bought it. Being able to joint squirrelly stuff is a big plus as well.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

21 posts in 37 days


#11 posted 10-31-2016 12:16 AM



I agree with all the points offered above, just want to mention about the perfectly smooth finis. As Alaska Guy said, it s a scooping action, so you still have the waves. But with some carbide heads, you also get lines that run the length of the boards. (note the word”sometimes”). I have Byrd heads on my machines, and while the planer doesn t leave the lines, my jointer does. This isn t much of a problem because they are small enough that literally 3 passes with an ROS and 180 grit removes them….but it s still an annoyance. Sometimes you can pull the inserts, clean the seats, and re-torque to proper tightness and it will solve the problem, but not for me. That said, the advantages of noise reduction (far less on the jointer than the planer), no knife setting, and long edge life more than make up for the other stuff.

- Fred Hargis

Hi Fred, it’s GW from the “other” place, can’t sign in, not missing it much.

On topic I had some scallops on my Griz 8” with the carbide indexed head, and at first I was cutting deeper, well, just because it had so much power I could. I lightened up on my pass depth, and the scallops went away. At least they got so fine they didn’t draw me eye anymore. I give almost anything a ride on the 19/38 belt sander, and what is left is gone in seconds. On the really smaller stuff it cleans off well with a few swipes of the hand planes.

-- Think safe, be safe

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

1211 posts in 1573 days


#12 posted 10-31-2016 12:17 AM

I vote straight on the jointer and inserts on the planer.

If you have spare cash, retrofit the jointer.

Why? You can reserve a section of the jointer knives for edges by using the front section of the blades for typical use. If you get tearout on the rest, it can be fixed by flipping the board during the planing process.

I currently have straight knives on both, because I own a 22” drum sander. If either is tearing out, I’ll finish the show face on the sander. The next planer I buy will have inserts, I’ll continue to buy new straight knives for the jointer.

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

493 posts in 2784 days


#13 posted 10-31-2016 12:59 AM

On the type of small machines hobbyists tend to buy new I prefer insert heads for many of the reasons already listed inclusing the fact they are usually too small to skew the board as it goes through the machine which can be done on large machines for reducing tearout.

For large old iron machine I actually prefer knives, especially if they are ground and jointed on the machine. An old iron machine with an onboard grinder and jointer and a large diameter cutting head will leave a better finish than even the best insert heads but we are talking about another league of machine which would/does cost $15k and up new.

If it is a choice of one I would go insert on the planer but would prefer both if budget permits, the good thing is insert heads are realtively inexpensive for all the Chiwanese machines and easy to retrofit if one is remotely handy so it isn’t imperative to buy them upfront.

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