Sharpening your hand planer blade can save you tones of money because, you don’t have to replace or buy new blades every time they become dull and blunt. Besides, it is convenient and saves you the time of going to the store to buy a new one or waiting for delivery.
On the other hand, having a blunt blade can make your work difficult and produce mediocre wood products. Therefore, you always want to have a sharp blade that allows you to work faster and produce brilliant results.
In this article, we will show you how you can sharpen your electric hand planer blades and enjoy your woodworking job. Remember that a sharpened electric hand planer reduces work strain.
Steps to Sharpen Electric Hand Planer Blades
Remove the blades
The first step in sharpening your blades is to remove them from the machine. You should get an appropriate tool to untighten the screw by turning them in an anticlockwise direction.
Make sure you hold the blade in place to avoid unnecessary movement. It is essential to have a container where you can put the bolts to prevent misplacing them.
Clean the blade and the machine
A lot of people bypass this simple step. Cleaning your blades and machine is crucial. First, it is advisable to remove the dust and rust on the blade before you proceed to sharpen it.
Further, cleaning the other area of the machine from dust and debris give your tool more life and makes it more efficient. There are various ways you can use to clean – you can either use a soft cloth or an air compressor.
Use a Jig to sharpen
Now that you have prepared the tool, you can then proceed to sharpen the blades. Sharpening is not tricky, and if you have ever sharpened a knife or manual blade, then this should not be different.
However, you need to have a jig to sharpen your blades effectively. Now, you can either buy or make one yourself. A jig allows you to hold and guide the blade while you sharpen it. Once you have the blade in place, you can then use a grit stone to sharpen it.
You can also use a wet or dry sandpaper to sharpen the blades. However, it can leave marks on your blade. If you decide to take this route, you need a sandpaper sheet which usually comes at 9″ by 11.” Next, you need to cut it into thin strips for easy buffing. The advantage of using sandpaper is because it is less expensive and easy to use.
The type of sandpaper grit to buy will depend on the condition of your planer blades. We suggest you get a coarse, medium, and fine grit. There are different types of grits, for example, 220, 320, 400, 600, and 1000.
Once you have the material ready, you can now start the sharpening process. The first step you need to do is to flatten and polish the back of the blade. It is advisable to begin rubbing the blade with the coarse grit, progress to medium, and finish up with fine frit.
Once you are done sharpening the backside of the blade, you can now turn it and start working on the bevel side. Grinding the bevel side can be hard because it is small and difficult to balance. However, you can use a honing guide to hold and give you the right angle to sharpen your blade.
Most experts in the wood industry recommend setting the angle of your honing guide at 30 degrees because it provides a firm grip. You should ensure the jig firmly holds the blade before you start polishing the edge.
Now that you have the blade tightly held, you can start rubbing the bevel on your grit. Start with the coarse grit and finish with the fine one. You can use a magnifying glass to make sure you are rubbing in a precise way and to keep track of your progress.
Test whether your blades are sharp
You can test whether you have sharpened your blades well by cutting a newspaper. If the blades are sharp, the cut on the newspaper should be clean. However, if the cut is ragged, it means the blades are not yet sharp, and you may have to sharpen them further.
Return the blades
Once you have sharpened the blades, it is now time to put them back to the machine. Ensure you put the springs back and the screws in the appropriate location. You should tighten the screw by moving them in a clockwise direction. However, you must avoid over tightening them to give your blade an allowance to move.
Check the blades
Once you have sharpened and assembled them back, it is time to check whether they are working well. You can now plug the power on and test your tool. If done correctly, the machine should give you sharp cuts and smooth finish on your wood.
Another way in which you can tell whether your blade is sharp or blunt is by shining a light on the edges. A sharp blade, when tilted and turned towards the light, should reflect the light and have a flat shape.
If you want to get the best woodwork result, then you need to have an electric hand planer with sharp blades. Working with a dull blade not only makes your work tedious and slow, but also produces low quality wood products. Moreover, sharpening your blades saves you money because you don’t have to buy a new one every time it gets dull.
However, while sharpening your blade is a good thing to do, you should avoid over-sharpening them because it reduces the life of the tool. Only sharpen when you feel the blades are blunt and fail to give you the desired woodwork result.
Pro Tip: You should clean your blades regularly to remove the resin covering the blade because this can give you the false impression that the blades are blunt and dull.