A smoother finish with a longer life, less noise and more efficiency

Here’s why we believe spiral cutter blocks will be worth your extra spend.

Spiral cutters have been something of a phenomenon of late in the world of woodworking. Starting off as an idea that many mocked, they are now an established viable alternative to standard HSS and TCT planer knives.

How a spiral cutter achieves a smoother, consistent finish

The spiral cutter block from Axminster has four rows of TCT cutters, machined to a radius of 102mm. This, coupled with how they are set on the block, means that a shear cut is achieved. Woodworkers all know that a shear cut is better than a straight cut, especially when using hardwoods as the action provides virtually no tear out. This means that extra time and money spent on further work is greatly reduced.

Far longer blade life

Saving time and money is a recurring theme with the spiral cutters. Each four sided TCT tip lasts up to 20 times longer than a normal HSS planer knife. If you hit a nail or a hard knot in the wood, simply rotate one or two of the inexpensive tips to a fresh edge and you are ready to go again. Once you have used the whole tip, replace it, no need to reset them like normal knives!

More efficiency

Spiral cutter blocks will also significantly improve the extraction. Not only does the large chip space mean there’s an excellent removal of waste, but the smaller cutters create smaller chips, filling your waste sack up more efficiently and saving you from having to empty it as often.

Another economical point comes from the shear type action of the new cutters. This action creates far less friction on the workpiece, minimising the effort needed by the machine to push the workpiece through. In addition, when cutting, lower stress is placed on the cutter block, giving you a power saving of up to 30% and greatly reducing running costs.

A quieter cut

The ‘pièce de résistance’ of arranging the knives in a spiral configuration is the considerable noise reduction. With the unique geometry of the block, the perceived noise exposure is lowered by up to 50%, increasing safety standards in your workshop. If you’re one of the many people using your planer thicknesser in your garage or home workshop, that means less disturbance to the neighbours.

To conclude

In summary, the spiral cutter blocks would be a welcome addition to any workshop. Despite a greater initial outlay, you’ll achieve greater productivity due to time savings on knife set up and replacement and money savings due to a reduction in need to buy new ones.

The tungsten carbide tips can be perceived to offer a poorer quality cut than a fresh set of HSS knives, with ‘fresh set’ being the optimum phrase. After a few cuts, the finish will be more or less the same with the tungsten carbide cutters maintaining the same finish for a very long time rather than the reduced quality from the HSS set.

For the discerning hobby woodworker, these may seem like a large outlay at first but if you can afford one, then the benefits, in the long run, will far outweigh that cost.

Certainly, for the professional woodworker or those involved in large batch production, these are a no brainer.


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7 Comments on "A Spiral Cutter Revolution For The Axminster Trade Planer Thicknessers!"

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Matt Black

I have a 168 planer thicknesseser which I bought in Jan 15, will the spiral cutter head be available as a retro upgrade

Craig Hastie

I’d be very interested to find that out the same about the 106 bought about the same time.

Josh Ledger

Hi Matt,

Sorry for the late reply this comment has slipped through the net. Unfortunately the spiral cutter block cannot be retrofitted to any previous models as these are from a different manufacturer. If you would like any information on our current models please do not hesitate to contact us. Thanks, Josh

Mark Naylor

Does the previous model list include the AW106PT2 as well?

Mark Smale

Hi Mark,

The AW106PT2 was made at the same manufacturer as the AW168PT, and therefore (unfortunately) is included in the list of models that can’t be retrofitted with the spiral cutter block. The spiral cutter is new to us and we are looking to develop further but for the foreseeable future it won’t be available for any of our older models.

Sorry I can’t be of anymore help. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thanks, Mark

Craig Hastie

Hi Mark

Any news on if you will be making an upgrade kit for AW106PT2 or do we just have to look to 3rd parties. Seems a real shame as I’m sure there would be a few of us that cannot justify the price of a new machine, given we’re home users, but would stump up for an upgrade kit.

Thanks, hopefully

There are a couple of companies in the USA that manufacture Spiral cutter blocks for hundreds of different makes and models of Planners and Thicknessers . They can even manufacture to order if your machine is not one of the current models they make. Not sure if you have to send them you old knife block or just give them the specifications. Tigra is a German company that manufacture the knives and other cutting tools however they don’t seem to make the blocks themselves. Many of the cutter blocks are manufactured in China but are fitted with the Tigra cutters.… Read more »