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!
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.
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.