How Do I Choose the Best Planer Blade Sharpener?

Jeremy Laukkonen

Choosing the best type of planer blade sharpener can depend on your own level of expertise and the type of planer you have. Sharpening can be performed manually or with an automatic grinder, and interim honing can also be done with a stone. The best solution for you will depend on your own skill level, because properly sharpening a planer blade can take a great deal of knowledge and expertise. Honing is a simpler procedure that can often prolong the time between visits to a professional planer blade sharpener or allow you to put off buying your own device. The type of planer you have needs to be taken into account as well, since some newer machines use blades that are considered disposable because it is not possible to resharpen them.

A jointer, also known in some places as a planer.
A jointer, also known in some places as a planer.

When looking for a planer blade sharpener, you should first consider your own level of expertise. If you have no previous experience with sharpening, it might be wise to retain the services of a professional. This can be costly, especially if you use your planer on a regular basis, so you might want to obtain the necessary skill and equipment to perform the job yourself. It is possible to sharpen most types of blades manually by passing them over an abrasive surface with the correct movements, though this is not a common way to sharpen planer blades.

Some planers use inexpensive blades that are meant to be replaced, not sharpened.
Some planers use inexpensive blades that are meant to be replaced, not sharpened.

Many people use a regular grinder as a planer blade sharpener, which can be accomplished with a specialized jig. If you possess a grinder that you use to sharpen other objects, then you might already have a viable planer blade sharpener at your disposal. Many manufacturers of these devices offer jigs that are specifically designed to sharpen planer blades, but in some cases, it might be necessary to have one custom built. If you do not already own a grinder, then you should choose one that either comes with a jig or at least has one available.

Another viable option is honing, which is a process that involves passing a special stone over the blade. The actual cutting edge of any blade is actually comprised of tiny, jagged teeth that get bent over through repeated use. These teeth can be straightened by the correct application of a honing stone, which can effectively sharpen a dull blade without actually grinding a new cutting edge into it.

Before looking for a planer blade sharpener, it also is important to make sure that your blades can actually be sharpened. Some planers use blades that are inexpensive and disposable, in which case you should simply purchase new blades instead of trying to sharpen the old ones. In some cases, these blades are too thin to accept a new cutting edge, though the problem might also stem from the type of metal from which they are made.

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