A power block plane is a popular power tool for cabinet work used by both professionals and amateurs. It is intended for rough and clean finishing of wooden surfaces. Like any other power tool, it has accessories: they are blades.
A power block plane blade is a metal plate of a certain size and shape that has a sharpening. Nowadays, there are two types of blades that differ in material, technical details and application:
– High speed steel blades. They ensure processing different types of wood, as well as plywood and plastic. However, hardwood is beyond their capacity. The main advantage of such blades is multiple sharpening, wide choice and affordable prices.
– Hard alloy blades. Carbide blades are considered the most durable ones. As a rule, they are made of tungsten carbide, pobedit or an alloy of tungsten carbide with cobalt. However, such blades cannot be resharpened. Please keep in mind that hard alloy blades are more fragile, so they must be used with caution when there may be nails and other things in processed material.
Blades may be both single- or double-sided. The second type is more convenient: when one working edge is worn, the blade can be removed, reversed, then you can continue performance.
Regardless of a type, all blades have a length (or working width) of 75, 82 and 110 mm; however, many block planes are compatible with blades 92 and 102 mm wide. For professional power block planes, longer blades – up to 312 mm – are also used. In this case, blade thickness is 1.1–3 mm and width varies from 5.5 mm (narrow blades) to 29 mm (wide ones).
Special attention when choosing blades should be given to sharpening. Currently, there are three types:
– Straight blades. They are standard blades for smooth surface.
– Rounded blades. They are designed for processing large surfaces. Their rounded edges exclude «steps» and other defects between passages.
– Wavy (rustic) blades. Blades with cutting edge of various shapes (usually wavy) to obtain wavy surface. Rustic blades assist in creation a decorative effect of manual processing.
There are several tips when choosing and operating block plane blades:
– When installing them, tighten fixing screws carefully with a special key;
– If your power block plane includes two or three blades, be sure to correctly set them in the drum according to their height;
– It is recommended to sharpen HSS blades with a special tool that provides a right sharpening angle;
– Buy blades only with parameters recommended by the manufacturer of your power block plane.