Run planer with only one blade?

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Forum topic by Leonardthecat posted 06-04-2016 04:46 AM 1605 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 1781 days

06-04-2016 04:46 AM

I decided to flip the blades on my Delta 12 inch planer , learning how to as I went along, and didn’t realize they had to be set at a certain depth. I bought the planer through an online auction and it didn’t come with a gauge. I found this out after I had already taken one out and I’m going to order a universal gauge off amazon but want to use it for a project tomorrow. Will it be okay running it with just one knife? I’m sure it won’t be as efficient but wondering if it would mess anything up. Thanks.

11 replies so far

View MNgary's profile


318 posts in 3470 days

#1 posted 06-04-2016 04:52 AM

You will likely have waves in the board. I.e., not a smooth flat surface.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View muleskinner's profile


941 posts in 3489 days

#2 posted 06-04-2016 04:59 AM

I’m thinking you might want to make sure it’s bolted down. An unbalanced head spinning at what ever speed it’s spinning might have a tendency to make that planer wander and you’re not going to do your bearings any favors either.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3745 days

#3 posted 06-04-2016 05:01 AM

I wouldn’t run a planer without all of it’s knives. Post#1, Gary is correct and there may be a safety issue too.

A universal gauge for setting the depth of the knives? I’m not sure about that ether. I would seek out the factory gauge for that model planer. I’m sure it would be easier to use and it will probably even snap into it’s own storage spot on the planer when not in use.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View MrUnix's profile


8510 posts in 3252 days

#4 posted 06-04-2016 05:01 AM

Don’t do it. Those cutter heads are precision balanced (ever see the drill holes to accomplish that?), and using just one knife will throw that all out of whack. You will certainly get a crappy cut, and could potentially cause a catastrophic failure which might not end all that well.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Leonardthecat's profile


15 posts in 1781 days

#5 posted 06-04-2016 02:10 PM

Thanks for the help. I’ll refrain from running until I get the gauge. I did some research and found this gauge.
Any ideas on it?

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3452 days

#6 posted 06-04-2016 03:02 PM

Running a planer built for three blades and using only one blade is simply asking for a lot of trouble for many of the reasons already stated above. There are a lot of inexpensive gauges which are effective. You can also make your own. The objective is to set all of the blade tips (on each end) at the same height above the cylindrical cutter head. This one on eBay is one that I have used for a number of years on a Delta DC 380 planer and is very effective.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View muleskinner's profile


941 posts in 3489 days

#7 posted 06-04-2016 03:35 PM

I use the same gauge as Roger on my Grizzly 1021. That was after I’d bought a set of these jigs, , for about 70 bucks. They were a royal pain to use. I had to practically tear down the top end of the planer to use them. Then, when I couldn’t find what the knife depth was supposed to be, I called Grizzly. The service rep didn’t know either. He said they just set them with the gauge that comes with the machine. “That’s great” said I, “except I bought it used and there was no gauge with it.” “Oh, well let me transfer you over to sales. They’ll send you one. 12 bucks.”

So, anyone interested on a once used set of knife setting jigs?

-- Visualize whirled peas

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3452 days

#8 posted 06-04-2016 06:12 PM

Thanks muleskinner. I considered those jigs at one time. Thanks for confirming my decision to stay with the ones that I had.

Took a quick look at your shop. I like it. Your Grizzly looks very much like the Delta DC 380 I have. I knew that this design had been around for a few years and was quite reliable which is why I bought it.

After maintaining this planer for a number of years, I am not sure that the knife depth is critical as long as the top of the knife blade is the same for all knives and parallel to the cylindrical head. Changing the depth just means the planer depth setting will be a little different.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View muleskinner's profile


941 posts in 3489 days

#9 posted 06-04-2016 07:30 PM

Roger, yeah I’ve seen that planer with several brand names on it. There also the same basic design with the motor underneath which is an improvement, imo. The top mounted motor makes getting at the knives just that much more inconvenient.

The only other issue with knife depth I’ve found is too much out of variance and I start having to fiddling with the outfeed roll.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Rentvent's profile


151 posts in 1902 days

#10 posted 06-04-2016 07:31 PM

Running a planer with one blade would be like running a ceiling fan with one blade.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5349 posts in 5013 days

#11 posted 06-04-2016 09:57 PM

I’d opt for an admission to the local emergency room just to watch the repair process on your head.
Ever been around a hand grenade?

-- [email protected]

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