Spiral Cutter Block

Looking at the maths regarding running a spiral cutter block planer/thicknesser, it is interesting just how it all works out. An acquaintance of mine has a 12" Axminster Trade P/T and runs a lot of tulip, lime, ash, elm through it, he has just changed the first set of knife inserts for a new set, having used all four cutting edges. It took 30 mins to change the complete set and needs 6 packs of 10 at £63.75p + vat each, leaving 4 spare blades. So, during the past 18 months, he said normally a set of HSS blades would need re-sharpening or replacing at least once a month, maybe more often if a job required a fine finish. Re-sharpening costs about £15 per set of 3 HSS knives. A new set about £85. He guessed that in the 18 months he would get through 4 sets of blades, each being re-sharpened 4-5 times if he was lucky. So running an HSS bladed machine would have cost £580 +vat, not including blade setting times ( say 20 times 15 mins). Replacing his TCT inserts cost £382.50 + vat, with about 1 hour of time over the 18 months spent re-setting or replacing the inserts. If you consider the savings in electrical costs of running a spiral block machine, then it could be argued that the addition purchase cost over an HSS blade machine would be recouped in the 1st year, plus the additional year on year savings. It’s a no brainer really.

Keith, that’s just done my head in. I need a beer - Rob

I’m considering replacing my Axminster 13" lunchbox thicknesser with the new spiral one. I’m not worried about blade life, because I’m a hobbyist and it only gets occasional use. The benefits for me would be the superior surface finish, the significantly lower noise levels and the ability (if needed) to replace just one cutter if I caught a nail in reclaimed wood.


Roseland, There is a new “lunchbox” style thicknesser with a spiral block available now, so you have a choice!

Yes, that’s what I said.