Wood chippers chip and break down all kinds of plant debris like branches, wood, leaves, and twigs. The chippers reduce the matter into smaller and finer pieces, which makes them easier to store, dispose, or transport. These chippers will only work efficiently and reduce the debris if they have sharp blades.
The blades endure a lot of wear and tear with regular use, so it’s not surprising that they turn dull after a while. You need to sharpen them as soon as you notice the chipper isn’t performing as you expected it to. Here’s a look at how to sharpen the chipper blades:
1. Consider Taking it to a Machinist
Many people choose to take their wood chipper blades to a professional machinist instead of sharpening them at home. This can help extend the lifespan of the blade and help you avoid any unnecessary damage. You can sharpen them yourself with the right technique and some practice. If you’re willing to sacrifice a few blades to master the technique, DIY sharpening will save a lot of money.
2. Use the Right Tools
A regular grinder or grinding belt will do more harm than good because chipper blades are often made from high-carbon steel. Choose a wet professional grinder for this task as it will regulate the temperature and ensure that the high-carbon steel doesn’t become overheated during the sharpening process. You can also use a diamond whetstone for the process, which will help you get the work done quickly.
3. Sharpen the Blades At the Same Time
Many wood chipper owners sharpen their blades individually when they get dull. That can have a big impact on the chipper’s performance because the blades aren’t balanced or equally sharp. You need to make sure all of the blades are sharpened at once, so they’re all balanced.
4. Prepare the Blades
Before you use the wet grinder on the blades, you need to prepare them. Use a chisel, scraper, or putty knife to take the pitch off the sides. Follow the instructions provided by the chipper manufacturer to ensure the blades and the machine aren’t damaged in the process.
5. Sharpen the Blades
Once the blades are ready, start sharpening them. You will need to set the grinder table at 45° and miter at 90° for the best results. Ensure the grinder is moving in the direction of the blade edge instead of away from it. Slowly pass the blade over the grinding wheel and make sure the movement is smooth and consistent. You shouldn’t pause while running the blade on the wheel because that will affect the consistency of the sharpness. Dip the blade frequently in water to ensure it doesn’t get too hot and pass it over the wheel until you’re satisfied with the sharpness.
Wood chipper blades can only be sharpened a limited amount of times before they need to be replaced. You should replace the older blades with good quality spares that are designed to be durable and maintain their edge for a long time.