A good Buy? ------Skil Blades

I'll have to PM PeteC and ask his opinion; but I bought a pair of original Skil blades off Ebay for $30.  Also on sale were a couple pairs of Carbide blades for over $100.  I prefer plain ol' steel as opposed to Carbide.  I have three pair of blades that have the Skil mark on then assumably US made and one pair of Swedish blades, which are I am convinced the "Best".  Pete told me the Swedes make better steel than the Germans or the Japanese(both good though).  I haven't spent much on tools latly (been saving my money for a "new girlfriend" as suggested by Yorky on another thread).  Couldn't pass up a pair of $30 Skil blades though.  The Russians will have to wait.  No visible chips.  Looks like they just need a good sharpening.  How do you think I did?

You did alright with the high speed steel blades AND the carbide. More than $100 for them sounds steep. $30 for the HSS is a deal. If you have a bench grinder, do yourself a favor and get a muslin or hard felt wheel and some jeweler’s rouge. After getting your edge polish/hone them up to a shine and they will cut very nicely.


  How do you think I did?


You done good!

$30 is good price, and Nordic steel is alloyed to a very high quality.  I’ve been getting new blades from American National Knife, and they have both HSS ($40) and carbide ($50).  They don’t show the Skil blades on their website though.  ANK told me that they get these custom made in Europe, so they may come from Sweden.  ANK blades are identified by a slot cut completely through the blade for the adjusting screw.  Original Skil blades have a rounded groove in them instead.  There are a few production guys who don’t want to sharpen blades, so I put carbides in.  Most of these guys don’t like to adjust blades, and that’s why they don’t sharpen them.   But shapers who are a “bit retentive” like to go only 5 boards max between sharpening, so they insist on the HSS type.  Sharpening angle is 45 degrees, so it’s very easy to make a jig like for hand planes.  Both blades must be matched in height to be balanced.  Often, somebody will grind down only one that chipped, and the planer will vibrate like crazy.  Put them together back-to-back to check that they match.

Now, the very best blades are original Skil’s that say “made in Germany”, and are very shiney due to the chrome moly in the alloy (there are also non-chrome German types).  These can be honed very sharp, and the edge outlasts anything else I’ve seen.  The next best is the modern reversible strip blades used in the Type 4A and 5 models.  These are the same as the “wood razor” type used in current Bosch/Makita planers and are disposable ($25 set).  Cutter drums from the 4A and 5 can be retro-fitted into any Skil to use these blades.  Very easy to adjust also.

If you have a Skil, always keep an extra set of sharpened blades ready to go when you need them.  Sharpening is a ritual that you want to do slowly and carefully, not on the fly.


Thanks PeteC for the info.  The American Knife deal sounds good.  I've got these three sets just need to either have them sharpened or attempt it myself.   Any reccomendations on sharpening?

McDing, Through any woodworking supply, you can get sharpening stones or the diamond encrusted ones up to 8000 grit. Woodcraft just had a sale on a machined FLAT granite plate for sharpening surface. You can use sand paper in the fine grits also. Since it is a 45 deg. angle you can make a jig pretty easy if not, they have adjustable angle jigs for sale. The backs of the blades need to be flattened first.Sharpen to the 45 deg. and then slightly steepen your angle for a “microbevel” for the final edge. Then I like to take them to the wheel and hone them to a mirror finish removing any burr and really making it smooth and slide very well. This will easily shave hair.

Pete C, Every five boards?!?!? that does seem a little “retentive”. Can a carbide spiral barrel cutter be retro fitted to a Hitachi?

Hi Lowell, the machine shop does mine (about 3 mins) and it’s a perfect edge.  Any sharpening place can also do them, just tell them it’s 45 degrees.  PM me if you can’t find a sharpening place.