Are you curious about how to sharpen baler knives? Look no further than this post – it has everything you need in order to do so safely and successfully.
What You'll Learn Today
How Often Do You Have To Sharpen a Baler Knife?
First, it’s important to understand how often this task needs to be completed. Like all hay equipment, baler knives need to be maintained on a regular basis.
The more specific answer varies depending on the type of baler you have, its age, and other factors.
To determine if your baler knives need to be sharpened, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the bale look as though it’s unevenly cut – or had a bad haircut?
- Have sticks, stones, or other debris found their way into the blades and caused them to chip?
- What kind of terrain are you working on? Sand and dirt can cause knives to dull quickly!
- What is the quality of the baler knives?
You can replace the knives, but usually, there’s no need. A little sharpening is all they need and this is by far the more cost-effective option.
Sharpening your baler knives can save you money and time, since you won’t have to worry about money wasted on bad cuts or on damaged components in your machinery.
Most knives, when properly sharpened, will last for 1000 bales or more between sharpenings. This could become a crucial part of your annual hay equipment maintenance schedule.
How Do You Sharpen a Baler Knife?
Many people bring their balers back to the dealership to sharpen the knives. Sometimes this is covered as part of a purchase arrangement but others charge a fee. You can also bring it to a private sharpening shop, where you may pay around $10 or so per knife.
The reason why many people choose to outsource this task is that while removing the knives is easy, putting them back in can be frustrating, especially when you’re trying to get the shims to stay in place.
If you want to sharpen your own knives, know that it will vary a bit between different types of balers. However, here are some general guidelines to follow.
1. Inspect the Knives
First, take a close look at the knives to see if they actually need to be sharpened. More often than not, the answer is that yes, they do, but you should give your baler a thorough once-over to make sure there aren’t other problems that you might be missing.
2. Get the Stationary and Plunger Knives Out
You can sometimes sharpen the baler knives while they are still in the machine, but you’ll have better results if you remove them.
The rear knife, the stationary knife, can be removed quite easily, since the bolts are on the outside. To make it even easier, remove the press channel so you can grasp the knife while loosening the bolts.
Be careful when you do this so that you don’t interfere with the shims that are positioned just behind the knife. They need to be replaced in the same order so make sure you have good lighting so you can keep track of this.
Also, make sure the stationary knife doesn’t stick out beyond the rail or you can cross the knives and seriously damage the machine. If you need to change shims, you should only do so on the plunger knife.
As long as you don’t have a bale thrower installed, you can remove the plunger knives from the rear. Disconnect where the crank bearing is and make sure you loosen up the left side horizontal bearing before you pull the plunger.
Be sure to inspect all the bearings on the plunger before you sharpen the knives.
3. Use a Tool
You can use many different types of tools to sharpen your knives. Some people use run-of-the-mill grinders to sharpen their knives.
The problem with using a grinder(particularly one with a flap wheel) is that it can shorten the life of the blade and ruin the temper. It doesn’t always sharpen at a consistent angle, either. The flap disc is too aggressive for most blazer knives, removing far too much material at once.
Using a hand file is another option but this can take quite some time. Some people even use orbital sanders at slow rotating speed with fine-grit paper – but again, this isn’t the best option.
A specialized knife sharpening tool for baling knives is ideal. This kind of tool will sharpen the knife on both sides, helping to increase the lifespan of the knife and make it more effective. You need a machine that can get all the arcs on the knives perfectly sharp.
You can clamp the knife to the bench and use the built-in grinder with an adjustable height and angle. Run the tool back and forth, dropping it down a bit as you continue to sharpen the knife.
Inspect the knife for sharpness and look for any remaining or new nicks. Check the specifications listed by the manufacturer for the ideal sharpness of your baler knives.
Still unclear on the processes involved? Be sure to check out this video, which has some information on how you can sharpen your baler knives at home yourself.
How Do You Sharpen a Net Wrap Knife?
If you’re having problems with your net wrap knives, always check the sharpness first. Often, dull knives will cause the roll to keep spinning even when the knife isn’t actually cutting. This can make a mess of what you’re trying to do!
You can go over these knives with a wire wheel to sharpen them. Many of the tools listed above to sharpen blazer knives will work on net wrap knives, as will things as simple as Scotch Brite pads installed on a die grinder.
You can sharpen the knives or replace them with a new set of sharpened net wallpaper knives, which will buy you some extra time. When you reinstall the knives, make sure the net comb is positioned onto the knife carrier first
Install the knives’ sharp edges flush to the net comb. Then, install and torque the bolts to the specifications listed in your user manual.
What is the Sharpest Way to Sharpen a Knife?
The easiest way to sharpen a knife – and ensure it is as sharp as can possibly be! – is to use a specialized tool. Keep in mind that once your baler knives are truly sharp and precise, they’ll only require occasional honing.
If there is serious damage, it’s always best to take your baler to the local dealer. That way, they can use their specialized machines to regrind your blades. At the dealer’s, they’ll use an engine head grinder with a jig to hold the knives at the perfect angle. They can even perform welding jobs to replace nicks.
Once you get them back, they’ll be super sharp – plus, the dealer will often tape up the edges so you can reinstall the knives without cutting your hands. So while it’s important to know how to sharpen baler knives for yourself, ultimately, it sometimes pays to outsource!