Chipper Blades: The Lowdown


The heart and soul of your DR Chipper is its big ol’ flywheel with attached chipper blade.  This is what actually gets the job done — and done right! — when you’re getting rid of all your brush piles, cleaning up after a storm, or clearing away invasive trees.  So, it’s important to know about what makes a great chipper blade — or chipper knife, as we call them here — and how you can get the most out of yours.

How long will my chipper blade last?Chipper Knives

Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast answer to this question.  It really depends on three things: the initial quality of the knife, how much use it gets, and what types of wood you chip.  I wish I could tell you that you need to change your chipper knife every X number of months, but it just doesn’t work that way.  Some people will put a lot more hours on their machines than others, and need to change it more often, and other people will use it much less frequently and not need to change it very often.  A good rule of thumb is to change the chipping knife after every 50 hours of use, but it’s more accurate to say that it needs to be changed whenever you see signs that it has become dull.  A poor-quality chipping knife will dull faster than a quality, hardened steel chipping knife. Similarly, chipping hardwoods will dull your knife faster than softwoods.  DR Chippers use hardened steel PRO-SPEC chipper knives that are more durable, sharper, and wider than others on the market, which means that they last longer and chip more efficiently than competitors’.  Above, DR’s PRO-SPEC chipper knife is shown (left) with a competitor’s chipper knife (right).  Which one would you choose?


How do I know when the blade is dull?

You’ll know your chipper knife is dull when the wood chips start to come out really irregular and poor quality, and when chipping seems to take longer than it should.  You may also notice more strain on your engine, since a dull knife takes more energy to get through a piece of wood than a sharp one.  Because of this, a dull knife wastes a lot of the horsepower of your machine, and uses more fuel than a sharp knife.

How do I sharpen or change the knife?

DR recommends changing your chipping knife yourself or having it sharpened professionally.  Replacing it with a new one is an especially great idea, because you can do it yourself, on your schedule, right at home.  Here’s how.  If you opt to have it done professionally, the cost can be anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the type of chipping knife and what kind of a place you go to.  Some charge per inch of blade, some per side, and some a flat rate.  Shop around to find the best deal in your area.  If you have a DR Chipper, you can order a new knife kit right on the DR website.  If you have an older chipper model, we have those as well, just give us a call to make sure we send you the right one (1-800-687-6575).

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