Best Saber Saw Blade for 1.5" Maple Bench Top?

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I'm building a special work bench, using one of Grizzly's 1.5" thick "butcher block" bench tops. I need to cut two irregular pockets into one edge of the bench to mount equipment.
The top is 25" x 48", and way too big (and heavy) to manuever around my bandsaw. I'm assuming the best approach is to use my trusty ancient B&D saber saw. I'm wondering which the best sort of blade might be to A) minimize the load on the saw, and B) minimize the risk of scorching the maple. I was planning on drilling out the corners to start, which will keep most of the cuts fairly straight. That way I can use a moderately wide blade. I've had good luck with a "fleam" ground blade on softer wood, but I have no idea what it will think of the maple. The saw uses the the old style blades with a hole, not thenewer Bosch T style.
Alternatively, should I use this as an excuse to buy a super-duper new saber saw? If so, what should I look for?
Any ideas, warnings or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks!
Doug White
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Get a Bosch. {:-)
Max ( has two)
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"Doug White" wrote:

<snip>
As a point of reference, I have a Bosch 1587 saber saw BUT it would not be my tool of choice for this task.
I would make a template from 1/4" ply, grab my handy dandy plunge router equipped with a guide bushing and a 1/2" pattern bit, then go to work.
If I were to use a saber saw, it would be to cut a hole leaving about 1/2" of material for router clean up.
BTW, great excuse to buy a real saber saw.
Have fun.
Lew
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I'm actually planning on cleaning up the hole with my router & a template, but that a lot of hardwood to go through with a router to cut out the hole to begin with.
I've been looking into the new saw option. Unfortunately, the last time Fine Woodworking did a thorough comparison was issue #126, which I figure was about 6 years ago. Even if I still had that issue, it's seriously out of date.
Bosch seems to be popular, and they have some new "clean" blades that are supposed to cut really well. The price tag is also impressive, although the long weekend might produce some good sales.
Doug White
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Doug White wrote:

Bosch has had clean cut blades for as long as I can remember (like, going back 30 years) that make a remarkably smooth cut. Also others that do rapid rough cuts and others that are specialized in various ways.
Now, if you read that article in Fine Woodworking and then take a look at a Bosch 1590 you'll find that it is pretty much what their ideal design would be. Amazon has them in stock for under 150 bucks, which is the same ballpark as Milwaukee, DeWalt, and other high quality jigsaws.
In power tools there's no other in which the difference between cheap and good is so radical as in jigsaws--if it's a tool you use regularly you'll be very happy that you spent the money.
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I have the 1584 and a 1591 and I much prefer the older 1584.
Max
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On 02/11/2010 09:59 PM, Max wrote:

This statement would be a lot more useful to others if you gave some reasons for the preference.
Chris
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The "barrel" of the 1584 is easier to grasp and maneuver for me. I just like the feel better. The 1591 has the "blower" feature but I haven't noticed that it has that much effect. I have learned over the years that the more "comfortable" a tool feels the more one enjoys using it. .......YMMV
Max
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I looked into buying a 1590 locally (Boston area), and NOBODY has them in stock. I finally caved & ordered one through Amazon. Ordinarily I probably would have tried to make due with my old one, but all of the fancy newer blades (which are supposed to be a big improvement) are in the Bosch T style mount. I've looked in the local hardware stores, and the choices for the old style blades with a hole are mostly junk.
As I get older, the vibration from the B&D also gets more wearing. The Bosch is supposed to be super smooth. It's odd, because I usually find a lot of mixed opinions when I go tool shopping. The Bosch has the most unanimous praise of any tool I think I've ever seen.
Thanks!
Doug White
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On Fri, 12 Feb 2010 15:46:14 +0000, Doug White wrote:

All I can say is that I replaced a B&D with a Bosch several years ago and I couldn't believe the difference. They also make a blade with variable tooth pitch (I can't recall the name) that does a remarkably clean cut for its aggressiveness.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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Larry Blanchard wrote:

I had and B&D when I used a friend's Bosch. I bought one the next day.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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I had a Crapsman that I hated from the day I bought it. Two years ago I bought a 1590 and didn't use it for a year. When I finally got to a project that I really needed a jig saw I dreaded taking the thing out. What a surprise! I don't dread using a jig saw anymore. ;-)
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That brings me back to the original question of which blade to use on 1.5" maple. The saw should be here tomorrow, but I was planning on picking up the blades for the maple locally. They have roughly 40 options for wood:
http://www.boschtools.com/Products/Accessories/Pages/BoschAccessoryDetail .aspx?pid27
The working length of even the shortest ones will be OK, so that's not an issue. They have a 4" "Speed for hardwood" blade that sounds interesting. They also have "clean for wood" blades, as well as "Precision" blades. The ones that are supposed to be splinter-free on both sides are supposedly only for up to 3/4" thick, which is a good bit less than the listed working length.
Anyone care to help whittle this down?
Thanks!
Doug White
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On 2/12/10 11:30 AM, Doug White wrote:

Do you have a router? If so, I wouldn't worry about clean, I would go for fast...big aggressive teeth. Make a rough cutout, and a final, clean cut with the router.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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That's the plan, but my router is an old Porter Cable that works fine, but isn't up to hogging out a ton of maple. My hope was to cut it reasonably close (within a 1/16th of an inch or so) with the saw, and then just clean things up with the router. My concern with "big aggressive teeth" is that it will be easy to overcut, and it will have more chipout & splinters to deal with.
I'm off to the hardware store to buy mousetraps, and will check out their blades while I'm there. Nothing like a first hand look to help narrow the field.
Doug White
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"Doug White" wrote:

<snip>
If that P/C router can't handle cleaning up at least 1/4" of maple per pass, probably time to look at a replacement.
Lew
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On 2/12/10 2:42 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote:

Oops, ya beat me to it. :-)
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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Haven't tried it yet, but 1.5 inches of butcher block maple isn't like routing oak or walnut. This stuff is HARD. My Porter Cable is a 25 year old 1 1/2 hp router. It's a good router, but it's no match for the 3 horse monsters folks sell these days.
Having just shelled out for a new jigsaw, I don't think I can justify getting a new router. I'll just have to nibble away at it with my feeble old Porter Cable....
Doug White
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"Doug White" wrote:

-------------------------------- Sounds like a 690 that I had.
Given a sharp cutter, I had no problen with cutting maple.
OTOH, if your cutter is not sharp, no so good.
If the maple burns, cutter needs to be sharpened.
Lew
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I agree, it's all in the "blade."
You can test the shapness of a straight router bit by sliding it across your finger nail like a scraper. *be carefull* You can slice into your thumb pretty good.
Lightly scrape (perpendicular to the blade) down the fingernail and you should see a shaving curl up. If you have to push too hard or it skips, the blade is dull.
You *can* sharpen up straight bits on a flat stone (or equiv.) and it's worth a try, but they are pretty cheap to begin with, so I usually toss them and buy new.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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