Carbide saw blades


I have a question about carbide blades. In the past I have been using the cheap $6-$10 Harbor freight blades and dressing the teeth as needed until the blade nolonger cuts well.(very dull) I than toss it out and use another new blade. With $12 to $20 for sharpening my method seems, on the face, to be best. I would like to hear other ideas from fellow wood chippers.
KenG
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"Ken Grunenberg" I have a question about carbide blades. In the past I have been using the cheap $6-$10 Harbor freight blades and dressing the teeth as needed until the blade nolonger cuts well.(very dull) I than toss it out and use another new blade. With $12 to $20 for sharpening my method seems, on the face, to be best. I would like to hear other ideas from fellow wood chippers.
KenG
Since you think Harbor Fright blades have any merit I suppose switching to Ridge Carbide or Forrest is simply out of the question. I'll add this, I would be willing to bet that my Ridge Carbide or Forrest will still be cutting better after the same footage ripped by 10 HF blades.
Save yourself the agony of cheap blades and get a real saw blade.
Dave
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Thanks Dave. This is the information I am looking for. I buy a Dewalt or B&D or HF 71/4" or Craftsman when cutting sheet goods and they work well for a long time and for the 6 bucks its not worth resharpening. Are the 10"for $60 to $90 dollars Forrest , Ridge ,Feud really that much better than the 10" HF lifetime Carbide for $17 to $20. What is needed is some kind of sharpness gauge or board foot rating on the carbide blades
ken
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Ken Grunenberg wrote:

What I'm curious about, Ken, is what you mean by "dressing the teeth". Do you have the proper tooling for sharpening (if that's what you mean by dressing) carbide? Most of us don't. In some circumstances, a diamond file can be used to hone or even sharpen carbide, but practically speaking, the inaccuracy of hand sharpening a circular blade makes the effort not worthwhile.
I doubt the carbide on some HF blades is that much different, practically speaking, than on the higher priced blades. But the sharpening, the balance and design make a world of difference. I suspect you could send one of the better HF blades to Forrest and have them sharpen it, and you'd see a tremendous improvement. But at that point you're only a few bucks away from getting a better designed and balanced blade, so the effort again might not be worth it.
My 2¢, H
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H
Yes I mean honing stones and files. nothing to replaced and sharpen carbide teeth.
this thread is important to me to get the best tools I can afford. I know that HF sells junk but if the use is considered with the cost than we can buy more and better toys with the savings.
Remember he who has the most toys wins. LOL:) thanks ken
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If cost is that big a deal, you might want to consider Marathon blades. THey are not Freud in quality but they are not in the same price league.
http://www.irwin.com/irwin/consumer/jhtml/browse.jhtml?catId=IrwinCat100011
Freud is worth it, even if you have to save up.
Harbor Freight is mostly junk.
Look at these:
http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM 6-493
or
http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM 9-779&DF€3-359#803-359
I don't consider $37 a lot of money these days....
Ken Grunenberg wrote:

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Take a look at Avenger.
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I will try to tread lightly here as I know so many are more proud of their tools than even their own children.
First of all, it certainly depends on what you are using the blades for. For my regular work, I only use the Freud Diablo blades in my circular saw, and have one for my 10" miter saw. They are great blades and to me at $10 - $14 for the 7 1/4" blades, they are to me a tremendous value.
However, I do not use them for chopping up the demo crap from the job, or for demo in general. For that I use the HF blades one of my old Bosch circulars saws and if I hit a nail I just close my eyes (even with safety glasses) until I an through.
I also use the HF blades with great success when cutting in ridge vent on a roof, especially if it is a retrofit.
I have a couple of really nice blades for my 12" mitre saw, and some crappy ones. When we are building a deck, I use the crappy ones. They get gunked up with sap, all the moisture in the pressure treated stuff, and sometimes catch a loose knot. No Forester or any other blade will last too much longer than a bad blade because of the conditions. When I cut large crown molding with the same saw, the blade is changed to something better.
But... if you use a Forester or another premium blade (still bang for the buck to me is the Freud) in a miter saw, you will be surprised at how long they will last. Equally, you will be surprised at how long a middle of the road blade will last if you are using it for trims, moldings, and just off and on. I have found no HUGE difference in blades as far as how long they stay sharp in a miter saw. But there is a big difference in the quality of cut. Sometimes, you do actually get just what you pay for. A cheap blade may only be held to loose tolerances and it will show up as a crappy cut with splintering and tearing of your wood.
I agree with Teamcasa on this: <<I would be willing to bet that my Ridge Carbide or Forrest <<will still be cutting better after the same footage ripped by 10 HF blades.
When I am >ripping< a lot of material, I only use the best blades I can get. The heat buildup, and the inherent nature of ripping really dictates that you get a quality blade that is held to close tolerances so that you don't have those one or two tooth "fliers" that will generate a lot of excess heat when ripping since they are not cutting in line with the rest of the teeth. And one of the things that you pay for in a quality blade is accurate blade set.
You should get blades designed for your intention. I have about 50-60 blades off all sorts of quality and sizes in the shop at any given time. That way when I need to start a project, likely I will have what I need at my fingertips.
If you are a hobby guy or a serious hobby guy, I would personlly buy a good middle of the road blade and learn how to cut with it. I don't agree with buying the best you can afford; if you haven't tuned up your miter saw, or if you are using a cheap table saw with a mediocre fence, you wont reap the benefits of a $250 blade. If you cut sappy wood and the blade rusts overnigt, you will be pissed. If you cut wood that has a lot of silicates, or something that is highly resinous like cabinet grade MDF, you will dull a great blade for no reason. It is like using a fine Samurai sword to cut up cardboard boxes. And if you burn your blade or warp it (from binding) while trying to learn to use it, you will be in tears if you actually ruined it. It just takes one cut.
Oh yeah... HF blades are the true definition of throw aways. Don't sharpen them, throw them away when they are dull. Questionable brazing of the teeth, low grade carbide (C2) and hit and miss manufacture don't make them worth fooling with when their duty cycle is over.
Robert
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I use Feud and hae been using the same blat for 10 years. The secret it to keep the blade cleen and use the right blade for the right job. I use a 40 tooth blade for ripping boards and an 80 tooth blade for end cuts. It pays to take your time and switch blade around. I cleen my blade at the end of the day with house hold oven cleaner and soak it for over an hour and wipe clean and put away. I am sure that most will agree that if you spend 80 to 100 dollars on a good blade and take care of it it will out last and out perform many cheep blade. -- Brown's Country Woodworking http://users.eastlink.ca/~brownscountry
<DIV>I have a question about carbide blades. </DIV> <DIV><FONT size=2><FONT size=3>In the past I have been using the cheap $6-$10 Harbor freight blades and</FONT> <FONT size=3>dressing the teeth as needed until the blade nolonger&nbsp; cuts well.(very dull)&nbsp; &nbsp;I than toss it out and use another new blade. With $12 to $20 for sharpening my method seems, on the&nbsp;face, to be&nbsp; best.</FONT></FONT></DIV> <DIV>I would like to hear other ideas from fellow wood chippers.</DIV> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV>KenG</DIV></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>
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KEN, it DEPENDS. I've used a variety of blades over the years and had as many sharpened from time to time.
My grandfather (Irish carpenter) would say "its a poor workman that blames his tools."
My son-in-law was complaining that his $200 Forrest variable dado blade won't fit on his Craftsmen Table Saw Arbor when set to 3/4". I suggested he'd do as well with a HF Dado set given the amount of work he's likely to complete in the next four years. I still have my SEARS ADJ Dado Blades and (24 teeth) they work fine for much of my work. But the rounded bottom caused me to try the HF stacked dado set. And it works, too.
Now, I do not produce fancy wood furniture for a living and I don't cut dado's every month, so HF is fine as long as I take my time, make a test cut or two and plan things out.
The best thing I got for my sawing was the LINK BELT. An immediate and noticeable difference in the operation of the saw and the cuts. Will never go back to a v-belt.
If your work is not suffering, why change? There is no direct/absolute correlation between cash expended and quality of the finished piece - its what separates the craftsmen from the woodworkers that makes the difference.
On the other hand, if your HF blades are not allowing you to make the cuts with the precision your projects require - then you need to ask what you might do to fix the problem.
Don't be ashamed of creating great work on a budget!
Spend the savings on quality materials and hardware!
I have a question about carbide blades. In the past I have been using the cheap $6-$10 Harbor freight blades and dressing the teeth as needed until the blade nolonger cuts well.(very dull) I than toss it out and use another new blade. With $12 to $20 for sharpening my method seems, on the face, to be best. I would like to hear other ideas from fellow wood chippers.
KenG
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While this makes sense for some items the saw blade is one of the most used tools in the shop. Pinching pennies on a saw blade is just costly. If he can buy 10 blades for the price of a Forrest he has spent too much and perhaps wasted some of that "quality material" In the end he has throw away blades and the Forrest will probably have 9 more good sharpenings left in it. The Forrest will probably last 100 times longer than one of the cheap blades and on a properly set up saw will save "quality material" and time.
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Any blade you get at HF is going to be made of material that is just good enough to get past safty requirements. Meaning the steel itself will be low grade. the carbide (if the blade has any) will also be the lowest quality the market can offer the manufacturer that makes them. They might be sharp out of the package, but you can bet they will dull very fast.
Most any other blade manufacturer of any major name brand makes blades to compete in some mannor, other than rock bottom prices. If you bought a Forrest blade and fired up your saw, not only would that blade last you a very long time (if used with proper care) it would also have superior balance at any RPM upto its rating, and the noise level of the saw would be drasticly quieter than any HF blade you buy.
Over the years, I have tried to cheat myself by purchacing a low line blade, but the end results were always very short life. some, even as little as 5% life time compared to the higher end blades, like Freud, forrest, etc.
I have a Forrest 80 tooth blade that I use mostly for finish cuts on plywood veneers.. and that sort, and I cut A LOT of wood with it. This one blade in particular is nearly a year old now, and still gives me ~near the same beutifull finish cuts that it did when it was new. Maybe that is a good example of how a serious blade can differ.. when I have used cheaper blades, and they didnt last a week under same conditions I put them through.
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I have to second that. Although I'm a part-time woodworker ( think home workshop) I bought two Forrest blades a couple of years ago, thinking I'd have the second while the first was getting sharpened. Haven't had to use the second blade yet and I've cut quite a bit of hard maple, Oak, walnut and the like. Still get glass smooth edges with no burning.
YMMV
Vic
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Thanks Guys this is the type of infomation that helps alot.
I have one question of Mel In the year you have had the Forrest are you dressing(honeing) the teeth often and how many board feet can you guess you have cut.
Thanks again.
I am almost totally convinced that I should have at least one real good blade for fine finish cutting of plywood.
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Thanks Guys this is the type of infomation that helps alot.
I have one question of Mel In the year you have had the Forrest are you dressing(honeing) the teeth often and how many board feet can you guess you have cut.
Thanks again.
I am almost totally convinced that I should have at least one real good blade for fine finish cutting of plywood.
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wow, estimating board feet over the time I started using that blade, hmm..
I have cut somewhere around 2 dozen 3/4" 4x8 sheets of oak, cherry and maple veneer plywood, which each had maybe 50 individual pieces, many with multiple cuts to finish.. bevels, angled miter end cuts, and such.. at least a dozen 1/2 Baltic birch, which each sheet also was cut into 10 to 50 individual pieces... maybe in the area of 600 to 1000 board feet of 3/4 to 1 1/4 hardwood rips for moldings I make.. yeah, very well used indeed, and I can still cut a 3/4 piece of veneer ply with, maybe just below perfect finish cuts, both rip and cross cut, still absolutely clean cuts to say the least.
As for what I do for upkeep on the blade, nothing more than being as careful as I can with how I feed wood into it, always making alignment a top priority, and routine checks (even several times through out a full days use on the saw), and simple cleaning with easy off oven cleaner and scrub brush. I generally dont even need to clean the blade all too often, as careful as I really am with cutting with it. I think I have cleaned it around 5 times total in fact..
I have never touched the carbide teeth at all, with anything other than the scrub brush (not a wire brush) or my fingernail, to answer your actual question..
So, theres a good example of low maintenance on a good quality saw blade, and its outstanding long term use. I in no way claim that my methods are the best, or even the proper ones.. but I have had good results with them *shrugs*
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On Sat, 08 Apr 2006 09:01:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spam.invalid (Mel Graham) wrote:

I'll bet you're the only one who knows what your nicely detailed information refers to, since several blades have been mentioned in the thread.
Had you quoted something, the rest of us would also know. <G>
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maybe in the area of

the best other brand blades, so I guess the next blade will be a Forrest 10"
THanks for the feed back I now can make an informed choice.
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