Comparison

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Some time ago I asked if any of you were in a position to try a comparison between the Forrest WoodWorker II and the Harbor Frieght blade (SKU 46231)
http://www.harborfreight.com/10-inch-50-tooth-alternate-top-bevel-design- novelty-combo-blade-46231.html
Harbor Freight having the reputation they do for selling cheap tools, I got no takers, and was not overly surprised.
SWMBO, gave me a "US Grant" for Father's Day and I put it back in the deepest recesses of the wallet. Finally, I decided to take the plunge and buy a Forrest WoodWorker II (40tooth, 1/8" kerf). So shopping around I found it on Amazon for $107.00 and hit the "Order" button. The package arrived today and, of course, I had to check it out.
After peeling the protective coating off it, I mounted it in my Ridgid 3650 tablesaw and made a couple of test cuts. I stepped back, scratched my head and said, "Hmmmmmm." So, I got a fresh HF 46231, mounted it and made a couple of test cuts. Then I remounted the Forrest WWII, got a 7/4 piece of Southern Red Oak and did an an crosscut and an rip cut. Swapped out the Forrest for the HF blade and made the crosscut and rip on the other end and side of the same pieces of red oad.
Bottom line, the Forrest is going back. There was very little, if any noticable difference. If there was a difference the HF blade gave the better cut. On the first pass in the rip cut with the Forrest, I noticed a tooth mark, rather severe, so I moved the rip fence over 1/4" and recut. It had the same thing, in the same place.
The HF blade is only C3, so it will need to be sharpened a bit more often, but at $19.50, you can almost get a new blade rather than have it sharpened.
To be very honest, I was extremely surprised. But, it is what it is.
As a disclaimer, the ONLY HF blade I would use is the 46231. My bandsaw blades are Woodslicers, my router bits are all name brand. In other words, I do want quality.
What I would really like to see is a lab test between these two. But for my test, on my saw, in my shop, there is no justification in paying six times the cost of the HF for the Forrest.
Deb
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On 7/26/2012 12:00 PM, Dr. Deb wrote:

Ok, so lets take a look at how you tested it.
Did you have the stabilizer on the WWII blade and the HF blade? Is your saw properly aligned. Did you have any burning?
Since you say there is a tooth mark, my guess is your saw is not aligned correctly.
Have you used a dial indicator on your fence to check that it doesn't bow. (you clamp the dial indicator mounted to a block of wood to a miter gauge that has no play. then run the miter back and forth and verify the fence)?
A good blade can't correct an un-aligned saw.
If all things are good, then by all means go return it.
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On 7/26/2012 11:16 AM, tiredofspam wrote:

FWIW you absolutely do not need a stabilizer on a WWII 1/8" kerf blade.
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On 7/26/2012 12:24 PM, Mike Marlow wrote:

...
We don't know that; all we know is that it wasn't reported, not that there wasn't a mark...
...

...
No, he didn't say "much better" (altho unless there's something funny going on I'm presuming a "Deb" is a she rather than a he) -- it was "little if any noticeable difference"

No, but a a poorly aligned saw can (and probably will) make a good blade look no better than or even worse than a poor one...if it's not cutting in line, neither is the other one and neither is up to what might be if aligned properly.
--
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"dpb" wrote in message
On 7/26/2012 12:24 PM, Mike Marlow wrote:

...
We don't know that; all we know is that it wasn't reported, not that there wasn't a mark...
...

...
No, he didn't say "much better" (altho unless there's something funny going on I'm presuming a "Deb" is a she rather than a he) -- ==============================================================In the original post, Deb makes a reference to SWMBO and getting the money for fathers day.
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On 7/26/2012 12:50 PM, Mike Marlow wrote:

...
_Inferred_, not precisely stated.

...
...
Not necessarily. It's quite possible (and I'd say probable) that the imprecision in the cheaper covered up defects in the saw the more precise blade made apparent.
--
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On 7/26/2012 2:24 PM, Mike Marlow wrote: ...

There's really little direct evidence. There's an account.
I (like many others here) have enough experience over 50+ yrs and have used enough Forrest and other similar quality blades to have a pretty good database stored to know they do simply perform better than inexpensive ones in general.
If one does find an exception to that, I'd expect it to be an aberration easily explained by either damage as Leon mentioned or other conditions.
Again, that a new HF may seem to cut similarly to a good blade on a poorly tuned saw isn't a surprise, either. Misalignment and/or runout negates much of the advantage of having a very good blade. Just as a novice violinist won't/can't make a Strad sound much better than his practice violin; he just doesn't have the skill yet to make use of the quality of the instrument.
Accept or no; it's so and makes no difference to me whether do or not.
As OP says in his followup he's a hobby user--it likely doesn't matter much as yet as it may later on. If he's happy, that's fine but I'll remain skeptical of the HF being "better" than the Forrest as a general precept--I'm convinced something correctable gave him the result he got (possibly the tightened sphincter muscles after having laid out the cash had something to do with it <VBG> -- and if he's happy w/ the HF he might as well get something he'll feel better about spending the $$ on).
--
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On 7/26/2012 8:02 PM, Mike Marlow wrote: ...

Well, then, I certainly have no idea what specifically it was that you _were_ trying to say...
You never proposed that something could have been suspect in the comparison--either the blade, the saw, a combination to explain the grossly unexpected results; only afaict a willingness to blindly accept that a very inexpensive run-of-the-mill blade would outperform an obviously flawed cut made w/ a blade from a recognized premium industry leader...
I'll throw out one more war story as a _possible_ albeit unlikely culprit -- many years ago I bought a matched pair of blades (not Forrest but another of similar reputation and price point) specifically to cut a bunch of tenons for a large project. The first trial w/ them went very badly indeed and left a mark much like that OP described on one side in particular.
Investigation (and not a terribly intense one :) ) uncovered the fact that one of the two center holes was just a wee fraction small and would (and did) not fit over the unthreaded portion of the arbor shaft on the PM66 and so was cockeyed rather than resting flush against the arbor mandrel face.
Whatever it was that happened in OP's case, _something_ caused that blade to score agreed, but to draw a general conclusion from that one cut is just not supported w/o additional data and followup.
For example OP didn't report what he learned from Forrest when he contacted them to get their input before deciding to return it. It sounds like he was simply relieved he could justify getting the money back that he really didn't want to spend to begin with...
--
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On 7/27/2012 8:14 AM, Mike Marlow wrote: ...

...
OK, but I surely didn't get the first thought--maybe I didn't read carefully enough, I don't know...
If the other blade isn't true it could smear out the single clean score mark the other (true) blade left. If OP is only used to an out-of-tune saw it's quite possible never has recognized a truly in-tune cut to clearly judge just what might have gone wrong. Certainly he saw a problem but immediately assigned blame to the blade instead of digging in was/is my biggest problem in the reported conclusion.
I wasn't/am not familiar w/ the particular saw so I did a search--John White of the FWW shop did do a introductory evaluation of it and reports it is a pretty nice machine overall. The test machine as received he noted was pretty accurate other than the fence was somewhat out of line and noted it was a real booger/time-consumer to align properly.
--
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If you really want to be picky... the OP *implied* it. You *inferred* it.
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On 7/26/2012 11:00 AM, Dr. Deb wrote:

Something was not right.
If you are seeing tooth marks with either either blade your saw is not properly aligned pr your wood is not perfectly straight. A great blade will only cut as well as the saw is set up.
Is your wood perfectly straight?
If you absolutely confident that you saw is set up properly I would suspect a damaged Forrest blade. These things get tossed around during shipping just like everything else.
Seriously I am extremely happy with the results of my WWII and I have been doing this seriously for 30+ years. I have only been using a Forrest since 1999. No blade has cut as well for me as the Forrest.
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On 7/26/2012 11:57 AM, Leon wrote:

Seeing how all cuts were made on the same saw, with the same setup, I see no other explanation ... that particular Forrest blade is apparently not up to the standards we are used to.
I would return it regardless.
That said, it would interesting to try both blades on a well setup cabinet saw to see the how they fare.
I've seen quite a few inexpensive blades made the first few dozen cuts quite nicely, but you generally needed three or four blades to get through a project; while a Forrest will take you through a dozen or more of the same size projects with the same quality cuts.
--
www.eWoodShop.com
Last update: 4/15/2010
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On 7/26/2012 1:12 PM, Swingman wrote:

Still the quality of cut from a Forrest I never see saw marks unless the blade is dull, or the piece didn't get fed through right (ie pulled away from fence)
I still don't suspect the blade. I suspect the saws alignment.
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On 7/26/2012 12:24 PM, tiredofspam wrote:

Actually I have seen tooth marks from my Forrest, that all started after tilting the blade and forgetting to remove the zero clearance insert. ;~) Forrest fixed it for a very reasonable cost.

If one blade cut better than the other alignment is not the reason the Forrest performed worse.
Shipping damage was probably the culprit.
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On 7/26/12 12:12 PM, Swingman wrote:

That's what I was thinking. See how it's cutting, not months from now, but weeks. C3 is the Doug Fir of the carbide world when it comes to hardness. :-)
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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On 7/26/2012 12:12 PM, Swingman wrote:

Still using the yet to be sharpened Forrest that we used on the never ending kitchen job last year, the Murphy bed and tower cabinets, cutting table for Kim, Bryan's bed, Kitchen drawers for our house and the neighbors house, our new pantry, a corner dining room cabinet, 3 sets of book cases, and the wall of book cases you helped me deliver a couple of weeks ago.... did I leave anything out? :~)
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On 7/26/2012 9:00 AM, Dr. Deb wrote:

We all have our favorites and while you don't think there is any real difference in a $100 and $20 blade, just think about this the next time you are standing in front of that spinning blade with blade tips going a few hundred feet per second toward you:
1. Who brazed those tips on and with what ??
2. Who inspected that blade and made sure it was perfectly flat ?
3. Who made sure that the blade is perfectly balanced for 4,500 r.p.m. ?
4. Has the person doing that ever seen a table saw ?
Finding a serious comparison is very unlikely.
Don't forget to wear your safety glasses and Kevlar vest while woodworking.
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"Pat Barber" wrote:

---------------------------------- Nuf said.
Trying to save $80 on the cost of a high performance (high risk) tool such as a carbide tooth saw blade is pure folly IMHO.
Lew
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Lew, I was not trying to save money, I was more than willing to plonk down the cash for the Forrest - I just wanted it to work at least as well as the HF blade - thinking the C4 would make it last a long time with the way I use my TS.
BTW -- I recut the side of the red oak that I had used to test the Forrest with the HF blade - baby butt smooth. So, all of you who were saying the blade had to be defective, were probably right.
Deb
Lew Hodgett wrote:

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"Dr. Deb" wrote:

----------------------------------- Glad to see you appear to have isolated your problem.
My first move would be to contact Forrest.
Don't personally have any Forrest equipment, but my guess they have too much at stake not to want to get to the bottom of this problem and solve it.
Lew
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