I have used a think kerf CMT General in my original contractor saw for
years, then when I got my cabinet saw, it's been with that for about two
years and I'm very happy with it. My brother is just putting together his
shop and he is choosing a Griz 1023SL TS and I was going to get him a
Forrest Woodworker II as a shop warming present. The problem is that I
can't decide between full or thin kerf. Why would I ever want to use more
kerf than necessary - there must be a reason, but it escapes me. Thanks
for any input.
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The theory I heard is that the thin kerf would be more likely to experience
vibration issues, since it would be marginally more flexible. So if your
saw can drive a full kerf blade, that seemed to be the most advisable.
Having never compared directly, I don't know how much of an issue that
Think kerf helps an under powered saw cut faster.
From there the thin kerf is a disadvantage as it flexes and does not produce
as flat of a cut as a regular kerf blade. You may not realize the flex
until you switch to a premium quality regular kerf blade. In particular you
see the difference when cutting miters and compound miters.
Get him the regular kerf blade. I used thin kerf blades for years until I
discovered Premium regular kerf blades.
I'm betting that most folks here work with stock that's considerably
less than an inch and a half thick - David Eisen being the exception
(see his table legs - out of ash as I recall). Just finding stock
than 3/4" can be an adventure. And no one works with ply thicker
than 3/4". So for a table saw, and the stuff you typically do with
blade flexing isn't an issue - assuming the blade and fence are set
parallel to the miter slot - a BIG assumption in some shops. So a
kerf blade works just fine - for me. In fact, I leave a 7 1/4" blade
my Robland - Freud and CMT make some nice carbide tipped blades
for circular saws that work just fine. Why spin a 10" full kerf
when it isn't necessary. And kickback, if it should happen, is a LOT
less dramatic with a think kerf than it is with a full kerf.
No on a miter saw, compound miter saw, sliding miter saw or sliding
compound miter saw - you NEED a thicker blade - and a 12" will give
you more cutting capacity - both in height and width. But with the
thicker blade and larger diameter comes the opportunity for Mach
10 UFOs. There are always trade offs in life - the trick is to
the likelyhood that one of those trade offs doesn't damage any
body parts you really need.
My vote - unless it's for a miter saw, go with a thin kerf.
And BTW, you can get three or four thin kerf, carbide toothed 7 1/4"
blades for the price of one really good full kerf 10". At the first
hint of dulling I'll replace a blade, putting the "less than perfect
on the carpenter's circular saw. I still haven't sent my original
back for sharpening and it's replacement WWII wasn't as sharp as
it had been - which is how the 7 1/4" thin kerf discovery was made.
I talked to the Forrest demo rep after a demo at a local shop and he
suggested the thin kerf with a 5" stabilizer for my Delta hybrid TS. I am
not sure if I told him I just had a hybrid saw, but he felt that was the way
to go. So far I have been very pleased with how it cuts. Do most people
Ah - stock prep - the elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about.
If you don't have one straight edge, square to the top and bottom of the
stock and the top and bottom parallel - preferably with squared off ends
- you're starting off with one foot in the hole - and digging. The hole
you'll find yourself in eventually - assuming you make it to glue up
one or more trips to the emergency room worse case, or to the house
for some ice, or maybe just a band aide, will make it crystal clear why
old maxim - "You can't make rectangles out of trapezoidal parts!"
taking to heart. (Now I know there's someone out there who's heading for
Auto CAD to come up with a way to disprove the maxim and post the
solution here, or to a.b.p.w. or the url to a page or two with the
For some reason, which seems to defy the randomness of nature, wood
working errors always seem to accumulate rather than being self
Then we come to "perfectly straight" and how close is "close enough"?
If the edge against the fence isn't "close enough" to straight then a
regular kerf or thin kerf is the least of your problems. If it's off by
enough to make the thickness of the blade an issue - or the need for
a stabilizer, why not just hit the high spot(s) with a hand plane for a
pass or two in that /those areas and then make the rip cut?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Think S2S lumber that is straight on one edge and has a curve on the other
side. Basically, you have just run the piece through the jointer to
straighten the fence side of the board. Now you have a curve on the side
that you are going to correctly straighten on the TS. For maximum yield
your blade will likely have wood on both sides as well as only on the right
side, as the narrow part of the board passes the blade. If the blade is
exiting and or entering or reentering wide and narrow spots on the board it
is going to have a side force applied as the left side of the blade appears
and reappears. Regular kerf is affected less in this situation.
Makes sense if you do the numbers.
Let's say a board is 5 1/4" wide. You need to cut two 2" pieces from it. 2"
+ 2" + 1/8" kerf + 1/8" kerf will leave a scrap of 1/2". If you use a thin
kerf blade you save 1/16" and have a 5/16" scrap piece and the difference
can be put towards your 401k or the kid's college fund.
I guess it can make serious sense in a production shop taking very wide
boards to very narrow ones.
Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of use with cabinet grade
plywood. That stuff can get pretty expensive. Last time I bought some was
oak veneered plywood some twelve years ago and it was something like $140 a
sheet (CA) even back then. Getting into some of the exotic stuff could get
really expensive. I'm afraid to look and see what it is now.
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