Hey Guys- Sorry if this one's been covered 1000 times.
After years of outdoor projects (deck building, etc.) and framing/finishing
basements in two houses, I've recently decided to try some
furniture/woodworking. After 1 weekend, I'm suddenly unhappy with wood
chipping/splintering during cuts (never a concern with my former projects).
Anyhow, it's pretty obvious that BOTH my 10" Miter Saw and 7 1/4" circular
saw could use new blades (ohhh- you're actually supposed to REPLACE those
I know the basics of Crosscutting vs. Ripping, etc.- but I can't see alot of
home hobbyists changing out blades between cuts. What I'm looking for is a
some general advice on some all-purpose blades for my 2 tools
(teeth/brand/type, etc.) Some internet research has shown me that there are
some generally accepted VERY good blades out there (Forrest?), but is
putting a $125 blade on a $160 Craftsman miter saw (or $70 blade on a $70
circular saw) going to make my life easier, or is this a waste of $$$?
As for the projects I am working on (and planning), I expect to be cutting
alot of 3/4" birch & oak faced plywood (some bookcases), moldings, etc.
Thanks in advance for any advice- I'd like to buy/order some blades early
this week to have in time for next weekend.
Maybe, maybe not.
If you're getting splintering, burning, etc... A good blade wil probably
help you. If the cuts aren't straight, ex:// the cut is curved from
top to bottom, you're dealing with runout. Good blades won't help shaft
runout or bad bearings.
Make sure your miter saw has a zero clearance fence and insert, and that
your putting the good side of the work where the blade is entering the
cut before buying a new blade.
That said, many stock miter saw and circular saw blades are crap.
The Chopmaster most likely WILL help the miter saw. Can you buy it with
a satisfaction guarantee?
If I may add a little bit to what Barry said:
A zero clearance fence and insert isn't some thing you need to buy. You
can make them from good 1/2" plywood or MDF. The idea is to support the
lower, or opposite face of the material being cut, right up as the blade
cuts the surface.
You can buy a Forrest, but you can also buy decent blades from Freud, or
DeWalt, at most home centers. I buy mine from the sharpening service in
town, because they almost always have what I need, even if I could only
verbalize the problem when I walked in there. The product is usually a
lesser known brand, with excellent quality, and virtually no consumer
marketing budget, which gets sold to pro shops for heavier use and lots
of resharpenings. It has always been a better value than the home
center or the woodworkers' specialty store. But they close at 5:30 pm,
and don't work most weekends.
Look to make a sawguide for that circular saw, and maybe budget $100 for
a new one as part of the project. And maybe pick up some rigid
insulation to put under the circular saw while you're doing your
On the other hand, cabinet saws start at about $1250. No? Well, budget
for some decent pipe clamps at least.
$50 should buy you all the chop saw blade you need, and $20 should buy
you a very good circular saw blade, if you don't spring for a new saw.
(The HD brand Ridgid circ saw is supposed to be at least OK.)
Take pictures. Take notes. Continue to ask questions. Have fun.
Putting a good blade on a saw is never a waste of money. You don't need to
buy a Forrest, but for the miter saw a good fine tooth crosscut blade will
give you much cleaner cuts. Freud has some good ones, as does Ridge Carbide
and Forrest. Figure about $50 and up.
For my purposes, I use a Freud Diablo 80T crosscut blade for plywood and I
get excellent results. I've also done some ripping with it but it is slower
that using a combo or rip blade. My "normal" blade is a Ridge Carbide
combination blade, but I will change it out for the Freud sometimes.
I mostly end up with two blades on my TS, both from Systematic. One is a
24 tooth rip blade that leaves a glue-ready finish, and the other is an
80 tooth plywood specialty blade that never, ever chips the edges of
ply. I sometimes have to crosscut on the TS and then I use a combo
blade, but that is rare. Crosscutting mostly happens on the Hitachi SCMS
that still has the original blade, though it would benefit greatly from
The dedicated rip blade, although cheap, does the job very well and is
fast too. It's what is on the saw 80% of the time.
Check out Freud and Freud Diablo blades. I've bought them at big box
home centers for very reasonable prices. These are good blades and they
are made in Italy where people are paid a living wage for their labor.
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