Through an unexpected turn of events I have recently gone from having
no working circular saw to having two. (One fixed, one "inherited")
One has a 40 tooth 6.5" blade. The other is "coarser", probably 24
teeth, and 7.25".
Plywood is the most likely material for me to be cutting with a
circular saw. I don't have a table saw. I am a weekend home handyman
who occasionally makes a "boxy thing with face frame" type of project,
or maybe just shelves. My skills are modest, but the uninformed
usually find my work quite impressive. ;)
I see that an 80 tooth "plywood" blade can be had very cheaply, for
under $10. I have also seen much more expensive ones. Due to an
ongoing close relationship with medical care and the bills that
accompany it, an expensive one is not in the running right now.
Will a guy like me gain a noticeable improvement with a cheap 80 or
100 or 140 or (jeez) 200 tooth blade, as compared with the 40 tooth I
have now? If I get too high a "tooth count", might I just as well use
a torch for all the burning I'll do??
It depends on that you want to cut with it and how you use it. A cheap 80
tooth blade may make very fine cuts for you, but it's sharpness will
probably be short lived. It also may not be capable of being resharpened
effectively like an 80 tooth carbide tipped blade. As well, good quality 80
tooth blades are commonly used for cross cutting veneered plywood and
quality hardwoods in table saws. They're not commonly designed for circular
saws which commonly use blades in the range of 7.25 inches. In fact, I've
never seen an 80 tooth blade for a circular saw. The teeth would have to be
very close together to fit them all in.
=Cheap blades advertised with some "super titanium tipped coating" or some
other attention getting ad, are still cheap blades. For me, I'd treat them
as soon to be replaced items in the unlikely event I may even have one.
So, my answer would be "no", you'd just be wasting your money using such a
blade in your circular saw. I understand that money is tight for you, but
should you (when you) graduate to a table saw, even a cheaper one that's
properly aligned, you'll immediately see a major increase in the quality of
your saw cuts, introducing you to a whole new level of woodworking.
I didn't say they didn't exist, just that I've never seen one in person. :)
And if I read the specs in your link correctly, the 80 tooth version is for
a 20mm arbor, such as a Festool plunge saw. The regular, everyday 7"
circular saw version which the OP has would likely use the 60 tooth version
of the Freud and only if it has a 5/8" arbor which.
Yup. I was busily crafting my reply when you posted, so I didn't see it in
time. No problem. As an aside, I bought a 48 tooth Festool manufactured
blade for my TS55 which I have yet to try out. I'll be interested to read
any observations on how other 20mm blades stack up against it considering
the reputation that Festool has with its products.
I bought a cheap ($4) plywood blade for a circular saw once. It came off
the saw the same day it went on, and never got reinstalled. I got better
cuts with a standard Irwin Marathon blade. (They're less than $10 each
as well, so it's worth buying one to try.)
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.
Personally, I have had tremendous success with the Freud line of saw
blades. They are the bright red ones you see at Home Depot. I have
used the 16 and 24 tooth blades and they are outstanding. They are
now all I buy.
Scroll down this page and you will see they are VERY affordable even
in the high tooth count blades:
The key to a long lasting blade is to cut straight, and for most that
means using a guide. Cutting off the line means you have to wrestle
the saw back to it, and cutting with the sides of the teeth when you
wrack the saw is what builds up heat. Heat helps resin (or in the
case of plywood adhesive) buildup, and more resin equals more heat.
The more heat you generate, the more your blade distorts, and then the
worse your cut becomes. Additional heat also burns up the blade teeth
There are plenty of plans and ideas floating around if you don't want
to make your own saw guides. They sell a Johnson branded aluminum
channel guide at some of the box stores that actually do a good job
well. It sure isn't fast, but if a circular saw is what you have, it
work fine for long rips and crosscuts.
Also, you can do a Google search for "circular saw guide" and you will
find a lot of home shop info as well as plans for building your own.
A so/so blade will perform very well in the hands of an experienced
saw man because he can cut straight. I great blade will perform
poorly in the hands of a less skilled individual. The point being you
don't have to spend a fortune on saw blades to get really good cuts.
No matter what happens, do not let Leon, Robatoy, or Swingman talk you
into a Festool TS 75. Even if they do have a special now that will
include a free cap if you buy their saw!
Interesting. Can someone tell me about the oddly shaped teeth? What's
the purpose of the rounded bump that follows each cutting tooth?
I'm certainly in that category. I see Tom Silva on TOH make cuts using
a hand-held speed square as a guide, but I need something more solid.
I don't remember who makes it, but I have a two-piece aluminum guide
(there's a "joining" piece that makes the guide 8' long) that I use
with spring clamps.
Despite my modest needs and skills, I like tools. Even in more flush
times I set a personal rule for myself: Only buy things you have a
need for. Nevertheless, over the years a startling number and wide
variety of tools have crept into my garage, some of which have been
used exactly once. I have a really beautiful basin wrench with barely
a mark on it, for instance.
I've seen the Festool stuff online. Looks great. But while sometimes
it can be the tool, I have the same philosophy I've always had about
cameras. I like them too, and my shots are pretty decent . (They
impress my friends too). But I doubt that that the difference between
me and say, Ansel Adams, is that my cameras aren't good enough.
Thanks to all.
FWIW, I found myself cutting up a lot of sheet goods recently and got a
60 tooth Freud for my circular saw (I already had an 80 tooth that went
in the table saw for this) and the cut quality is about as good as
you're going to get on MDF or plywood I think. Still needs some
sanding, but not much. The cut is noticeable cleaner than using my
Oldham combo blade, which is itself good enough that I've never been
tempted by a WWII.
On Thu, 30 Sep 2010 19:40:41 -0700 (PDT), " email@example.com"
With a circular saw, I got a much flakier cut from a new HSS plywood
blade than I did with a nice, fresh, sharp, carbide, cheapie blade
with 1/3 the teeth. I won't use a plywood blade on a piece of hardwood
ply. It's too expensive to screw up.
Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come
alive... then go do it. Because what the world needs
is people who have come alive. -- Howard Thurman
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