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blade stiffeners??? Pros and cons

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  • blade stiffeners??? Pros and cons

    I've noticed a few people on here have talked about blade stiffeners, like the ones that Freud makes. I"d like to offer my experience on using them.

    I ordered a set many years ago and tried them. While they did help "some" on very thin blades, I found them to NOT be worth the effort and cost.
    The biggest drawback to using them, in my opionon, is that they move the blade away from the arbor and that throws off your fence setting. That can be re-set but when you try to do a miter cut with the blade tilted, the blade now moves in a different arch and the measurement is never right. It takes some trial and error to get the miter measurement to come out right where you want it. All table saws are designed so that the blade tilts exactally where the arbor backed edge of the blade and the table top intersect. Adding the 3/16" stiffeners kills that geometry.

    If you are using a standard "thick" blade, stiffeners are not needed. The blades are heavy enough so as not to ossilate when cutting.

    The super thin blades WILL ossilate badly when ripping almost any wood. Personally, I use the super thin carbide 40 tooth blades for ripping all solid woods, but with a little twist on the stiffeners. I buy the $29 blades at Home Depot and use them all the time. They are good for one or two sharpens and then toss them.

    What I ended up using to kill the ossilations on the thin blades was to install ONE cheap, 6 1/2" stamped steel plywood blade on the outside of my arbor. HD sells them for about 8 bucks. It does a great job of keeping the thin blades super smooth and does NOT affect any fence or miter settings. The only drawback is it limits my blade height for cutting to 1 3/4", but I don't cut thick stock anyway. If I did, i'd pull it off and use a thick blade and work my way through it.

    Here is a picture of the setup.

    When I swap to a thicker blade for plywood, I still leave it on because then I always know where it is! LOL

    Anyway, that's my take on these things. And if anyone is bound and determined to use the Freud ones, i've got my original set up for grabs to anyone who wants em!! Just pay the cost of mailing them and they are yours! ( I also tried using just one on the outside and it did NOT work well either, they are just too small in diameter to dampen the thin blade ossilations.) Time to clean out some stuff to make room for more new stuff!!

    Last edited by The Wood Meister; 02-10-2007, 01:58 PM.
    Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

  • #2
    Re: blade stiffeners??? Pros and cons


    Great info. Thanks for sharing! Did anyone take you up on your offer for the Freud blade stabilizers? I'd like to try them for the cost of shipping.




    • #3
      Re: blade stiffeners??? Pros and cons

      I've never felt the need for the "stabilizers". If the saw is set up right, blades don't need stabilizing, since the blade won't see side force. If your saw is set up wrong, stabilizer's won't help. Put your money towards your next blade.

      If you cut coves by feeding the wood at an angle into the blade, you do generate side force. For that, I generally change to a smaller blade (a smaller blade is way stiffer than a larger one), feed real slow, but still no "stabilizers".

      Woodworking is like everything else: there's a jillion products out there that you don't really need.

      If you decide to try Wood Meister's idea about using a stamped steel blade as a stabilizer, be sure your using a blade with no set to the teeth!
      Last edited by Andy_M; 11-01-2009, 12:41 PM.