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  • Thin or full kerf blade?

    I'm looking to upgrade the stock blade on my R4511-I don't think it would take much! Anyhow, I'm thinking about a combination or general-purpose blade since at this time I don't think my skill set would justify two different blades.

    I keep reading about thin kerf blades. When do you need or use one?

    Any suggestions in a moderately (< $50.00?) priced blade that I could find at THD or locally would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

    the biggest advantage for the home shop, is thin kerf blade cut out less wood = less power used.

    a quote from a Freud description, http://www.mcfeelys.com/product/LU83...bination-Blade
    while the thin kerf technology helps it power right through hardwoods even on lower powered contractor or benchtop style saws.
    (this is my experience), in the past when one did not have carbide tipped blades, the blade would need to be sharp and a far set on the blade, as the blade dulled and the set wore, the blade would heat, and to keep the blade from expanding and warping, it had to be a fairly wide chunk of steel to hold shape, then when carbide tips came to being for the most part, they used the same basic body of the old steel blade, and put a big tip on the edge to have clearance, (set), but in the process this took Horse power, to cut a full 1/8" to even wider cut, many times the first tips were more just a flat cut, then they started to refine the tooth and the cut and even the body of the blade, making it thinner and run with lower horse power requirements, many of these became "thin kerf blades".
    but if one is trying to cut a full 2 1/2" deep in wood, a thin kerf may help, and then it may hinder, one will take less power to make the cut, but with stock that thick there will be a lot of heat, thus possibly causing the blade to warp, the true answer there is power, (probably making stepped cuts with a wider blade would be best, on a small saw, (would be my guess), many times one just has to experiment as some woods will do wonder full with one blade and not the next, hard and soft woods will cut differently, ripping and cross cutting woods will work differently, and the quality of cut is different, so one project a thin kerf blade may work wonderfully and the nest a full width blade of a different tooth configuration may be better,

    the quality and construction and teeth and bevels and that have come a long way since carbide teeth were introduced, and one was only able to get steel blades,

    in commercial use, the thin kerf has other value in that it wasts less wood, (this same concept may be beneficial if your using a dust collector),

    here are two pages on choosing saw blades,
    http://www.rockler.com/articles/disp...fm?story_id=72

    http://www.wwch.org/Technique/sawblades.htm
    Last edited by BHD; 02-16-2010, 11:49 AM.
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    • #3
      Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

      Originally posted by postjob62 View Post
      Anyhow, I'm thinking about a combination or general-purpose blade since at this time I don't think my skill set would justify two different blades.
      You will find your skills considerable enhanced by using quality blades. A poor quality blade provides a level of quality and precision that no degree of skill can compensate for. A skilled craftsman could make a bad blade work in a pinch, but a less experienced person would end up fighting the compromises inherent in a low quality blade.

      There are three different blades to consider, and whether or not you go thin or thick kerf is yet another layer of consideration.

      You could go with a set of dedicated crosscut, rip blades and a combination blade. This would cover everything. Likely want thin kerf for the low power rating of this saw and reduced size of cut.

      You could just go with a quality combination blade that will give you a decent crosscut or rip cut. But if you ever use a dedicated cross cut blade you will likely be disappointed by the combo blade.

      I use a combo blade for plywood or when I'm just too lazy to change out the blade for none critical cuts.

      If I'm doing joinery, I'm using a dedicated purpose blade because I want and need the cleanest cut possible.

      As for recommendations, watch Amazon. They have sales on blades. Freud is my preferred brand. Many swear by Forrest Blades.

      Be warned, once you have used a quality blade, there isn't any going back.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

        Originally posted by postjob62 View Post
        I'm looking to upgrade the stock blade on my R4511-I don't think it would take much! Anyhow, I'm thinking about a combination or general-purpose blade since at this time I don't think my skill set would justify two different blades.

        I keep reading about thin kerf blades. When do you need or use one?

        Any suggestions in a moderately (< $50.00?) priced blade that I could find at THD or locally would be appreciated.
        Honestly, just save a few more bucks and get an upper echelon blade in the $80-90 range. While you will certainly be MUCH more pleased with a $50 blade, compared to the stock blade, you will be blown away by a Forrest WWI, Ridge Carbide, etc. You won't need another one for *years* and you will enjoy suberb results for everything: ripping, cross-cuts, finish cuts, glue-lines, etc. A great blade is an investment, and it pays for itself in spades in terms of time, and the likelihood you'll probably not need to replace it.

        It is a pretty firm consensus that thin kerf is the way to go with the Ridgid saws. Whether or not they are underpowered is subject to opinion and much debate, but the fact is that a thin kerf blade is about 25% narrower than a full kerf blade, thus about 25% less resistance from material being cut.

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        • #5
          Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

          Just to add a little to the opinion and debate issue, I have several different blades that I use with my Ridgid saw and all but one is a full kerf blade. My saw is an older 3612 but motor wise it is driven by the same engine that all of the Ridgid contractor saws and the hybrid have. I have never really had any problems running the full kerf blades but I did buy a thin kerf ripping blade for when I need to rip thicker stock.

          IMO, Wood Junkie is spot on with his suggestion that you spring for one of the better premium blades. For many years the Freud LU84R011 was my main blade of choice until I purchased a Ridge Carbide TS2000. Although the Freud performed quite well the Ridge Carbide performed that much better, again IMO.

          Let me suggest though that you do some real homework before you decide on what blade will be best for you. Your decision should be made based on the type of projects you intend to do, type of wood you will be using for your projects and of course your budget. What others and myself might consider a great blade could be totally wrong for you.
          Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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          • #6
            Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

            While I cannot argue against the highly recommended blades that are so ofen recommended, I do sometimes question whether we all need something like a Forrest Woodworker II. I do like Freud blades and in that price range I think they are excellent.

            I've used wide kerf blades on my RAS and have had no problems, but I must say that in recent years, I have switched to the thin kerf blades.

            My table saw is a Ryobi BT3100-1 which has a high-rpm, but relatively lower horsepower universal-type motor. It uses a thin-kerf blade and after three years of decent usage it still makes smooth cuts.

            On my CMS and on my Craftsman RAS, I'm using Ridgid 50 tooth blades and the crosscuts are smooth enough for glue ups.

            But that said, an awful lot depends on the feed rate, the saw's alignment, the material, and, to some degree, your technique. Which of course fall right in line with Badger Dave's opinion on the subject.

            While I might get a poor cut with a particular blade, your setup, technique, and operation may do quite well with it. On a personal note, I just can't see my way to dropping $100 or more on a blade, especially for the projects that I do and the level of quality that my talent limits.

            CWS

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            • #7
              Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

              As mentioned above, thin kerf is only needed IMO if you find you are short on power. I have a 3650 and before that a Grizzly contractor's TS, neither was short on power.

              Otherwise I like a thick kerf, full 1/8", for two reasons:

              1. Masonite splines fit perfectly in the saw kerf. Very handy.

              2. The larger tooth is more rugged, supports the edge better and is less prone to chipping.

              I like Forrest (thin kerf) & Systimatic (regular kerf). Forrest's sharpening service (all brands of blades) is the best I've used.
              Last edited by Andy_M; 02-16-2010, 06:48 PM.

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              • #8
                Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

                Get a Forrest WWII 40t thin kerf or a Freud Fusion 40t.

                Charles
                Charles

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

                  I use a thin kerf Forrest WWII on my R4511 and am very happy with it. I also like Freud blades as well, but as others have said, once you try a premimun blade its hard to go back. Good luck, Mike

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                  • #10
                    Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

                    Excerpt from my blog on picking saw blades:

                    "...There are legitimate arguments for both kerf widths. To some folks, it’s just a matter of the math being simpler with a 1/8” blade than a 3/32” blade. It can also be a matter of not knowing any better, or what was available on sale at the time of purchase. Both kerf widths will work with most saws, but note that changing kerf width can skew the zero reference on the measuring tape on a left tilt saw, so you’ll need to address that if you change widths. Even though the width differences appear very small, a full kerf blade is typically 33% thicker than it’s TK counterpart. A wider kerf blade makes a wider cut, thus taking more wood and requiring more power to make the cut at the same speed…a similar principle to a lawn mower’s width of cut. There will also be a proportionately higher amount of sawdust with a full kerf blade, more wood consumed in the process, and even somewhat higher noise levels. Wood savings can be a consideration, though a minor one for most hobbyists. That consideration may become more significant if you handle a lot of expensive wood. You’re likely to encounter situations where a full kerf blade bogs a smaller saw more easily than a TK would, most notably in thicker materials. Slowing down the feed rate can help compensate somewhat for the additional power requirements, but slower cutting means more of a tendency to burn the wood, and less ability to cut efficiently in thick materials. Full kerf blades tend to be more stable than their TK counterparts due to the increased steel thickness and body mass, but require more power to spin. The wider the kerf, the more power required to pass the blade through the material. There will also be a proportionately higher amount of sawdust from a full kerf blade, more wood consumed in the process, and somewhat higher noise levels. The heavier mass of a full kerf plate will handle the stresses of heat better than a TK blade, so is often a more suitable choice for high volume applications. If you’re using a saw that’s under 3hp, a TK blade will pose less resistance to your saw. A high quality thin kerf blade with proper tensioning of the body during manufacturing will rival the cut quality and performance of a high quality full kerf blade, and can be a very suitable choice for a home shop, smaller saws, and even in many commercial settings where wood consumption is a concern. Which width to choose depends a lot of your saw and the material being cut. Your splitter or riving knife width should also be part of the consideration. Choosing a blade that’s thinner than the splitter blade can cause the board to stop mid cut if the board binds on the splitter. There are legitimate arguments for both kerf widths, and the choice will come down to your personal preference and circumstances."

                    FWIW, I've had really good luck using high quality TK's on my contractor saw and hybrids. Now that I have a 3hp saw, there's less incentive for me to choose TK's, but they were a blessing with my smaller saws.

                    As far as specific local choices in the $50 range - The CMT ITK P10050 50T ATB/R looks promising for $40, as does the CMT 256.050.10 from Holbren. The Ridgid R1050C is made by Freud and is very similar to the Freud Diablo D1050. and Freud LU83R010....all good choices. It's not local, but the Freud Avanti TK306 from Rockler is on sale for $20...dunno if this free shipping code is still valid - code V9294. The TK306 40T is very similar to the Diablo D1040, and Freud LU86R010. The Craftsman 32808 and 32864 are also made by Freud and are similar to the other Freud blades. You may also find some good deals on the DeWalt Precision Trim "PT" series with the full yellow coating...the DW7140 and DW7150 are good choices on sale. Avoid the new line of "Avanti" and "Avanti Pro" at HD...it's no longer made by Freud, and are poorly made Chinese knockoffs.

                    For ~ $70 you can get into an Infinity Combomax. The Ridge Carbide TS2000 and Tenryu Gold Medal are each $81 shipped from Holbren.com...both very comparable to the Forrest WWII. The new Freud Fusion TK is ~ $80 from Woodcraft. All are a noticeable, but not huge step up from the $50 blades.
                    Last edited by hewood; 02-16-2010, 10:52 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

                      I appreciate all the thoughtful responses guys.

                      Now hewood raises a point I hadn't considered. Will a thin kerf blade work OK with the stock riving knife on the R4511?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

                        I may get slammed for this, but when I found myself in need of a ripping blade, with not much money to buy one, I picked up one of these Circular Saw blades at Home Depot. It's a 24 tooth, ATB carbide toothed blade.

                        I mounted it on my table saw, and it cut like butter. Of course, the smaller diameter limits you on how thick you can cut. I was cutting 5/4. You also have to think about splitter thickness, as thin as this blade is. But for less than $10.00 it did a very, very good job for me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

                          Originally posted by postjob62 View Post
                          I appreciate all the thoughtful responses guys.

                          Now hewood raises a point I hadn't considered. Will a thin kerf blade work OK with the stock riving knife on the R4511?
                          It should....I'd guess the stock blade is a TK. I seem to recall that the riving knife is in the 0.087" to 0.092 range, which should be fine....someone else will have to confirm.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

                            No talent rookie: You won't slammed by me, only praised! It's amazing to me how much money some people spend when it comes to some of this stuff. $100-150 for an "excellent" (plastic) router plate? $50 for a single "Total Lock" caster wheel? $400 for a solid phenolic top for a router table? $400 for a European Beech workbench that you can build yourself? The list goes on. I guess I'm just cheap. But then I'm a hobbyist not a production worker and I don't do woodworking for profit. Maybe it would be different then. I guess it's just my warped brain but I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction out of figuring out ways to save money and still get the job done in an excellent way. It's like a challenge for me. That 7 1/4" Diablo certainly looked wimpy mounted on a table saw, but I do believe that it's hard to get much more bang for your buck than a BRAND NEW, SHARP decent/good quality blade, regardless of what brand it is. And at $10 they are more or less disposable. Just like drill bits nowadays. Why spend hours sharpening them? But just to note I do have the Freud LU83010 on my table saw for everyday use. It's great and I would do it again. But next time I need to just rip some 3/4 - 1"stock, I'm sure gonna think about your diablo 7 1/4!!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Thin or full kerf blade?

                              Originally posted by NoTalentRookie View Post
                              I may get slammed for this, but when I found myself in need of a ripping blade, with not much money to buy one, I picked up one of these Circular Saw blades at Home Depot. It's a 24 tooth, ATB carbide toothed blade.

                              I mounted it on my table saw, and it cut like butter. Of course, the smaller diameter limits you on how thick you can cut. I was cutting 5/4. You also have to think about splitter thickness, as thin as this blade is. But for less than $10.00 it did a very, very good job for me.
                              How does the smaller diameter impact the blade to riving knife relationship?
                              Last edited by tomapple; 02-17-2010, 02:33 PM.

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