Favorite (and Unfavorite) Brand Saw Blades

DickF

New User
Dick
The brand names of saw blades comes up pretty regularly and I was curious about some of the favorite brands people have as well as ones you won't touch? Also, do you tend to stick with combination blades most of the time or have you gone to special purpose blades for ripping and cross cuts? I've stuck with combination blades so far and have had good success with Freud and Shopsmith blades, but not so much with DeWalt and Marples/Irwin. I've never tried Klingspoor's line of blades, but when I looked at them prior to this covid stuff they looked like they were good quality - but ultimately it will be in the cut.

I bring this up as I've always heard great things about the Forrest Woodworker II thin kerf blades but have not gotten one as it's easily twice the price of what I've been buying. Everything I'd heard about them was really great. Rockler had them on sale a while back, so I ordered the combination blade and it's been quite disappointing. I've been cutting some Jatoba for a table I'm building and it burned first cut on a rip and did the same on a crosscut of a 1" x 2-1/4 section. The WW II cut is on the left in the picture below. I swapped back to my old blade and made a cut, which is the piece on the right. I'm going to return the Forrest to Rockler.

IMG_0323.jpg
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Everything I now about blades:
I HATE table saw combo blades. Even my very expensive Ridge Carbide. It was night and day when I went to a 24 tooth Diablo thin rip. I run their 60 tooth crosscut normally and 80 on my miter saw. Just ordered a CMT wide flat tooth rip to do some spline slots.

I believe any of the premium brands, Freud, Amanna, CMT, Ridge, Forrest are all excellent. Second tier ( Diablo and Momba) are the same quality, just smaller carbides so less times to re-shrpen. There are a few other brands I do not know. Seems it is a "religious" topic each having their favorite with no real reason other than it is. Almost as bad as oil brands in old cars. I run a 1 3/4 HP contractor saw. A 3 or 5 HP user may have a different viewpoint.

For a hobbiest, there is no excuse not to take the time to change blades. For the production shop, if you don't want to take the time, then have two saws. Probably cheaper in total cost per project. Where the combo may be the best choice is for a job-site where who knows who is going to do what on your saw and changing blades takes too much time.

I have not bought speciality blades for MDF, mealimine, laminants, aluminum etc, but when I come to another project, I will. What brand is probably what is in stock on Amazon between the premium brands of the correct design for the job. I believe the best blade is the one designed for the job and much less the brand. Of the premiums of course, no way am I running an Irwin or Harbor Freight. Even I can tell the difference.

My dado is an older Freud. It does not leave a clean flat bottom. Someday I'll replace it.

I found in my circ-saw even bigger differences. I normally run a Diablo "destruction" blade. I bought a cheap Hardiplank blade and it lasted a few dozen cuts. Bought a Freud and it finished the project and looks like new. Before I knock some ply to size, I will get a dedicated plywood blade. 40 tooth ATB probably. If I ever have to rip with a circ, I'll get a thin kerf rip blade.

I have had excellent luck with Bosch saber saw blades. I have probably 12 different ones. But their sawzall blades don't last as well as Milwaukee. Some like Freud, but I find Milwaukee last better cutting angle iron.

I don't like any of the multi-tool blades I have tried. Open to suggestions.

New to band saw blades. The cheap Bosch blades I had on my Delta were total crap. Never cut a straight line. I went up to a sawblades.com and poof. No more problem. I just bought a 1/4 and 3/8 to try on my new Harvey. It came with a 1/2 inch from PS machine which works very well. I have nothing to compare it to except I could split the pencil line in a 4 x 4 by hand without even trying. A bit rough, but it is a 3 tooth blade.

I bought a $12 generic set of planer blades from Amazon. They seem very soft and nicked with the first board. If I was keeping the planer, I would be asking who makes good blades, but I plan on a DeWalt soon.

As far as I can tell, my jointer blades are original Ridgid , whoever was making them that week. I just re-sharpned them and they seem fine.

All of my planes have Hock irons in them.

The only other think I know about blades is my grandfathers Distons sharpened up just fine. They cut better than most new saws, though those Stanly Japanese tooth saws sure do work well. I have yet to see a machete any near as good as my 100 year old Philapean set made from who knows what, probably scrap iron of a sunken battleship.

There, everything I know about blades.
 

Tim Sherwood

Tim
Corporate Member
I do change out blades depending on the application. I use a combination a lot but switch to a Frued rip cut for hardwoods. I have a plywood blade for hardwood plys. I do most of my cross cuts on a Makita miter saw. The 80 tooth blade that came with it is the smoothest I've used.
 

Ed Fasano

Ed
Senior User
I've used a Forrest WW II combination blade for over 25 years, but very recently switched to a Freud Fusion. Reason... dissatisfied with Forrest service. My blade was no longer flat and they claimed to have flattened it and charged me for the service. That was not the case, so... I am very impressed with the full-kerf Fusion Premier. I also have an assortment of crosscut and rip blades that I use when the situation calls for it, but the combination blade is on my saw 85% of the time. In many cases, my cuts are finished with a hand plane anyway, so nearly inevitable table saw cut imperfections are resolved in a manner that no saw blade can accomplish.
I also use a 12" Freud 96-tooth full kerf blade in my Bosch miter saw. Again, very satisfied.
One man's opinion.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
My Fusion went into the trash. Just saying. Ed has a good point. A saw is not a finishing tool.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
As far as I know the Tenryu is the finest blade on earth. This is a old company and quality is their mainstay. Remember the Japanese are the guys that invented the samurai sword. Just bring bags of money. The Diablo blade by Freud was meant as a disposal blade for contractors. I try not to use combination blades. I use a glue line rip, a standard rip, a crosscut, & a plywood. At a lecture from our Freud rep. gave our local club. He had several points. The combination blade is a comprise. It will not cut as good as the blades design to rip & crosscut. Another point Freud considers a saw with less than 3 hp. a under powered machine and recommends thin kerf for those machines. Last point is that if you have a sliding miter or radial arm saw you need a negative 5° angle blade. This will help defeat the blade climb cutting. Climb cutting is when the saw wants to come forward on its own looking for fingers. Bosch jig saw blades are hard to beat. As for my REAL JIG SAW (a Powermatic) I use fine tooth bandsaw blades cut to 5 in. length. Mt bandsaw blades come from the same company. It's a local company that custom makes it blades up from roll stock. They inventory a huge stock of blades & can supply anything you may need.

Pop
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I usually have a regular kerf 50 tooth blade on my table saw. I have a Freud and a DeWalt with 40 ATB teeth and 10 rippers and they both work fine. I tried an Infinity and was disappointed. Seemed to need more power and liked to burn the wood (the ripping tooth is not flat topped, it has the corners clipped). (my saw is a 1.75hp PCS). But that will not do deep rips so I used a 24 tooth ripping blade and the PCS likes it to be a thin kerf. But a full kerf ripping blade (Freud, not Infinity) cuts OK with a slower feed rate with an occasional thermal overload trip.

I have not used a Ridge blade but I got them to sharpen the Freud 50 tooth and it came back better than new. So I suspect they make good blades. Stumpy Nubs likes them.

For now my conclusion is to just buy Freud blades. They may not be the best but they have always worked. But other than the Infinity ripper and combination blade, I don't remember any duds. I have a couple cheap Irwin blades that cut fine but leave a rough finish. I like having something like them around for lumber that might have a nail or two in it. My dado is also a Freud, second one I've had. Their cheapest model. Work fine. Flat bottom cuts.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
I have a Freud, CMT and Forrest II I like all of them for different reasons. At this level of blade it gets a lot more subjective than objective.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Best blade I ever experienced was an Oldham combination purchased in the early 2000’s. Then they got purchased by Black & Decker and that became history. It did everything good and I used it for years until I accidentally dropped it and broke a tooth. Has just gone in for sharpening and repair, so hopefully I have it back.

I use Forrest rip on the table saw most of the time, occasionally their cross-cut and occasionally their combination. Cuts are OK but nothing to get exited about, especially considering the price.

I have a number of Freud blades, one for plywood with a zero clearance throat plate does an excellent job. The rest of them are fair, but nothing special.

The folks who I just started using for sharpening make blades to any specification. I may give them a try.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I HATE table saw combo blades.
I'll second that.
I keep a combo blade on my table saw most of the time because it does everything fairly well but nothing particularly well. Jack of all trades, king of none.
When I've got serious work to do, off comes the combo blade and on goes a blade designed for the task at hand.
 

McRabbet

Rob
Corporate Member
My favorite is a 96-tooth 12" Ultimate Freud blade on my miter saw (crosscuts the hardest of hardwoods like butter). Normally I use a Forrest Woodworker II with their stabilizer on my cabinet (more than 10 years) and it is a great blade. I have two additional blades that I use that were made by Leitz (a German maker of very high quality industrial blades) which I purchased through a user who worked for their US operation on the SMC forum many years ago -- they had made a small production group of blades for Delta who apparently changed their mind about a larger production run and he was able to sell them at flea market prices.

One is the oddest rip blade I've ever seen: a 10" 10 tooth Rip blade! It has very deep gullets with thick carbide tips, and it sounds like a siren in use because of the gullets on my 3 HP Grizzly saw. It rips very well and I have tackled 8/4 white oak without issue. The other blade is a 60 tooth ATB with thick carbide as well and it is a great crosscut blade.

Because I'm about to make a bunch of tissue enclosures for our healthcare worker "thank you's", I just bought a Freud 10" thin kerf Glue Line blade so I can resaw some thick stock I have on the tablesaw. I've heard good things about it and at $65 it should be a good investment.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
I think Festool needs to start making tablesaw blades. Maybe they do already, but Ive never seen one. If I could get cuts as clean as with my TS75 (even half as clean!) Id never buy anything else!. Im sure though when ripping, it has more to do with the workpiece moving against the blade than a tracksaw allows (basically none or very little). Im curious, does anyone here have a powerfeed on their tablesaw? Im sure that would dramatically improve the quality.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
I think Festool needs to start making tablesaw blades. Maybe they do already, but Ive never seen one. If I could get cuts as clean as with my TS75 (even half as clean!) Id never buy anything else!. Im sure though when ripping, it has more to do with the workpiece moving against the blade than a tracksaw allows (basically none or very little). Im curious, does anyone here have a powerfeed on their tablesaw? Im sure that would dramatically improve the quality.
A straight line rip saw eliminates operator error with auto feed.
In case of a table saw, I believe it is more about the saw, how it is set up and the operator. I can get glue line cuts, comparable with a jointer finish even with an average combo blade.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
I solved my deep rips. Band saw.
OK a combo will cut. Eventually, slwelly. And if the stock is thin enough. My Fusion had a hard time with ripping just a 2 x 4 to length. Swap to a 24 tooth rip, rips 3 inch OAK.

If someone is that much in love with combo's, I have a virtually new Ridge Carbide. I don't see me ever using it.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I've been using a King power feeder on my table saws since the early 1980s but never have I been satisfied enough with the cut to glue it up as is. Wood has a tendency to move when ripped unless a very slight amount of the board's width is being trimmed. Power feeders on table saws are great for trimming accuracy on multiple pieces but for things like making 2x2s out of 2x4s, not so much.

as they say, 'no pictures, didn't happen'

1 feeder - 1.jpg


Stock ready to be trimmed

1 feeder - 2.jpg


King feeder installed on fence trimming to width the opposite edge of jointed boards.

1 feeder a - 1.jpg


Old photo from around 1980 when I was ripping a bunch of plywood for a job.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Maybe for a short distance, but over an 8 foot long rip, youll never make me believe that!
Yep I agree, but with a feather board and if there are two of us with a bit of practice, just maybe.
To be fair though, for the one man operation, at 8' it gets a bit challenging to get a perfect edge even on a jointer.
 
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chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
Yep I agree, but with a feather board and if there are two of us with a bit of practice, just maybe.
To be fair though, for the one man operation, at 8' it gets a bit challenging to get a perfect edge even on a jointer.
Piece of cake on a 7' long jointer!
 

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