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Thread: "Underpowered" Table Saw Blades

  1. #1
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    "Underpowered" Table Saw Blades

    I have a 1.5hp Craftsman contractor's table saw. I most often use a 60 tooth cross cut blade. It is not a thin kerf. I was considering changing to a thin kerf combination blade, to give the saw a little more power, so to speak. I was considering something along the lines of Freud's LU83R thin kerf combination blade.

    I find I do alot of both cross and rip cuts. That is my reason for the combination blade. What is the consensus out there..... do you change blades (have one for cross cut & one for rip) or do you use a combination? Any recomendations would be appreciated.

    If my shop was big enough for a RAS I would dedicate that to cross cut and the TS to rips, but that is not the case. I do cross cut most things that are 6in or less wide on the CMS (not sliding).
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  2. #2
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    Sean,

    Don't listen to me... I'm an idiot who knows nothing. I also have an underpowered contractor saw (ridgid 3650). But I don't change blades based on crosscuts and ripping. If I did that, I'd *never* get anything done. On the other hand, I *do* change blades based on other things, and maybe my procedures are just based on superstition. But I have a *good* blade (a woodworker II) that I use when I'm making something nice, and then a $40 home depot special (I think it's actually a freud) for when I'm cutting MDF, UMHW, other plastics, etc. It's worth it to me to go through the blade changing process to preserve the good blade in those cases, but each blade change takes several minutes, including time to search for the wrenches, etc...

    Just a silly thought,

    Thanks,

    Bill

  3. #3
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    sean,
    in a production enviornment i change blades frequently, not so much between rip-n-crosscut, but between sheetgoods and lumber. if i need to crosscut something on the tablesaw i`ll do so with the sheetgoods blade regardless of whether or not it`s lumber or sheetgoods.
    in your situation i believe that you`ll get a better finished product with less effort and less danger to you and your equipment by using the correct blade for the material you`re cutting.
    i do not care for thin kerf blades on any saw.
    tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  4. #4
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    Sean, what I do with my Ridgid 3612 is hang the wrench by the box end on the carrier for the fence on the right leg sets. I'm guessing that the 3650 has the same set up...maybe not. It's always close that way. Or do like my dad aalways did. take some heavy wire and shap it into a hook on one end, and a small loop on the other. Put a bolt through the small loop and bolt it to a leg set so it is within reach. Jim.
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  5. #5
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    Sean - There will be a fairly noticeable increase in feedrate by switching to a good TK. That scenario has been pretty consistent with all 20 or so of the good TK's I've used. As long as you stay with high quality, I doubt you'll have any issues...even without a stabilizer. They cut as well as any of the comparable top quality full kerfs I've used...they just feed faster and labor the saw less, making it feel like there's more power...which is your objective. Perhaps not a great choice for a production environment, but I've had impressive long term results in a hobby shop on my contractor saw and hybrid. The LU83 is a fine choice, as is the LU86. The Forrest WWWII TK, Ridge Carbide TK, LU88, and Infinity Combomax TK are all outstanding but will cost a bit more for most...the LU88 is ~ $45.

    I've tried the blade switching routine, and simply find that the good combo/general purp blades cut clean enough to leave in the saw most of the time. When I do change the style of blade, I'm more apt to reach for a 24T ripper than an 80T crosscut blade. I recognize the theoretical advantage that the good 80T crosscut blades have in cut quality, but it's overkill for most situations I encounter, and they don't offer much versatility. The 40-50 toofers are clean enough for most glue ups as is, and are well suited for most tasks.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by scott spencer; 06-26-2007 at 12:34 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I have a TK blade on my RAS that gets used for all cuts, rip and crosscuts. My blade is a Marathon(sp) 40tooth combo blade. It works great and only $30.

  7. #7
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    Well Sean,
    Here's my 2 cents worth. I'm mostly with Tod on this one. Don't care for thin kerf. Instead of buying a RAS, watch craigslist or local papers for a used unisaw or other cabinet saw. At least 3 HP. Build a crosscut sled. Squareness of your crosscuts is a key enabler in your ability to make fine furniture. A CMS or an RAS probably won't do the job unless you give them lots of TLC. (I know I'm gonna get rocks thrown my way for that...).

    Now, back to the question you asked... I generally keep a combo blade on for most work. I'll switch to a rip blade if I'm doing a lot of ripping or if I am working on 12Q stock with my 3HP unisaw. Like Tod, I'll switch blades for sheetgoods, though most of my sheet work is on Festool now.

    And I gotta ask, you do use a splitter don't you??? If the only splitter you have is on that blade guard that we all leave on the shelf somewhere, and you are gonna keep that saw for more than a few days, get an aftermarket splitter. Microjig makes a good one that fits in a ZCI.

    Most of all, don't push that saw. Making a saw do something it doesn't have the power to do is just asking for kickback.

    Sorry this is long and preachy, but its one of my hot buttons...Be safe!
    Don't believe everything you think!

  8. #8
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    I'm in the "switch blades" camp. I've got separate Freud thin kerfs for both crosscuts and rips on my Ridgid TS3650. I'm like Jim...I hang the two wrenches from the fence hook on the saw, so they're always handy. Takes maybe a minute to switch, and I like the results I get.

    And as an aside, I've got the MJ splitter...use it for all my rip cuts. The factory guard/splitter was a safety hazard IMHO. I prefer the Grrripper over push sticks, too.
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  9. #9
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    I run TK blades dedicated to function. Among others I have ZCI's and blades for Rip and x-cut. It must take almost a whole minute to change a blade so why not get the benefit.

    I have some combo blades (WWII, Lietz) and while some do remarkably well at both rip and x-cut, they do not perform as well as dedicated blades.

    Don't get me wrong, I'll use whatever blade happens to be there if I'm just lopping something off. If I'm making a cut that will effect the look or joinery of a piece, I generally take a moment to change blades.

    P.s. Microjig splitter and Grr-Ripper here too. Play safe.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 06-26-2007 at 04:52 PM.
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  10. #10
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    I don't like the thin kerf blades, I use regular 10" blades.

    My TS is underpowered, it is a bench top DeWalt.

    I use my SCMS for cross cuts.

    I do change blades.

    Why not upgrade your motor?
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