Northwood Premium ZH-1080

Northwood Crosscut

Based in part on the results of this review, it has been determined that the current batch of this blade have been manufactured below specification and they have been withdrawn from sale.

Intended purpose: Crosscut
Tooth count: 80
Price: $33
Source: Northwood Tools

Tooth Grind: ATB (alternating top bevel)
Kerf: 2.58 – 2.96mm measured (range because different teeth had different thicknesses)
Carbide thickness (measured front face to braze): 1.86mm – 2.21mm
Carbide length: 6.75mm
Front face length: 4.36mm

Northwood Crosscut

Blade axial runout: 0.018″ (0.46mm)
Expansion slots: 4, straight design with copper dampener
Anti-noise slots: none

Blade body thickness: 2.17mm

Northwood Crosscut

A wide, negative angled expansion slot which ends in a large slot arrestor which is filled with a copper vibration absorber. As with the rip blade, I can’t be sure that it is specifically for vibration absorption however, it could be simple because of the size of the hole that the blade would whistle during use without it, so in that respect it could be regarded as a noise dampener. One benefit of copper in this application is it expands faster and to a greater degree than the parent metal, so when the blade heats up, the copper insert won’t become loose and dislodge.

General Description:

This blade is sold by Northwood Tools as a budget quality blade. It has relatively small carbide tips to keep the cost down, with a design concept that the blades are replaced when they dull rather than be resharpened.

The blade has a wide range of tooth widths, so some teeth would carry very little load, while others would be rubbing continuously though the cut, so there is a risk here of asymmetrical blade heating. In addition, there is a large (almost 0.5mm) amount of runout which shows up in the (lack of) smoothness in the cut.

Rip cutting with this blade was very difficult, but to be fair, ripping with a crosscut blade is not a good idea anyway. Crosscutting was unremarkable to poor.

The blade is provided with three bore reducing rings (machined rather than pressed), and this includes one for 5/8″ and another for 16mm.

Bottom line is, this blade performed poorly, but it has the advantage that it is 1/2 to 1/3 the price of other crosscut blades. ***Update*** This batch of blades has since been determined to have been manufactured below specification, and have been withdrawn from sale***

Northwood Crosscut

The cuts:

Melamine (Particle Board Backing)

Northwood Crosscut

Top Edge

An ok top surface with a few chips along the length. Note the photo is pretty magnified – will look at standardising the scale of the respective photos

Northwood Rip melamine bottom

Bottom Edge

There is a significant amount of tearout from the bottom surface. I would have expected a better performance here, given that the teeth have a negative rake, and there are 80 of them.

KD Hardwood Rip

I found all the rips with this blade very difficult, and despite being a fine-tooth blade, the finish was quite rough.

Treated Pine Rip

This rip was tough going, and the finish is poor. Lots of tearout is visible.

Softwood (Pine) Rip

Despite the high tooth count, this finish is surprisingly rough. I can only surmise that the variable tooth thicknesses and blade runout causes the variable cuts visible here.

KD Hardwood Crosscut

This again is rather rough, especially for an 80 tooth crosscut blade, with lots of fibre breakout at the edge.

Closeup of tearout on hardwood crosscut

There was pretty significant tearout / feathering of the backedge fibres.

Treated Pine Crosscut

Quite a bit of fibre tearing, fibre breakout, and tooth marks in the crosscut surface.

Softwood (Pine) Crosscut

Not sure what to say here – the image can explain. This is a softwood crosscut with a blade designed for crosscutting. Interestingly, have a look at the softwood crosscut page for comparative images. Comparing the Northwood Rip blade for the same cut could almost lead one to think I got the pictures mixed up. (I didn’t).

***Update*** This batch of blades has since been determined to have been manufactured below specification, and have been withdrawn from sale***

4 Responses

  1. […] The next review from the “Battle of the Blades”. The Northwood Premium ZH1080 80 tooth crosscut blade […]

  2. I have this blade and have been using it since I bought my TL10S tablesaw last year. Looking at your results I could almost think that I have a totally different blade!!

    Your results are nothing whatsoever like mine, my Northwood 80T blade hardly ever leaves the tablesaw, except when I have to rip > 35mm thick hardwood.

    My crosscuts are much better than the one you achieved as well.

    I have cut a fair bit of melamine as well, and again, my results were much better than yours.

    I have in fact compared it to my 60T Triton 235mm blade and found it better than that.

    Mystery to me.

  3. I was thinking your version of the blade must be quite a bit different, otherwise you wouldn’t be so adamant about its quality. The one I have is outperformed in crossut by the GMC and even some ripping blades tested, so that is a concern.

    Can only judge the blade that is provided – I will bring it to Northwood’s attention. Perhaps it is a function of price – a lottery whether you get a good blade when in that price bracket, or perhaps this one just slipped through the Chinese quality control.

  4. Based in part on the results of this review, it has been determined that the current batch of this blade have been manufactured below specification and they have been withdrawn from sale.

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