Battle of the Blades

Over the next few weeks I will start running the various saw blades that I have gathered through their paces in a number of different cutting situations to see how they compare, and handle the typical sorts of tasks woodworkers would require of them. I don’t want to pedestal any particular blade or brand, but the results could potentially elevate one above the rest – we’ll see when the cuts begin. I haven’t finalised the battery of tests that I’ll run each blade through, but there will be sawdust!

Once I’ve come up with a list, future blades can be run through the same set to be able to compare them to this current batch.

These are the blades available for testing so far, and my sincere thanks to the respective companies for allowing their product to be included here. In alphabetical order by blade brand we have:

from Carbatec

290.250.24M 24T Rip $47
285.048.10M 48T Combo $64
285.080.10M 80T Cross $97
271.250.43M 42T Combo
thin kerf

from Woodworking Warehouse

LP20M 25 24T Rip $69
LP30M 25 40T Combo $88
LP60M 001 80T Cross $140
LU2B 0700 60T Cross $110


36T 36T Combo $N/A
40T 40T Combo $N/A
100T 100T Cross
thin kerf

from Woodworking Warehouse

320 ATB 24T Rip $85
336 4+1 50T Combo $115
360 ATB 100T Cross $148

Northwood Premium
from Northwood Tool Company

ZH-1024 24T Rip $29
ZH-1080 80T Cross $33


Premium 40 40T Combo $N/A
Premium 60 60T Cross $N/A
Triple Cut 24 24T Rip $N/A
Triple Cut 36 36T Combo $N/A
Triple Cut 60 60T Cross $N/A

I know the photos don’t make the situation particularly clear, but as I actually review each brand of blades I’ll take more detailed photos of the blades themselves, including their particular tooth design.

Looking at the set, and how similar they look here, it makes you wonder just what distinguishes between one blade and the next. Other than some having a distinctive colour, they all look the same. I can assure you they are not, as the review of the various cut situations I’m sure will show.

BTW, the image manipulations done here could be done in Photoshop etc, but for a quick, easy application I gave Picturesque a try out.  Written by a couple of students in Sydney, it won the prestigious Apple Design Award in San Francisco in 2007.  I’ve been in communication with them recently with their release of version 2.0

If you are a Mac user, and are looking for a quick image manipulation program that can finish the job of beautifying the image and have it resized and saved before Photoshop has time to open, it is worth checking out.  I have no association with the company btw.

Courier Trucks (and Tools!)

Isn’t it the best feeling when a courier truck pulls up outside, and you just know it has at least one box in there with your name on it, containing new tools? 🙂

Had a few arrive from the Ebay store “Toys for the Boys” (as discussed recently) over the past few days. Christmas in….March!



The first couple are some of their ‘torches’ (doubt you can actually call them that). If there was such a thing as steroids for torches, these would be banned from all competitions! They are the monster trucks of the torch world. Each is a 3,000,000 candlepower, 100W beast, and can pretty much light up a house at 100 yards, through the brick wall! (Well almost). They certainly were quite good illuminating a tree almost 1/2 a km from my back deck. Wonder what the Police Helicopter would do if I returned the favour and shone one of these big boys back at them? Hmm – let’s not try to find out. Not bad for $31 and $21 respectively!



Also some of the blades I picked up (some for as little as $4). Including a triple cutting ripping blade, a multipurpose one, and a very fine 100 tooth crosscutting blade, which is also good for melamine etc. Some are 250mm, in anticipation of the new saw….

Just as I write this, I hear another truck pulling up outside 🙂

***Update*** Damn – false alarm. Maybe tomorrow***

Anatomy of a Saw Blade


The saw blade – irrespective of how good the saw is, how flat the table, how rigid the fence, if your saw blade is substandard, everything else is cheapened. The blade tends to be somewhat overlooked (ok a bit of a generalisation), as it just seems to keep going and going and going. What it is however, is a series of tiny chisels. A hand chisel gets looked after, cleaned, sharpened and stored correctly, and the saw blade should receive the same attention.


These days, the blade is often laser cut from high carbon alloyed steel, with the cutting edge being a Tungsten Carbide Tip (often a Tungsten-Cobalt alloy) The tip is very hard, but brittle, and is brazed onto the body of the blade. It is used because it will retain its edge for about 10 times longer than steel. The width of cut (the kerf) is primarily the width of the Carbide Tip, although there are other factors that come into play. In general, the kerf is 3mm, but there are also thin-kerf blades which are good for minimising wastage, and to get better performance out of lower-powered saws.

Click here to read full article

One scary looking blade

Haven’t seen these blades on sale for a long time, but they are one serious looking blade. They are meant for scrub cutters, but I was looking at the packet earlier today, and noticed that it also suggested that they could be mounted in a circular saw.


Don’t know about you, but there is something about that which bothers me. I think it is being anywhere near the vicinity! Talk about a wide kerf as well. On the other hand, there wouldn’t be a piece of green timber that’d be able to resist! If it was mounted in a scrub cutter, I’d hate to be the scrub!!

Anyway, just thought I’d bring that to you as a bit of an oddity.

Circular Saw Blade Tip Speed

Recently, I did some web research about the typically accepted range for router bit tip speeds so I could construct my own table for safe operating ranges of router bits of various sizes in a variable speed router. I found the speed range was between 100 and 150km/hr.

That has lead to another question that I’ve been asked: what is the normal tip speed of a circular saw, and do manufacturers make their small saws run faster to obtain a similar tip speed on their 7 1/4″ (185mm) model(s) versus their 9 1/4″ (235mm) model(s)?

This is comparing no-load speeds (Note, where there wasn’t a 235mm model, I’ve taken the next size down)

So just had a quick look, at 5 different company’s products, and calculated tip speed in each case and this is what I got:

Triton 235mm 4100RPM 181 km/hr 2400W

Triton 185mm 5000RPM 174 km/hr 2000W

Makita 235mm 4100RPM 181 km/hr 2000W

Makita 185mm 4700RPM 164 km/hr 1050W

GMC 235mm 4500RPM 199 km/hr 2300W

GMC 185mm 4700RPM 164 km/hr 1800W

GMC 185mm 5000RPM 174 km/hr 1200W

Dewalt 185mm 5800RPM 202 km/hr 2200W

Dewalt 210mm 5800RPM 230 km/hr 2075W

Hitachi 235mm 5000RPM 221 km/hr 2000W

Hitachi 185mm 5800RPM 202 km/hr 1710W

Gives one a real appreciation how fast a kickback from one of these things is……..

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