Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tech Tip Tuesday

Freud Diablo. A hell of a blade. No pun intended.

I'm picky about my blades. I've learned to be.


We use Western Red Cedar. It's not cheap and it's not as easy to get as it once was, so we can't afford to waste it. A typical table saw blade is 1/8" wide. That's half the width of the strips we're trying to mill. So, for every two strips that we cut, we'd blow one away as dust.

We started using a "thin kerf" Diablo blade - that was 3/32" thick. Better, but we're still blowing away a strip as dust for about every 2 1/2 strips cut.

This year we're moving on to use a Freud Diablo circular saw blade. It give just enough exposure above the saw's table to cut stock that is about an inch thick. However, the saw blade is only 1/16" thick. Now, we're only blowing away a strip as dust for every 4 strips we cut. Not bad at all, really.

To put this in perspective, typical blades are .125" thick. If you are making about 20 cuts from an 8" wide board, that is 2.5" of stock that you are losing from the board. If you're making 20 cuts with a .093" wide blade, you're losing 1.86". If you're making 20 cuts with a .062" wide blade, you're losing 1.25".

I really like the Diablo blades because the carbide teeth are wider than the Teflon-coated body of the blade with gives less contact with the wood, burns less, requires less horsepower and tends to stall less, giving you more consistent results. The blades also have laser cut dampening and expansion slots which reduce vibration and "cupping" of the blades as they warm up from use. The other advantage is that it's a fairly inexpensive blade at around $14 each.

I'm also having a spacer made so that I'll be able to mount two blades at the same time so that I can cut two strips at the same time. This should save a lot of time in the milling process. More on that at a later date.

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