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5hp - PM 66 - What blades do you run?

1962 Views 23 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Fiddy
So the new saw is in and ready to work. Got the 220 extension cord and new outlet ran last night, what a hummmmm….

Few initial needs I want to approach quickly. First was better riving knife/splitter and Shark Guard seems to be where I've landed. My need for help is on what splitter thickness to get. Since the shark guard set up isn't something I want to have to replace, I'd like to settle on what kerf thickness for blades I'd like to begin using/acquiring.

My previous saw was underpowered and therefore ran thin kerf blades on. I have a handful I would consider disposable and then two I used that were my better blades. First was a Freud Glue Line, which I passed along to the guy who bought my old saw. It was very thin and I assumed not needed, or all that useful on my new saw. Aside from that, I do have a Forrest Woodworker 11 .100 kerf. Lastly, there was a blade on the new saw when I bought it needs cleaned and probably sharpened, but I believe it was a 60 tooth, general purpose Freud (older I suppose, all silver) and that is full kerf 1/8".

Regardless of the blades I currently have, I'm not making that my focus on what size to order my Shark Guard in. I would just like to know what your thoughts are on running a 5hp saw and what blades you use most often, specifically what kerf.

Last question and I believe I saw somewhere on a post where I believe Loren mentioned using a blade stabilizer on a similar saw, thoughts on that?

Hope that all made sense - let me know if anyone needs more information to be able to better answer.
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I run standard kerf (1/8 in) blades on my vintage 3 hp Rockwell Unisaw. Never been able to slow it down pushing 8/4 and thicker hardwoods. The only reason to use a thin kerf blade on your saw would be save lumber if ripping lots of thin strips from some valuable wood.
.125 Blades will be fine on a cabinet saw. Not sure that a stabilizer will provide much benefit to a full kerf, quality blade. Knotscott has an extensive write up on blade selections for saws. Hard to go wrong with a few Forrest blades…long term value in my opinion. But plenty of others out there too.
I used to use the Forrest blade stabilizer, but then decided to test it. I found absolutely no different in the width or straightness of the kerf with the stabilizer in place versus without it. I gave it away.
There would be very little reason to use thin kerf blades on that saw, or a set of stabilizers for that matter. Check Knotscott's info and choose whichever blades you want, but choose full kerf ones.
I have the exact saw you do and I run the Forrester Woodworker II 40 Tooth blades, .125 kerf. Never slows down and goes through anything.
Someone on here calls stabilizers "profit pucks". I run standard kerf CMT blades in my 3hp Grizzly 1023. I have both the 80 tooth fine and a 24 tooth rip blade. I've been very happy with them. You can get two for the price of one Forrest and I'm not sure I'd be able to tell the difference.

I have tried Freud blades, both the professional and the crap ones from Home Depot/Lowes. Did not like them. They are now wall ornaments.
I should add that my use of the stabilizer was on a thin kerf blade on a Ridgid 3650 saw. With a 3+ HP saw, there's no reason not to use full kerf blades unless you're trying to save stock on thin strips.
With a well tuned saw that has an arbor that spins true, and flat straight stock, there should be no need for a stabilizer. I've compared them with and without quite a few times, and have never noticed a difference. If there's an issue that a blade stabilizer improves, it's really more of a band aid than a cure, so it's better to fix the root cause.

The biggest benefit of using a TK blade is that it's 33% thinner than a full kerf and is easier for the motor to spin. With a 3hp motor there's little incentive to use a TK, and with a 5hp, there's even less reason to, so I'd recommend full kerf.

Which blade is really a personal choice. If you want the best possible cut, use blades that are task specific….typically a good 60T to 80T for plywood or fine crosscuts, and a 20-24T for low burning in heavy ripping. If you just want good nuff performance with the convenience of one blade, any of the top shelf 40T or 50T general purpose/combo blades will typically do a nice job and will usually leave a glue ready edge. I'm very fond of blades from Infinity, but have had excellent results from Ridge Carbide, Tenryu Gold Medal, Forrest, Amana Tools, Freud Industrial, CMT Industrial, etc. If you opt for a general purpose blade, IMO the 40T Delta 35-7657 is hands down the best bang for the buck going in a US made standard ATB full kerf 40T blade…it's darn close to performance of the premium blades for at a closeout price of near $30….if you want/need better performance than that, you're best off with the dedicated blades. If you do decide to spring for a Forrest WWII, I'd suggest the 30T version because it offers a more unique range.
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Yes, I would use full kerf blades. While some report problems with the Freud blades, I use them with no problem.

If you have some good thin kerf blades, there is no reason not to use them. I use both on my cabinet saw and have just one riving knife which works fine with both type blades.
Thanks, everyone and Knotscott, I just read your write up and lot's of good information in general. Thank you for your time on that.

So my last question would be what splitter thickness for Sharkguard? Would the .120 be what I want? Just a hair less than a full kerf of .125, or the next option would be the .105 and I don't know if that is too much smaller.
If I recall, I had the .105 for my Uni running full kerf. I don't remember Lee offering a .12, but I suffer with CRS. the .105 was what I thought he offered for full kerf.
Thin kerf can flex more than a full kerf. I like to be able to rip a hair off of a board without worrying. I wouldn't do that with thin kerf because of deflection.
With a 5 hp motor, use whatever blade will fit into the cabinet.. ........... Jerry (in Tucson)
Thanks, guys -just to be clear, full kerf if what I have been and plan to use moving forward. Just making sure what size Shark Guard splitter to use.

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Assuming the .105 is all I need then. I'm moving forward with that unless anyone has any other feedback


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The .105 is what you want…..
Thanks, everyone and Knotscott, I just read your write up and lot s of good information in general. Thank you for your time on that.

So my last question would be what splitter thickness for Sharkguard? Would the .120 be what I want? Just a hair less than a full kerf of .125, or the next option would be the .105 and I don t know if that is too much smaller.

- Fiddy
I bought the .090, but only use a full-kerf blade (Forrest WWII). My reasoning is that the effectiveness is roughly the same, but it allows me to use thin kerf blades if I'm in a situation where I needed to.
Erich, I was thinking the same thing, but wasn't sure if it would lessen the effect. have you had any issues of binding etc. running the smaller kerf splitter?
The thinner splitter should be less prone to binding.
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