Need crosscut/general purpose blade recommendation

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Forum topic by John146 posted 04-25-2017 03:29 PM 1192 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View John146's profile


90 posts in 1056 days

04-25-2017 03:29 PM

My Irwin Marples 50 tooth blade is now dull after three months of light use. I believe I took good care of it and cleaned it about once a month, but to no avail. I got myself a dedicated ripping blade just to see what it’s like to use a “premium” blade – so I picked up a Freud LU87R010. It rips like butter, and the crosscut quality is only a hair below what the Marples gave me when it was new.

I paid $40 for the Irwin blade (about as much as for the Freud), and it’d cost me $25 to resharpen it.. likely to only become dull in another few months of light use, with mediocre cut quality. Granted, my skills have improved since I got the blade, so it’s possible I did something stupid with the Marples that I wouldn’t do again.

The Marples is certainly better than the cheaper blades, but I’m mainly disappointed at its longevity – however, does blade longevity really vary by the manufacturer of the blade? Everything I’ve read suggests that as long as the same grade of carbide is used and the blade isn’t abused, similarly-spec’d blades from different manufacturers will have similar wear characteristics.

I’m also unsure regarding blade kerf – I’ve only used thin kerf blades thus far, and ideally my next blade would also be thin kerf – if only because I wouldn’t need to adjust the fence ruler when changing blades. I’ve read that TK blades are the best for contractor saws – and I have a 1.5HP TS3650 saw.

Being able to get nicer cuts on plywood would be a plus too – the Marples still gave me considerable tearout (though again, not as bad as the blade that came with the saw)—I’d want any new blade to cut as good (or better) than it on plywood.

Overall however, I suppose my priority here remains longevity and versatility – with the exception of being able to do bulk ripping of stock (which is where I first realized the Marples was getting dull).

Ultimately it’s a matter of determining the best value for me. I could probably live with the cut quality of the Marples and resharpen it for $25 if any of the other solutions out there will only give me the same longevity but with a better cut quality. After all, $25 is less than $40 + tax.

-- John 14:6

12 replies so far

View Davevand's profile


155 posts in 1448 days

#1 posted 04-25-2017 04:08 PM

There are different grades of carbide used on saw blades, the better blades use the better carbide. Also the size of the carbide teeth will be much larger on the better blades. The cheaper blades can only be resharpened a few times before the teeth are too small to resharpen.

If you are cutting a lot of plywood, get a dedicated plywood blade with a zero clearance inset, plywood is very rough on saw blades.

View Woodknack's profile


13027 posts in 2991 days

#2 posted 04-25-2017 04:33 PM

Do the teeth have pitch build up? They can be cleaned with a degreaser or hot soapy water.

-- Rick M,

View John146's profile


90 posts in 1056 days

#3 posted 04-25-2017 04:35 PM

They had pitch build up before I cleaned it, but I used ammonia the first time, and then CMT’s orange cleaner the second time – and the teeth were very clean. Ammonia worked fine, but the CMT cleaner was less toxic.

The blade struggles to cut right after being cleaned, hence me determining it’s dull.

-- John 14:6

View MrFid's profile


900 posts in 2516 days

#4 posted 04-25-2017 04:54 PM

If the rip blade is working well, and the Marples is not, then it’s likely the blade. I sprung for a Forrest WW2 40T a few years ago, and other than a cleaning maybe 2x/yr, it does great. I’ve never sharpened it in 3 years of working with it nearly exclusively for both rips and crosscuts.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View LittleShaver's profile


610 posts in 1231 days

#5 posted 04-25-2017 05:14 PM

I’m a big fan of the Freud thin kerf blades. Being a hobbyist, I get 3-5 years out of a blade.

-- Sawdust Maker

View pintodeluxe's profile


6040 posts in 3425 days

#6 posted 04-25-2017 05:29 PM

LU86R010 is what I recommend. It’s a 40 tooth thin kerf combination blade that’s been working well for me.
I use it for hardwood and plywood, ripping and crosscutting. Really everything but melamine, which needs higher tooth count for a perfect finish.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View knotscott's profile


8364 posts in 3987 days

#7 posted 04-25-2017 05:52 PM

Since you already have the LU87 24T rip blade, I’d grab something like Freud LU88R010 or Infinity 010-060 60T blade. The 60T will offer less tearout in ply and fine crosscuts, plus can still be used for thinner ripping when you want a cleaner edge than the LU87 can give. Both are among my all time favorite blades when I used a smaller saw….the Infinity is especially clean cutting for crosscuts and ply….they retain a fair amount of versatility, and can handle everything but thicker ripping, which you already have covered with the LU87.

The Irwin Marples is a pretty decent value blade…similar to the Freud Diablo line, and generally get pretty good marks. There are a lot of variables that effect edge life….user technique being one of them. Gum buildup, excessive heat, binding, friction, moisture content, material density, material flatness, proper saw setup, feed rate, cleanliness, etc….are all significant factors. Cleaning it monthly may not be sufficient depending on usage and the variables it’s been exposed to. I clean my blades after every major cutting session. If you were trying to rip thicker stock, or stock that’s not flat and straight, or anything else that can cause binding, friction, burning, etc., it can easily lead to shorter edge life.

Kerf width is largely a matter of preference, but a smaller saw with a 13 amp motor will have an easier time spinning the 3/32” TK blades. A 1/8” blade is 33% wider than a TK, and simply poses more resistance to the saw if all else is equal.

Tips for picking saw blades

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Woodknack's profile


13027 posts in 2991 days

#8 posted 04-25-2017 06:48 PM

They had pitch build up before I cleaned it
- John146

I’ve learned not to take anything for granted, no offense intended. 3 months is a very short time for light use and the Marples have a good reputation so I was just double checking the most obvious problem.

On thin vs full kerf—I have a 1.5hp saw and on mine, blade type makes a bigger difference than kerf size. In other words a full kerf rip blade rips wood easier than a thin kerf general purpose blade. I stopped using thin kerf blades a few years ago because I feel the full kerf give me a better cut, less flex.

-- Rick M,

View waho6o9's profile


8813 posts in 3188 days

#9 posted 04-25-2017 07:28 PM

View John146's profile


90 posts in 1056 days

#10 posted 04-26-2017 05:40 AM

I think next time I might indeed go with the Infinity set. However, I just got myself the Freud 24T rip blade (for $40ish), so it would be a bit redundant for me to have another 24T blade (good deal though. I kinda wished I had gone with it).

I might get their carbide tipped jointer knives (for $60ish) to complete the free shipping – if I go with infinity.

If you were trying to rip thicker stock, or stock that s not flat and straight, or anything else that can cause binding, friction, burning, etc., it can easily lead to shorter edge life.
- knotscott

That might be it! I had an R4512 before I returned it, and the main problem I had with it is that the fence would tilt in leftwards, causing binding of any stock I was cutting along it. The Marples was the blade that was being used exclusively.

I wonder if I go with the Infinity, whether I’d still need to adjust the ruler in the blade. It would furthermore make it difficult to perform calculations. It’s 3/128th thicker than 3/32.

-- John 14:6

View HorizontalMike's profile


7804 posts in 3525 days

#11 posted 04-26-2017 10:13 AM

IMO, also use Bladecote. I helps lubricate, plus it slows down the buildup of pitch.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View waho6o9's profile


8813 posts in 3188 days

#12 posted 04-26-2017 03:19 PM

The full kerf combo blade works well and you get a lot of carbide for the money.

Infinity rocks

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