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Riving knives, splitters, blade kerfs, and philosophies

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Forum topic by PLShutterbug posted 05-26-2021 05:32 PM 1033 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PLShutterbug

86 posts in 246 days


05-26-2021 05:32 PM

I just bought a new Grizzly G0941 table saw (just before the prices went up …). Like every other brand I looked at, the riving knife and splitter provided is for a “standard” kerf blade, not the thin-kerf blades DeWALT, Freud and its Diablo brand, and others readily available at consumer markets now sell. I’m in a bit of a conundrum and could use some advice.

As a hobbyist woodworker I don’t want to spend $100+ per blade if I can avoid it. I’ve been using DeWALT Construction 32 and 80 tooth blades on my 12” Craftsman for several years and have been happy with their performance. They balance good quality and economy. I have also used Freud/Diablo blades and find them good as well. I’m also willing to pay to have blades sharpened and have done so many times. The DeWALT Precision line also looks to be a step up, maybe between Construction and the Freud/Diablo series.

On the Craftsman I have no riving knife or splitter, or blade guard. I was hoping that upgrading the saw would allow me conveniently to use newer safety features too.

I’d like to use the less-expensive blades I’m used to, but the riving knife and splitter specify a larger minimum kerf of 0.114”. The Freud/Diablo and DeWALT blades have a kerf of about 0.095”.

Checking Grizzly’s site I see they have a thin-kerf riving knife but I called this morning and after the tech researched he told me they don’t offer a thin-kerf splitter. It seems to me that if I’m not going to be able to get a thin-kerf splitter and I don’t want separate blades for when using the riving knife vs. the guard, I have to get full-kerf blades – which all seem more expensive.

I’ve also started looking at building my own thin-kerf riving knife and splitter but there are a lot of kinds of steel I can buy and I’m not sure which would be best.

So … questions.

1. Suggestions on blades? Are there full-kerf blades (1/8”) available in the $50 range? This solves the problem if so.
2. Options for splitters for thin-kerf blades? If I build my own, what kind of steel to use?
3. My nephew has the Laguna Fusion F2 with standard riving knife, which is the same 0.09” thickness as my Grizzly. He uses Diablo blades at 0.095” and has not reported any binding or other problems. Does this indicate that as long as the blade kerf is wider than the riving knife it should be OK, or is he playing dangerously?

Any thoughts, I’ll appreciate. I’ve read other related threads but none answer all my questions.

Thanks.

-- Washington (the other WA - the state)


18 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

8773 posts in 3442 days


#1 posted 05-26-2021 05:35 PM

I’ve also started looking at building my own thin-kerf riving knife and splitter but there are a lot of kinds of steel I can buy and I’m not sure which would be best.

Use an old thin-kerf blade.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7229 posts in 3737 days


#2 posted 05-26-2021 05:50 PM

I don’t understand spending that much money on a saw and not wanting to buy a quality blade to go with it. Regardless, you can get some reasonable blades for less like this Freud LU72 or maybe even this Delta 35-7567. Knotscott mentioned it some time back and I tried one, it’s quite serviceable. There will be some more recommendations, you just need to pick one or make the thin riving knife.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View HowardAppel's profile

HowardAppel

114 posts in 4277 days


#3 posted 05-26-2021 09:50 PM

Get an extra normal riving knife and grind down the top. I would suspect that you could grind down with a belt sander in 10 minutes or less—but make sure that you take the sides so that the remaining part is centered with the blade.

View SMP's profile

SMP

4832 posts in 1149 days


#4 posted 05-26-2021 10:32 PM

Also remember, a $100 blade that can be sharpened 3 times isn’t much more than a disposable $30 blade.

But Amanda also makes an entry level blade that are around $59 that are pretty good, AGE or AEG?

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8866 posts in 1817 days


#5 posted 05-26-2021 11:09 PM



Also remember, a $100 blade that can be sharpened 3 times isn’t much more than a disposable $30 blade.

- SMP

+++ Many times

I have a Tenyru Gold Medal on it’s 5th sharpening. Still lot’s to go.

-- Think safe, be safe

View PLShutterbug's profile

PLShutterbug

86 posts in 246 days


#6 posted 05-26-2021 11:52 PM


Also remember, a $100 blade that can be sharpened 3 times isn’t much more than a disposable $30 blade.

- SMP

+++ Many times

I have a Tenyru Gold Medal on it s 5th sharpening. Still lot s to go.

- therealSteveN

That’s true too. I have a 24-tooth carbide blade I got in 1993, used, with my Craftsman 12” saw that I’ve probably had sharpened 10 times. It still does a good job.

Right now I’m leaning toward the Freud blades Fred Hargis recommended.

-- Washington (the other WA - the state)

View PLShutterbug's profile

PLShutterbug

86 posts in 246 days


#7 posted 05-26-2021 11:55 PM



I’ve also started looking at building my own thin-kerf riving knife and splitter but there are a lot of kinds of steel I can buy and I’m not sure which would be best.

Use an old thin-kerf blade.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

Good idea. I have a DeWALT 12”, 32-tooth blade with a reverse hook angle that was terrible as a ripping blade and it’s now dull. I have no use for it. Its body thickness is 0.076”, perfect to make a thin-kerf riving knife. I’ll give it a shot.

-- Washington (the other WA - the state)

View PLShutterbug's profile

PLShutterbug

86 posts in 246 days


#8 posted 05-27-2021 12:01 AM

Thanks all for your responses.

I think part of what I was writing about was frustration at saw manufacturers in general who continue to sell these safety devices only for the widest kerf blades – and then in some instances their specs don’t make sense.

- Grizzly’s standard -.090” riving knife/splitter says its max blade kerf is 0.122”. That’s not 1/8”, a standard kerf for years. And they don’t offer a riving knife thicker than their standard.
- Grizzly recommends a Forrest blade in their manual whose kerf is out of spec compared with their riving knife.
- Grizzly doesn’t sell a thin-kerf splitter, rendering their guard useless for thin-kerf blades. There are premium thin-kerf blades, so “get a better blade” is not an acceptable comeback.

I read my nephew’s Laguna F2 manual and it has the required blade specs backwards: it says the minimum blade body thickness is 2mm, and the maximum kerf is 3mm. In reality that body thickness is the maximum allowed and the kerf is the minimum. The way their manual is written, cuts with the required blades will always bind on the riving knife.

I think I’ve gotten enough from this thread that I now have ideas for moving forward.

-- Washington (the other WA - the state)

View Chenier's profile

Chenier

54 posts in 950 days


#9 posted 05-27-2021 01:38 AM

Check out Sharguard. They may have or be able to make a riving knife the thickness that the OP needs.

https://www.thesharkguard.com

View SMP's profile

SMP

4832 posts in 1149 days


#10 posted 05-27-2021 07:15 AM

Blade body will usually be thinner as the teeth are wider and make the kerf, kind of like saw set and kerf on hand saws.

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

2285 posts in 2892 days


#11 posted 05-27-2021 11:08 AM

The blade does the cutting. Not the saw. It is amazing how much better quality blades cut.
CMT, Amana, Freud, etc. and the expensive DEDICATED Ridge and Forrest. ( I do don’t like combo blades) Some really like the house blades Woodcraft sells. A good 80 tooth crosscut and 24 tooth rip and you are covered for 99% of the jobs. If you do much melamine or such, they have dedicated blades for that too. Sure keep a crappy blade for dirty wood.

A 3 HP saw can run any dedicated full kerf blade and give better results than a thin kerf. I set my fence scale for a full kerf and it remains accurate. Any thinner it would be off.

The difference between Freud and Diablo, Amanna and Momba etc, is the size of the carbides. The lower price from each can be sharpened a couple times. The top line several more. Of course, the cost of sharpening depends a lot on if you have to ship it or have a local shop.

Many manufactures are not very good at translating mm to inches. The Griz .122 is just fine for .125. They are idiots, that’s all. The person writing the manual is not an engineer or a woodworker, but a clerk who maybe knows English. Think about it. .003! Specs may be translated from some overarching “we know better” EU standards board who has never used a saw. They usually sell a knife that is thinner. There is no standard for how thin a thin kerf blade is though. Like mentioned in an above post, I am going to cut a knife out of an old thin blade for thin kerf as I am cheap and Harvey wants $65 for one. ( Though if I new the model, I am sure it is identical to several Grizzly) Unfortunately, making a knife/support for thin kerf for the blade guard would be a lot harder, but I am finding my blade guard is very difficult and will be looking at alternatives. I have not seen any of the major brands sell a thin kerf blade guard. Seems odd to me. Grinding down or sanding a full kerf sounds like a LOT of work. Remember, you only need to grind the right side as the left side against the arbor is the same, thin or thick.

View bigJohninvegas's profile

bigJohninvegas

1096 posts in 2705 days


#12 posted 05-27-2021 01:40 PM



I’ve also started looking at building my own thin-kerf riving knife and splitter but there are a lot of kinds of steel I can buy and I’m not sure which would be best.

Use an old thin-kerf blade.

Cheers,
Brad

What a great idea. I still have a couple of the thin blades myself, and while I am using full kerf more often, I still have a need for the thin kerf from time to time.
Thanks Brad, I will use that idea myself.

- MrUnix


-- John

View PLShutterbug's profile

PLShutterbug

86 posts in 246 days


#13 posted 05-28-2021 01:43 AM

So … I took Brad’s advice and cut a splitter out of an old DeWALT 12” blade I have lying around. I don’t do any metalworking to speak of so I used a sabresaw and Dremel tool for finer work, after drilling holes on my press. Then I filed things down. I think I did OK, but I still have a couple of hours to go before I have something that resembles a respectable splitter. Here’s what it looks like compared with the factory splitter (I have the riving knife laid out on the blade as well but haven’t cut it out – and I won’t).

It’s just too much to work on. So I’m going to go with wider kerf blades and just use the factory knife/splitter, and let that be that. I’ll keep this prototype because I’m a packrat and at some point I might get interested in finishing it, but for now I’ll just let it go.

Interestingly, @Chenier’s post above for SharkGuard.com pointed me to their article on riving knife and splitter thickness where they recommend a 0.105” thickness for 1/8” blades, and a 0.090” thickness for 0.095” blades – which no saw manufacturer I’ve seen so far recommends. So it appears that there is a lot of difference of … opinion? ... [perceived] knowledge? ... thoughts? ... on knife vs. blade kerf thickness requirements or suggestions.

I looked at the Freud catalog and found some blades that will work for me, then looked online (I don’t have a local resource). I can get a 24-tooth LM72M010 blade for <$50, and either the 80-tooth LU80R010 for $85 or the 60-tooth LU73R010 for $69. All are 0.126” kerf blades. I have a guy who has been doing a good job sharpening blades for me for some time and his prices are very reasonable.

Before I pull the trigger I’ll look at the Amana and Tenryu blades as well. I also noticed that Freud has a line of blades that are 0.116”.

Now that I’ve been researching saws and especially since I bought the Grizzly (I had an order in for the Harvey HW110LC-36p but switched it to their bandsaw) I’m learning things about blades I had never considered before, particularly about tooth set. Looks like the best for rips is flat, and for cross-cuts is alternating tooth bevel (ATB). What do y’all think? Do you even consider it?

The final thought: I now think it’s important to pick all blades of a constant kerf, to simplify measurement with the saw’s gauge. That, or buy the Wixey and reset it whenever a blade is changed out. But I’m tapped out after ALL THAT BLADE EXPENSE!!!! so that will have to wait.

As usual, thanks for the great advice and comment.

-- Washington (the other WA - the state)

View squazo's profile

squazo

303 posts in 2888 days


#14 posted 05-28-2021 12:45 PM

13 gauge stainless sheet

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

8773 posts in 3442 days


#15 posted 05-28-2021 01:02 PM

I think I did OK, but I still have a couple of hours to go before I have something that resembles a respectable splitter.

That looks fantastic – how could you possibly have a couple more hours of work on it? Looks like it will bolt right in as is.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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