LumberJocks

All Replies on What is the Best Blade for Cutting MDF on a Table Saw?

  • Advertise with us
View DavidNJ's profile

What is the Best Blade for Cutting MDF on a Table Saw?

by DavidNJ
posted 01-21-2013 11:49 PM


27 replies so far

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5510 posts in 2060 days


#1 posted 01-22-2013 12:19 AM

MDF is is very easy to cut but is tough on edge life. The triple chip grind is the most durable, so is a good choice for MDF. If all else is equal, more teeth would leave a smoother cut but will have more resistance….fewer teeth will tend to cut faster with a rougher cut. Somewhere between 30T and 60T should work fine, and even an 80T would work. Find a deal on a good one and go with it.

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

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 971 days


#2 posted 01-22-2013 12:24 AM

I keep a relatively inexpensive Freud 50T combo blade on hand just for use on MDF and plywood. When it starts to gets dull, the cut quality suffers, and I know it’s time for a resharpening.

-- John, BC, Canada

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

387 posts in 678 days


#3 posted 01-22-2013 02:04 AM

Should this be a thin kerf? A lot of them are thin kerf.

Does the teflon coating help in this application?

Freud has three TCG blades: 30T, 40T, 60T, 72T, and 80T. Would would give the best result?

Hooks range from -7° to 13°. Which is best?

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

387 posts in 678 days


#4 posted 01-22-2013 03:01 AM

Amana lists there solid surface blade (Corian, etc.) as excellent for MDF. It is 60T or 72T, 0° hook, ‘modified’ TCG (supposed to keep temps down to avoid melting the plastics). Freud had it as the LU95, but apparently not in the Diablo or Avanti line (I can’t find a website for the Avanti line).

The least expensive I’ve found if Amana’s A.G.E. line for about $70.

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2097 posts in 873 days


#5 posted 01-22-2013 03:52 AM

MDF is hard on everything, not just the blade. And the dust is a killer on you too !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

387 posts in 678 days


#6 posted 01-22-2013 04:39 AM

I have a NIOSH 100 mask now…and will have a pretty good dust collection system including dust collection blade guard and Penn State 2.5hp cyclone around the end of February.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1261 days


#7 posted 01-22-2013 07:21 AM

I use whatever’s on the saw.
Never an issue. If I were to use a blade specifically for mdf, it would be one of my older blades.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View RonInOhio's profile

RonInOhio

720 posts in 1549 days


#8 posted 01-22-2013 08:07 AM

Ditto on the dust. It will get everywhere when you cut it.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5510 posts in 2060 days


#9 posted 01-22-2013 10:20 AM

Freud discontinued the Avanti line in June 2009.

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

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

526 posts in 1584 days


#10 posted 01-22-2013 01:42 PM

I use use a Diable combination 50T its so so on the dust but if you have more teeth you ll have alote less dust but thsos 80T blade’s will cost.

View Radu's profile

Radu

299 posts in 1728 days


#11 posted 01-22-2013 02:01 PM

I use an el cheapo circular saw blade every time I cut MDF or particle board – thin kerf – less dust

View ChrisK's profile

ChrisK

1188 posts in 1766 days


#12 posted 01-22-2013 02:19 PM

I have cut a lot MDF and I have not noticed it to be hard on blades or router bits, quite a few raised panel doors and speaker cabinets. I use a thin kerf Freud. I always use some sort of dust collection.

-- Chris K

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1880 posts in 1178 days


#13 posted 01-22-2013 02:23 PM

I believe it to be harder on cutting edges, but not so much that I switch blades to cut it. Just use what you use everyday, have it sharpened when it gets dull. I don’t use a thin kerf, either…though I suspect it would have to make a little less dust than full kerf….that right there might be a reason to switch if you hang a thin kerf on the saw.

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

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1535 days


#14 posted 01-22-2013 03:49 PM

I’m with NiteWalker. Unlike clamps, I think one can have too many blades, finding oneself spending too much time changing them trying to save a nickel. That’s why we have combination blades. Quality in a combination blade equals clean cuts in lots of materials.

Wear a valve-type mask, fit it well, and off you go.

David asks about a Teflon. Does anyone else think, as I do, that this is a scam? When you have so much clearance because of the larger tooth, the blade is never touching the material. I never have to clean anything off the bodies of my steel blades—all the goo is on the carbide tips.

Perhaps the Teflon coating is like whatever you do to keep the leopard seals away. “See, there’s nothing on this Teflon! It’s working!!!!”

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5510 posts in 2060 days


#15 posted 01-22-2013 04:30 PM

”David asks about a Teflon. Does anyone else think, as I do, that this is a scam?”

I don’t know if it’s a scam because it can help keep blades clean and from rusting, but as you point out, the heat starts at the teeth, and the body doesn’t contact the material very much, so I’m not sure how much difference it really makes to heat from normal use….especially hobbu use.

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

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1535 days


#16 posted 01-22-2013 06:05 PM

I think the Teflon isn’t about heat—it conducts it just fine in my frying pan—it’s about keeping the body clean. It’s claim to fame is that nothing sticks to it except frying pans.

All my steel saw bodies are clean and don’t rust. I see no point in the coating except that, in a wall of silver blades in a BORG, one with color does catch your eye.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View thedude50's profile (online now)

thedude50

3524 posts in 1162 days


#17 posted 01-22-2013 07:09 PM

the reason Teflon or the new electrostatic coating found on the Guhdo blades is a good thing is it makes it easier to clean. A clean blade makes for less heat. I don’t think this is an issue when cutting mdf.

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

387 posts in 678 days


#18 posted 01-23-2013 03:52 AM

I talked with Freud and Amana on the phone.

Freud recommended the LU80, a Hi-ATB 80T labeled Ultimate Plywood/Melamine. The catalog shows a 2° hook, the person on the phone said it had a -2° and the catalog was in error. I questioned the wear on a Hi-ATB in MDF, and he suggested the LU98, a TCG 80T with a 5° hook. It is labeled Single Sided Laminates.

Amana suggested an 80T TCG with a 10° hook. They were pretty definitive: a Hi-ATB will wear too quickly and he wanted the hook to cut into the material, not unlike a ripping blade (which typically has a 20° hook). The person at Amana said that for materials with long fibers—wood, plywood, veneers—a Hi-ATB or ATB produces a clean cut. He continued that manmade materials with a uniform composition didn’t need that and would work best with a TCG tooth pattern. That makes sense.He also said the difference between the Amana line and their A.G.E. line was limited to the anti-vibration method: the Amana has copper inserts while the A.G.E. uses laser cut patterns.

I also found a 1994 Fine Woodworking article on MDF. That article said:

“Sawing—-A 50-tooth combination blade is suggested for rough-cutting large sections of MDF on the tablesaw. But I make so many things out of cutoff pieces that I go right to my finish-cut blade. That used to be a 60-tooth triple-chip. I loved that blade; with a pair of hold-downs and my pride and joy, shopmade, European-style adjustable splitter, a piece of MDF would slide down the fence and exit the blade with a new edge so smooth that I had to stroke it. Then I bought the other blade manufacturers recommended for MDF, a 60-tooth thin-kerf alternate top bevel (mine is a Freud TFLU88). It seemed to cut even cleaner than the triple-chip, and material moved more easily through the blade because of its semi-thin kerf (nominally .090-in.). Its teeth angles fit the NPA’s specs for a blade to saw cleanly top and bottom surfaces of overlaid panels. They are a 15° hook, 15° top bevel and a 10° alternate
face bevel.

“I use 6-in. blade stiffeners for a slightly finer cut, and I made a zero-clearance insert to keep the dust down where it belongs. I’ll talk more about MDF dust problems and solutions later.

“My friends in the cabinet shop have good results using the tablesaw to kerf MDF sheets, so they can be bent into curved forms, as shown in the photo at right.”

The LU88 is a vanilla ATB crosscut blade, and inline with Freud’s Hi-ATB recommendation.

Freud has three blades labeled for laminate, melamine, and other manmade materials. One is a full kerf blade for single sided materials. The others are a full kerf and a thin kerf for double sided materials. All three are TCG designs. Where they differ is in the hook angle. The single side blade has a 5° hook. The double sided has a -3° hook. That begs the question: is a negative hook necessary to avoid chipping (the manmade material equivalent of tearout?) on the bottom side?

The Solid Surface blades have a similar TCG and a 0° hook. The differences look small, pretty much limited to the hook. What other difference could there be?

Freud uses different composition teeth on their blades. The LU80 recommended by Freud is not as hard as the blade for laminates, melamine, and solid surfaces. In the chart below they indicate their Specialty and Super teeth are the same composition. Wouldn’t the harder teeth, described as “Super Hi-Density Tungsten Carbide – half the size of micro-grain carbide (.4 microns vs. .8 microns) making this carbide the hardest of all to withstand abrasive material and create swirl-free finishes.”

It would seem the selection hinges on hook angle and tooth composition. It seems that hook angle affects the speed and quality of the cut which may be readily observable. It also seems the tooth composition would affect longevity which would be harder to measure.

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

387 posts in 678 days


#19 posted 01-24-2013 03:32 AM

It has been rather surprising that cutting MDF isn’t a well defined problem with a well defined solution.

View thedude50's profile (online now)

thedude50

3524 posts in 1162 days


#20 posted 01-24-2013 06:29 AM

mdf is a nasty word in my shop I don’t use it I will use Baltic birch or apple ply any day for furniture before I will breath that crap however I just signed a contract to make a bunch of speaker cabinets for a new home audio company and they have to be perfect and yes they will be made out of my least favorite material MDF

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

387 posts in 678 days


#21 posted 01-24-2013 03:09 PM

Have you decided what blade you will use?

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

387 posts in 678 days


#22 posted 01-24-2013 08:21 PM

Just talked to a blade sharpening service. They recommended an 80T Hi-ATB (30+°) and 0° or negative hook. They say that is what their customers use successfully. This would be inline with the Freud recommendation which was a 38° Hi-ATB with a -2° hook.

Popular Tools lists that blade in thin and regular kerfs. They say next to the thin kerf (model LM1080X) max cut 1”. Presumably that specification was experience based.

This article in PFM Production (PFM= Picture Framing Magazine) also talks about it; it appears to recommend an ATB/R blade: http://www.pfmproduction.com/pdfs/PFMP_Spring05/PFMP_Spring05_Blades.pdf.

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5414 posts in 2270 days


#23 posted 01-24-2013 08:27 PM

I have a twelve inch teflon coated blade with a high tooth count I can’t remember paying extra for the coating at all.it just is the same price and came with that particular blade!
So I can’t see why it’s a scam! Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View CessnaPilotBarry's profile

CessnaPilotBarry

903 posts in 795 days


#24 posted 01-24-2013 09:39 PM

Same as NiteWalker…

I cut MDF with whatever general purpose blade is on the saw. I’ve dadoed, routed, and sanded it, too… Never an issue in 15 years of using the stuff.

If your running a production operation that cuts only MDF, all day long, it might matter which specific blade you use. Otherwise? Just cut it… ;^)

View thedude50's profile (online now)

thedude50

3524 posts in 1162 days


#25 posted 01-24-2013 10:34 PM

Yes I have I orderd a blade from Guhdo it is made for melamine I dont know the specs but I will let you know in a couple of days when it gets here .

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5510 posts in 2060 days


#26 posted 01-25-2013 10:29 AM

For anyone interested, here’s an inexpensive German made blade from H. O. Schumacher and Sohns (made by Leitz, who also makes Onsrud) ....60T, TCG, full kerf, 10° hook….perfect for MDF – $18.75 shipped. He’s showing 3 left.

I suspect the manufacturer suggestions for a Hi-ATB grind in MDF are based on best cut, which is not necessarily the best choice. The Hi-ATB will abrade more rapidly in MDF.

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

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

387 posts in 678 days


#27 posted 01-26-2013 01:45 AM

Unfortunately all sold before I got there! I would have snapped it up.

Your analysis seems correct. However, the last recommendation for Hi-ATB was from a blade sharpener.

It is unclear if Infinity and Amana use different metallurgy in their tips from blade to blade. Both seem to spec C-4 submicron carbide. However, Freud lists 7 different tooth metallurgies. The Hi-ATB Plywood blade and most of the other wood blades are the middle grade. The laminate/melamine and solid surface blades are the hardest using a micrograin 1/2 the size of C-4.

The question then is also will the different metallurgy help reduce wear? If so, do other manufacturers do it?

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase