|Review by lumberjoe||posted 07-25-2012 02:39 PM||22472 views||8 times favorited||49 comments|
- Irwin Marples 50 tooth combination table saw blade, 10"
- Brand: Irwin | Category: Tablesaw Accessories
Yesterday I found myself in Lowes. Rumor was they were offloading all of their CMT stuff cheap. While browsing around I stumbled upon the Marples blades. Disclaimer I have a saw blade addiction. If I see something new or exciting, I have to buy it. It’s a problem and I need help! Also I am not a fan of Irwin at all. Their marathon blades are pure garbage, and the “classic” blades are a downgrade from whatever came on your saw – as hard to beleive as that is. I did some research and read all the hype with a grain of salt and a lot of skepticism. The Marples is claimed to be a complete departure form their current line up. They are made in a brand new facility in Italy. The coating on them is some kind of aluminum which is supposed to be superior at heat dissipation.
It would be unfair to compare this to my Infinity combo blade since they are not in the same market segment, so I compared it to it’s direct competition – my Freud Diablo 50 tooth combo blade (D1050X). Also of note, the Irwin is brand new and the Freud has seen some use, but (you’ll have to take my word for it) the cut quality of the diablo is the same as it was out of the box, and I clean it regularly.
1. Price and availability
They are about the same. You can get the Diablo for 37$ at home Depot, and the Irwin for 39$ at Lowes
The Irwin blade is pretty. The coating feels very smooth and even, more so than the diablo which has a bit of a matte texture. The Irwin is slick, like the Freud industrial blades with the silver ICE coatings. The Irwin felt heavier, although I thought it was all in my head – So… I busted out the scale:
Freud – 23.7 oz
Irwin – 24 oz
Not a lot of difference. The Freud is used, so the out-of-package weight is likely identical
At first glance it looks like any other bargain carbide blade. On the packaging it makes mention to “Large carbide teeth that can be resharpened”. In comparing side-by-side to the diablo, they are substantially larger – even taking into account the gently used Diablo blade may have shed a little:
It’s tough to make out in the picture, but the carbide is a lot thicker and there is more of it, starting lower in the gullet than the Diablo
4. Cut quality and efficiency
note: all cuts performed on a Ridgid R4512 table saw
I was pleasantly surprised and a little impressed. I got up early this morning to start on a project. I started with just some simple test cuts . First up was the diablo. This blade has always ripped fairly smooth, but no matter what I do, it tends to burn a little on red oak. I don’t know about you, but in my experience, oak burns easliy (drilling, router bits, general cutting). It’s not terrible and sands out with 150 grit easily. As expected, the freud blade cut very smooth, but did burn a tad:
Here is a rip cut with the Irwin in the very same piece. This blade cut far more efficiently. The effort to push though the blade was extremely minimal and more like a 24tooth rip blade than a 50 tooth cross cut blade. I made about 20 Rip cuts in red oak this morning, most pieces between 4 and 6 feet in length. All yielded the same result Very smooth, but no burning at all:
This is kind of a toss up. The Freud exhibited some burning as it always does, however the cut was really clean. This was done with a miter gauge, not a sled so there was no backing up of the cut.
Notice there is almost no splintering.
Now the Irwin. MUCH smoother cut, however a significantly more amount of splintering, but not what I would consider unacceptable. Also like the rip cuts, much less resistance was offered and less effort was required:
Overall Impressions and Summary
Although I had a lot of doubts as to the quality of this blade, it’s a true performer. I was impressed with the cut quality and ease of cut considering this is a bargain blade. There is nothing I feel this blade lacks for as a combo blade. Combo blades are a compromise between a rip blade and a cross cut blade, but with that consideration under advisement, this blade performed flawlessly. The only question that remains is longevity. I would recommend this over the Diablo D1050X. While the cross cuts are a tad smoother with the diablo, the Irwin does not burn at all and the cuts are very acceptable. That could be because the coating they tout so highly actually works well at heat dissipation, or because it cuts far more efficiently and faster than the diablo. I made quite a few more with the cross cut sled but my camera batteries died. I will add them to the review later. With the sled fence as a backer, no tear out was present at all.
It’s always nice to have other options in the bargain blade market, and I think Irwin really stepped it up. This blade appears to be very well designed and manufactured. I also applaud them for keeping the price low so this blade is attainable even for us cheapskates. I like it enough to leave it on my saw for the time being and REALLY run it though it’s paces
If you are in the market for a combo blade, stroll on over to Lowes and toss one of these in your cart. You will be glad you did