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MDF and your fine blades

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Forum topic by sandt38 posted 1540 days ago 2717 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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sandt38

166 posts in 1542 days


1540 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question mdf tablesaw

The other day a friend of mine and i got into a discussion about MDF and our Forrest blades.

Let me preface this by saying, I love my Forrest blades. I treat them as if they were made of gold. The way they cut is amazing to me, and I take no chances with them. They all go into heavy plastic saw blade totes, and never touch anything but the finest woods, my totes, my fingers, the dampener and the arbor. I have had some for 6 years and never had to sharpen them.

So he said, he has no issue throwing MDF to his blades, and he has not had his sharpened either. I was told, or read, or something… that the glues/binders on MDF can really dull an edge, as well as load it up. Now, we both use CMT Orange cleaner for our blades with fair enough success, so I try to maintain it like that. But when it comes to MDF I always take out the Forrest and toss in my old Ridgid combination blade for my MDF cutting.

What do you think? Do you let MDF touch your finer blades, or do you use a scrapper?

-- Got Wood? --- Somewhere along the way the people in Washington forgot that they are there to represent the people, not to rule them.


13 replies so far

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5429 posts in 2010 days


#1 posted 1540 days ago

I’ve always had the impression the MDF was tough on blades due to some abrasive stuff in it. Since it’s easy enough to cut, and the application is almost always utilitarian, I rarely use a good blade on the stuff. Better safe than sorry…

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

View jerryz's profile

jerryz

164 posts in 1913 days


#2 posted 1540 days ago

I agree with that cutting MDF tends to build up on the blade no matter the quality of it. Also you have to feed it carefully as you can have lots of fumes from excesive heat.

I concurr that it is preferible to use a cheaper blade, but still making sure it is not dull.

Hell sometimes you can get blades on sale for a pittance so I scoop those to use with nasty materials and when they dull, toss them…

Have fun.

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1644 days


#3 posted 1540 days ago

Yep, I remember learning this as I was getting started. As I’ve collected better blades and router bits, the cheap stuff I bought as a beginner gets relegated to MDF duty. (EDIT: I’m still a beginner! Maybe I should say “as a beginner tool purchaser” lol)

Your friend may have a point in that sometimes we may “overcare” for our tools, particularly those that do their job well and we paid a lot for. The difference between both of your blades, in the long run, may be negligible, and perhaps he’s saving more time by not changing out his blade. Cents vs. minutes, as it always is…

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

622 posts in 1765 days


#4 posted 1540 days ago

If you’ve had a blade for 6 years and not had to sharpen it, you don’t use it much. :-) Actually, if only used on hardwoods, and kept clean, they’ll stay sharp for a long time. Cutting sheet goods, though, will dull them pretty quickly. MDF, plywood, and particle board will all dull blades quicker.
As far as build up from MDF, you shouldn’t be seeing any. I’ve cut 50 sheets of MDF in a day, with zero buildup on the blade. Just feed it fast, to keep it from burning.

-- Gerry, http://home.comcast.net/~cncwoodworker/CNC_Woodworker.html

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1114 posts in 1694 days


#5 posted 1540 days ago

I find it interesting what folks at sawmill creek said.
http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=71179

View sandt38's profile

sandt38

166 posts in 1542 days


#6 posted 1540 days ago

Ger, being that I primarily build speakers, I use a ton of MDF. MDF is preferred for speaker construction as it is very sonically dead… in fact, it is the wood used by manufacturers of speakers that cost upwards of $250,000 a pair… and no, that figure is not a typo. Most hardwoods color sound, so they are not really desired for true high end speakers. I do like the way mahogany colors the speakers, as it is very warm and mellow. But they do tend to lack a lot of impact. I have used it a couple times for some tube amplified systems, but most people have never seen such an amp, much less have the desire to spend thousands of dollars for just a few watts of power.

So sadly my Forrest blades don’t get to see much work, comparatively, because of this fact. But having $350 worth of blades I don’t get to use much is frustrating. In a way, I was hoping to hear my buddy was right.

But I have decided to turn over a new leaf, so finer woodworking will become more common in my workshop.

Edited Steve posted while I was typing

Steven, thanks for the link. I will look for the Freud LU82 that was mentioned. I have a friend who loves his Freud blades, although he admits they are not like my WWIIs, but he can’t justify $125 for a blade, but if I can find them in the $20-30 range, and they are better then my Ridgid, I will be comfortable jumping on that.

As far as the sharpening, I don’t think I want anyone local sharpening my Forrests. They will go back home for a fresh edge. I didn’t pay that much for a fine blade to trust to some jackleg.

-- Got Wood? --- Somewhere along the way the people in Washington forgot that they are there to represent the people, not to rule them.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5429 posts in 2010 days


#7 posted 1540 days ago

Sandt38 – The LU82 is what’s commonly called a “cabinet maker’s” blade….usually 60T, moderately positive hook (~ 10°), and a triple chip grind, which give it excellent edge life, which makes it a good choice for MDF and other manmade sheetgoods. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the LU82 on sale dirt cheap, but you can always check Ebay. Tools Plus has it for ~ $40.50 shipped.

Holbren has a CMT version called for 281.060.10 ~ $42 shipped with “SMC10” discount code. Holbren also has a very suitable blade from Oshlun for ~ $27 shipped…SBW-100060. It’s not a TCG but will cut MDF nicely, is a decent blade, and an excellent value.

Another great bargain option is the Delta 35-7657 from Cripe Distribution on Ebay shipped for this very good full kerf 40T ATB general purpose blade.

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

View rance's profile

rance

4130 posts in 1795 days


#8 posted 1540 days ago

I would never switch because I’m afraid of wearing a blade out faster. That’s what I bought em for is to use em. If I have to sharpen it one more time for the year, it’s worth not having to change it back and forth. They are tools. They are meant to be used up. Just because I’m cutting MDF or ply doesn’t automatically mean I can afford a rougher cut.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View JasonWagner's profile

JasonWagner

523 posts in 1814 days


#9 posted 1540 days ago

Maybe I glanced over it, but no one really said there’s proof that MDF will dull a blade quicker. I use my Forrest for most everything I cut (a good deal of MDF too). A WWII can be found on sale for ~$100 and can be sharpened. If I were to cut up a bunch of CDX or some crappy sheet goods I would probably switch it out, but in general I use the nice blade that I paid to have.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

622 posts in 1765 days


#10 posted 1540 days ago

I’ll second the recommendation for a triple chip blade. But a 50 tooth combination blade will work fine too, and may be a little cheaper. Due to the nature of MDF, it still cuts very easily and cleanly, even after the blade starts to dull, so if you use 1 blade for MDF, it’ll last a long time.

Fwiw, I have two WWII’s myself, and although I’ll run an occasional piece of MDF through them, I generally use them just for hardwood. I’ve got about 8 general purpose blades as well, that are usually on the saw, and I just use one of those.

-- Gerry, http://home.comcast.net/~cncwoodworker/CNC_Woodworker.html

View sandt38's profile

sandt38

166 posts in 1542 days


#11 posted 1540 days ago

Knotscott, and anyone else in general… I just heard of Oshuln yesterday while browsing the reviews section for dados. I have just an El-Cheapo “industrial” brand that I got at HF (note I didn’t capitalize the brand name, it is so horrid I don’t think it deserves to be capitalized) that has worked well enough for what I have done, but I am going to start working on finer projects (including some humidors I am gearing up for right now) and I want a MUCH flatter bottom and splinter free dado for rabbit cuts. I love Forrest, and my buddy has has the Dado King, which is deserving of it’s name, but I don’t really want to spend another $300 if I can find a good blade set for $100. Anyways, the Oshuln set received a really good review and several other positive comments in reply.

So to shorten my long ramble (I often ramble on, sorry) I am assuming that Oshuln is a really good value. It appears that it gets good reviews around here. Just wanting to be sure my assumptions are correct, as I am always in search of a good value. So do you folks think Oshuln is really worth keeping in the shop?

Thanks in advance.

-- Got Wood? --- Somewhere along the way the people in Washington forgot that they are there to represent the people, not to rule them.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5429 posts in 2010 days


#12 posted 1538 days ago

Oshlun was formerly known as Avenger. The Oshlun 40T blade is surprisingly well made for a $25 blade. It has good size C4 carbide, heavy plate steel, copper silencers, and gives the appearance of a more expensive blade. I won’t go as far as saying it’s in the league of a WWII…it’s not, but it’s not that far behind either…it’s a solid perfomer that I’d rate a B+ overall, making it a heck of a bang for the buck.

I haven’t used the Oshlun dado set, but I know that the 8” is a copy of the Systimatic Superfine 42T/6T set, which I have used and found to be excellent. Like the 40T blade mentioned above, the dado set also has C4 carbide. The best bang for the buck that I have used is the DeWalt/Delta 7670 that’s on sale from Grizzly for $90 (+s/h)....it’s a decent copy of the Forrest Dado King, has great shim stock, and a really nice carrying case. The Infinity Dadonator is the best dado set I’ve used…very impressive, but will run closer to $180 on sale.

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

View sandt38's profile

sandt38

166 posts in 1542 days


#13 posted 1538 days ago

Thanks Scott. I guess that Oshuln is going to be a firm contender, and a very likely addition to the shop based on what I have read.

-- Got Wood? --- Somewhere along the way the people in Washington forgot that they are there to represent the people, not to rule them.

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