Table Saw Blades - To Kerf or Not to Kerf? That is the question?

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Forum topic by handystanley posted 02-16-2011 10:58 PM 2858 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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169 posts in 2907 days

02-16-2011 10:58 PM

So I am looking at the Forrest Woodworker II saw blade in my Rockler catalog. They list a blade with a 0.093 kerf and one with a 0.125 kerf. I am using a Ridgid r4510 table saw. How would I know which one to get? They are both the same price.

-- "Projects beget projects and projects beget the need to buy new tools and that is what the cycle of life is all about." Stan Pearse, Novato, CA

3 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4212 days

#1 posted 02-16-2011 11:04 PM

It’s a trade-off. The thinner kerf blade will offer less resistance, and create less waste. However, it is more prone to deflection. Another thing to consider: I’m not sure about your saw, but I have a Ridgid TS3660, and the stock splitter/guard assembly will not work with a thin-kerf blade.

If you do decide on the thin kerf blade, spend a few extra bucks on a blade stiffener.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 02-16-2011 11:08 PM

Thin kerf removes less material, making it useful for ripping 8/4 stock
on a 110 volt contractor saw. Normal kerf blades require more power
to cut the same thickness of stock, but they flutter less in use, making
for cleaner joinery cuts.

I ripped glue joints with a Forrest thin kerf blade for years and it worked
acceptably. They work well, but you need to use stabilizers on a thin
kerf blade to get the best performance, which reduces the depth of cut
(depending on your stabilizer size).

View knotscott's profile


8006 posts in 3370 days

#3 posted 02-16-2011 11:17 PM

For that saw I’d definitely go with the thin kerf….your motor will strain a lot less, and you’ll still get an excellent cut. In the past couple of years several magazines have done articles and comparisons of the benefits of the higher quality modern thin kerf blades (Wood, American WWer, FineWWing, Pop WWing, etc), and they have improved a lot in the last 10 years. I’ve used around 30, and the better examples are really good….I’ve never noticed a decline in cut quality from a good TK, but have always noticed that less feed pressure is required. You’re not likely to experience deflection with a high quality TK blade like the Forrest unless there’s some runout issues with the saw’s arbor, so I’d hold off spending the money on a stiffener unless there’s an obvious issue….most well tuned saws don’t need it, and you can always add one later if you do…keep in mind that they’re more of a bandaid than a cure of original cause.

Now, to add complication to your decision….if you cut a lot of hardwoods, and little ply, I’d seriously consider going with the 30T WWII. It cuts nearly as cleanly as the 40T version, but is much more efficient in thicker ripping, and even gives pretty respectable crosscuts in most situations. It’s far cleaner cutting than any 24T bulk rip blade, but rips nearly as effortlessly. If your cutting needs lean more toward fine cuts in ply and fine crosscuts, the 40T has the upper hand, and the new 48T WWII is an even better choice for finer cuts.

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

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