Bought a good saw... need a good blade

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Forum topic by Tom Best posted 08-14-2011 04:25 AM 2672 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tom Best

7 posts in 2674 days

08-14-2011 04:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: forrest steel city

I’m a newbie to Lumberjocks and have a question regarding Forrest blades. I recently purchased a one year old Steel City table saw with titanium nitride-coated table. I had been using a Bosch 4000 work site saw that had given me no trouble but I wanted to move up to a full-on cabinet saw. In the past I used whatever blades Home Depot had on the shelf but recently borrowed a Forrest Woodworker II blade from a friend that I needed to cut a clean bottom for finger joints. I couldn’t believe how much smoother the blade cut than anything else I had ever used. Coughing up $100 plus dollars for a blade isn’t easy but I suddenly understood the value of a Forrest.

So now I have a new saw and want to outfit it with a Forrest and am a little bewildered by the choices. My saw has a 3hp motor so I don’t think I need to be concerned with thin kerf from a power point of view and would gladly give up a little wood for a cleaner cut if the standard blade does so.

My projects right now run the the small side with boxes and such and I spend about as much time crosscutting with a home-made sled as I do ripping. So I’m not sure which configuration of Forrest to buy. My gut reaction is to get one specifically for crosscutting and one for ripping but I have no idea why to choose a WWI over a WWII.

My other saw is a Makita LS1013 compound miter saw and the crosscut blade I buy might live on it.

Any thoughts?

17 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2886 days

#1 posted 08-14-2011 04:52 AM

I use Diablo blades made by Freud from Home Depot and dont think you can beat them for the money. Wood mag evaluated saw blades and these rated very high. They cost $27-$37 compared to $100 for Forrest which are considered the ‘Gold Standard” of saw blades. Knottscott, you need to wiegh in on this one.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View tomd's profile


2174 posts in 3967 days

#2 posted 08-14-2011 05:07 AM


-- Tom D

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Tom Best

7 posts in 2674 days

#3 posted 08-14-2011 05:31 AM

I have two Freud blades, an 80T crosscut blade and a glue-line rip blade. Out of the box the glue-line was beautiful but it is limited to an inch or so of ripping to be at its best. Had them both sharpened recently at a local place and while they both came back sharp, the glue-line isn’t the blade it once was. Again, the Forrest I borrowed seems to be a quieter, smoother cutting blade. The blade I borrowed is designed to cut square bottom cuts so I haven’t tried it for all purpose cutting, but it was impressive none the less. The DeWALT rip blade I have cuts fast but leaves quite a bit of clean-up required. What blade do you recommend of Freud’s to rip cleanly on stuff that may exceed 1 1/2 inches?

Thanks for the replies.

View lewis62's profile


73 posts in 2835 days

#4 posted 08-14-2011 12:20 PM

I have both, forrest and freud, one for crosscutting triple chip grind, one for ripping, of each. While close there is a slight difference, forrest is some what better, but cost is much higher. like them both, if you can afford get better. I have had several blades destroyed by Local sharpeners who do not understand factory grind. Forrest offers sharpening , tooth replacement service, just mail it in with there form.I will always send them my blades for service!!! come back, like, if not better than, new.I use band saw to rip thicker stock then clean up on jointer,working on sears table saw . Hope this helps.

View knotscott's profile


8144 posts in 3572 days

#5 posted 08-14-2011 03:04 PM

You might find some answers here – Tips for picking saw blades

I agree with you about the full kerf…you’ve got plenty of power so there’s little incentive to use thin kerf IMO. What to get is a matter of preference.

There are some great full kerf bargains currently available on some very nice blades if you decide not to drop a $100 on a single blade:
- Delta 35-7657 40T ATB general purpose blade ($17 plus s/h)
- Onsrud MHATB 10-126-80 80T Hi-ATB fine x-cut/ply/sheetgood/veneer blade (asking bid $24.50 shipped)
- Onsrud CCATB-10-126-42 42T ATB general purpose blade (asking bid – $15 shipped)
- Onsrud RIP-126-10-24-625 24T FTG bulk rip blade (asking bid – $24 shipped)
- Onsrud COM-10-126-50 50T ATB/R combo blade (asking bid $34 shipped)
- Onsrud CCATB-10-126-80 80T ATB crosscut blade (asking bid $24.50)

Those are just a few of the Onsrud examples…these are clearance deals on industrial quality precision blades made in Germany by Leitz.

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

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3047 days

#6 posted 08-14-2011 04:07 PM

One of the consumer mysteries around saw blades is that the grade of the carbide is an unknown. It is reasonable to assume there are a few deals out there on drugstore-line blades but the learning curve is lengthy and fraught with tuition.

I have found over the years that 60 bucks is about the dividing line—anything over that will serve you well and long provided you have the right application for the blade.

Given your description, I’d suggest a combination blade (“Budke” they’re sometimes called) from any of the names: Onsrud (probably the Deal), DML, FS Tool, Infinity, Amana, SystiMatic, etc.

Invest now, and your work will show the effects of the investment.

Think how many times a saw blade cutting edge contacts your work, and ask yourself if that’s where you want to go on the cheap.



-- " 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 HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3110 days

#7 posted 08-14-2011 05:18 PM

Do not forget to match your blade choice to your riving knife or splitter. The riving knife/splitter absolutely needs to be THINNER than the blade. Anywhere from 0.005” to 0.25” thinner is ballpark, but pay attention to any binding you experience behind the blade.

FWIW, I use full kerf 0.125” blades and my riving knife is .098in thick on my G0690 TS.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View brooksorkot's profile


13 posts in 2807 days

#8 posted 08-14-2011 05:33 PM

Tom, I have an old Powermatic Model 71 table saw that is 3hp and I use a Freud Premier/Fusion blade with it. It is a 12 inch blade and I got it from Amazon for around $100. I have not used a Forrest to start off, but I have used my Freud and I love it. I cut some 45 degree miters on some 1” thick oak and the cut was so smooth you would have thought I sanded it. Again, I have not used a Forrest blade but I do give the Freud Premier/Fusion a two thumbs up. The 10” blade in the Freud is the P410 and I would recommend it to anyone. I guess that would be my two cents.

View Tom Best's profile

Tom Best

7 posts in 2674 days

#9 posted 08-14-2011 05:55 PM

Thanks for all the feedback and links. Great input. Another question regarding saw blades and horsepower. I am coming from a Bosch work site saw that had an advertised horsepower rating of 4+ (15 amps 120 volts) and have moved to a 3 horsepower saw with a Leeson motor drawing 12 amps 240 volts. What’s the deal with that? The Steel City I have should have more torque regardless of the horsepower rating. Right? All things being equal, all long as a saw is not slowing down, cut quality should be the same for either, shouldn’t it?

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2889 days

#10 posted 08-14-2011 05:56 PM

I was just about to say ask KnotScott but he’s already here. I’d just ditto what he says. I’ve got both (Forrest and Freud) and if you like the look, feel, and function of a well-thought-out tool, Forrest is worth the money. That being said, I reserve it for expensive woods and do most of my work with Diablo’s. I’ve never had anything nicer than a DeWalt on a chopsaw.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Tom Best's profile

Tom Best

7 posts in 2674 days

#11 posted 08-14-2011 05:57 PM

Mike, the saw I purchased must have been old stock (Steel City still has some of this model on hand) because even though the saw was one year old to the guy I bought it from it is not a model that came with a riving knife.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3466 days

#12 posted 08-14-2011 06:45 PM

I would certainly consider adding a blade guard with a riving knife….or at lease a splitter….I can’t count how many times my riving knife has prevented a kick back.

As for blades….the Forrest brands WWII is very nice….and very expensive. The Freud brand is very good….I use them for my job saw – same as yours a bosch 4000. It is great for this use…..but when I want accuracy and a smooth cut I go to the WWII….Forrest is that good a blade.

I have used the Forrest chopmaster (for mitre saws) is another high quiality high priced blade. Unfortunately, my saw’s fence broke and my blade got dented (It was my fault….usually I look over a tool before use and this would have been very noticeable – but I was in a hurry and paid the price…luckily it did not break off or fling the board at me). Up to the point the blade was damaged (beyond repair by the way) it was cutting as advertised….I have not purchased another as they are just too expensive (my first was a deal with the saw purchase) and I just can’t justify another high priced blade (especially as I do not use the mitre for that many accurate cuts).

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View knotscott's profile


8144 posts in 3572 days

#13 posted 08-14-2011 06:55 PM

Tom – 12 amps 240 volts is the equivalent of 24 amps 120v, so your new saw definitely has a more powerful motor. The 4 HP claim on the Bosch is pretty much bogus….the number is a calculated theoretical maximum output at the same moment the motor fries or when struck by lightning ;-). It’s usuable HP is more likely in the 1.5hp range.

The Bosch is direct drive, and the SC is belt drive….theoretically, the belt drive should have lower vibration and therefore a better cut, but I’m not sure the difference will be big enough to notice.

Regarding blade choice…the WWII is available in 30T, 40T, and 48T configuration….all are excellent but have different “sweet spots”, if you will. The same is true of other premium blades…Forrest has some great blades, but I don’t believe for a minute that Forrest has any notable technical advantages over other premium blade manufacturers like Infinity, Ridge Carbide, Tenryu, Freud Fusion, etc…when comparing similar top models (apples to apples), each manufacturer’s premium general purpose blades have slight configuration differences, which give them slightly different strengths and weaknesses. Which configuration best suits your needs is pretty subjective…the 30T WWII rips notably more efficiently than the 40T and 48T WWII, Fusion, Gold Medal, Super General, and TS2000, but it doesn’t crosscut as cleanly as the others. The opposite is true of the 48T WWII, Super General, and Fusion…these all excel in fine crosscuts and ply cuts, and while they’ll make a super clean rip cut, they’re more prone to burning in thick rips than the 30T WWII. The 40T WWII, Gold Medal, and TS2000 have pretty similar strengths and weaknesses to each other, and their sweet spot falls in between that of the 30T WWII and the 48T WWII, Super General, and Fusion’s capabilities. These are all intended to cover a wide range of tasks…none is best at all things, but some are better than others for specific situations.

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

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Tom Best

7 posts in 2674 days

#14 posted 08-14-2011 08:31 PM

I have a few extra dollars left over from the sale of my once-beloved motorcycle and so the difference between an $80 blade and a $125 blade doesn’t matter significantly. I’m not looking to waste money and the Onsruds listed above seem like a swingin’ deal. As of this writing I do not have any bench or pedestal type sanders and smooth cuts are desirable to cut down the amount of hand-held sanding. I figured on buying two blades beyond the ones I have now.

Frankly, I am a little surprised that not everyone has gushed over the Forrests. I just assumed they were the holy grail of blades but what I’‘m hearing is that virtually any manufacturer’s high-end offerings will produce very similar results provided the blade is suitable for the task.

Knotscott, does the 30T WWII rip cleanly and smoothly? Doesn’t seem like enough teeth to leave a clean edge

View knotscott's profile


8144 posts in 3572 days

#15 posted 08-14-2011 08:51 PM

”...Knotscott, does the 30T WWII rip cleanly and smoothly? Doesn’t seem like enough teeth to leave a clean edge…”

Absolutely…it’s very hard to tell rip cuts apart between the 30T and 40T WWII’s…it isn’t until you get into finer crosscuts or ply cuts that the 40T looks a little better, but you’ll definitely notice how much more easily the 30T chomps through thicker materials. Number of teeth is only one factor in the equation…the low clearance on the side grind helps both leave a pretty nice edge on rips. All of these top shelf general purpose or combo blades will leave a glue ready edge that need no other help to go from saw to glue up, but none will leave a “finish ready edge”.

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

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