Freud Plywood blade

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Forum topic by Julianos posted 02-11-2012 08:27 PM 1914 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1723 days

02-11-2012 08:27 PM

Hi. First post. I’ll try to be succinct. I’m trying to select a blade for a recently acquired circa 1980 Craftsman table saw. I’ll be working with 3/4 inch birch plywood for my first few projects.

The Freud LU series gets great reviews and is pretty reasonably priced. Rockler’s blade selection guide recommends either the LU79 or the LU96. The graphic for the LU79 shows stronger performance for plywood and crosscutting, plus Rockler recommends it for radial arm saw use. I assume that the graphic that shows performance for “plywood” refers to both ripping and crosscutting.

Why, when the blade so much better for crosscutting hardwood than ripping it, is its performance for (I assume) both ripping and crosscutting plywood consistently good? Is it that plywood is relatively thin, so the need for a lower tooth count blade is not as pronounced?

6 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4408 posts in 3385 days

#1 posted 02-11-2012 08:39 PM

I have Freud blades, and have had great success with them. I use the 80 tooth blade for ply and general cross cutting.
That being said, I just picked up some Onsrud blades from the Bay. They are excellent blades, and the deals are unbeatable. Look ‘em up.
A high alternating tooth blade is great for crosscutting ply.
Keep in mind that blade geometry is a science unto itself. That being said, I use a 30 th glue line ripper and a 50 th combo for most cuts. I bring out the 80 th jobby for high quality crosscuts.
Yep! I’m a blade junky.


View waho6o9's profile


7125 posts in 2001 days

#2 posted 02-11-2012 08:47 PM

Bill is spot on.

My Freud 80 tooth gives glue ready cuts and is very smooth.

View knotscott's profile


7147 posts in 2800 days

#3 posted 02-11-2012 09:31 PM

Plywood is made of laminated sheets that alternate grain direction, so every cut is both crosscut and rip cuts at the same time. While you’re crosscutting the outer layer, you’re ripping an inside layer. The Hi-ATB grind of the LU79 (thin kerf Hi-ATB) and LU80 (full kerf Hi-ATB) is extremely well suited for low tearout in ply and fine crosscuts in hardwoods. The real factor is thickness though. An LU79 or LU80 will rip very, very cleanly in thin material, but the extra teeth and shallow hook angle adds a lot more resistance so is more prone to burning in thicker materials. You’ll also find that the pointy tips of a Hi-ATB grind are more prone to abrasion….since their biggest strength is low tear out in crosscuts/plycuts, there’s really little reason to put a specialized “thoroughbred” of a blade in a situation to rip hardwoods where the benefit of the Hi-ATB grind is less noticeable….that’s what the “rest of the blades” are for.

In this situation, I’d go with the full kerf LU80 over the TK LU79, since crosscutting and ply cuts generally require less power, so there’s less benefit from the TK. I’m often a supporter of good TK blades for saw’s like yours, but this time I think the full kerf is what I’d choose… if well tuned your saw should handle it without straining.

Other comparable blades are the Infinity 010-080 “Ultrasmooth”, Forrest Duraline, CMT Orange 210.080.10, and Amana Tool MB10-800. Onsrud might still have some 80T Hi-ATB bargains, but have not tried that particular model so I don’t know if it’s truly comparable to the others. These high tooth count, HI-ATB grind blades specialize in situations when the best cut is desirable.

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

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7 posts in 1723 days

#4 posted 02-11-2012 09:43 PM

Excellent. Much appreciated and exactly the information I was seeking.

I was also looking at the Freud Fusion blade, but the LU79/80 seems to do exactly what I need right now and will then have a place on my RAS while I obsessively research other table saw blades. If understand correctly there would be little upside to a thin kerf blade for plywood. What would the downside of a thin kerf blade be, though?

View knotscott's profile


7147 posts in 2800 days

#5 posted 02-12-2012 04:43 PM

The upside of a thin kerf blade (TK) is that they take less material and are easier to spin…a 1/8” full kerf blade is 33% wider than a 3/32” TK…the difference is especially noticeable during thicker ripping on smaller saws. TK’s can also save some material, but not usually enough for most hobbyists to concern themselves with. The downside of TK’s is that they’re thinner, so are inherently less stable, which can make them more prone to flexing in some situations. Most of the better TK’s are well tensioned and do very good job, but are more likely to “wander” from very stiff grain woods like mesquite, and during long sessions they can heat up more, etc. A good TK blade on a well tuned saw cutting common thicknesses won’t have an issue….I’m sure the LU79 would be fine if you’re saw struggles with ply, but the LU80 will ultimately be more stable.

The Freud Fusion (and very similar Infinity Super General) are the cleanest cutting general purpose blades I’ve been exposed to, and are the only two that have the unique combination of a Hi-ATB grind, dual side gride, steep hook angle, and a 40T general purpose configuration….most other 40T ATB “GP” blades have a lower top bevel of < 20°, and a single faceted side grind. Being general purpose blades means they’re versatile and will do a good job in a wide variety of tasks, but usual excel at none of them. The parameters of the Fusion and SG helps them excel more in the areas of fine crosscutting, plywood, sheetgoods, and clean ripping that’s moderately thick….but they won’t produce the cut quality of the 80T Hi-ATB grinds, and they won’t rip as effortlessly and as easily as a good 24T bulk rip blade, but many folks find blades like that are “good nuff” for most applications. The more standard 40T GP blades will do slightly worse in ply and fine crosscuts, and will be slightly more efficient in thicker ripping. Which one is best really depends on your saw and what you’ll be cutting most. The top contenders in this premium class are the Forrest WWII 40T, Ridge Carbide TS2000, Tenryu Gold Medal, Infinity Super General, and Freud Fusion.

More blade info if you're interested

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

View Bill1225's profile


125 posts in 1824 days

#6 posted 02-12-2012 05:02 PM

i have had great luck with a frued 60tooth gp cabinet makers blade ttg with a zero zci, it stays sharper alot longer then atb blades

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