How badly will MDF dull my saw?

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Forum topic by newwoodbutcher posted 11-10-2013 05:08 AM 1900 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View newwoodbutcher's profile


744 posts in 2874 days

11-10-2013 05:08 AM

I have to saw by hand a Black Cherry open stringer. Each step is a slightly different sized tread and riser. There are eight tread and riser cuts to be made (about 15 linear feet). The Cherry is a big piece of expensive wood with little scrap value if I get it wrong. I’ve decided to make a flush trim router template of ½” MDF. I’ve scribed all the lines in a piece of ½” MDF and am ready to make the cuts. I plan to fine fit the MDF stringer in place then cut the cherry close to the line drawn from the template and use a flush cut trim bit on my router table making the stringer a duplicate piece. I’m thinking Japanese saws are not up to the task (too many strokes) and am planning to use a panel saw. I have two nice panel saws. The short Lie Nielson cross cut and a E. Garlick & Son rip cut. I’m planning to use one or both of them to cut close to the line on the final cherry stock. But what do you all think of using them on ½” MDF? I’ve considered buying a disposable inexpensive big box saw thinking the MDF will dull my good saws and require a new sharpening. Am I overly protecting my panel saws? What do you all advise?

-- Ken

2 replies so far

View robscastle's profile


5086 posts in 2228 days

#1 posted 11-10-2013 05:29 AM


Sounds like you have a good plan to do the work.

Don’t use any good HS steel blades on MDF if you can avoid it, there is so much rubbish in them and glue I would recommend TCT blades only.

See if you can get somebody else to cut it for you, or as you are thinking a low budget saw, however don’t forget the waste we leave behind is inherited by our loved ones for some generations to come.

-- Regards Rob

View MarkSr's profile


215 posts in 2074 days

#2 posted 11-10-2013 06:06 AM

Ken, I am doing a project with a lot of pieces of 1/2” MDF, I am using a old 10” “Freud” Flee Market blade, 40 teeth, lazer cutl, general purpose blade. Paid $3.00 and had it professionally cleaned and sharpened for $13.00. So for $16.00 I didn’t think I would loose too much. I am doing a lot of cutting and that blade just sings it’s way through that MDF. I was worried I would have to buy some cheap new ones also, but I have made over 38 pieces which the largest piece is 18” x9 1/2” but do have 16 pieces 12” x 12” that I have to cut a pattern out of with my jig saw.

Anyway that old Freud 40 tooth, General Purpose is suiting me just fine, except for that damn brown dust, 80% of my shop tools have dust control on them already but I have not got the TS done yet, and boy does that MDF make dust.

Good luck, hope you dustcollector system is working.

-- Mark, ”...NEWBEE: On the road to learning a lot; but; a lot more to learn…” ("My Granddad used to tell me, if you didn't learn something new today, it just wasn't worth getting out of bed")

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