Plus A Shop Test On Carbidetip Saw Blades

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Number 27

May June, 1983

Editor Donald B. Peschke

Design Director Ted Kralicek

Assistant Editors Steve Krohmer Michael P. Scott

Graphic Designers David Kreyling Marcia Simmons

Subscription Manager Sandy J. Baum

Subscription Assistants Christel Miner Vicky Robinson Jackie Stroud Shirley Feltman Pam Dickey

Computer Operations Ken Miner

Circulation Manager Jeff Farris

Administrative Assistant Cheryl Scott

ISSN: 0164-4114

WOODSMITH is published bimonthly (January, March, May, July, September, November) by Woodsmith Publishing Company, 1912 Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50309. WOODSMITH is a registered trademark of the Woodsmith Publishing Company. «Copyright 1983 by Woodsmith Publishing Company. All Rights Reserved. Subscriptions: One year (6 issues) $10, Two years (12 issues) $18. Single copy price, $2.50 (Canada and Foreign: add $2 per year.) Change Of Address: Please be sure to include both your old and new address for change of address. Mail to: Woodsmith. 1912 Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50309. Second class postage paid at Des Moines, Iowa.

Postmaster: Send change of address notice, Form 3579, to Woodsmith Publishing Co., 1912 Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50309.


A list of the contents of all back issues appears on the wrapper of this issue. If the wrapper is missing, you can send for a booklet describing the contents and prices of all back issues.


If you have a friend who would like to see a copy of Woodsmith. just send the name and address, and we ll send a sample (at no cost).

Sawdust about this issue. I have a navy-blue sweater with a hole in one sleeve. It's thread-bare, and sagging from old age. And I've been told it's time to get rid of "that old thing" and buy a new one.

But I like my old sweater. I always feel warm in it — even though I know a new sweater would really be warmer.

So what's the point of all this talk about old sweaters? I thought this was a woodworking magazine.

Well, it's just that I have almost the same feelings about my saw blade. For the past couple of years I've been using a Freud 50-tooth carbide-tipped combination blade. That blade has cut a lot of wood and even though it's beginning to wear down a bit, I feel comfortable with it and it always gets the job done.

I wouldn't think of getting a new one. That is, until I made the mistake of using one of Freud's new LU85M "Anti-grip" blades. Just one cut, that's all it took to completely alter my way of looking at saw blades and what I should expect of them.

But before I get too excited about this blade, let me back up a minute and explain how all of this started. Steve Krohmer (our assistant editor) drew the assignment of writing a two-page article about saw blades.

We agreed that we should buy several types of blades and test them out to see if there really was any difference between one blade and another. Without going overboard on this project, we settled on two brands: Sears and Freud. Then we added the "Mr. Sawdust" blade, because I keep seeing full-page ads for it in Fine Woodworking and I wanted to know just how good it was.

In the middle of all this, Ted Kralicek (our Design Director) decided we should get a new table saw. Things were getting a little crowded in the shop — almost to the point that we had to schedule time on the one table saw we had.

Our new saw and the collection of saw blades arrived about the same time. It was then I realized that we were really buying two separate pieces of equipment. The table saw by itself is just a way to guide boards through the blade. But it's the saw blade that's really doing all the work.

I left the shop to sign the checks for all this new equipment. Meanwhile, Steve started testing the saw blades. A couple of weeks later, he emerged from the shop and announced that the two-page article on saw blades was now going to be six pages. I agreed — if only to get him out of the shop so I could get some time in on the new saw.

I thought I'd test out the new table saw by cutting through a piece of scrap oak. That's when it happened. 1 didn't realize Steve had left the Freud "Anti-grip" blade on the saw. As I trimmed off the end of the oak scrap, I noticed something was different.

The cut seemed smooth, almost effortless. 1 looked at the freshly cut end, and to my surprise, it wasn't smooth ... it was perfect. The end grain felt like glass. No torn fibers. No tooth marks. Just a smooth, almost burnished surface you couldn't help but touch . . . and be amazed.

I took the blade off the saw to see what it looked like. It looks awesome. The teeth shine like something straight out of a toothpaste commercial. The blade itself is coated with black Teflon. (You get the feeling Darth Vader would use it to cut down his opponents.)

Okay, okay. All of this is beginning to sound like a big public relations effort for Freud saw blades.

I will admit that I'm very impressed with this blade. But in all fairness, I'm sure there are other saw blades that will produce the same quality of cut. (The Mr. Sawdust blade is one of them.)

But the point is this: using a good saw-blade does make a difference. If you expect perfection, there are blades that will produce it. Then it's just a matter of how much money it's worth.

I agree with Steve's conclusions that one of the best choice for the money is the Freud 50-tooth combination blade (my old favorite). The new Anti-grip blade is a fantastic blade, but it's designed chiefly for cut-off work.

I also agree that the Sears blades will cut wood, but they simply aren't up to the quality of the Freud products.

As for the Mr. Sawdust blade, I'm still not quite convinced that "the only blade you'll ever need" is worth $160.

new faces. We've added one more new-face to the group at Woodsmith. Jeff Farris has joined us to coordinate the circulation efforts — the business side of this business. Jeff is from Ava (population 2,504), Missouri, where he operated his own hardwood lumber company.

As he comes on board here, our circulation stands at about 130,000, and Jeff will be responsible for keeping all of those numbers under control. But he's off to a good start. He's already assured me that circulation will increase by one new subscriber. Jeff and Marilyn are expecting their first child August 4th.

next mailing. The next issue of Wood-smith (Number 28) should be in the mail during the week of July 25th.


When it came time to "glue up" the staves used for the turned canisters (Woodsmith No. 25), I came up with an easy way to keep everything under control. I just used tape (masking, fiberglass, or whatever) to secure all the individual pieces until they're glued together.

The first step is to lay out all the staves edge to edge with the outside face upward.

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