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Thread: Put a Blade Stiffener on an Ultra Thin Kerf Blade?

  1. #1

    Put a Blade Stiffener on an Ultra Thin Kerf Blade?

    Hi guys,
    I trashed my 15 year old Forrest WW-II a couple months ago. I'm still sick about it and I'm not ready to drop $125 for a new one. (In denial and being hardheaded. I haven't touched that saw in 2 mos.) I have had good service from a BORG Freud Diablo Rip Blade. I'm going to buy a 40 tooth Diablo for $30 to get me moving again. I prefer a thin kerf blade - it's a 1 1/2 HP Contractor Saw. But all they have at my local BORG is a 40 tooth "ultra thin kerf", which according to their packaging is thinner than regular thin kerf.

    Question: I used a 5" stiffener on my thin kerf WW-II (it came with it). This new Diablo has several S-shaped laser-cut "stabilizer vents" and the stiffener may overlap. I don't know if that matters, but thought I'd ask you gurus. Is there any reason I shouldn't use this stiffener with the new Diablo blade?

    Thank you.
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  2. #2
    I used to run a thin kerf blade on my 1-1/2 hp 10 inch contractor saw. When it started getting dull I had it sharpened. It cut like new again. I heard a lot of good reports about the Freud Glue line Rip blade, so I bought one. I was very pleased that the full kerf glue line blade walked right through some air dried hickory I was working with at the time. It cut just as fast and smoother than my freshly sharpened thin kerf blade.

  3. #3
    Fred,
    I can see no reason not to use the stiffener. Of course, it may reduce your cut capacity with the blade, but you already know this.

    If your saw is well tuned I think the need for the stiffener diminishes. There's a give and take with everything in woodworking it seems. So with a thin kerf or ultra thin kerf blade, you get a power boost insofar as the thinner blade requires less power to cut. The negative is the thinner blade plate gives up some strength and the stiffener is there to help mitigate this sacrifice. I would have no qualms, and I don't think the stiffener overlapping the dampening vents will do any harm and in fact it will probably dampen vibration better than the vents can.
    Sorry about the misfortune with the WWII.

    Edwin

  4. #4
    Thanks guys! I appreciate the advice and help!

    I noticed a difference between using a full kerf blade vs a thin kerf blade years ago. But thinking back that difference could have been because my previous full kerf blade was just what came on the saw. Whereas the thin kerf was my brand new WW-II. (I just bought the thin kerf because the guy at Forrest suggested it.)

    But today I realized that I need to stay with thin kerf, rather than standard or ultra thin. My splitter is sized for "thin kerf" according to the Shark Guard site. (When I tried to align using an ultra thin kerf I had laying around, I couldn't.)

    Anyway. Thanks again for your help!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  5. #5
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    Frederick
    I actually like those Freud Diablo blades from the 'Borg myself. I don't know that I've tried the Ultra thins though. I also have Forrest's and CMT full kerfs.

    As an aside, Have you noticed a performance improvement using the blade stiffener? I've had one, by Forrest, for many years now and have never really used it. It always seemed to me that it would take two of them, one on each side of the blade, to work effectively. Maybe I'm over thinking it.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  6. #6
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    Mike, the stiffener works just fine on one side because of the way it contacts the blade over a wide area as well as the thickness that dampens any vibration and deflection. The singular downside to a stiffener, aside from it being one more thing to handle while changing a blade, is that then "can" affect maximum cut depth, depending on the diameter of the stiffener. Fortunately, the smaller ones work really well in most circumstances.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    Problem 1. One reason those laser cuts are on the blade is for lessening noise, as well as stiffening. I covered up a bit of them when I put a new blade, with stiffener, on my RAS, and it was a screamer. Took off the stiffener, and much quieter.

    Problem 2. Don't forget it is there if you need to cut something thick. Don't ask how I know this.

    I agree it would be a good idea for that blade, allowing for the above. You have them both, why not try it out?
    Last edited by Rick Potter; 04-22-2019 at 12:58 PM.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  8. #8
    I had a situation where an ultra thin blade deflected when I was using it to cut thick wood (actually resawing on the table saw). Rather than use stiffeners which would limit my depth of cut, I now take a shallow cut, then raise the blade and pass the wood through a second time to finish the cut.

    I don't use that blade all the time but do when I want to resaw on the table saw and not lose a lot of wood.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Mike, the stiffener works just fine on one side because of the way it contacts the blade over a wide area as well as the thickness that dampens any vibration and deflection. The singular downside to a stiffener, aside from it being one more thing to handle while changing a blade, is that then "can" affect maximum cut depth, depending on the diameter of the stiffener. Fortunately, the smaller ones work really well in most circumstances.
    Jim

    When I look at the diameter of the stiffener plate, versus the OEM diameter of the arbor flange which is much less. Then add in the diameter of the non arbor side washer, which is a loaded washer It always seemed to me that more lateral force could added from one side, with that loaded washer, acting against the larger diameter stiffener backed up on the other side of the blade with the smaller diameter arbor flange. It always seemed to me that there should be a stiffener plate on both sides of the blade. to equalize stresses.
    To be honest, I never encountered any issues using one, but I've also never encountered any issues not using one either. I've always had trouble with the concept spatially, spinning it around in my mind.
    I'm probably way over thinking it. I could also be installing it wrong also.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  10. #10
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    Some saws seem to have larger flanges on the machine side of the arbor which I'm sure likely provides a little benefit with or without a stiffener. Way back when I had a contractor's style saw, I had one of the Forrest stiffeners and used thin-kerf blades and I do believe there was at least some marginal benefit.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    Beware, I had a diablo “ultra thin kerf” blade, 10”, that was no smaller than 0.98, if I had to guess it was .125 now, is that ultra thin kerf compared to forrest thin kerf? I don’t know. But, no where on the damn package did it actually say size of the kerf. All I k ow is it’s a lot heavier than my dewalt thin kerf blade.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Zac wingert View Post
    Beware, I had a diablo “ultra thin kerf” blade, 10”, that was no smaller than 0.98, if I had to guess it was .125 now, is that ultra thin kerf compared to forrest thin kerf? I don’t know. But, no where on the damn package did it actually say size of the kerf. All I k ow is it’s a lot heavier than my dewalt thin kerf blade.
    Looking at the Diablo Tools website, they make a 0.098" and 0.087 kerf in 10" blades. But I agree, you have to use the website to find that info because it isnt on the packaging. Interestingly, on the shelf at my local BORG are both kerfs in a 10", 40 tooth blade. But the "ultra thin" kerf for that blade isnt on the Diablo website. My guess is the ultra thin was a special they did for the BORG - maybe they are cheaper to make/sell than the thicker kerf. Don't know.
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  13. #13
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    Zac, I'm sure you know this, but .125" (1/8") is "full kerf". So if that blade was marketed as "thin kerf"...it was either mis-marked or something else!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Zac, I'm sure you know this, but .125" (1/8") is "full kerf". So if that blade was marketed as "thin kerf"...it was either mis-marked or something else!
    Jim, maybe it was a very thin kerf dado blade.

  15. #15
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    I don't see the point in a 10" ultra thin kerf blade. If you need the ultra thin kerf, just use a 7 1/4" thin kerf blade (unless you use a Sawstop). It's much cheaper, won't deflect as much, and you probably can't use the full depth of cut with an ultra thin kerf blade anyway.

    By the way, when it comes to blade stiffeners, there are two types: the double set that is slightly cupped to grip the blade between them at their edges, and the flat single type. The first holds the blade flat, while the second mostly damps vibrations to keep it flat.

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