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Thread: Best Blade for Cutting MDF

  1. #1
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    Best Blade for Cutting MDF

    I'm gonna build some cabinets - so I know I'll use my Woodworker HIAT for the Melamine. I've never worked with MDF before. What is the best blade for MDF - I think I read it's really tough on blades. I don't want to dull my good Forrest blades quickly and then have to resharpen them - if there is a cheaper alternative.

  2. #2
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    The saw sharpening service I use charges per tooth, not by manufacturer, so it costs the same to sharpen a similar 80 tooth blade.

    With MDF, good dust collection increases tooth life and cut quality, not to mention operator life.

    Regards, Rod.

  3. #3
    Most any blade will make good cuts but a Triple Chip Grind blade is best for long life. The 60T models seem to go for great prices in many brands. Check out the LU82M010 for the Freud version.
    Charles M
    Freud America, Inc.

  4. #4
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    Huntsville, AL
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    I buy the cheap 60T oldham blades at HD for around $10 for MDF.

  5. #5
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    I like James' idea...get a cheap blade at the borg. MDF is wood powder and glue so it doesn't have a grain direction to worry about and as mentioned earlier, cut it in a strong windstorm or use dust collection as much as possible. It makes one heckuva fine powdery mess.

    Also, it doesn't hold screws worth a damn. Go to McFeelys and find their "confirmant" screws specially made for MDF. Because MDF is so dense, it splits really easily near the ends so drill pilot holes.

    You'll have a ball with this stuff. It is cheap, stable, demensionally dead nuts on (i.e. it is a true 3/4" thick), but quite heavy.
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  6. #6
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    I have an Amana melamine blade, but I get excellent cuts in MDF using a Woodworker II. Trying to use inexpensive blades is a shortcut to a mistake in my book. You can always make a shop clock out of a cheap blade after you trash it, but how many shop clocks can you use? I use my good blades (that's all I have now) for everything, and get them resharpened when they need it. It costs less than a sheet of MDF to resharpen a Woodworker II at Scott's Sharpening Service. I wonder if a throw-away, cheap blade is less expensive than having your good blade resharpened? Of course, MDF, melamine, particle board and plywoods will dull a blade faster than hardwoods, but that's the price we pay for using cheaper materials, IMHO. I just finished building a bunch of bookcases using birch ply, and now my Chopmaster needs sharpening. Oh well.
    Last edited by Dave Falkenstein; 12-12-2007 at 5:57 PM.
    Dave Falkenstein aka Daviddubya
    Cave Creek, AZ

  7. #7
    I like the Freuds for mdf. Reasonably priced and good long lasting performance(I, too, save the Forrests for 'better' woods).

  8. #8
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    I realize that MDF is the "cheap" wood - but these are going to be garage/shop cabinets. I plan on using melamine for the carcass and only using MDF for the doors.

    When I do the nice ones inside the house it'll be plywood carcass and hardwood frames.

    So I think the math works out better to get an inexpensive blade to cut the MDF and save myself a sharpening on the nice blades. Although after cutting a few hundred feet of melamine I'm sure my Forrest Duraline HIAT will need a resharpening.

  9. #9
    I owned a custom car audio installation business for about 10 years and cut more MDF than I care to remember. We always used cheap blades from the local hardware store and disposed of them when dull. Though I see the logic in using a good quality blade and simply sharpening, I've found that MDF will dull most any blade very quickly. Where I live, it takes days of waiting to get a blade sharpened and that is days that I could be working on my project. My vote is for a "disposable" blade. Have fun with your project!
    Ryan

  10. #10
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    One more point, and then I'll be quiet. A Woodworker II costs me about $15 to have professionally sharpened. Will a $15 blade last as long as a WW II cutting MDF? I think not. In my experience, the WW II does not dull all that fast, even though MDF is hard on the blade. My gut tells me that I'll get a LOT more use from a WW II cutting MDF between sharpenings than I would from a $15 blade. Where are the savings in using a cheap blade???
    Last edited by Dave Falkenstein; 12-13-2007 at 12:22 AM.
    Dave Falkenstein aka Daviddubya
    Cave Creek, AZ

  11. #11
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    To me, the middle ground between Ryan's cheap blade theory and Dave's WWII makes the most sense. You won't need a world class blade to get good cuts, but a decent blade ensures better balance and better odds of good performance in general. MDF is easy to get a good cut with, but its bull work and just dulls blades rapidly. A WWII costs more like $35 for many of us to have sharpened, and there's a finite number of times it can be done...Dave's fortunate to be near Scott Whiting...my locally sharpener will never see my WWII again.

    On any given day there are usually some incredible saw blade deals to be had. A decent quality blade can often be had for $20-$25 if you keep your eyes peeled. Make that you're dedicated MDF blade and resharpen it as needed between MDF projects. The LU82 that Charles suggested has the best grind for the job and has been in the low $20 range on many occasions. I've recently seen excellent Infinity, CMT, DeWalt series 60, Delta Industrial, Tenryu, and Freud Industrial blades go for $30 or less. If you don't need 3" cut capacity, you don't have to restrict yourself to 10" blades either. Watch Ebay, the free classifieds here, Amazon, etc.

    Mike Jackson still has several German Leitz made blades available at really great prices:

    H.O Schumacher & Sohn 10” z80 High (30 degree) ATB, -6 degree hook, full kerf, 5/8” bore great for double sided laminates, man-made materials, plywood etc. $25

    LEITZ PRO SERIES 10” z30 neg hook ATB 5/8” bore great for chop saw or radial arm quick work $10

    DELTA 8” SPECIAL-BUY 2 8” BLADES AND GET A FREE DELTA 8” 34 TOOTH ATB THIN KERF BLADE-that’s 3 nice blades for $20-can’t beat that with a stick 

    35-590 8" z48 5/8" bore TC/F .110 kerf,0 degree hook $10
    35-751 8" z64 ATB 5/8" bore .0875 kerf,positive hook $10
    35-591 8" z24 ATB 5/8" bore $10
    10" z60 ATB crosscut #004 $10 only 15 left
    35-626 10" z60 ATB 5/8" bore $10
    35-629 10" z48 TC with a .156 kerf 1" bore $10
    Last edited by scott spencer; 12-13-2007 at 8:07 AM.
    Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

  12. #12
    WOW! $15 for a blade sharpening? That's a fantastic price, I pay closer to $30 locally! I would probably change my mind about what blade to use if that was all I paid for sharpening.
    Great info Scott & Dave.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Bess View Post
    WOW! $15 for a blade sharpening? That's a fantastic price, I pay closer to $30 locally! I would probably change my mind about what blade to use if that was all I paid for sharpening.
    Great info Scott & Dave.
    I did not realize what a great deal I get from Scott Whiting at Scott's Sharpening Service. I knew Scott was a lot less than sending my blades to Forrest. Here's my most recent invoice:

    6" X 40 tooth - $13.00
    6-1/2" X 40 tooth - $13.00
    10" X 50 tooth - $15.50
    12" X 60 tooth - $18.00

    Scott does mail order work for folks that don't live in the Phoenix area. He's also a nice guy!!!
    Dave Falkenstein aka Daviddubya
    Cave Creek, AZ

  14. #14
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    Jan 2007
    Location
    Ottawa, ON Canada
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    I have a Freud triple chip that I've cut a lot of MDF with, and it's still sharp and going strong. I prefer to use a good blade and get it sharpened when it needs it. With cheap blades, I get burning, bad run out and very short life.
    Grant
    Ottawa ON

  15. #15
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    Sep 2007
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    Corona Del Mar, Ca
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    Have a solution ...Bite the bullet and don't use garbage wood...
    My local lumber store has a 3/4" luan faced lumber core ply...about the
    same price as MDF which I use for all my boxes..

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