New sawblade is thicker and sharper than the competition
Premier Fusion 10-in tablesaw blade
• Manufactured by Freud
• 800-334-4107; www.freudtools.com
• Cost: $100
I noticed the difference between the new Freud Premier Fusion and all the other carbide sawblades I have ever used the minute I took it out of its packaging. It was hard to miss the difference, in fact; I was bleeding. The teeth on this sawblade are sharp—pointy sharp—the way that steel-tooth sawblades used to be. You can’t handle the Fusion blade as casually as other carbide blades. The second thing I noticed is that this blade is several ounces heavier than other blades I have used. The extra weight comes from the blade’s thickness. The kerf is still 1/8 in., but the blade plate is thicker than any other blade I compared it to.
Also, because carbide is brittle by nature, the typical carbide sawtooth’s shape has to be made relatively blunt to avoid fragile edges that can chip and shatter in use. But thanks to what Freud is calling a stronger carbide, the manufacturer was able to grind the teeth to a much-sharper angle.
Combine sharp tooth geometry with a rigid blade plate, and not too surprisingly, you get a sawblade that cuts exceptionally well. In use, the blade’s quality shows up best when crosscutting, where the sharpness of the teeth created a mirror-smooth surface on every type of wood I cut, from a coarse-grained Douglas fir to metal-hard ipé to a number of domestic hardwoods in between.
The blade performs well when ripping, but even a slight misalignment between the blade and the fence can leave a burned edge on the board being cut. Once the blade is dialed in, the ripped edge is clean and smooth, though not quite as good as you would get from a dedicated rip blade. The blade cuts veneers and laminates with a small amount of tearout, better than most combination blades but not quite as good as the cut from my 80-tooth specialty plywood blade.
This good general-purpose blade is available at a reasonable price, but be careful with it. It bites even when standing still.
Photos by Krysta S. Doerfler