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Thin Kerf Saw Blades

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Thin Kerf Saw Blades

Buy Thin Kerf Saw Blades from LongLife®

Hobbyists use thin kerf blades so they can cut better with underpowered saws. Industry uses thin kerf saws so they get as much lumber as possible out of each log.  Some of the best research on true thin kerf sawing came from a pencil manufacturer that needed to get as many inexpensive pencils as possible from very expensive, clear, aromatic cedar.     

In the hobby world full kerf is often 1/8” (0.125”) and thin kerf is 3/32” (0.09375”) for 10” saw blades.  In the commercial sawing world thin kerf is more likely to be about 0.050” or 0.060” depending on the size of the saw. 

 One of the most popular hobby saws offers a standard kerf at 1/8” and a thin kerf at 3/32”  which is 25% thinner.   Obviously a thinner blade will cut with less effort.  The problem is that full kerf blades are designed to be as thin as they can for the conditions given because that is what the market demands.   

 As you use a thinner steel saw plate you create a saw blade more likely to bend or twist.  A thin kerf blade needs to be fed carefully and steadily.   

 Some blades are specifically designed to help the hobbyists feed straight and true.      

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In the drawing above the left hand tip has a conventional amount of side clearance and the special grind on the right has a very narrow side clearance.

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 The left hand picture is a conventional side clearance and the right hand picture is a thin kerf blade with a very narrow side clearance. 

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The top picture shows conventional side clearance and the bottom picture shows a very narrow side clearance with ground shoulders. 

 

 

The top blade in the picture to the right is a standard saw blade and the bottom is a special grind.  The steel has not been ground out in the top blade as it has in the bottom blade

 

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This works well and gives smooth cuts.  The problem is that you need a decent side clearance to prevent rubbing.   As you cut wood and other fibrous materials the fibers spring back and rub against the steel.  The rubbing heats the steel and sustained cutting can get the steel very hot.   The heat causes pitch to melt and dirties the blade.  It can also get hot enough to weaken the blade.  Remember that steel progressively weakens as it heats up.   It is unlikely that you will get the blade hot enough from rubbing to cause the steel to fail but this is already a thin kerf blade.   In fact the original designer thought the blade should be a full third thicker than it actually is (0.125” instead of 0.09375”).        

A Professional saw blade may have a stepped plate or a tapered plate to achieve stability while still giving a thin kerf with adequate side clearance. 


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