Tool Test: Final Cut Saw Blades
Combination tools are invading the woodworking area. Last year at AWFS, Jet Tools and Grizzly Industrial introduced jointer/planer machines. At the most recent IWF in Atlanta, Grizzly unleashed a machine that will plane a board and sand the piece as it passes through the machine , a helical-head planer and widebelt sander all in one. Sometimes, however, the most effective tool is a simple design change or adaptation. The tool that makes you slap your forehead and wonder why you didn’t think of that. The Final Cut saw blade could be just that tool.
Final Cut has designed and patented a 10″, 40-tooth saw blade that’s fitted with a sanding disc (#100 grit is the only available grit) on both sides of the blade. The cost of the blade is $75. I have to admit I was skeptical and had questions when this blade landed in my in box. Gimmicky for sure, was my thought.
According to the company, the blade works because the sanding disc extends beyond the cut of the teeth, so the blade makes the cut and the sandpaper smooths the cut all in one motion. I installed the blade on our table saw and made a cut, fully expecting a less-than-spectacular result. To my surprise, the cut was clean and fully sanded. And I made that cut in 8/4 red oak. I was intrigued.
Then another set of questions came to mind.
- How long would the paper last? According to the company the sandpaper should last as long as the blade is sharp, or a single blade installed on a miter saw should make about 2,000 cuts through 2-1/4″ pine casing.
- Can these discs be used on other manufactured saw blades? Yes you can, but this blade and this sanding were specifically designed to work together. The Final Cut blade is a 0.070″ plate with a 0.104″ kerf carbide tip. The relationship between a sanding disc and a saw blade manufactured by a different company may not yield the same results.
- If I cut to my layout line, how much additional material is removed by the sanding action? I was thinking I would have problems with hitting my mark, however blade sanding removes only an additional .004″ after the cut. Working beyond those tolerances, for me, would be a little finicky.
- How costly are replacement discs? Sanding discs (pressure-sensitive and adhesive-backed) are available at the company store (click here) in packs of 10 priced at $60 and four-packs are $27.
- Besides a smooth cut, what are some other benefits? One issue with table saw cutting is the possibility of kickback. Not that this blade will eliminate kickback, but a Final Cut blade may reduce those possibilities by continuously sanding the workpiece even if it begins to pinch the blade, which is the major cause of kickback. Additionally, blade longevity is said to increase due to a reduction in friction, with the teeth no longer continuously rubbing against the cut surface.
I doubt I would use this blade on my saws full time (most of my ripping cuts are not the last step prior to assembly, and a lot of my miter saw cuts are to crosscut stock before milling), but I can see applications where the blade would be useful, such as mitered corners for frames or cabinet mouldings. The company’s web site has additional information, click here. Also, I suggest a dust collector be used when cutting with this blade. The amount of generated dust is substantial.
What do you think? Leave a comment with your thoughts or ways in which you could see a final cut saw blade being used. Or, if you think this is a gimmick, tell me why.
Update: I just got word from Final Cut that two 12″ blades should be available late next week , a 32-tooth blade with #100-grit discs for $96.95 and a 72-tooth blade, also with #100-grit discs, for $124.95. Both 12″ blades have a 1″ arbor.