Circular saw blades fall into one of two categories: Either they will or will not work for what you’re doing. We needed a cheap blade to cut double-veneered 3/4″ ply and decided to find out which category Skil’s 7-1/4” sixty-tooth carbide blade fell into. Our results were pretty positive.
For as long as we can remember, the only Skil blades we’ve had our hands on were the ones that came with a tool — in short, fast framing blades. There’s nothing wrong with that, except we don’t do a lot of that type of work, and there are better blades for the job, anyway. At any rate, purchasing a Skil blade was a first for us.
The latest carbide blades on the market today benefit from machine-welded teeth, which allow more teeth per blade and a smoother finish on the cut. Like almost every other modern saw blade, the Skil also features expansion slots to help cool the blade and prevent warping.
We mounted our new blade to our old faithful plug of a saw and decided to try it out on double-veneered 3/4″ oak ply — the same touchy material it would be coming up against on a daily basis in the Toolmonger wood shop.
We lined up a crosscut and let it rip. The blade didn’t pull or bind, but it did take a touch longer to get through the ply than our standard 40-tooth blade. That makes sense, since the 40-tooth’s teeth are a little larger, but so was the kerf.
The slower pace made us a little concerned about burn marks, but that turned out to be a complete non-issue — the blade made it through the fifty test cuts with no burning at all.
The big surprise: The twenty extra teeth on our 60-tooth Skil noticeably improved the overall smoothness of the cross cut. Our 40-tooth blade is reasonably new, but even after fifty cuts we could clearly see that the Skil is vastly better-suited to this type of work. There was much less splintering and chewed-up veneer, and that’s all that really matters to us as far as performance is concerned.
You can shell out a great deal more for a 7-1/4″ finish blade, but for our purposes we were happily surprised to find we didn’t need to.
We’re sure almost any modern 60-tooth blade will do about as well. However, the Skil 60-tooth carbide is more than worth the $13 asking price, and judging from other blades of similar construction we’ve used in the past, it’s likely to be in fighting form for at least a thousand or so cuts before we have to think about it again.