Monday, February 27, 2012

Non-Ferrous Blades and Steel

The 10" blade on my chop saw has reached the end of its useful life.  (It works fine on wood, but not so well on acetal or aluminum.)  This is not a surprise; I replace these blades every year or so.  This is a carbide-tipped, 90 tooth blade.  I see that Oshlun makes a 100 tooth blade specifically for non-ferrous metals which has some very positive reviews.

I don't very often cut steel with the chop saw, and generally pretty thin stuff at that, but I notice that this blade's description includes: "WARNING: Never attempt to cut ferrous metals with these blades." What's the danger? The blade shatters, sending fragments everywhere? The blade life is reduced? Aluminum and iron produce thermite reaction from the heat?

Would I better off buying the 80 tooth blade for mild steel, even though I only use it for steel very infrequently?


  1. Yes, you will shatter and throw carbide teeth, more than likely. And it will cut like crap, if it doesn't stall the saw.

    To cut steel, get an abrasive disk sort of blade (Although the special chop saw I have for that uses a 14" one.) This WILL shoot red hot sparks out the back (I once sent the dry thatch of my lawn on fire with it).

    Fortunately steel cut-off saws are cheap, just not as accurate as a good miter saw. I tend to finish off cuts against a bench-mounted belt sander.

    OR, you can put an angle-grinder cut-off wheel in the mill and cut steel that way. Messy, but accurate.

  2. So it might be good to order this blade, but only cut steel (which I do infrequently, and not very demanding cuts) on the band saw?