§ by Randy Maxey on October 30th, 2007
When I packed my shop to move from Columbus, Ohio to Des Moines, I just wrapped all my table saw blades in newspaper and stacked them in a box. I didn’t take time to sort out the ones that needed sharpened and the ones that probably should have been discarded (I hate throwing out saw blades).
So when I finally set up shop in my two-car garage, I was using the same saw blade in my table saw that I was using in Ohio. It was a Signature Series blade made by Oldham. I’ve been very happy with it. But lately, I’ve noticed it was pretty dull. So rather than send it out for sharpening just yet, I thought maybe it was time to step up to a premium blade. Of course, the Forrest Woodworker II has ruled the roost in saw blades for many years. I’m just old enough to hate having to spend $120 on a saw blade. I’m used to the good old days when you could get a decent blade for less than $40. But I’ve also been reading a lot of good things about the Freud Premier Fusion blade. Now, it’s not inexpensive either (around $100), but I needed (er…wanted) a new blade.
So I went to the Woodsmith Store to buy one. I met up with Dave Larson, the store manager. He proceeded to tell me an interesting story about the Freud Premier Fusion blade. He said that blade has been around for about ten years and was just called the “F410″ and was a nominal seller. Then one of the woodworking magazines did a review of it a few years ago. Sales started to climb. Freud realized they had a winner on their hands, put into motion a massive marketing campaign, and named the blade the “Premier Fusion.” Their web site now lists it as the P410 (for the 10″ blade).
So I bought the Freud Premier Fusion and brought it home. I put it on my 10-year old Craftsman table saw. I was favorably impressed. Crosscutting red oak left an extremely smooth surface. I grabbed a piece of melamine particleboard for the ultimate test. Again, the cut was nice and smooth and the top edge of the cut line was nice and crisp with no chipout. There was just the smallest amount of chipout on the bottom edge, but hardly noticable. But I did notice something curious. I compared the tooth geometry on the Freud Premier Fusion with the Oldham Signature Series blade. They looked strikingly similar.
Well, I’m in the middle of trying to clean up and reorganize my shop. So I grabbed the stack of saw blades I had moved from Ohio. In it, I found a barely used Freud Diablo blade with the gold coating. Still sharp. And I found a CMT fine cut-off blade. Hmm…I forgot about that one. But it needs sharpened. So I’ve got the two blades that need sharpened plus the one that’s like new. I guess I really didn’t need to buy that Freud Premier Fusion. But I’m not going to return it, either.