Have you ever wondered what will happen if you use a blade not appropriate for cutting medium density fireboard (MDF)? Well, I also thought about this question when I first started woodworking. In fact, I had assumed before that any tool and blade that I could use for cutting wood could also work well with MDF.
With this assumption, I did use the wrong blade for cutting MDF. I did not know then that MDF has high glue content. So, I ended up dulling my table saw blade because it was not carbide-tipped. Therefore, as a caveat before working on MDF, it will help if you learn something about MDF properties and the appropriate blades for cutting it.
Facts You Should Know About MDF?
MDF is a versatile material composed of sawdust and glue fused under intense pressure and heat. It varies in thickness from 1/4 inch to 1 inch. It is also an engineered wood, made by breaking down the residuals of hardwood or softwood into wood fibers.
This breaking down is done using a defibrator. Afterward, the wood fibers are combined with resin binder or wax and formed into panels under intense pressure and temperature. These processes make the MDF denser than wood and particleboard.
Therefore, when cutting MDF, you should bear in mind that the cutting process comes with more safety risks. Besides dulling the table saw blade if it is not tungsten carbide, it also produces a large quantity of dust particles, which may be a health hazard. It also contains formaldehyde resins, which may pose a health danger.
Of course, any tool that can cut wood can also cut MDF. Yet, for an optimum cutting result, you should take into consideration the abovementioned characteristics of MDF.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Blade to Cut MDF
If it is your first time cutting MDF, you should carefully choose the blade you will use. You should also remember beforehand that table saw blades come in various sizes and made. Moreover, you should be cognizant of these essential factors to consider to zero in on the right blade for cutting MDF:
Blade Size That Suitable For Cutting MDF
The majority of the table saw blades are 10 inches in diameter. Some, however, are larger or smaller. Nevertheless, it is more appropriate to use a smaller blade relative to the maximum size that a saw can handle when cutting MDF. Do not ever attempt to use a larger blade than what your saw can manage.
Blade Teeth Count That Suitable For Cutting MDF
The TPI is the teeth per inch count of the blade. MDF is denser than the ordinary board. Hence, you should know the tooth count of the blade most appropriate for cutting such a material. The most recommended number of teeth for cutting MDF range from 50 to 80-tooth per blade for the higher the blade’s teeth, the better it would cut on denser materials.
If you are cutting a plastic laminate, for example, it will help if you would use a crosscut blade with 80 teeth. For thinner materials, however, the 60-tooth composite blade is best.
Types of Blades That Suitable For Cutting MDF
When choosing a table saw blade for cutting MDF, you will find four blade options from which you can select the best blade to use. Here are these four options:
The number of crosscut blade’s teeth range between 80 and 90. It has a considerable number of teeth as compared to the ripping blade. Moreover, you can use it to cut across the material’s grain. Since the blade has more teeth, it produces more sawdust when used on MDF, which can be hazardous to your health. Yet, it delivers precise and excellent results when it comes to the cutting results, which makes it a great choice when cutting MDF.
You will surely become familiar with the combination blade as you gain more experience in woodworking. It is the most common blade used for table saw, and it has a 10-inch diameter, a size right enough for whatever purposes you intend to use it. With this blade’s use, you can deal with whatever task at hand, and it can perform ripping jobs and crosscutting jobs. The number of teeth of this blade ranges from 32 to 50.
Compared to the crosscut blades and ripping blades, the combination blade appears less refined. If you’re a beginner in using a table saw, you should opt for this blade to use it to cut a variety of materials like plywood, hardwood, softwood, MDF, and other pressure-treated lumbers, and wood beams. You can also use this blade for making precise cuts on pieces of lumber. Besides, it is perfect for lightweight material and MDF.
Also called a multi-purpose blade, the composite blade comes with 60 teeth. It is set aside for cutting man-made materials like MDF. It can perform both ripping and crosscuts, and it also comes with higher TPI than that of the combination blade. Moreover, it excels best in cutting MDF.
The composite blade can make small cuts on MDF if you want to build or repair furniture. You can use it for making long cuts likewise on layered plywood and similar materials. You can also use it in making precise and delicate crosscuts on MDF and similar materials.
The ATB blade does an excellent job when cutting materials like melamine, MDF, hardboard, and particleboard. Of course, these materials are fairly dense, which gives the ATB blade a hard time cutting. So, if you use this blade, you may end up with excellent cutting results but with worn-out blade tips. So, if you have several of these blades or enjoy your visit to the sharpening shop, you could always use this type of blade to cut hardened materials. Yet, if you frequently work on denser materials, you should instead use a TCG blade.
Best Table Saw Blades For Cutting MDF Wood Materials
If you are rooting for the best cutting results when cutting MDF, you should carefully understand the abovementioned tips and caveats. Moreover, you should check out the following best table saw blade brands and models to help you zero in on the right table saw blade for cutting MDF:
Freud D1050X Diablo
Looking for an excellent saw blade for cutting MDF, you should check the Diablo D1050X. By its name, you will immediately get a clue as to how it cuts materials. It can rip and crosscuts hardwood and softwood. But most significantly, it can tear and crosscut through sheet materials. You will find this blade unique when working on MDF and other manmade materials. It comes with an excellent design that lets it work on any material.
The Diablo D1050X is wrought in durable material with its plate made of tough steel. It boasts of high-density carbide tips likewise. These materials make this blade reliable and long-lasting.
The Diablo D1050X also comes with an imported blade that is very handy and easy to use. Equipped with a blade produced using Kerf Laser-precision, you can make laser-precision cuts on your materials. This precise design allows for excellent control over its position and easy feeding. You can also maximize your cuts and end up with precision cuts using this blade.
This blade comes with Perma-shield non-stick coating that protects it from gumming, heat, and corrosion. It also comes with shock-resistant brazing with a tri-metal feature to enable its carbide tips to overcome intense heat. Its hardened steel body also gives it a longer life and reliable cutting edge. The Diablo D1050X also comes with expansion slots that let its blade expand to keep the cut straight and true. Its titanium carbide comes with micro-grain, making this blade extremely durable.
DEWALT 10-Inch Miter / Table Saw Blade (80-Tooth)
Made of premium micro-grain carbide, the DEWALT DW3219PT has very sharp cutting edges that can reduce splintering materials. It boasts of a balanced precision laser-cut body that provides excellent cuts. It also comes with exclusive dampening slots that reduce vibrations while enhancing its cutting accuracy.
You can use this for various materials, but you can most significantly use this for cutting through MDF and similar materials. It also comes with a tough coat finish that reduces friction, heat, and gum, enabling this blade to last longer.
DEWALT DW3106P5 Saw Blade
DEWALT DW3106P5 Saw Blade set is a combination package of two saw blades. It comes with a 32-tooth blade for general usage and a 60-tooth blade for a fine finish. With DEWALT DW3106P5, you can also perform miter saw and slide miter saw tasks professionally. It comes with a slim-kerf design that provides fast and smooth cuts that produce less debris.
Each tip, moreover, is reinforced with extra steel for optimum precision and maximum strength. With the help of DEWALT DW3106P5, you can perform ultra-fine crosscuts without worrying about damaging your materials.
The DEWALT DW3106P5 exhibits a built-in computer-balanced plate that minimizes vibrations during the cutting process. This balanced plate will enable you to better control the blade’s positioning correctly on your delicate material. With perfect control, you can ensure a more accurate and fine crosscut finish.
The DW3106P5 comes with an anti-stick coating that enables these blades to resist heat and corrosion. With less corrosion and better heat resistance, these blades will have an extended period of life. These blades are best used for the slide miter saw, and miter saw jobs.
Freud D0760X Diablo Ultra Finish Saw Blade (60-Tooth)
The Freud D0760X has a diameter of 7-1/4 inches and is equipped with 60 teeth. With this design, it can cut quickly and smoothly through any material. Its blade features exclusive TiCo high-density carbide for crosscutting jobs. Its very thin kerf design lets you effortlessly and speedily cut along any material with minimum waste.
Aside from its ultra-thin kerf, it also comes with an anti-vibration feature. This anti-vibration feature reduces noise during operation and eventually extends the cutting life of the blade. It also boasts of a steel blade body that is laser-cut to cut smoothly and flatly. Another thing is that this blade features a Perma-shield non-stick coating that reduces friction and buildup of heat, enabling this blade to last longer.
Freud LU85R010 (80-Tooth)
The Freud LU85R010 features a cut-off blade that has 80 teeth. It also comes with an alternating-top-bevel (ATB) configuration. Moreover, it features teeth arrangement, facing both left and right. This versatile setup is perfect for crosscutting softwood and hardwood and general usage.
The LU85R010 also features a unique side-grind that smoothens the work surfaces when it cuts through them. This feature provides you with great results, characterized by excellent smoothness and high-quality finish.
The Freud LU85R010 comes with a perfect design for exceptional performance when doing crosscuts on wood with a thickness that ranges from 1/4 to 1-5/8 inches. It also does well when cutting plywood and chipboard that is less than one inch in thickness. More importantly, it can also rip wood and laminate. It would be best if you use it when working on the ideal thickness of materials.
The Freud LU85R010 also features a precision balanced blade that is pre-tensioned for best cuts even under heavy loads. Its anti-vibration slots reduce chatter for longer blade life and cleaner finish.
As mentioned above, MDF is a versatile material, characterized by higher density compared to the ordinary wood. You need to understand this material better if you want a risk-free cutting experience. As long as you know the abovementioned tips and caveats when cutting MDF, you will end up with better cutting results with MDF. Moreover, you should know the most recommended blades for cutting MDF to ensure a better cutting experience and excellent results.