Review By Dean Bielanowski  Infinity Website - http://www.infinitytools.com


I
nfinity 012-190 Miter Max and 010-080 Ultra Smooth
Saw Blades

Review

By Dean Bielanowski

 

Infinity Cutting Tools are a manufacturer of various cutting products, including saw blades, router bits and planer blades, to name a few. We have reviewed their Combo-max saw blade in the past, and it proved to be a quality blade, one which we still use regularly in the OTR workshop.

We have since received requests to review their fine cutting and miter blades, so we grabbed one of each, tested them over many weeks, and now can deliver the results...

Infinity Miter Max Blade
The Miter Max blade is designed primarily to be used in a dedicated Miter Saw (also commonly called a Drop Saw, or Chop Saw). The Miter Max is available in three blade diameters to fit common Miter Saws. These are:

  • 8" - 8 1/2" (203mm - 216mm)
  • 10 Inch (254mm)
  • 12 Inch (305mm)

Most shop miter saws will either be of the 10 inch or 12 inch type. The 8 inch varieties feature a 5/8" arbor with 60 teeth. The 10 inch blades also feature a 5/8" arbor but have 80 teeth. The 12 inch blade (which is the one we tested) features a 1" arbor and a total of 90 teeth. The blade is labeled as "Made in Italy".

The steel body of the blade is quite rigid, which helps resist warping during a cut. This is important, particularly with a larger 12 inch blade as these can have a tendency to warp slightly, particularly when making full blade capacity cuts into hardwood. This blade actually has a narrower kerf (just .110") and body than the Bosch blade (.125") that came with my miter saw, but it seems to resist warp just as well as the Bosch blade in most softwoods and smaller pieces of hardwood, such as trim pieces or narrower mouldings. But you will come across many tasks over time where you will need to cut decent sized hardwood, or dense hardwood trim pieces, and care must be taken to cut slowly and surely to prevent any issues with blade load and warp.

The blades are treated with what Infinity call a "Nickel Armor" coating. This is designed to help prevent rust and resin/pitch buildup on the blade body with use. Does it work? Since my other Infinity saw blade has the same Nickel Armor coating, and I have had it for more than 12 months now, I can say that, yes indeed it works, and it works remarkably well at that. My Combo-Max blade is virtually free from rust at present and no sign of any noticeable resin or pitch buildup on the blade body. Of course, since the teeth of the blades are Tungsten Carbide Tipped (TCT), they are not immune to resin and pitch buildup over time, but with even a fair amount of pitch accumulated on the teeth, the body of the blade has remained resin/pitch free! This helps retain blade cutting accuracy and reduce blade heat buildup through the pitch/resin causing excess friction on the material being cut. Overall, the Nickel Armor is certainly doing its job well, and I expect this to be the case with this Miter Max blade, even though I have only been using it for 5-6 weeks at time of writing this review.

All Ininfity "Miter Max" blades feature a 5-degree negative tooth rake. This means that the face of each tooth is angled backward 5 degrees from the vertical plane. A negative rake is desirable on a miter saw because the teeth will not tend to pull the material into the blade (as can be the case with a positive tooth rake blade), say on a rip cutting blade. This allows more teeth to engage the material per unit of measure when cutting, resulting in a cleaner cut and helps keep the material set firm against the miter saw fence. And clean, accurate cuts are essential for trim work, or obtaining an accurate angle cut finish. The teeth on the blade are configured in an ATB + Raker configuration. This means that every second cutting tooth is beveled on alternating sides, and on this particular blade, that happens to be at a 30 degree angle. The raker tooth is not beveled, having a flat grind top. This tooth tends to help draw waste material from the kerf and result in cleaner cutting with less heat buildup. Essentially it is "raking" the waste away.

A total of 4 larger expansion slots are found on the Miter Max blade around the circumference, plus an additional 8 slots milled in the blade body closer to the center. These are designed to prevent the blade warping if the blade body heats up and expands. They provide a gap relief to accommodate any blade body expansion. Normally, you won't actually see blades expand in use, or even after use. Expansion is minimal, and I have never really noticed this happen, but it does happen on a micro level that is not readily noticeable, hence these expansion slots provide the relief to help prevent blade warp.

Cut Quality
With the blade mounted in my 12 inch miter saw, I set about making some specific test cuts in hardwood and softwood, at various angles, and at various bevels. I can't really compare the quality of cut directly with what I was getting off my standard Bosch blade because the Infinity Miter Max blade has more than twice the teeth as the Bosch blade, so naturally, the Infinity will give a cleaner edge when cut. I found that in softwoods, the blade performs almost flawlessly, and there is very little chipout at the back of the cut where the piece is not directly supported by the fence. Of course, the blade is still just 6 weeks old at time of writing this and still very sharp, so you would expect less chipout over a more used and duller blade, but I achieved virtually flawless cuts in softwood when cutting regular miters and pretty much all angles. In hardwood, as mentioned above, slow and steady won the race. If I tried to rush the cut and force the blade somewhat to cut, rather than allowing it to cut at its own speed, I did find what appeared to be some evidence of blade flex, giving a less than perfect flat cut. The error is only very slight and not really visible to the naked eye, but with a good square, you can spot that thin line of light that shows an error. When the cut action is slowed down, particularly with thicker hardwoods, the error can be greatly reduced, even eliminated with proper care and attention. Of course, you must also consider any blade arbor wobble that might be present in your saw. This too could have an effect on cut quality and finish. I checked the blade for flatness and it appears to be flat, so perhaps it is indeed a little runout on my miter saw that has developed over time.

For bevel cuts the blade is generally cutting more material than with regular square cuts, so there is more load on the blade. However, basically the same results applied for bevel cuts as with regular cuts with the Infinity blade, i.e. little or no problem with softwoods, but occasional or potential small errors in hardwood if technique poor or cutting speed too fast.

I also tried crosscutting some melamine and laminated material just to check how much chipout on the edges would occur. Surprisingly the top side of the board where is no support "behind the blade" showed very little chipout and delivered a smooth edge. This is to be expected somewhat given the blade is still relatively new and ultra sharp. This may change as the blade dulls. Generally speaking though, I rarely cut laminated boards or melamine on the miter saw. I have a dedicated laminate cutting blade for the table saw that handles these tasks well.

Overall the Miter Max blade has met my expectations for a high-quality miter saw blade, and is in line, quality and performance-wise, with the Combo-Max table saw blade I already own.

Prices and details for the Miter Max blades are shown below (Prices in US Dollars).

Item Primary Function Blade Diam. No. of Teeth Arbor Size Kerf Width Price
010-280 Miter Saw 10" 80 5/8" .110" $79.90
012-190 Miter Saw 12" 90 1" .110" $109.90
085-160 Miter Saw 8"-8/12" 60 5/8" .110" $63.90


Infinity Ultra Smooth 10 Inch Laminate Saw Blade
And now to the 010-080 Ultra Smooth Laminate Blade by Infinity. A laminate blade is essential if you have a lot of laminate or melamine cutting to do, or even for regular cross-cutting or miter trimming on the table saw if you need an ultra-sharp edge.

The 010-080 is a 10" blade with a regular .125" blade kerf. It has 80 TCT teeth, so it's a true crosscutting or composite material blade. Trying to rip cut with it would be somewhat counter-productive and a waste of precious time. The blade features a 5/8" arbor.

This blade features the same Nickel Armor coating as the Miter Max blade. I won't repeat the benefits of this (see above blade review) but looks like another rust-free blade added to my collection.

What is somewhat different with the Ultra Smooth blade, and perhaps the primary reason it can deliver smooth, chip-free cuts in melamine and laminate is the tooth design, and in particular, the bevel angle of each tooth. The blade features alternative tooth bevels (ATB) and each blade has a 40 degree bevel! 40 degrees is quite a steep bevel. Most blades might have a 15 or 20 degree bevel in general, and some with no bevel at all, so 40 degrees is quite different. The large bevel angle helps to slice through the material, rather than punch through it. Laminates need a good slicing angle to produce a clean, smooth cut, so the 40 degree tooth bevels provide this slicing action during the cut.

To help feeding of material with lower resistance, the blade teeth are set with a +5 degree rake. This means the teeth are angled slightly forward of the vertical plane of the tooth by 5 degrees. This angle helps draw the material into the blade slightly, so less feed pressure is required by the user. Positive rake generally also means a slightly more "aggressive" cutting action, although I'm not sure that is the best word to describe it!

Cut Quality
For this blade, my tests composed cutting chipboard-cored melamine boards, MDF-cored melamine boards, chipboard cored wood veneered board, and standard plywood.

Because the melamine and laminated items all have a composite material core, there is no actual "grain" in the material, or no grain direction I should say. So you can cut it virtually any way you like and get the same cutting results. With the chipboard cored melamine, I test cut many pieces then checked the cut-surface and edges. I was looking for signs of chipout on the melamine material at the cut edge, or any signs of the chipboard itself breaking off. A clean, smooth chipboard face would indicate a good "slicing" cut, rather than a "punching" type cut. Because the path of the blade teeth generally travel in a downward motion, most of the chipout should, theoretically, occur on the underside of the piece being cut. A zero-clearance insert will help support the piece here to reduce chipout, but it doesn't always entirely eliminate it. So I ran several pieces through the saw, and all up, made about 20 cuts in the chipboard melamine. Result... Virtually chipout-free edges! Nothing really visible to the naked eye on both sides of the material. You can tell those high angle 40 degree bevels are really doing the job here. Both the edge and the cut face are very clean and smooth.

Next up was the MDF-cored melamine. Again, similar result. Very clean edges and very sharp too. You almost have to be careful handling them. I re-cut more just before completing this review too (i.e after the blades had 6 weeks of use) and the cut edges were still of a very high quality.

The same results applied to the chipboard-cored wood veneered board. Both the chipboard and veneer were sliced very cleanly and sharply.

Since plywood had a grain direction with each layer, the blade tends to cut both with the grain and across the grain, depending on the layer. Using the 010-080 blade, you can then see how well it cuts in both grain directions. Examining the edge closely, there is little noticeable difference between edge quality in the plywood layers. Both cuts across the grain and with the grain in the respective layers come out clean. I'd suspect with a good magnifying glass or microscope you might notice some difference, but none that would affect the quality of a woodworking joint in my opinion.

One task this blade does not do overly well is trenching or dado cuts. You can indeed do them with the blade, but you end up with the familiar rabbit ears on both sides of the cut due to the high bevel angle and ATB design, and the bottom of the cut is not flat. You could make multiple passes to attempt to flatten the bottom with different parts of the blade tooth, but to me this is counter-productive if you have a lot of dados or trenches to make and have a more suitable blade or dado set, or even a router on hand. This is no fault of the blade itself of course. It is not designed to perform such cuts.

Overall the Ultra-Smooth 010-080 Infinity Blade really did live up to its title, delivering ultra-smooth, virtually chip-free cuts in laminates and melamine/composite materials at a reasonable asking price. It is certainly worthy of the Infinity branding.

Prices and details for the Ultra Smooth Laminate blade is shown below (Price in US Dollars).

Item Primary Function Blade Diam. No. of Teeth Arbor Size Kerf Width Low Price
010-080 Laminate 10" 80 5/8" .125" $79.90

Overall
Both the Ultra Smooth Laminate blade and the Miter Max blades impressed me with the results they delivered. I kind of expected them too, since my Infinity Combo-Max blade has been a real workhorse in my shop. You can see just by looking at the blade that it is a well-constructed and very sharp piece of cutting gear, and with plenty of carbide material onboard to allow many sharpenings in the future. These blades certainly rank right up their with the best other manufacturers have to offer, like CMT and Freud. It is definitely worth considering them when you next buy blades, but check around with fellow woodworkers for their opinions too. My opinion is just one of many.

 

Infinity USA Website - www.infinitytools.com

In Australia:

www.northwoodtools.com.au

 

Infinity Saw Blade Photos
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior written permission prohibited


The Infinity Miter Max blade


Two types of expansion slots...


ATB tooth configuration with raker on the Miter Max blade.


A piece of Australian hardwood (jarrah) with a very clean miter cut thanks to the Miter Max.


The Infinity 010-080 Ultra Smooth Laminate Blade.


Expansion slots have a different design on this blade.


Note the very exaggerated 40 degree tooth bevels!


Test cut result using chipboard-cored wood veneered board and the Ultra Smooth blade, cut across the grain of the timber veneer. Very sharp and clean edge and face.

 

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