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


I
nfinity Tools Super General Saw Blade
Review

By Dean Bielanowski

Review published June 12th, 2008

One of the things I love about woodworking is not usually the end result, but the process itself, and this process is more enjoyable when you have quality tools on hand to work with. We all know how frustrating it can be when a tool doesn't perform to our expectations and makes a task more difficult than it probably should be. Every woodworker I know battles this dilemma, and in fact, it is a process in itself. Look in any established woodworkers tool collection and you will likely only find those tools that he or she knows can get the job done. Rarely do they keep tools that are not up to scratch.

Given that the table saw is perhaps one of the primary cutting tools in the workshop for fine furniture or cabinetmaking, it makes sense that only a decent quality blade should be used. In fact, the best table saw in the world may not be any better than one half its price or quality if a poor quality blade is used. Equally, a high quality blade added to what seems like an average tool can make all the difference. In fact, several of my favorite circular saws are those from the "budget" brands, just fitted with high quality blades. Good cutting blades are a must!

But, getting back to table saws, make sure you put a decent blade on it. It will make a big difference to the cutting results and enjoyment you get from using the tool.

Today I am looking at Infinity Tools' new Super General blade. I have tested and reviewed some of their other saw blades in the past with very good results so hopefully this new offering will be even better?

Infinity Super General Saw Blade
The Super General (SG) saw blade is an industrial quality blade that is priced, well I guess, in the Industrial quality bracket. Indeed there are many cheaper saw blades on the market and at a little over $100 the SG will take some decision on the part of the woodworker before purchasing. But as many woodworkers know, spending a little more now on quality saves you more than that little extra later, replacing lower quality blades that go blunt quickly or do not produce good results or are not really even sharp to begin with!

The SG is a "general" saw blade in the cutting sense as its 40 tooth design makes it suitable for both rip-cutting and cross-cutting. These "combo" blades are the best compromise to make different cuts with a single blade installed. Rip cuts are best made with blades with lower tooth count. 16 or 24-tooth blades are often termed ripping blades. The extra space (gullets) between the teeth on these blades helps remove the large debris created during rip cutting (cutting along the grain of the wood). Good crosscut blades will generally have more than 60 teeth, even as much as 100 teeth, or more. The extra cutting teeth on these blades provide better quality cuts across the grain as cutting teeth are engaged more frequently against the material as the blade rotates.

You will find most combination saw blades have either 40 or 50 teeth. These blades are also generally useful for cutting sheets goods like plywood, MDF and chipboard too if you don't own specific blades for these tasks. There are many reasons why people choose to use combination blades, but often it is because a) they don't like having to swap between ripping/crosscutting/sheet goods blades etc, or b) they can't afford a quality blade suited to every type of cut they need to make. Again, you often compromise a little with a combo blade in cut quality and speed, but the mark of a great combination blade is how little these factors are affected by its use.

Blade Construction
The Infinity Super General blade body is a 10", 5/8" arbor, 0.125" thick saw blade milled from high quality German hot-rolled steel. The actual cutting teeth are formed from "submicron" carbide. I am assuming this refers to the size of the carbide grains, and if so, this is a good thing being sub-micron. The smaller the carbide grains, the better the blades ability to be sharpened and retain that sharp grind. Lesser quality blades generally use coarse carbide grains and as these grains are "lost" from the blade teeth, they take a larger surface cutting area with them, essentially dulling the blades much more or producing more jagged teeth edges that are less likely to deliver a smooth cut.

Note also the thickness of the carbide teeth on the Super General. These teeth are some of the thickest (front to back) you will find on a standard 10" table saw blade. What this means is that you have more carbide to consume when it comes time to sharpen the blade. And the more carbide you have on the teeth, the more times it can be sharpened, greatly extending blade service life.

The Super General features an ATB teeth profile, meaning Alternate Top Bevel. Essentially, every second tooth has a bevel ground facing one way, the tooth in between has it ground the other, i.e, Alternate Top Bevel. The angle of this top bevel grind in 30 degrees. The angle determines to some degree whether the tooth "slices" as it cuts or "punches" as it cuts. If you look at a dado set for example, you will note that the "chipper" blades will have a flat top grind. This is basically so the bottom of your dado is cut flat, but this design basically "punches" or "chips" the material away between the two outer slicing blades which do have a bevel grind. If you try to cut wood with a flat top grind blade only, it will likely cut, but probably with a lot more noise and vibration, and it will cut quite slowly and will definitely produce a rougher edge. Conversely, high angle tooth bevel grinds are more suited to slicing materials like laminates and plastics without chipping the surfaces as they have a more pronounced slicing action. The Super General's 30 degree bevel grind is perhaps slightly higher than many other combo blades on the market, but it is this higher angle that also allows fairly rapid cutting and splinter free results, even in plastics and melamine.

The teeth also have a "special" side grind designed for quality cutting results on cross-cuts . It is hard to see this grind visually so I'm not 100% sure what this special grind profile really is, except that teeth are slightly wider at the top then at the bottom, but there also appears to be (according to my eyes at least) a small cup in the side grind from front face to back. Regardless, crosscuts with the Super General were all but flawless during my cutting tests so whatever grind design is employed, it appears to work very well.

The Super General features both heat expansion slots and noise dampening slots. The heat expansion slots are located around the outside of the blade body originating from the gullets between teeth and total 12 in number. As the blade is used the friction caused by cutting heats the blade teeth and the blade itself. This heat, if it becomes excessive during continuous or heavy cutting, can expand the metal enough to cause it to warp slightly in shape if no expansion slots are in place. If this occurs, the cutting quality can be greatly affected by the now non-flat blade. The expansion slots are basically a small gap that allows for expansion of the blade under heat, hence reducing the chance of blade warp. Personally I have never really experienced blade warp due to heating the blade up excessively. I don't seem to cut frequently enough or continuously on my saw to suffer from it, but you could imagine in a commercial workshop environment how this could potentially occur. The expansion slots should prevent this problem occurring.

The noise dampening slots are four in number, well actually there are eight, just grouped in two slots per quarter blade. These slots are designed to reduce noise and vibration under load. Any excess blade vibration during a cut will affect the quality of the cut. The slots are filled with a polymer material designed to absorb vibration in the blade body before it reaches the outer edge of the blade and the cutting teeth where its effects can be translated into a poor quality cut. I can't and don't really want to try to measure vibration. Far too dangerous. Besides the cut quality will soon tell me if there are any problems with excess vibration and there didn't appear to be any noticeable judging by my results.

What's the blue stuff? The Super General has an aluminum-infused blue PTFE coating on the blade body. You might know it better as one of its trade names... Teflon! It's the same kind of stuff used in non-stick fry-pans. The same basic reason is why it is added to this saw blade. Not only will this coating greatly aid in preventing rust on the body of the saw blade, which can lead to pitting and vibration from an uneven, rusty surface, but the slick coating also reduces friction markedly, and hence heat, as well as prevents buildup of pitch and resin on the blade and around the teeth which can affect blade sharpness. Note that it appears the coating is added before the teeth are ground as you can see the coating has been ground away a little around the bottom of each tooth. Perhaps the CNC grinder got a little too close on this particular blade? Nonetheless this didn't affect performance but I'll keep an eye on whether this lack of coating on these spots starts collecting resin or pitch more than the protected areas surrounding it.
You might also notice that the area around the blades arbor hole does not have this PTFE coating. This is area is ground flat to ensure a flat fit against your saw's arbor and arbor washer nut. You don't want any coating here really.

The Super General In Use
As mentioned I have used the Super General to cut many types of material in the shop over the last month or two. In terms of noise the blade is indeed very quiet with no excessive noise generated while cutting most materials. It is quite a bit quieter than my CMT combo blade, but that one is half the cost so I'd expect the Super General to produce less noise. The blade runs very true on my saw and there is little sign of vibration. In fact I was able to pass the coin on edge test on my table saw top easily. In terms of cutting speed, yes rip cuts are slower with the Super General than with a dedicated ripping blade. This is to be expected given the higher tooth count on the Infinity blade, however, it is more than capable in this area and is still no slouch in the speed department. I usually like to take it a little slower on rip cuts than some as there is greater chance for the board to twist and pinch on the back of the blade during a ripping cut. I do use a splitter to help prevent this and to date have not had a kickback event with my table saw. I'd like to keep it that way! You might notice the rip cutting photo in the right photo column. As you can see I deliberately ripped right through a knot in this photo. The end result with this blade is that you can pretty much get glue-line quality rip cuts with the Super General if your rip cutting technique is good, or with the aid of featherboards to keep stock tight to the fence. The knots are ripped through with the same quality edge as clean material. I own the Infinity Combo max combination blade as well (reviewed on this site) and I thought that blade was pretty impressive. The Super General takes it a notch further in rip cut edge quality. The same results were achieved no matter whether I was ripping softwoods or hardwoods.

Crosscut performance is equally as impressive in softwoods, hardwoods and all wood-based sheet goods. I did try slicing some perspex sheets with this blade and while I had no cracking/chipping or splintering of any kind, I did find one of my other Infinity blades (80 tooth with high ATB angle) cut a little easier. I couldn't really make out much difference in edge quality though. The Super General produces clean, sharp edges when cutting melamine and veneered sheet goods. Most of my good blades do this with no trouble. Nothing out of the ordinary with this blade with regards to absent splintering or chipping of surface edges, but I will note that the cut face on particleboard seemed much smoother, in particular, than I can achieve with any other combination blade I currently own (CMT, Freud, Pacific). All crosscuts and mitered cuts were splinter and fray-free on both edges.

Overall
You are paying a fair amount for the Super General blade. At around US$100 it is right up there in price stakes with the best blades on the market. Is its performance worth $100 however? I say yes. It is easily the best combination blade I have used to date and I'd have no hesitation using it for all types of cuts when I am working on a project that would otherwise require lots of blade changes to get the job done. It is a very impressive blade and I am sure once you own one, you will agree too! So far in my regular workshop use I have not needed to clean the blade. The PTFE coating appears to be doing its job very well.

BUY NOW!
 

Infinity Tools blades are available from the Infinity Tools USA Website - www.infinitytools.com

In Australia the Super General is available from:

www.northwoodtools.com.au


 

Infinity Tools Super General Blade Photos
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior written permission prohibited


The Infinity Super General 10" Saw Blade...


Polymer filled sound dampening slots greatly reduce blade noise during a cut. The Super General is quiet compared to many other blades on the market.


Expansion slots help prevent blade from warping as it heats up during cutting. Note also the depth of the carbide teeth. Plenty here for many sharpenings ensuring long blade service time.


The area around the arbor is left un-coated to ensure a flat, clean fit against the arbor washer on your table saw.


Note the alternate bevel grind on the Super General.


Super General installed in the
table saw.


The SG blade rips quite nicely and gives a glue-line finish with good cutting technique.


Chip- and splinter-free melamine cuts. Works great.


Need precise miters with ultra-clean faces? SG is the blade to do the job.


From top: Miter cut in rosewood, clean face and edges in melamine, glue-line rip cut quality in softwood pine.

 

Information contained on this page is copyrighted to onlinetoolreviews.com.
Reproduction in any form prohibited with express prior written permission.
International copyright law protects reproduction of this content. Copyright
2003-2014

Visit Rockler.com - Woodworking Superstore!