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
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
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
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.
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
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,
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
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.
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.
Infinity Tools blades are available from the Infinity
Tools USA Website -
In Australia the Super
General is available from:
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
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
The SG blade rips quite nicely and gives a glue-line finish with good
Chip- and splinter-free melamine cuts. Works great.
Need precise miters with ultra-clean faces? SG is the blade to do the
From top: Miter cut in rosewood, clean face and edges in melamine,
glue-line rip cut quality in softwood pine.