Making Quality Saw Blades
Making Quality Saw Blades
For the sake of argument let us define quality as total runout combined with tool life. Then a quality saw blade would be one that makes really good cuts for a long, long time.
Even if you accept this oversimplified definition it still gets hugely complicated.
1. The quality of the cut depends on the quality of the machine you use to sharpen the blade. A top-quality sharpening system can run up to a million dollars. I saw blade that is sharpened with many passes, taking off a small amount of the material each time, generally performs better than the saw blade sharpened in a single pass. However it’s more time on your million-dollar machine.
2. The quality of the saw tip starts with the mine where the tungsten and cobalt is extracted. Different mines have different amounts of trace metals in them. It is easier to get 99.9% plus pure metal out of some mines than others.
3. Tungsten carbide powder is pressed into saw tip shape using molds. Tungsten carbide powder is very abrasive so the molds wear out. As the molds wear out you run into problems with the tungsten carbide powder not packing properly. Thus you have to replace the molds on a regular basis. A single mold can cost a few thousand dollars. If you replace the molds on a regular basis it is a little more expensive than letting quality slip before you replace the molds.
4. Top-quality saw tips are no longer simple tungsten carbide grains cemented together with cobalt. They have additions such as titanium, nitrogen, vanadium, niobium and the binder may have additions such as chrome and nickel. Using these other metals adds to the cost several ways. There is additional cost for the metals. There is a great deal more additional time spent mixing. You also have to have a much more sophisticated sintering process to get the saw tips to shrink and harden properly.
5. Better quality tools should have better steel. You can use plain steel or you can add a little nickel and other metals to it which makes it tougher and longer wearing.
6. How well the saw plate holds up in use depends on how exactly it is hardened. If you want to hit a particular Rockwell point, say Rc 45, you need much better equipment than you would if you’re happy with somewhere between 43 and 47.
7. Saw plate needs to be tempered and ground to make up flat. Doing this once can make a pretty good saw plate. Doing it twice makes a much better saw plate.
The cleanliness of the coolant used to grind the saw blades is important. The grit of the diamond in the diamond wheels used to grind the saw blades is important. And it goes on and on and on.
Making a better tool is exactly like making a better piece of furniture. It takes excellent materials, really good equipment and a high level of skill and dedication.
Having said all that I have to say that The price of tools may or may not be related to the quality of the tools.
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