Blade Life when Cutting Melamine

Melamine tears up saw blades. Here are some observations on blade life expectancy, some thoughts on blade choice, and a success story involving diamond blades. August 14, 2007

I was wondering how may sheets of meleamine you get on the average when cutting with a sliding table saw with a scoring blade?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor B:
We date our blades and would get about a month on our Altendorf. Currently we cut most parts on a beam saw and get between one and two months. I have noticed that if I cut only melamine, the blade lasts longer than when it is used to cut whatever comes along. A new blade lasts about twice what a re-grind will.

From contributor P:
I get 15 sheets or so using high-ATB resharpened blades without scoring, about double that with scoring and a triple-chip. Regrinds don't seem to last well compared to new blades - doesn't seem right to toss a new $100 ATB blade (good for about 30 sheets before quality drops off) when it dulls, but I'm spending $30+ per sharpening with hit/miss quality, and wondering if I should bite the bullet and figure on a new blade every 30 sheets or so. The Freud industrial-line high-ATB blade cuts the best of anything I've used to date.

From contributor U:
We used typical carbide blades on our Altendorf saw from 1996 till 2000, and found that if we always changed the blades at 40 sheets, we would never get any chipping (we had two matched sets of main blade and adjustable score blade).

At the 2000 IWF show in Atlanta, I ran across a show special on a diamond blade set (main blade and score blade) for around $3,500.00. I purchased the set, and have been running them on the Altendorf ever since. The only thing we have had to do so far is adjust the score blade about once or twice a year (they have not been sharpened yet).

The savings on sharpening alone have paid for the blades several times, but the savings on not having to change out the blades every other week, and take the time to adjust properly, have saved me thousands of dollars.

From contributor Z:
I use an FS tool ATB and get about 30 sheets between sharpenings. You need to find a new sharpener; the local place I use is "hit" every time.

From contributor P:
I know - they're good about redoing the "misses," but it's still aggravating. I tried sending them to a sharpener that was highly recommended here, and despite good intentions and reworking, it was a disaster.

I used the FS high-ATB exclusively for ten years, but then got a couple of bad new blades. FS's attitude, "go have them resharpened," left a lot to be desired, though in fairness, when I called them months later to say that I'd gone to another brand, they sent me a free blade.

Since I repeatedly recommended FS on this forum, I feel like I can put in a plug for the Freud LU3A. Very well priced (about 2/3 of the FS), it's like cutting with a laser.

From contributor W:
Send your blades to Forrest for re-sharpening. They will come back better than new. For an extra dollar or two they will do a test cut and tune the blade. They grind the blades up to 1200 grit and use CNC grinding equipment. They are a few dollars more but the quality is a hit every time.

From contributor R:
Anyone have a good resharpening shop in the southeast US that can sharpen any brand blade and will ship? I have many that need sharpening, but as posted above, I have been buying new and saving the dull ones until I find a decent resharpening shop. Years ago we had an old man that came by and picked them up and returned them sharp as new. Cost was $2.00 for 7 1/4'' and $3.00 for 10'' and $5.00 for 12'' -16''. That was 25 years ago. The only thing I remember about the last time I took my blades in is that it cost way too much, it took way too long, and they where way too dull, way too fast. I have some blades that are too good to let someone screw them up, but dull they just make paperweights for shop drawings.

From contributor U:
Try Southern Sharpening. Donny will come by and pick your blades up, and return them on his next trip through your area. He covers all of middle Tennessee, and most of west Tennessee.