A few weeks after purchasing my PK200 table saw back in September, I took a chance on a couple of new German-made saw blades from SawShop.co.uk. I’d not heard of either company at the time but spotted an ad in the back of Good Woodworking magazine for “German quality circular saw blades“. At only £30 for a pair of 210mm blades for my saw (one with 28t, the other 60t), I decided it was worth a punt.
Before Christmas, I managed to film the following low-quality footage while ripping some timber for my Secret Santa gifts and the MDF for some workshop accessories. I have more comments to add further down and, as always, would welcome any from yourselves.
Considering that my saw only has an 1,100w (1.5HP) motor, the 28t blade is certainly capable of cutting sawn hardwoods which, in this case, were as much as 54mm thick. That length of ash I’m feeding through in the beginning is sawn on both faces and the face down on the saw’s table also happens to be slightly concave in the centre – hence, all the noise coming from the moment it contacts the blade, which is only amplified by the lightweight aluminium construction of the saw itself. By way of contrast, the thinner length of beech I’m ripping later on was left over from another project and, therefore, had already been flattened on the surface planer and given parallel, smooth face on the thicknesser.
Compare these blades to many others on the market and you’ll probably notice that these Dart blades have four extra slots, which are implemented to allow for ventilation which prevents the steel from overheating, expanding and distorting while cutting. I’m referring to the teardrop-shapes surrounding the 30mm bore in the centre of the blade. Like most of the other brands, these blades also have the standard configuration of expansion slots around the perimeter.
…Yes, it does look like a sad face, doesn’t it? 😉
Something you’ve probably noticed in the video is that these blades create quite a din while they’re running, even when they’re spinning freely and not cutting under load. I can only assume that the whistling noise (more prominent with the 60t blade) is an aside of all these extra slots. However, similar ‘noise‘ issues are known to be commonplace with many circular saw blades at this lower end of the market. That gold coating (similar to the red teflon as used on Freud blades; a popular Italian manufacturer) is there to reduce friction while also preventing pitch, resin and sap from sticking to the blade and affecting its performance.
One of my next steps will be to invest in some other blades to get a better idea of how they compare – at least 210mm diameter Trade-rated blades are relatively inexpensive. 😉 Solent Tools (through SawShop.co.uk) also offer a range of Professional-rated saw blades. Some are branded Omega and I’m keen to try one of the 40t blades as a kind of ‘universal‘ blade for a combination of rip and cross-cutting operations in both solid timber and man-made materials. Although not yet on their website, they do offer high-end blades from Atkinson-Walker in Sheffield. There’s also Trend but, I’ve read too many negative comments (along with my own initial perceptions of the blade supplied with my saw) to seriously consider spending my money on one from them…
Would I buy any more of these Dart saw blades?
Well, I may consider one of Dart’s professional blades at some point but, for regular workshop use, that high-pitched whining is a real turn-off for me. They do work though and the prices aren’t bad so, perhaps I’ll still purchase another one or two for my portable circular saw, which is only bought in to action when I need to downside a larger lump of wood that’s too much for me to man-handle through my bandsaw alone. For very occasional use, I’m sure I could withstand the whistle, given the noise emitted otherwise from most portable power tools fitted with universal brush motors. I do have an Industrial-rated blade from Atkinson-Walker fitted in my sliding mitre saw and that’s certainly very pleasant to work with. Spending that kind of money on a table saw I rarely use though would be too much… Perhaps I’ll also need to purchase one of their more affordable, Trade-rated offerings.
At SawShop, you can also find a selection of circular saw blades for cutting other materials, bore reducing bushes, jig saw blades and more. While there’s no delivery charge on their orders, I did find that I had to wait five-days for my first order to arrive.
Once again, I apologise for the quality of my videos. The lighting in my workshop could still be better (it does film much clearer outside in daylight) and, at some point, I’ll have to invest in a proper camera for filming my work (my little digital camera doesn’t even have a microphone jack). That Nilfisk-Alto vacuum isn’t nearly as unbearable as it sounds in these films; it only sounds worse because it’s sat right next to my camera’s tripod.
Thanks for watching. All feedback welcome. 🙂