Saw Blades


Grumbler in Training
Apr 29, 2004
Melbourne, Australia
Hi Everyone
I'm fairly new at framing, having been a hobby-course home-based dabbler for years, but am now collecting information and better equipment with a view to becoming a whole lot more professional - and perhaps an eventual retail presence too. Info-wise, The Grumble has been an exceptional resource. Thankyou all!

As a longtime autograph and movie poster collector, I also have a long and abiding interest in matters conservational... but before anyone is tempted to reach for the slings and arrows, please let me explain that I well understand the movie poster putsch is probably the most feral collector group out there... well, with the possible exception of doll collectors! I am not one of the rabid kind and I don't bite... very often.

Enough of the background - I have a question or two on saws...

For cutting aluminium mouldings, is there any advantage (or disadvantage) in using a carbide-tipped blade made for ferrous metal? Or should it/must it be the non-ferrous type? (One imagines that a blade for cutting steel would last longer if cutting just aluminium.)

Whichever of these is correct (either or both) - can these blades also be used for cutting wood mouldings - especially if drawn through the wood backwards to the norm, ie, in the manner of a radial arm saw? In other words, I am assuming, perhaps quite erroneously, that a negative-rake blade meant for metal-cutting (whether ferrous or non-ferrous) is probably not ideal for timber - but would a reverse cutting action turn this around?

I hope that's not too confusing! I have a saw set-up that can do any of this but my knowledge of blade basics is sadly lacking.

I look forward to any advice.

Welcome to the Grumble!

Most all of the blade companies have what they call a "combo" blade made for cutting both metal and wood moulding. The best advice I can give you is buy the very best blade you can afford. Ultra Miter is a good company.

If you do a search for "blade" you will find more info than you will ever need.
I think you are in the right direction about rake of tooth and such. Part of which is to help the blade get rid of waste material. I find a carbide blade will cut either wood or aluminum just fine. But having dedicated blades for each type of moulding is best... carbide for wood and a specialized 140 tooth steel blade made for cutting aluminum.

Of course, all this is useless unless you have the most important piece of equipment for your shop. The refrigerator for the Fosters!!!
One of the ways I cut frames - my preferred way, in fact - is with a 10" radial saw fitted with a Barton miter attachment. I've been using it for 25 years.

I use a dedicated carbide blade for aluminum, if for no other reason than because it's lubricated with sprays and sometimes waxes that I'd rather not get on my wood.

I'd like to tell you I paid $300 for the aluminum-cutting blade, but I actually ordered several of them from Sears/Craftsman for about $50 each (if my memory serves - it was a long time ago, and they sharpen well.)