Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 1/9/99

Tool Review #1 by Eric Smith
Tenryu Gold Medal 10"/40 Tooth Combination Saw Blade &
Jesada Maxi Combo 10"/50 Tooth Saw Blade

Several months ago Pete Columbo offered the WWA two Gold Medal saw blades for members' evaluations. I was one of the lucky ones to have the privilege of reviewing it. At the time I mentioned this to Peter Hicks, my local Jesada supplier, and he graciously offered a Jesada 10 inch Maxi-Combo for comparison.

However the Jesada has fifty teeth to the Tenryu's 40. While it was great to use them both in a variety of circumstances , some comparisons are not particularly valid. First let me describe the blades as they came out of the package.

Taking the Tenryu out the box several things jump to mind. I was first drawn to the expansion slots in the blade. They have a distinct pattern and are filled with an epoxy (for a noise dampening effect) On the blade all the vital statistics are neatly etched into the steel. I showed this to my saw sharpener and he was thrilled to see it and thought he'd like to see other manufacturers follow suit.

The Jesada was also impressive. It had less detail but comes in a very impressive woodgrain box. Too good to get rid of, but that is a personal problem of the reviewer's! While it has no expansion slots running to the outside of the blade, there are a series of semi-circular lines with 3mm (approx) holes at the end of them that overlap around the whole thing, which I presume are for similar purposes.

The first series of cuts I did with the blades were rips in River Red Gum - a rather hard eucaylpt.
The Tenryu went through it like a hot knife through butter leaving a very fine finish. The Jesada went through it very well too. Maybe the knife was a little closer to room temperature, but not much. I did several rips and was pleased with all the results.

The second series were cross-cuts, again on Red Gum. And again the results were very satisfactory on both counts. The Tenryu probably left slightly less marking, but all the cuts were ready for gluing and the miters seamless (well hey maybe I exaggerate, but I certainly would not have gone near them with a plane or any other finishing tool!)

I did a series of cuts on Melamine as well. Here I noticed a curious thing. I set my scriber (scoring) blade on my panel saw to suit the Tenryu, and I could not get the trapezoidal teeth to give a good finish on both sides as its smallest width is a smidgen (see recent Gazette article) over 3 mm. However with the Jesada, I got it working fine. Conclusion: time to get out the Vernier calipers and have a look.

The Tenryu was spot on 3.0mm , the Jesada 3.28. Problem solved. They both did a great job on cutting the Melamine despite my saw's drawbacks. Pete Columbo told me that their carbide was melamine grade, I can not vouch for the Jesada.

I have been using both blades in the recent construction of a kitchen. All the exposed surfaces were Hoop Pine on moisture resistant chipboard. The Tenryu cross cut the timber veneer absolutely with out chip. The Jesada pulled a little out at the bottom of the cut, but you would have needed to look closely before sanding to ever notice it. They were both a pleasure to use and I would have no qualms about reccomending either product. One of Tenyru's claims is that it is a quieter blade. While I have no way of measuring the decibels in my shop, my ear meters, and several visitors to the shop definitely did notice it running at a lower noise level (even with the ear muffs on, which by the way they always should be!)

Eric Smith

Tenryu Blade Review #2 by Steve Coakley

Since I rarely use my combination blade (Freud LU84M) for anything other than utility cutting, reviewing this blade was going to be a new experience for me.

I unpacked the blade and wiped it down with some mineral spirits. Then out came the X2.5 binocs. I inspected all the teeth and the body. Everything looked good so I installed the blade.

As it turned out the first task for me, this day, was to rip some 8/4 oak. For the first pass I sliced off a 1/32" thick strip and then checked out the new edge. There was barely a scratch to be seen. Four 1" strips were then cut. The blade ripped through the 2" oak easily and the resulting edges were like the first, almost scratch free and definitely superior to the edges I get from my rip blade (Freud LU87M). Since I work in a small shop and have a shop-vac running, I really am not able to comment on the how quiet the blade is.

I was ready to see how the new blade did across the grain. I made some test passes to get the feed rate right. The first couple of cuts were a bit rough. However by the forth and fifth, I had smooth ends and clean sharp edges. While they were not quite the cuts I get with my 80-tooth blade (Freud LU85M), they were certainly acceptable.

My buddy showed up with a piece of B/C plywood that he needed cut up. This usually meant changing to my 32-tooth ''garbage" blade. But hey, I am in the middle of a review here, so I adjusted the height, set the fence and made the cuts. The blade produced clean, splinter-free edges. I needed a number of squares of 1/8" birch ply for some scrollsaw work. The results, using the factory table insert, were again clean edges and no splinters.

After a few days of cutting, I was really getting used to not having to consider blade changing when planning my work. I have run a good number of projects by this blade and it has done a great job for me.

Steve Coakley

Blade Specs:
Item No. - GM-25540CBN
Diameter - 10"
Kerf - .125"
Teeth - 40
Grind - ATB
Arbor - 5/8"

Editor's Note: Directions for purchasing Tenryu blades are available from their website. Jesada blades can be purchased online at their website.

Eric Smith is a professonal woodworker from Australia, Steve Coakley is an amateur woodworker in the USA.

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