"To Infinity and Beyond!"
Jun 22, 2007 (Updated Jan 23, 2009)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
The Infinity Combomax model 010-150 is a 10" 50 tooth thin kerf (3/32") saw blade with a combination tooth grind of 10 sets of four alternating top bevel (ATB) teeth and one chamfered flat tooth in between the four ATB teeth. It features a moderately steep 12 degree hook angle and a 15 degree bevel on the ATB teeth, which make it suitable for a wide variety of cuts on a wide variety of materials primarily in table saws. It offers a standard 5/8" bore and their exclusive "Nickel Armor" coating to reduce friction and aid in corrosion resistance. The large teeth feature premium C4 carbide and the bodies are laser cut from top grade steel. The Combomax is also available in a 1/8" full kerf width (model 010-050). All Infinity blades are engineered in the USA and manufactured in Italy.
Recommend this product?
From first glance the Infinity Combomax makes a statement of high quality. It radiates precision, fine craftsmanship, and high grade materials. The feel is hefty and well balanced. I typically don't get too worked up about how a blade looks, but the Infinity definitely stands out from the crowd upon close inspection. The cut quality and versatility back up those good looks with top shelf performance that's comparable to the elite 40 tooth general purpose blades like the Forrest WWII, Freud 410, and Ridge Carbide TS2000 that dominate blade comparisons done by many magazines, as well as forum discussions. The Combomax makes clean cuts in wide variety of materials and has an effortless feel to it's feedrate on my 1-3/4hp saw. Even without the use of a stabilizer, this TK runs true and cuts cleanly. I've yet to find that a stabilizer makes a notable difference with a high quality blade.
The science behind the cut - It's tooth configuration sets the Combomax apart from other 50 tooth combo blades that typically use 10 sets of four ATB teeth led by a flat top raker, also known as an "ATB/R" configuration. The chamfered "raker" of the Combomax aids in reduced splintering in hardwoods and especially plywoods and other manmade materials. It should also help it hold a sharp edge for an extended period. If all other parameters are equal, more teeth typically equates to a smoother cut. There's a never a free lunch however. More teeth also typically means less efficient ripping due to smaller gullet size, and as is typical of this type blade configuration, a more moderate hook angle. 50T combo blades like the Infinity use 10 sets of 5-tooth groupings which leaves a larger gullet between the groups to assist with chip removal for more efficient ripping, and tend to use a moderate hook angle between 10 and 15 degrees...the Combomax has a 12 degree hook. There are many other parameters that get blended together to influence the overall performance characteristics of any blade....hook angle, side clearance, tooth grind, tolerances, quality of materials, etc. Varying any one of these factors will influence the final results. It's the designer's job to pick the right combination of variables for a blade's given recommended usage. The intended use for this type of blade would typically be for use in a table saw for general purpose type cutting in wood and sheetgoods... I've seen combo blades used successfully in power miter saws and radial arm saws as well, but is not usually recommended due to the hook angle.
Any blade that's designed to do multiple tasks has some inherent compromise relative to a comparable quality blade that's designed to do a specific task....there's really not much getting around that. The Combomax does a very nice job ripping and crosscutting hardwoods, softwoods, fine plywood, and manmade materials like melamine and MDF. It excels in versatility and does a surprisingly good job of many cuts in many materials. It's a great blade to leave in the saw for most applications and leaves a clean enough cut for fine furniture and cabinetry without the need to switch blades very often. The edges are not quite as polished as with a TS2000 or WWII, but easily provides glue ready edges, and has very low risk of causing burn. Relative to a blade intended for a specific task, the 010-150 falls short in the same areas that the venerable Forrest WWII and other top shelf general purpose blades fall short. For instance, thick hardwoods of more 2" are better suited for a more aggressive 18 to 24 tooth specialized ripping blade, though the ripping blade will leave a rougher edge. Given enough power, the Infinity will chomp through those thick materials but it labors the motor more than a good specialized ripper would. The Combomax does a really nice job in crosscuts and sheetgoods too, and in most cases leaves a suitably clean edge, but for the ultimate in glassy smooth polished edges a good dedicated 80 tooth crosscut blade has the upperhand. The downside of the 80T blade is that it won't handle thicker material well, won't rip well, and has more of a tendency to burn woods. The specialized blades lack versatility and have a much narrower useful range, and therefore need to be changed to handle only their specific task to obtain best results.
The Infinity Combomax is a really nice blade that I've enjoyed using. I'm pleased with it's performance, plus it's got some less tangeable traits going for it like sound and feel during operation. The typical highend competition for the Infinity would include blades such as the LU83R010 and LU84R011 from Freud's Industrial line, Leitz 50T, H.O. Schumacher 50T, Tenryu RS25550, Systimatic Budke, CMT 256.050.10, DeWalt DW7640 (now marketed as the Delta 35-7640), Amana 610-504 and several other 40T general purpose blades such as those mentioned earlier. I've read the articles and theoretical debates about which is better... the 40T general purpose blades or the 50T combination blades, and it's often a tossup or matter of preference. There are pros and cons with all blades, but the performance of the elite few are very, very close overall. In my experience the best 40T blades have historically held a very slight advantage over the 50T counterparts for what I like a general purpose blade to do. The Combomax is the best of the 50T blades I've tried to date and should hold it's own against the very best 40T general purpose blades that I've used. The Infinity is a very nicely made blade that's not overly expensive and represents very good performance, excellent versatility, excellent quality, and a very good value, especially on sale. A good general purpose blade has it's place in any shop with a table saw, even for those who prefer task-specific blades, and the Infinity Combomax is an excellent choice.
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