Pros: Nice fit and finish, bright orange color, goes on sale at affordable prices.
Cons: This one slipped by while the quality control inspector took a break.
Recent sale prices were all the incentive I needed to give the CMT 213.040.10 blade a try. With the purchase of my new Shop Fox cabinet saw last summer, I was looking for a "go to" everyday blade. With a fairly standard general purpose design of forty C-4 micrograin carbide teeth, an alternating top bevel grind (ATB) of 20°, large gullets, full kerf laser cut body 0.130", an 18° hook angle (also called "rake"), bright orange teflon coating, and anti-vibration slots, the CMT seemed to be an excellent all around choice that I had not yet had the chance to spin. The hard carbide teeth should hold up well under heavy use, and are large enough to endure multiple sharpenings. The 213.040.10 is also available in a thin kerf version (0.106") as the 214.040.10 for saws under 3 horsepower. CMT blades are manufactured in Italy.
Even those who use dedicated rip and crosscut blades will occasionally need a good general purpose blade like the CMT 213.040.010. On sale at nearly half the going retail price made for a seemingly excellent buy. It's configured with versatility in mind, claiming good results in both rip and crosscuts so that one blade can be left in place for the majority of cutting tasks. In theory, a general purpose blade will make cleaner cuts than a rip blade, and can handle ripping chores that a dedicated crosscut blade can't handle without burning the wood and lugging the saw.
To date, I've tried somewhere in the range of 60 various saw blades and have reviewed many of them here. The majority have been precision high end contenders such as Infinity, Forrest, Freud, Tenryu, Ridge Carbide, DeWalt, etc, and I fully expected the CMT to hold it's own against this formidable group of blades. Unfortunately, in actual use the 213.040.10 fell short of expectations, leaving notable score marks along the edge of all cuts, with no amount of adjustment or fiddling that could avoid them. The marks were large enough to be easily seen and felt. Some aspects of crosscuts were acceptable with the CMT, with only slight tearout at the exit of the cut. However, the blades marks on the edge of crosscuts remained much like with rip cuts. Because of the disapppointing performance in hardwoods, I did not venture on to plywood or other sheet goods with my testing. Instead, the blade was packed up and returned.
It's likely that this particular blade had some manufacturing defects, or fell at the ragged edge of being within specification tolerances. I've had favorable experiences with an 80 tooth Hi-ATB blade and 30 tooth glue line rip blade from CMT, and have read enough other favorable comments that I know CMT is a capable blade manufacturer. At ~ $36 shipped, it was a full $25 below street retail, however it's hard to be happy with a $36 expenditure that pans out to be a waste of time and money. It'd be nice to have a second chance with a "good" CMT general purpose blade, but at this point I'm undermotivated to try again with so many other excellent choices available, not to mention that I currently have no shortage of top shelf blades in my rack. I have other inexpensive blades like the Oshlun 40T and Tenryu 50T that soundly outperform the more expensive CMT, and have had several thin kerf blades over the years that also readily outpace it. Blades like the Infinity Super General and Forrest WWII give the CMT 213.040.10 an embarrassing black eye. I sincerely wanted to like this blade and was excited to receive it. Unfortunately, no amount of bright orange coating and slick machining could compensate for the poor showing on my saw. Not recommended.
Followup April 2010:
A 50% off sale on CMT products from Woodwerks.com presented a great opportunity for me to give the 213.040.10 another try. Amazingly, the 2nd attempt was very similar to the first, ….unacceptable. The saw marks from this blade are easily visible, can be felt, and are too pronounced for glue up without additional attention from a jointer or handplane. I’m surprised and disappointed to get this kind of performance from an alleged premium blade.
It was fairly easy (and logical) to chalk the first one up as an “escaping defect” from the factory….it happens to all of them from time to time. The 2nd one was purchased from a different retailer close to a year apart. The problem could still be a 2nd escaping defect, or could even be part of the same bad run as the first, but the probability of that being the case is fairly slim. This is a fairly straight forward 40T ATB general purpose design. I’ve double checked the saw to rule it out as a possible cause, plus I’m getting great results from several other blades. It’s possible that CMT’s execution of this design is simply mediocre, but I’ve read about several others being very happy with this blade. I’ve tried several other CMT products with excellent results that I’ll heartily recommend when they fit the need, but I can’t recommend the full kerf version of this particular blade.
I'd love to hear from CMT with a possible explanation, because I sure don't have one.