Pros: Very sharp and well made. Cuts impressively and would be welcome on most 10" saws
Cons: Expensive for a saw blade but worth it considering the cost of most saws
My Forrest Woodworker II (WWII) 40 tooth 10" blade was a gift for my new table saw, and what a gift it is! In a recent survey on one of the more popular woodworking sites, this blade is the choice of nearly 60% of well equipped woodworker's shops. It's well known for it's versatility, smoothness of cuts, sharpness and durability. It does an excellent job of the vast majority of cuts. With 40 teeth, it's not intended to be a primary ripping blade for thick stock, yet given enough power it will do a very respectable job of even tough ripping. Also with 40 teeth, it defies conventional wisdom of making clean cross cuts even when compared to many 60-80 tooth finishing blades. It will also do a nice job on plywood and melamine.
The WWII is available in a 30 or 40 tooth configuration, and as a thin kerf or full kerf blade. It's considered a general purpose blade that will handle the vast majority of cuts without requiring changing to a specialized blade. Forrest doesn't offer alot of technical hype or use the latest buzz terms....they just seem to quietly go about the task of making really good blades. What makes a Mercedes nicer than a Buick? Whatever they've done, they've done it right. Like most top blade manufactures, Forrest uses the highest grade C4 carbide for it's teeth. Forrest is renowned for their ability to sharpen (and resharpen) a blade....both their own models and those of other manufacturers. It's not surprising that the teeth on the WWII are razor sharp. Extreme caution is needed when peeling off the protective rubber coating from the teeth and mounting the blade for the first time. Also like most top blades, the teeth are very large meaning they will tolerate multiple sharpenings should the need arise. To achieve the combination of smooth cutting and good ripping, Forrest uses relatively few teeth compared to a finishing blade, an alternate top bevel grind (ATB) for clean cuts, and a fairly aggressive rake angle similar to a ripping blade. My blade was a thin kerf version which Forrest recommends for saws below 3hp. Their website will guide you through the best choice for your needs, recommending the TK for saws with less than a 3hp motor. Some thin kerf blades suffer from deflection due to having a thinner body, and can require a blade stiffener or stabilizer. Forrest will suggest using a stabilizer, but keep in mind that they also sell them. A stabiliser isn't a bad idea, but so far I haven't noticed any problems due to deflection and have not felt the need for one.
This blade is truly a pleasure to use. The more I use it, the more impressed I am with it. After about 15 months of average hobby use it's still extremely sharp....even though I've been cutting a lot of hard maple lately, and accidentally clipped through a metal brad (lengthwise). Cuts are smooth and clean. Many times it's difficult to detect any saw marks at all. Detection of saw marks almost always requires holding the edge of a board up to a light. Splintering and tearout is minimal to non-existant depending on the wood, type of cut, and feed rate. True to it's general purpose design, it's extremely versatile. It cuts cleanly on rip cuts, cross cuts, dados/rabbets, plywood/melamine/MDF, soft pine or hard wood of many varities. A top quality 80T blade of comparable quality to the Forrest, will likely make cleaner crosscut and cuts in fine plywoods or melamine, but will offer very poor versatility on other types of cuts. Inversely, a top ripper will likely have an easier time in thick hardwoods, albeit at the expense of a rougher cut than the WWII. It isn't until I got into 8/4" and 10/4" hard maple that I began to think a dedicated ripping blade would be a better choice. Even with the really thick maple, the power of my saw is the biggest drawback. I have no doubt the WWII would do an admirable job with these cuts on a 3hp cabinet saw.....it's just not what it's recommended for, and may not be the best use of an expensive blade. The WWII cuts so cleanly, I've heard of many woodworkers who get the 30T version and use it for general purpose duty and for heavy ripping. They claim extremely clean cuts also.
At ~ $100, this is an expensive blade. Had I not received it as a gift, I'd have a tough time parting with a "C-Note" for a saw blade, but knowing what I know now, I'll heartily recommend it and would buy another one the next time I need a general purpose blade. A few months prior to receiving the Forrest, I bought a Freud LU84R011 that I think is a fine blade....the Forrest WWII outperforms the Freud LU84 on every cut, and requires less force to feed. At twice the price it should. Freud makes a model P410 Fusion that is designed and priced more comparably to the WWII, and is a more fair comparison. Other top shelf blades that I'd compare directly the Forrest are the Forrest WWII 30T, the new Infinity Super General 010-044, Ridge Carbide TS2000TK, Infinity Combomax Lite, and Tenryu Gold Medal. Note that the Super General and Gold Medal are not available in thin kerf widths. You can't lose with any of these blades.