LU84R011 Cuts the Mustard
Jul 12, 2004 (Updated Jan 1, 2006)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Versatile, very good performer, reasonably priced, long lasting, lifetime guarantee. Among the best in class.
Cons:Not quite up to snuff with the more expensive Forrest WWII
The Bottom Line: This is one of the best deals I know of in saw blades, and should appeal to a wide variety of situations and users.
(Note - This review is a resubmission under a more appropriate subcategory. Formerly under LU84R008)
Recommend this product?
I bought the Freud LU84R011 as a replacement for the three 10" carbide blades in my inventory, a stock 36 tooth blade that came with my Delta 36-600 table saw, a $20 contractor grade Oldham 60 tooth finishing blade, and a Vermont American 28 tooth ripping blade. The LU84 is a combination blade intended to do a good job of several different types of cut. After only a few cuts it was apparent that Freud had met their objectives with this blade. Crosscuts, rips, and dado cuts on a variety of hard and soft woods at varying thicknesses were all cleaner with the Freud than with any of the other blades mentioned. It's possible that some of the other blades were slightly dull, but none of them had seen much use, and if any of them had ever cut this cleanly, I would have never continued looking for another blade. This particular model comes with a red teflon coating on the body that Freud calls "Permashield". It helps reduce friction and heat build up from wood pinching against the body and reduces the chance of kick back and warpage. The Permashield coating is identified in the model number by the letter "R". It's also available without the Permashield for slightly less money (model #LU84M011).
This model has a full width kerf (thickness) of 0.126". It's also available as a thin kerf version of 0.098" that's easier for smaller saws because it takes a narrower bite (LU83). The thicker kerf typically has a stiffer body that is less likely to deflect and but requires a bit more effort from the saw, but is much less likely to benefit from a stiffener plate than a thin kerf would be.
The LU84 has a 50 tooth configuration that combines two different tooth grinds and rake angles....thus the term "combination" blade. There are 40 teeth that use an alternating top bevel (ATB) that make very clean cuts that are easy on the table saw motor, and 10 teeth that are flat ground (FG) that are more aggressive and efficient at removing larger chunks of material. The teeth are made of high grade C4 carbide which is harder and can be sharpened to a finer degree than lesser grades of carbide, which should extend the length of time between sharpenings. The carbide used on this blade is very large meaning they can endure multiple sharpenings in the event the blade ever gets dull.
The tooth pattern is arranged so that there are ten sets of five teeth, four ATB teeth followed by one FG tooth used as a raker to smooth out the bottom of the cut. There is a large gullet between each set of teeth to allow for efficient evacuation of the saw dust. The combination of different styles of teeth is what makes the LU84 good at a variety of cuts. It does a decent job of ripping most hardwoods up to about 1" thick, but will not outperform a dedicated 24T ripping blade on thicker materials. It also does a nice job on crosscuts, but is not quite as clean as the better examples of a 60-80T finishing blade. (Apparently my Oldham 60T blade was not a better example, because the LU84 made considerably smoother cuts) The LU84 leaves a cleaner cut than a ripping blade, and a smoother bottom than most finishing blades. So, while it's not designed to be the best blade possible for all applications, it's a really nice compromise for most cuts that you can leave in your saw for most of the time. Freud generously backs this blade with a lifetime warranty.
This blade typically sells for between $55-$60.....not the cheapest blade around, but far from the most expensive. I see this blade as an excellent all around value that's a good investment for a wide variety of saws and users. This is an extremely popular blade because of it's performance to price ratio. Not the very best, but not the most expensive either. If money is tight, skip the Permashield coating and save ~ $15. Since no saw is any better than it's blade, it makes sense to spend a few dollars for a good blade. Having been given a Forrest Woodworker II 40T blade as a gift after I bought the Freud, I can honestly say that the Freud is very good.....excellent for the money, but not quite on par with the Forrest. The Forrest sells for ~ $100 and is much tougher to justify unless you demand very high performance from your saw and blade. The price I paid for the Freud ($20) is not a misprint. A woodworking chain had a published sale price on the LU84M011 (no teflon) for $29.99. I took the add to Sears for a price match, but they didn't have the same model....only the LU84R with the Permashield coating. They offered the same price on that one....I accepted and went to cash out. At the cash register I was offered the opportunity to open a Sears charge account and receive an additional $10 off. Again I accepted and walked out (legally) with my $20 blade. :-)
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