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I got a power miter saw, it came with a default blade which is cool, but has too little teeth and the cut is not very clean. I want to buy another blade with more teeth, and I was offered a blade for aluminium which has almost twice as many teeth, but I'm not sure if I'm going to have unexpected problems with it down the road?

In general, is it a good idea to use blade for aluminium to cut wood?

  • Do you mean a power or a hand mitre saw. I assumed the former, answered, then doubted my assumption. – Chris H Dec 6 '16 at 12:58
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    @ChrisH sorry for the confusion. I meant power miter saw, edited the question. – MeLight Dec 6 '16 at 13:07
  • Is it a carbide tooth sawblade you've been offered? The major difference between that and a wood-specific blade will be the hook angle, which isn't really that much of a problem for cutting wood. – Aloysius Defenestrate Dec 6 '16 at 14:15
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    A blade purpose-made to cut aluminium might work fine in a lot of cases for wood, but don't expect that it'll cut everything you might throw at it as neatly as it cuts aluminium just because it's made to cut metal. Aluminium is relatively soft as metals go, and by comparison many woods although softer are weirdly more wearing of cutting edges. Also, clearance angles are different so it'll cut some wood or board materials well and others much more poorly... but this is also true of some wood blades! – Graphus Dec 6 '16 at 14:28
  • Aluminum can build up on the blade making it dull. A little beeswax on the blade helps a lot. – j e Mar 26 at 14:34
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I've done this successfully with my hand mitre saw, though the cut may not be as much cleaner (than with the blade you have) as you expect.

I often use metal-cutting blades for wood on my jigsaw. On melamine-coated chipboard you get a much nicer cut than with the finest wood blades I can easily buy (which aren't very fine). Blades for metal also seem to stay sharp longer when working with chipboard.

In both cases you have to watch out for clogging. This would be even more important with a power mitre saw as the blade could overheat very quickly with a clogged blade. You would also have to take it easy against jamming.

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    Good point; chip clearance is the other part of the equation -- which explains why a relatively coarse bandsaw blade can produce a surprisingly fine cut. – keshlam Dec 6 '16 at 20:51
  • @keshlam it's even more important if you want the back face nice without too much further working. – Chris H Dec 7 '16 at 6:43
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I cannot count how much aluminum over the years I have cut with my Hitachi slide compound and a carbide blade that stayed on for a long time after using it to cut trim. No it did not trash the blade or dull it enough to make a bad cut, although the blade did eventually get dull over time but not from the aluminum in one sitting.

To answer the question, the saw I referred to above is my trim saw. It is used primarily on wood or MDF trim exclusively, with the exception of the need to cut aluminum on occasion. Aluminum stair balusters seems to be the most of what I come across as of late.

You need to be really careful when cutting. The cut off piece may move toward the spinning blade and throw it with terrible force. I reduce this problem by screwing a wood fence over the stock fence and cut it through to make a zero clearance fence. This way the loose piece will not roll or move to be thrown by the blade.

Regarding tooth count, a finer tooth blade is better, but I have used general purpose 24 tooth blades to cut aluminum. The cut needs to be made slowly, and the finished piece held firmly or clamped in. I usually hold it, although small pieces that put my fingers unreasonably close to the blade, I have used a clamp.

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    This seems to be a good answer to a question about "how can I cut aluminium". However, the actual question was "can I cut wood with a blade designed for aluminium" - which it doesn't answer at all. – Martin Bonner Dec 12 '16 at 8:52
  • @MartinBonner , I thought the part of the sentence "much aluminum over the years I have cut with my Hitachi slide compound and a carbide blade that stayed on for a long time after using it to cut trim." covered that... – Jack Dec 12 '16 at 14:50
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    I still read that as being about "cutting aluminium", not about "cutting wood". – Martin Bonner Dec 12 '16 at 14:52
  • Got a point there, it is unsaid that my saw that I referred to is used pretty much exclusivley for trim but for the rare need to cut aluminum. I am adding that to the answer. Thanks for the critique. – Jack Dec 13 '16 at 3:56
  • I've got to agree with @MartinBonner - even after your updates, this still reads to me as "cutting aluminum with a mitre saw", not "cutting wood with a blade designed for aluminum". There's nothing about "carbide blade" that tells me that it's specifically designed for cutting AL - I've got carbide tipped blades that are designed for cutting wood. Maybe a bit more detail on the blade you're using - was it specifically designed for cutting AL? – FreeMan Dec 14 '16 at 18:36

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