I recently acquired a low-budget ($80) 18V cordless, hand-held circular saw. The saw came with a low-budget 18-teeth ripping blade. I intend to use it mostly for cross-cutting wood planks, and cutting thin (at most 18mm (2/3’’)) plywood and laminated particleboard for making simple furniture: shelves, boxes etc. I might want to use it occasionally on other materials (plastic, aluminum), but wood and engineered wood are the main applications. I’m aware of the limitations of this tool, and I can live with a bit of sanding, if I have to.
I am looking for an optimal cross-cut/general purpose blade in order to achieve the smoothest possible cuts given the limits of this machine. The tool is very small, the maximum blade diameter is 150mm (6’’). Few manufacturers produce this blade size, so given my location and budget, my options seem to be limited to the following:
(kerf/blade thickness, no. of teeth, geometry+hook angle, “non-stick” coating, price (all dim. in mm))
More expensive: no1 (3.2/2.2, 48 teeth, ATB +15, coated, $45);
no2 (3.2/2.2, 36 teeth, ATB +15, coated, $42);
no3 (2.6/1.6, 36 teeth, ATB +10, coated, $43.5) thin kerf
Cheaper: no4 (2.4/1.4, 36 teeth, ATB +15, not coated, $21) - thinner kerf, not coated;
no5, multi material (2.0/1.4, 42T, HLTCG -5, not coated, $27) – thin kerf, different geometry
My questions are the following:
As far as I understand, increasing number of teeth, smaller (or negative) hook angle and larger kerf all increase the load on the saw’s motor. Should I be wary of an overload if I choose the “smoothest” blade (i.e. full kerf, 48 teeth)? Which of the factors listed above is the most important with respect to motor load/potential burning of the workpiece (kerf, geometry, hook angle, or no. of teeth)?
Does blade coating have a significant effect on performance (by reducing friction, which could be important given the low power of the tool)? Is this effect (and better materials) worth double the price?
Does anyone have any experience with ATB (Alternate Top Bevel) vs HLTCG (High-Low Triple Chip Grind) geometry? Would the negative-angle HLTCG blade result in better cuts on laminated particleboard, plywood, etc.? Is HLTCG significantly worse for other wood applications (i.e. is it specialized to composites and plastics)? Would it significantly increase loads on the motor, or does the thinner kerf of the Multi Material blade compensate for the negative hook angle?
Thanks for your input, your help is most appreciated.