I need to machine a 10x10mm chamfer along the edges of a large quantity of MDF (medium density fibreboard) boards, on an ongoing basis.

Previously I've been using standard tool-steel blades for this on a spindle moulder and have noticed that the blades dull and become too blunt to use effectively very quickly - much more quickly than when using the cutters on hardwood. Generally these cutters will run something like 100 linear metres of a 10x10mm chamfer before they're useless and have to be replaced or resharpened.

Is there a better blade material to use for this? I seem to remember I've read that tungsten carbide blades are not great to use on MDF for some reason? Are diamond tipped blades better / more cost-effective in the long run for this purpose?

(Also before anybody mentions that you're not supposed to use power tools on MDF, I have the proper extraction setup etc. to deal with the hazardous MDF dust/fumes.)

  • Update the title to form a better question.
    – Matt
    Apr 15 '15 at 17:04

MDF is tough on blades, since it's basically sawdust and glue. You may want to consider trying a blade specifically designed for cutting laminate flooring, since the majority of the material in laminate is usually MDF.

Table saw blades designed for this purpose are usually polycrystalline diamond tipped, and have a surprisingly low tooth count (~12-16 for a 10" blade!), but still produce a smooth cut. A bit of Googling yielded PCD router bits that are designed specifically for use on MDF, but I'm not sure if a similar blade is available for a spindle moulder/wood shaper though.

Keep in mind, the diamond tipped blades and cutters will be pretty expensive, but if this is something you'll be doing often, it should pay off in the long run. Otherwise if it's a one time project, you may just want to buy a cheaper blade you can throw away afterwards.

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