REVIEW: Carbitool sawblades
Above: A visual inspection revealed evenly brazed carbide teeth, milled and polished to perfection.
Words and photos: David Luckensmeyer
Carbitool manufactured tools are a no-brainer for those who want to support Australian-made. With a history stretching back to 1973, the company was acquired in 2018 by Sutton Tools which is itself a family-owned Australian business.
I had an opportunity to review three sawblades including a 24 tooth rip, a 32 tooth crosscut and a 32 tooth combo blade. Carbitool has offered a mix of Australian-made and imported sawblades for cutting timber and board product since its inception. The blades sent for review were Lamitec branded (made in Sweden).
Carbitool uses the same specification system found across most manufacturers (e.g. 300 x 3.2/2.2 x 30 T32). This specifies a 300mm diameter blade, with a kerf width of 3.2mm, a saw plate thickness of 2.2mm, a 30mm bore diameter and 32 teeth. Some manufacturers use ‘Z’ instead of ‘T’ which is good to know.
When expanding your sawblade collection, look for blades with the same kerf and plate specs. 3.2/2.2 is common and means that your saw does not have to be recalibrated for every blade change.
Carbitool sawblades are well-packaged which becomes important protection for storage and resharpening. A visual inspection revealed evenly brazed carbide teeth, milled and polished to perfection. Carbitool describes their blades as possessing ‘superior quality micro-grain carbide teeth’. I cannot verify the truth of that statement as only time on the saw will reveal longevity.
The kerf width and plate thickness were consistent for individual blades (using digital calipers), but surprisingly
not when comparing blades. This included my comparison of blades from Felder and Leitz. The Carbitool blades measured 3.19mm (rip), 3.18mm (crosscut) and 3.20mm (combo). I checked more than half of all teeth so the results were reliable.
Before making test cuts, I set up a dial indicator on stand and checked the blade run-out of each sawblade. I marked one tooth with a ‘sharpie’ and indicated to every tooth looking for the maximum deviation across all teeth of each blade (see above).
Arbor run-out was not a factor for these tests as the run-out on my saw requires a dial indicator with a sensitivity beyond 0.01mm. The results were more than pleasing. The three Carbitool blades have run-out figures which rank with the best blades on the market: between 0.08mm and 0.13mm. So far so good.
I was pragmatic when it came to testing the blades – rip cuts for the ripping blade, crosscuts for the crosscut blade, and rip and crosscut tests for the combo blade. I tried to be consistent throughout, clamping the material in the same way, and leaving the blade height and angle unchanged. These blades were designed to cut solid timber not manufactured products, so I stuck with typical hardwoods for furniture making.
I was delighted with the quality of cut from all three blades. The rip blade with its 24 teeth performed as expected, and the fine saw marks on ripped surfaces were typical. Even very hard timber like American oak and wenge ripped cleanly, both of which are prone to splintering.
As for the crosscut and combo blades (both with 32 teeth), I admit to being surprised by the results as I usually aim for blades with a lot more teeth. The crosscut blade performed exceptionally well in oak and wenge. The combo blade was probably the best of the lot. It ripped just as well as the dedicated rip blade, and the crosscut results on wenge were outstanding. Carbitool blades are definitely worth a look.
Review blades supplied by and available from www.carbitool.com.au
David Luckensmeyer is a Brisbane based woodworker and furniture maker, see www.luckensmeyer.com.au and Instagram @luckensmeyer