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Are you one of those people that has to have a Lie-Nielsen plane when a very nice Record plane would do almost as well? Do your layout tools have to have Rosewood handles, or can you get by with plastic? If spending a little extra money to have the best is worth the effort -- Forrest blades are for you. Don't get me wrong, the benefit is more than perceived -- these are excellent blades. But you have to ask yourself, at what price excellence?
A quality blade for the Popular Woodworking shop will cost between $40 and $60. So when Jim Forrest of Forrest Manufacturing Co. offered us a $120 blade to test I was ready to shoot it down before making a single cut because of the premium price. Four years and a lot of board feet of lumber later I understand the difference, and yes, I'd spend the extra money.
When you add up the benefits (a cleaner saw cut, money saved by going longer between sharpenings, improved safety by not having to force a piece of 8/4 maple through a rip cut), you'll probably break even with the price difference, and still have the best blade money can buy.
Forrest's blades offer a superior cut that leaves a rip-cut saw edge that is as smooth as if it had been sanded, and a cross-cut edge that is almost mark-free. The blades run very quietly, and backside tearout in plywood is negligible.
Each blade is virtually hand-made. The plate is hand-tensioned (up to 15 minutes per blade), superior C-4 carbide teeth are hand-brazed to the plate, and the blade is straightened and restraightened multiple times throughout the process.
Think of a Forrest blade as a tool in your shop, not an accessory. Forrest stands behind it's blades by offering a sharpening service that bring blades back to the exact tolerances offered in a new blade. And this same exacting service is available for other manufacturer's blades as well, so they should come back better than new.
Forrest offers a variety of blades for most types of woodworking machinery. The most popular blades include the Wood-Worker II combination blade offered as a 10" x 40 tooth for a little more than $100, or a 10" x 30 tooth for about $90 in either a 1/8" standard kerf, or 3/32" thin kerf.
The Woodworker I crosscut blade is available in a 60-tooth design for a 10" and 12" saws for $130 or $140.
RECOMMENDATION: The Forrest blades' performance and benefit are hard to believe until you have the chance to use one. Effortless, super-smooth performance that makes using your table saw a pleasure. It really is worth spending the extra money.
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