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Forrest rolls out Signature Line series

Chopmaster features more teeth with redesigned angles, while new 48-tooth Woodworker II is quieter with less vibration

Forrest's Signature Line Chopmaster saw blade.

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Forrest Mfg. has redesigned its Chopmaster saw blade and created a new Signature Line series, while also improving its general-purpose table, panel and circular saw blade, the Woodworker II.

"We're trying to push it to the limits ... and see if we can get any better cut out of the Chopmaster," says Jay Forrest of Forrest Mfg. "By adding more teeth - 90 as opposed to 80 - and fooling with the geometry of the angles on the teeth, we've come up with a design that actually cuts better than the [previous] Chopmaster. It actually feeds a little bit easier through wood molding, for example, and has better splinter control."

The Signature Line Chopmaster has a minus-5 degree hook to control feed rate. It's available in 10" and 12" diameters and with 5/8" or 1" center holes.

"We feel we are getting better splinter control by reducing the pressure with different geometry on the teeth and, again, it goes back to higher tooth count and better angles on there, so as the teeth are exiting there is a smaller load on each individual tooth as it is cutting and emerging from [the] molding," explains Forrest. "There is a smaller gullet mainly as the result of the higher tooth count and that will help prevent blade noise, too."

Forrest's Signature Line Woodworker II saw blades.

The new Chopmaster blade took a year of design work before production began with lots of trial and error before the release of the trim blade for miter and radial arm saws.

"We're putting a face shear on the teeth of this Signature Line, which helps the cut, but it is more difficult to manufacture the blade because of that and more time-consumed to grind the faces," says Forrest. "That's part of the trial and error; you can make a better cutting blade, but it takes longer to manufacture it.

"It's for just about anything that you would use the Chopmaster for - interior trim, picture frames and some of the man-made moldings. We're using C2 carbide, which is the hardest grade you can use to maintain the life of the cutting edge, so it is made for heavy-duty use."

The new 48-tooth Woodworker II has the same 20-degree face hook as the original 40-tooth Woodworker II, but the points of the teeth have a 25-degree bevel instead of a 15-degree bevel. The sharper points allow the blade to cleanly slice through wood fibers as it cuts across the grain and to operate quietly and with less vibration, according to the company.

The Woodworker II is especially suited for manufacturing picture frames or other products that require hundreds of cross-grain cuts. But the new blade, like the original Woodworker II, also produces smooth rips without side scoring or splintering, making it a good choice as an all-purpose combination blade.

"We've said for many years that our Woodworker II is both a rip and a crosscut blade; maybe you could turn the phrase around for this newer version and call it both a crosscut and a rip blade," says Forrest. "This blade produces an even crosscut and you will especially notice that on plywood veneers. The same blade will still produce a great rip cut so we're fooling around with the compromise between crosscutting and rip cutting because obviously a great crosscut blade has a lot of teeth, but then it can't rip. And a pure rip blade has maybe 20 or 30 teeth but it won't crosscut, so we're trying to manipulate the compromise in the number of teeth and what angles we can put on the teeth to emphasize crosscutting a little more with the same Woodworker II design."

The Woodworker II is available in a conventional 10" diameter with a 1/8" kerf and standard 5/8" bore, priced at $134. The Signature Line Chopmaster 10" blade sells for $167, while the 12" costs $179. Custom sizes for both blade types are available.

Contact: Forrest Mfg. Co., 457 River Road, Clifton, NJ 07014. Tel: 800-733-7111.

This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue.

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