Tired of saw vibration? Tired of a saw blade that cannot stay true when it’s spinning due to the kerf thickness? This upgrade might be valuable to you then.
Sometimes when I’m using my table saw I use a full kerf blade and other times I use a half kerf blade. However, when using a half kerf blade I find it generates a lot of teeth marks in boards when I cut because the blades tend to flex too much. Is it the way I’m using the blade? The material? All possibilities but that’s probably not going to change. That’s when I came across the Forrest Saw Products STIF05 Saw Blade Stiffener / Dampener.
This little precision-cut circular plate of steel changed the game for me. My cuts went from having lots of teeth marks in them requiring lots of sanding to nearly buttery smooth no matter how thick the cut was – from half-board rips to paper-thin rips.
The STIF05 fits on my Craftsman table saw that has a 5/8″ arbor and worked like a charm with only one plate. Now, I have seen people use a disc on each side of their blade but for me, it didn’t seem to warrant it and I was satisfied with the cut result.
It is really a quite simple upgrade too. All you have to do is take your blade off and hopefully, you know how to do that if you’re a woodworker. If not, please follow the directions printed in your manual to ensure you no only get the blade off but back on without damaging it. After all, no one wants a carbide tip flying at them at high speed.
If you’re planning on using two stiffener discs you’ll need to pull your blade off, put one disc on, put your blade back on and add the second disc so it looks like your blade is sandwiched between them. In addition, you’ll need to adjust your rip fence to account for the disc thickness on the non-nut side of the arbor.
If you’re just going to use one disc I put mine on the side that had the retainer ring and nut. The other side had a taller ring so it made sense to put it on the side that was the smallest.
Before putting this to the test though I decided to see the difference. I used some pine 2×4 construction lumber and made a rip cut to see how the teeth marks appeared in the board after the cut. I did the upgrade then took another cut in a way that the cut-off was only going to be about 1/32″ of thick. This would allow me to see the before and after on one piece as well as see how thin I could get a piece of wood cut (for veneering).
I was amazed at the result. I was able to cut a buttery smooth piece of pine veneer so thin that I could see my fingers shadow through it when holding it up to a light.
Sold me on it and I haven’t taken it off.
A few things to keep in mind if you decided to do this upgrade. The larger the disc you get, Forrest makes sizes 3-10 inches, the more stable the blade will be. However, it will be able to cut through less thick material. For example, I’m using a 5-inch disc on my 10-inch table saw. That is reducing the cutting capacity from a theory of 10″ (minus the arbor) to 5″ – 10″ – 5″ = 5″ capacity. You’ll also need to take into account if you’re using a zero clearance insert. You won’t be able to raise your blade up as far as the disc will hit the underside of the insert first before hitting your cutting stock.
Aside from these drawbacks, for me, it was worth it.
As always if you have any questions or comments post them below or on my YouTube video comments section and I’ll do my best to respond.
I’ve included a few Amazon Links below for the equipment and materials I used.
Equipment and Materials
- CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set, Assorted, 25-Piece (CMHT65046)
- Forrest STIF04 4-Inch Stiffen / Damper – 5/8-Inch Arbor
- Forrest STIF05 5-Inch Stiffen / Damper – 5/8-Inch Arbor
I hope you find this video useful and can use some of the tips presented. Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or experiences you have had below.
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