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SystiMatic #51821, 10" General Purpose Blade
Long-term performance with a short price
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
For many woodworkers, general purpose blades are a cost-saving alternative to purchasing several dedicated designs. The SystiMatic #51821, new from Simonds International (Fitchburg, MA) may not be as well known as some brands but the performance and value it offers ranks near the top of the heap.
Even the best tooth design is of little use if the blade body supporting them does not run true and consistent. SystiMatic takes no shortcuts when manufacturing their blade bodies, beginning with the special steel alloy designed to minimize the effects of heat and forces generated when cutting wood.
The body of the SystiMatic #51821 is 0.095"-thick (final thickness) and fully laser-cut. The blanks are heat treated, hardened and straightened before being subjected to multiple-pass surface grinding that refines their flatness and consistency of thickness. Along the way the 5/8"-diameter arbor hole is accurately sized to eliminate radial play on the arbor shaft.
To make the body even more rigid they are hammer tensioned. Five equally-spaced, laser cut slots control the expansion at the outer edge of the blade to prevent localized warping during the normal heat cycles developed by the friction of cutting wood.
In the Teeth
The SystiMatic #51821 has 40 carbide teeth, formed from high-quality C-4 material, known for its resistance to wear. The teeth are bonded to the body with a precision brazing operation that looks very clean and consistent.
In addition to normal automated sharpening, each tooth is further refined by multiple-passes by a computer-controlled 3-axis honing machine that reduces the fine grinding scratches even more, producing a more durable cutting edge.
To make this blade so versatile, the SystiMatic #51821 uses a 20-degree, alternate tooth bevel (ATB). That pattern, combined with the 15-degree hook angle allows the SystiMatic #51821 to cut very cleanly in all materials, including laminate and plywood.
In the Shop
Testing the SystiMatic #51821 turned out to be rather boring. No matter what type of cut or the material, the SystiMatic #51821 cut cleanly with no sign of slowing down.
First, eight ¼"-thick strips were ripped from a 6-foot-long piece of 7/8"-thick red oak. The cuts were made in rapid succession, stopping only to bump the fence over to the next position. The 48 th foot was just as smooth and glue-ready as the first foot cut.
Crosscuts were also very smooth and chip free. Angled cuts with and against the grain looked identical, also with no sign of chipping, tearout or lifted fibers.
After each of the previous cuts, and some for other projects, a 4-foot length of laminate-covered scrap was sliced into full-length strips and smaller cross cut chunks. Throughout those cuts, no chips, splits or any other performance flaw was noted.
Aside from the flawless cutting performance, the only thing that caught my eye was the lack of buildup on the blade. The gullets showed a little dust that brushed away easily. Other than that, no contamination of the body or teeth could be found even though approximately 20 feet of pine was ripped for another project in the midst of this testing.
If you are one of the increasing number of woodworkers who invest in a quality combination blade, the SystiMatic #51821 deserves a hard look. I initially began using SystiMatic blades a few years ago because of their attractive price. The performance and durability of those initial SystiMatic blades convinced me and my shop has not been without one from that point on. The quality and performance of the SystiMatic #51821 means that trend in my shop will continue.
With a street price of $59.95 (8-5-2005), the SystiMatic #51821 could be the answer to your table saw blade needs as well.
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