The Saw ‘n Sand from BH Innovations makes my list today as a cool remodeling product. As you can see from the image to the right, it’s got a lot going on for just being a saw blade. But, it’s not just a saw blade. It’s a saw AND sand blade.
What does Saw ‘n Sand really mean?
With a standard blade, you’re going to need to do some sanding when you’re done cutting. The edge of the board will have a pretty distinct texture, and you’ll probably be able to tell what direction the board was cut. By contrast, when the Saw ‘n Sand is used you end up with a much smoother finish, and you can’t see any distinct cutting direction because it’s smoother. Some finishing may still be necessary, but in most cases you won’t need to do much if any.
Precision ground premium C4 micro carbide tipped blade
This is a bunch of geek talk to most people, so I’ll try to break that down for the rest of the world. Precision ground isn’t tough to understand – the carbide is ground under very precise conditions, using premium C4 carbide. C4 micro carbide tipped is more difficult to decipher the meaning and importance, though. C4 is a type of carbide (no, we’re not talking plastic explosives here) that can be applied to the tips of the blade to make the teeth stay sharp longer. There are grades from C1 – C4, with hardness ratings of 1400 – 1660. Basically, C4 is the toughest carbide available. The micro part comes in when it’s a small carbide particle, which makes it last longer yet. If you envision a bowl of large marshmallows vs a bowl of Rice Crispies, the smaller particle bowl will take much longer to empty when removed one at a time. So they’re just saying that this is a long-lasting blade.
10″ 60 tooth industrial polished blade
Again, 10 inches isn’t difficult to understand. 60 tooth isn’t too bad either, but the result is a bit less clear. Table saw blades normally are available in 24, 40, 60, 80, and 120 tooth models. There are also some specialty blades that have other numbers of teeth. The more teeth, the less each cut does and the smoother the result. This also makes the cutting slower, so 60 is a nice medium. But since we’re also sanding, we’re not as concerned with a high number of teeth to keep the finish smooth so much as having something that cuts reasonably quickly so we can sand it with the sides of the blade and be done.
This is an industrial grade blade, which means it can be sharpened, if necessary, down the road. Better materials are used so it doesn’t wear out as quickly and is less likely to break, so the blade itself can last quite some time. Finally, it’s polished so there is a nice smooth surface for your sticky back sandpaper to adhere to.
High quality aluminum oxide grit
This is simply saying that we’ve got a reasonable quality sanding disc on the sides of the blade. But simply sticking a piece of sandpaper on the side of the blade won’t make it work very well. First off, that increases the thickness of the blade, and the edge of the sanding disc will be very vulnerable to being peeled off of the blade itself. Instead, this blade has a very specific convex surface (bowed out in the middle) and a recessed area just inside the cutting tooth area. This keeps the disc stuck to the blade while also keeping the thickness of the blade down a bit.
Great, but how well does it work?
Not having had the chance to use it myself, I decided to ask Chris. He had received some feedback from one of our customers on why he didn’t think it was a good blade. The customer said he was only on his 3rd house when the sandpaper started to clog. Well, once he thought about it, it was great for two full houses worth of trim, and he didn’t realize that there were replacement sanding discs available. His impression of the blade changed drastically once he learned about those, and he now thinks it’s a great blade.
There are a couple of words of advice that I can also pass along from customer experience. Make sure your table saw has plenty of horsepower, because the extra friction of sanding can bog down an underpowered unit. If your table saw has any sort of an issue with harder woods, you probably don’t want to use this blade. Also, best results occur when you have a slow, even feed of the material. Too fast doesn’t allow the sanding to occur nearly well enough. But it is a cool blade that will last you quite a while and a real time saver for anyone doing a lot of trim work during construction or remodeling.