In this article we will briefly discuss chop saws and the corresponding blades used to cut high-speed steel blanks into moulding knives. First, I recommend you select a saw with 14” diameter blades and a 1” arbor; you could use a 10” blade, resulting in a decreased blade life costing you more over time for blade replacements. Something you should consider when buying a cut off saw is how much horsepower it has; the higher horsepower develops a cleaner, straighter cut, overall lasting longer. A decent chop saw could cost you anywhere from $250.00 up to $1,500.00, purchasing decisions depend on how much moulding knife steel you cut. I have cut many high-speed steel blanks for moulding knives over the years; I currently own the 5hp Kalamazoo (Made in the USA) 14” chop saw with the Kalamazoo dust collection system. Most moulding franchises would not justify spending such a lofty amount just to cut steel, but for me it is a one-time purchase.
Now talking blades, over the years I have tested about a dozen different abrasive cut off wheels for moulding knife steel and I have always returned to the Makita # 724603-3 14” X 1/8” X 1” bore. This abrasive cut off wheel has caused the least amount of burning on the edges of the steel when making cuts, and is reasonable in price. I would advise to stay away from reinforced wheels with viewable checkerboard fiberglass mesh; these types of wheels burn the steel too much on the edges taking life away from your knife by reducing some of the temper from the steel. We have 3/8” (Axial Constant) on each side of the profile so it is not as major of an effect.
Most of these cut off saws and abrasive cut off wheels are available from your local home or industrial supply center, but if you would like to get (in my opinion) the best industrial chop saw made in the USA give us a call. We are a Kalamazoo reseller; we currently stock these abrasive wheels, for pricing or questions please contact us.
Have a great day and be safe.