There’s nothing like a project to introduce you to new and interesting circular saw blades. As we readied a new video set, we needed to cut three 4 x 8 sheets of Melamine into about 32 pieces per sheet. With that many cuts, we didn’t want to use a standard multi-purpose blade. Those thicker blades would create rough, explosive edges along each side of the Melamine. Instead, to give us a fighting chance at not having to sand every single edge, we picked up a CMT ITK Plus Thin Kerf Finishing Blade.
CMT ITK Plus Thin Kerf Finishing Blade Features
CMT makes their ITK Plus Thin Kerf Finishing Blades in various sizes. Ours had its sights on a 6-1/2″ cordless circular saw. It has 36 teeth and the expected 5/8-inch arbor. You get hardened steel composition, and laser-cut sound dampening channels.
Back in 2011, this blade was actually made in Italy from German steel—how’s that for international manufacturing technology! Now, CMT makes most of their premium blades…in Italy. Yep—still a great blade manufacturer with excellent quality. Originally, these blades often featured a gray color. Now you can still find their ITK Extreme all-purpose blades in that color, but their ITK Plus contractor blades are typically orange.
The kerf of this saw blade is extremely thin. Looking at it next to a standard DeWalt blade, you can see the difference. That plus the 36 teeth yields a smoother cut than a standard 24-tooth carbide blade.
CMT ITK Plus Blades Cutting Performance
The CMT ITK Plus Thin Kerf finishing blade cuts both hard and soft woods as well as plywood. As we found, it also did a bang-up job on Melamine. It works with any saw that supports a 5/8-inch arbor and a 6 1/2-inch blade. That is to say, it works universally here in the United States. We loaded the blade into a Milwaukee 2730 M18 Fuel circular saw and quickly realized we had to insert the blade with its printed side pointed inward. So much for free marketing!
As we used the saw, we found it to cut extremely well. There was very little resistance. This partly had to do with the thin kerf. We also factored in the number of teeth and the reduced depth of the grooves in between. This made it super easy to cut through our work material, even though we had dozens of cuts to make per sheet.
From start to finish, the CMT ITK Plus think kerf blade made quick work out of our material. Even when we were finished, the blades still looked ready to make a lot more cuts. This is a blade you’ll likely get a lot of use out of if you are sure to remove it when you go back to cutting dimensional lumber or anything that doesn’t specifically require a finishing blade.