by Josh Kerst, CPE
Remember when the Beach Boys sang about those “Good Vibrations”? Well here’s a dirty little secret…they lied! Anyone who has cut lumber or plywood with a hand-held saw has firsthand experience with the fatiguing vibration and force requirements needed to get the job done right. Traditional blades vibrate and can dull quickly adding to the force needed for the task which in turn requires the user to adopt a tighter grip during precision cutting tasks. These tighter grips exacerbate the transmitted hand-arm vibration which can lead to irreversible occupational diseases such as Raynaud’s Phenomenon and Vibration White Finger syndrome. Adding insult to injury these dull blades also extend the hand-to-tool contact time exposure which makes precision cuts extremely challenging and meeting hand-arm vibration exposure limits nearly impossible (e.g., vibration total value < 2.5 m/s2 for action limit and < 5.0 m/s2 for maximum exposure limit).
An innovative new blade plate design has been introduced by DeWalt within their Precision FramingTM line that promotes smoother, less forceful cuts compared to traditional blades. The new blade plates (see image) use a combination of high lubricity carbide coating on their blade teeth in conjunction with saw plates that feature resin filled expansion slots that help dampen vibration. This ergonomic design shows promise in improving the cutting feel, lengthening blade life performance, and dampening vibration. More detailed measurement will be needed to confirm this, but the design looks like a step in the right direction to losing those “Bad Vibes”.