Tenryu Gold Medal Blade
Article - August 26, 2011
UPDATE: I am happy to report that Tenryu did indeed develop a true full-kerf Gold Medal blade (see my issues with this below) and I’ve been happily using it in my saw for the last year. They are now available as part number GM-25540-2. The easiest way to get one at this point is to head to the Tenryu website and search for a local distributor.
Now I’ll be honest here in that I have a hard time differentiating between the higher quality blades. Many folks ask me if the Gold Medal blade is better than Forrest. If both blades cut cleanly and they both last a long time between sharpening, I’m a happy camper. But I can safely say that the Gold Medal series is every bit as good, if not better, than the Forrest WW II.
Please enjoy the original review:
As many of you know, I recently hung up my much-adored Forrest Woodworker II blade in an effort to give another brand a shot. That brand was Tenryu. I have heard great things about their blades so I was excited to give them a chance. Specifically the MP-305100AB in my miter saw and the GM-25540 in my table saw.
Let me start by saying the MP-305100AB has found a permanent home in the miter saw. Never have I had such glass smooth cuts from that tool. To be fair though, I upgraded from a stock blade. But what an amazing upgrade it was!
As for the tablesaw blade, I have to say that the blade cuts beautifully. Since my Forrest blade is several years old and has been sharpened a few times (and is in need of sharpening now), a true side by side cut quality comparison was not possible. But I have used my Forrest for years and I am quite familiar with its cut characteristics. And if the Tenryu produced a perceptible difference, I would have spotted it. And to be honest, there wasn’t much difference at all. Of course in a controlled side by side test, with microscopes and lab jackets we might be able to choose a cut quality winner between these two. But seriously folks, in my shop (and most likely yours), both of these blades kick butt and produce top notch cuts. Since the blade is so new, factors like how well the blade holds a sharp edge over time have yet to be determined.
The only real problem I had was that I was under the impression that this was a full-kerf blade. So during the testing, I noticed binding and other indications that this blade had an odd kerf width. Come to find out it is actually being billed as a thin-kerf blade. And it happens to be one of the thickest thin-kerf blades on the market, which is why I didn’t immediately notice the size difference. Unfortunately, this is a deal breaker for me since my setup is for full kerf. Both my splitter and my zero clearance insert would be useless with this blade.
Verdict: Tenryu is a top-notch company that produces a premium blade. The cut quality certainly justifies its cost. If Tenryu could manufacture this blade with a full 1/8″ kerf, they would have a customer for life.