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Sawing Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is hard to cut. Specialty blades can handle it, but it may be best to have a metal shop handle the task. February 6, 2007

Question
I have been asked by one of my customers to use brushed stainless steel as accents in various places in a kitchen. I am having problems cutting this material for many reasons. I have tried abrasive cut off wheels and they scorch and discolor the material. I have tried tin snips and the cuts are difficult, not straight, and the shears bend the material. In a last ditch effort I tried to cut it on my table saw. After I ruined two of my saw blades and only made a rather short cut, I gave up. I feel the table saw is my best option for the cuts I have to make, but my blades can not handle the material. Does anyone know of a saw blade that is made to cut 304 stainless steel on a table saw?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor T:
Remarkably, there is a blade that is made just for that application. It is the Steel-Pro Stainless saw blade. It is designed to cut 303 and 304 stainless steel with little or no bur, no scorching, reduced sparking, and much longer life. It uses a new grade of carbide that can be used at greater cutting speeds without breaking the teeth. It is only available in a 12?and a 14?saw at this time.



From contributor J:
Good metal cutting blade on bandsaw, low speed and light cutting oil. SS is tough.


From contributor D:
You could have the local sheet metal shop sheer it for you and save a lot of problems. I would have used a metallic laminate; there are many available that mimic stainless steel.


From contributor E:
Ditto what contributor D said - get all your dimensions and have a local sheet metal place do it. Having the right equipment makes all the difference in getting nice clean cuts. I think you'll find it's well worth whatever they charge, when you figure how much time you will waste trying to do it yourself, and not having it come out as cleanly.


From contributor R:
Woodworking tools are not made to cut metal. They run too fast. Sometimes you can get away with aluminum, but not SS. Go to a sheet metal shop like the others suggested. It will save you a lot of frustration. Make sure you deburr the SS, as it can give you some nasty cuts after shearing.


From contributor B:
I would definitely look into laminates, if not now, for sure on upcoming jobs. Easy to cut and you can get everything from stainless steel to copper.


From contributor R:
Bring it to a sheet metal shop. Misleading info in contributor T's post. You need a special low speed saw used in the metalworking shops called a cold saw. Typical speed is 54 to 100 rpm. Regular HSS blades on cold saws cut stainless fine in my experience.

From contributor M:
Contributor T is correct. While it is preferable to cut ferrous metals at slower RPM's, thin stainless steel can be cut at faster RPM's by using the correct grade of carbide and proper tooth configuration. It should be noted that this process does create sparks. Be sure to disconnect your dust collector and clean out any sawdust in and around the machine.
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