KDS Blades: Designed with the Tinter in Mind

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Window Film Posts
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This video was shot to discuss the unique characteristics of KDS 13-point blades as they relate to the window film industry. I discuss how the blades were specifically designed with use on window tint in mind. Specifics regarding what was discussed in the video are below:

                 KDS Blades: Designed with the Tinter in Mind

 I wanted to give you a bit of history about KDS and how the blades they designed for the window film industry came about. KDS is Japan’s premier manufacturer of utility knives and blades. The standard 13 point blades that KDS had been manufacturing were developed for general use by anyone. The expectation was the blades would be used on general light-to-medium materials, and therefore the blade steel and the hone were selected for just such use.

However, when KDS began selling the blades to the window tint industry, they received feedback that the steel should be a bit softer and the blade honed to be a little sharper. In short, window tinters wanted a sharper edge to cut the film, but a softer steel to prevent etching of glass. So, KDS created a separate product specifically for the window film industry. That is why they say that their blades are specifically created for tinters. They really were!

 Now that you have a bit of the history, I wanted to share a bit of technical data regarding blade construction and what it means to you. First, let’s discuss what the “hone” of the blade means. You may hear of a blade being single hones, fine honed, double honed, etc. Also, we will explore how the hardness of the steel affects the performance of the blade. Hopefully the following will explain the differences.

Single Hone

The hone on the blade is 70% of its sharpness. A scalpel has a single hone on both sides of the blade (think of a “V”). It is designed to be sharp, cutting only through soft matter. All KDS slim blades are single-hone.

When a single-hone blade encounters something hard, the edge of the blade tends to roll over or chip.Single Hone

Fine Hone

A fine honed blade is a reference to a blade that has the edges honed to be sharper. The downside to a fine hone is that it tends to be less durable. So, while these blades are very sharp right out of the box, they tend to lose their edge faster than a standard hone blade.

Double Hone

 In an effort to correct the chipping tendency of a single honed blade, and make the edge more durable, some manufacturers add a second hone. This second hone, to be frank, makes the blade duller. But this dullness makes the blade “last” longer as the edge is stronger with the double hone.Double Hone

Double-honed blades don’t so much cut materials, but push them apart.

Steel Hardness

The hardness of the steel is the wild card when it comes to the window film industry. In this industry, we want our blades to cut the film like a razor, but NOT damage the glass underneath. The harder the steel, the better it will hold an edge. However, the harder steel also makes a blade more capable of cutting into the glass. The softer steel will not cut into the glass, but the edge will not be as durable.

The Solution

KDS feels that the best solution to this is a single, sharp hone, combined with a medium hardness stainless steel. This combination will allow tinters with a light touch to use such a blade repeatedly. Tinters with a heavy hand can also use it, but they will find that it dulls quickly because the softer steel is being pushed into the glass surface, dulling the edge. This combination allows for the greatest variety of installers to use the blade while not putting the underlying glass at risk.

Some companies in this industry use double-honed blades and hard steel in an effort to make the edge more durable, but this combination would be the most prone to scratch glass. The double-hone means the blade is actually duller, meaning the installer must push harder to make the cut. When they do this, they are pushing the blade into the glass surface. When you combine the greater pressure required with a double hone with a harder steel, scratched glass would be a typical outcome.

So here is how to look at the KDS blades Zola offers:

KDS Standard Hone Blades (KB265 &KB 266)

Standard Single-honed (Very sharp, with good edge durability)

Medium hardness stainless steel

KDS Fine Hone Blades (KB262)

Fine Single-honed (Extremely sharp, with moderate edge durability)

Softer grade stainless steel

As you can see, it really all comes down to an installer’s technique, and what they are cutting when choosing the appropriate blade. I hope the above explanation helps you better understand the construction of the blades so that you can be better informed when making your choice.


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