Choosing a table saw blade that works for you can be mind-boggling considering all the choices that are available for you. The saw blade could be the difference between making precise and imprecise cuts, therefore, making it crucial for you to research on the best blade for your saw. The right saw blade not only makes sawing easy but also ensure you get a best-finished product.
In this article, you will get to know about different features of the table saw blades and features that differentiate one saw blade from another.
What do you consider when choosing a table saw blade? The considerations include:
- Blade types
- Quality of the table saw blades
- Material for making the blade
- The size of the table saw blade
- The speed of the blade in RPM
- Blade adjustment mechanism
Table Saw Blades
The most crucial aspect of any table saw is its blade. The table saw module can work well if you choose what works best depending on the situation. You must know that different projects require different blades. Choose a table saw blade to use depending on the material you are working with. If you choose the wrong saw blade, you may lose clean and precise cuts and worse still you could end up injuring yourself.
My friend wanted to know the best table saw blade for his table saw and requested me to assist him with researching online. I researched online on everything about table saw blades and decided to come up with a helpful table saw blade guide.
Read on to find out more about table saw blades.
What differentiates table saw blades? The main feature that distinguishes one table saw blade to another is the number of teeth it has. The three common types of table saw blades include: rip cut blade, crosscut blade and a combination of the two.
a) Rip-Cut Blades
Rip cut blades come with a reduced set of teeth. The gullet (the depression between two blade teeth) is also ample on these blades, making it easy for shavings to disperse quickly. The rip cut blade is ideal for cutting a piece of wood along the grain since it gives a rougher finish compared to other types of blades.
The teeth are flat-topped and come with a triple-chip-grid shape which makes it easy for them to cut along the grain.
b) Crosscut Blades
If you are cutting across the wood grain, the ideal saw blade to use would be the crosscut blade. It provides a cleaner and finer cut, therefore, offering a smoother cut surface compared to the rip cut blade. Since it has a smaller space between the teeth, you need to be careful when feeding it cut materials.
The teeth also have a hook angle shape with a knife-like alternating top-bevel way making it easier for the blade to cut across the grain.
c) Combination Blades
If you are working on a project that requires you to cut along the grain and also cut across the grain, the combination blade is perfect for you. The combination blade is capable of cutting through harder materials like brick as well as providing a smooth finish on wood and wood composites. Its large gullet separating a set of five teeth allows for better chip removal during the cutting process.
Combination blade is essential if you are considering including both speed and clean-cut finish to your project. They offer both the speed and smooth finish. Some individual combination blades are designed for specific materials like plywood, hardwood, metal, brick or tiles.
Combination blades also include dado blades which cut dadoes or grooves on wood. Dadoes are classified into two sets as follows:
Stacked Dado Blades
A stacked dado provides a consistent wide slot made into the timber to join one piece of wood to another.
A Wobble Blade
A wobble blade, on the other hand, doesn’t spin and its offsets and wobbles by moving the blade back and forth at a very high speed.
Blade quality is crucial, especially if your project involves cutting rough and hard things like steel and carbide. You should target sturdy and long-lasting blades whereby you will only be required to sharpen them from time.
It’s straightforward to spot a low-quality blade. The blades are mostly thin and frail and will not handle robust materials like hardwood and steel. They are also noisier compared to long-lasting steel blades. Instead of replacing those low-quality blades from time to time, you’d instead buy a quality blade that you will use for a long time.
Materials for the Blade
The most common materials for saw blades are steel and carbon steel. The Table saw blade is, in most cases made from tungsten or reinforced metal composites. Since teeth are designed to dissect sturdy materials, they are made from different materials. Some specialized blades called the composite blades to come with diamond-tipped teeth which makes them suitable for cutting ceramic tiles and slate.
Table saw Blade Size
It’s crucial to know the size of your blade to avoid buying a larger or a smaller blade. While it may seem amateurish, you may forget the correct blade size when ordering a replacement. Always consult the user manual for the exact size. If not manually measure the diameter from point to point to get the size.
Blade size matters when choosing a blade to work on a project. Many table saws have blade size ranging from 8, 10, and 12 inches. Many tables saw blades come in size 10 inch although they can be as big as 30 inches depending on the material you are cutting. However, it’s always important to consult your buyers guide as it will shed more light on the blade size compatible with your saw.
Table Saw Blade Teeth
How many teeth should my table saw blade have? The number of saw blade teeth vary from the saw blade to blade depending on the material you are going to cut and the cut you want to achieve. The teeth number ranges from 24 to 80, depending on the task at hand. A blade with fewer teeth cuts faster compared to a blade with many teeth.
However, a blade with many teeth provides a smoother cut compared to one with fewer teeth. It’s important to note that while many teeth will give you a more continuous cut, they will take longer. Also, never force-feed materials into a blade as it could backfire on you, causing kickback injuries in the process.
Classifications of Blade Teeth
The type of teeth gets determined by its shape and grind. We have four types of saw teeth. They include:
Flat top grind (FTG) – they are also called rakers and have square top edges. Rip cut blades come with these type of blade making it fast when cutting along the grain. The downside of this type of teeth is they don’t have a clean-cut finish, but it’s speedy to cut using them.
Alternate top bevel (ATB) – Most 40-tooth all-purpose blades have ATB teeth. The ATB blades have an angle across the top edge, but all the other teeth lean in the opposite direction. The resulting shape provides a clean cutting when cutting wood. The steep bevel angle ensures the teeth gives a quick clean cut.
Combination blades are perfect for hobbyists and carpenters who don’t need a high degree of efficiency and smoothness when it comes to woodcutting. That is why the blade works well when it comes to both ripping and crosscutting. The saw blade is designed in such a way that it compromises both ripping and crosscutting but gets work done.
Triple-chip grind (TCG)
The TCG is a modification of the standard FTG blade and is mainly used for ripping. The blade is more durable compared to ATB blades as its teeth are not pointed in the configuration. The blade is sturdy and long-lasting, making it ideal for use on materials like melamine, laminate, and MDF. You will easily cut metal materials like aluminum, copper and bronze with this blade.
Saw blade kerf width
The thickness of a blade is also referred to as its kerf. Blade thickness ranges from 3/32 inches to 1/8 inch from the smallest to the largest. Saws with large blade kerfs are ideal for large pieces of wood that don’t need much precision or smooth product. However, if your project requires accuracy and glossy finish, you will be served better by a blade with a thin kerf.
A thinner kerf blade offers precise cuts, especially when working with tight tolerance. Don’t fall for cheap blades as they have a thin kerf too. They may not be strong enough, which makes them bend and flex. The resulting cut is irregular and horrible since the blade material is not durable enough for the material you are cutting.
Some table saw blades might bend regardless of their quality. It’s advisable to choose a model with anti-vibration technology or one with expansion holes that offers room for expansion whenever they heat up. The above features reduce the bending caused by blade heating while at work.
Your saw’s horsepower is also crucial to the size of the blade kerf. A saw with 3hp or more can work with a blade of any kerf thickness. You can choose a blade of any kerf thickness. However, an extensive kerfed blade work gets work done faster.
A blades Revolution per Minute (RPM)
A blades speed is measured in revolutions per minute. Always follow the user’s guide when it comes to a blades RPM. Never exceed the maximum set RPM of blade spec. Since the blade is not designed to rotate faster the spec, you should never exceed its specs speed. If the spec speed exceeds the blade speed, the centrifugal force could cause breakage, which might destroy the blade or the table. Worst case scenario would be injuring you in the process.
Modern table saws allow users to adjust a blade by changing its axis or changing its vertical inclination. Making vertical adjustments exposes the edge more, making it easy to change the depth of the cut. As a result, it’s easy for you to cut thick pieces of wood as well as cutting across the grain. Adjusting the axis of a blade makes it easy for you to make bevel cuts which are crucial for joining two pieces of wood.
The versatility of table saws has seen a rise in use for various purposes like cutting wood, metal or even plastic. As a result, special features have been added to the blades to ensure they work perfectly.
Considerations for Buying a Table Saw Blade
What should you consider when purchasing a saw blade? When purchasing a saw blade, you should consider the size of blade your saw require, the type of cuts it will make, the material you will cut with it and finally the power of your saw.
Dive in to make a more prudent decision before buying a saw blade. Will you?
a) What blade size does your saw need?
A standard table saw uses a 10-inch blade. You may use a smaller one like the 8-inch on your saw. However, it’s advisable not to use a larger blade on a small saw to avoid losing the cutting depth.
Always cross-check with your user manual to get the exact measurements before purchasing a table saw blade.
b) What types of cuts will you make?
If you want a blade that will cut along the grain, go for a rip cut blade. It has fewer teeth which are set at a more aggressive hook angle. Larger gullets also separate them, and it’s generally more comfortable and faster to cut along the grain using a rip blade.
For a blade that will cut across the grain, crosscut blades will be ideal for you. The teeth are set in such a way that they give you a clean cut free of splinters.
You may opt to use a specialized blade depending on the material you want to cut. When working on materials that require you to cut along the grain and across it, a combination blade will be the best option. With this blade, you won’t need to keep switching from one blade to another as it perfect for either work.
c) What Materials Will You Be Cutting?
You should consider various materials like wood, metal, plastic and even laminate when you are buying a saw blade. Each saw blade is designed differently depending on the material it is adapted to cut. The saw teeth play an essential part when it comes to choosing the blade type depending on its purpose. You can read more on blades and teeth in the article.
d) How Powerful Is Your Saw?
You have to consider the power of the saw when choosing a blade. Saws with large and powerful motors will handle saws of different sizes comfortably. However, if you have a small saw, buying a large blade suitable for a large saw is not only dangerous to you as a user but also may destroy your saw.
e) Blade Materials
Quality blades are made from high strength metal alloys like steel, aluminium oxide, or vanadium steel. They are coated by tungsten carbide or ceramic metals for strength and also to withstand high temperatures generated through the cutting process.
Related Questions for Types of Table Saw Blades
Many people who need to use table saws on various materials ask questions online on the best blades to use. They include:
What Is The Best Table Saw Blade For Ripping?
You can use the 24-tooth FTG for the initial cut. It cuts faster but does not offer a moth finish. If you are looking for a smooth, precise cut, go for the 40-tooth ATB or a 50-tooth ATBR combination blade. Although it’s slower, its cut is specific and requires little cleanup.
What Is The Best Table Saw Blade For Crosscutting Wood Or Plywood?
Choose either a 40 to 80-tooth ATB or a 50-tooth ATBR combination blade for this type of work. It’s no brainer that a saw with many teeth cut cleaner and with better precision. However, you would instead go with a quality 40-tooth blade than work with a low-quality 80-tooth one.
What Is The Best Table Saw Blade For Joinery?
Choose a 40 to 80-tooth ATBR combination blade for making joins across or along the grain. It gives you clean-cut glue-ready joints ensuring your products are durable and attractive at the same time.
What Is The Best Table Saw Blade For Cutting MDF, Melamine And Particle Board?
You will get better served by using a 40 to 80-tooth ATB, or TCG table saw blade. While TCGG blades cut the above materials faster, ATB lades, on the other hand, are slower but of a cleaner and a more precise cut.
What Is The Best Table Saw Blade For Cutting Plastic, And Nonferrous Metals?
It’s advisable to use 80-tooth TCG table saw blades for cutting the above materials. While you could opt for an ATB blade, you will, however, be forced to sharpen the blade regularly.
Table Saw Blade Recommendation for General Woodworking Purposes
If you have a wood workshop, you need the below four blades to produce quality products. They include:
Combination blade: this is also called an all-purpose table saw blade as you will do more than 90% of your schedule saw chores with it. You will pay between for a 40-50 –tooth blade that works perfectly with ripping and cutting across the grain. It represents a good business as it reduces clean and is long-lasting.
24-tooth rip blade: if you cut a lot of hardwood, investing in the above table saw blade is crucial. It’s fast, and although it won’t give you clean cuts, it’s a bargain that is worth the hustle.
A quality 40-tooth all-purpose blade: the blade is ideal for cutting lumber and plywood across the grain. The blade gives you excellent cross-cutting on the above material, and for that, it will be an excellent addition.
Quality TCG Blade: this blade is excellent if you plan to cut a lot of plastic laminate or cut no ferrous metals. It is an excellent alternative to ATB blades which require sharpening after use on the above materials.
Buying a saw blade is an expensive affair that should be treated with the respect it deserves. You need to understand the intricate working of a saw to choose the right table saw blade. Many at times you may be tempted to buy a saw blade depending on its price only. You may end up wasting your money from blade breakage or destruction of work materials.
Therefore always ensure you purchase the right blade for your job depending on the type of saw that you own. I hope that after reading the guide, you now have an idea of choosing the blade you need for your Table Saw. You can help other readers by sharing through your favourite social media platform.