How To Compare And Choose Table Saw Blades

Picking the correct table saw blade can save you time and money, help ensure your safety and make your woodworking project run more smoothly and successfully. Different table saw blades serve mixed cutting purposes and work best with varied materials.
Some blades are best at rip cuts, while others excel at cross cuts. General, multi-purpose blades work well with certain material types. Follow these guidelines when reviewing and choosing table saw blades:

  • Determine your project and material type. Do you need a smooth cut? If so, choose a table saw blade with a higher number of teeth. If your project involves more hard woods, straight cuts or shorter job times then a simpler rip cut blade will likely suffice.
  • Choose carbide teeth tips. Table saw blades with grade C3 carbide teeth will withstand several sharpenings and reuse. Premium blades are grade C4.
  • Choose flat steel and laser cut blades. Table saw blades should be as flat as possible ,to ensure a good cut, and be made from hardened steel. Laser cut blades will lead to higher tolerances for blade tip precision which, again, makes better, straighter cuts.
  • Match the blade to the horsepower of the saw. The width of the kerf, or the slot the blade cuts in the material, is another consideration. If you are using a table saw that has less than 3 horsepower, then use a blade that has a kerf of less than 1/8 inch. An underpowered saw with a wider kerf blade can cause the saw to draw too much power, ruining the saw, wood and blade.
  • Quality. When in doubt, go with the higher rated, higher quality blade. Better safe,with higher quality, than sorry.

Following are some main parameters/points which are important for selecting best table saw blade: -.

Types of Table Saw Blade Cuts

In old times separate blade was used for crosscutting & ripping. Plywood cutting required even another type of blade.

Crosscut Table Saw Blade

As name describes that this type of blade make desired types of cuts by alternating use of each tooth to the right & left of their central line. This creates a fine surface but it makes wider cut gap.

Rip Table Saw Blade

Rip blades have extremely deep teeth smaller in number which helps in ejecting the wood chip & for faster cutting.

Combination Table Saw Blades

These blades are hybrids of rip & crosscut blades. These have the advantages of the both types of blades. But these blades are little bit high in cost than both styles.

Strobe Table Saw Blade

A strobe saw blade has special cutters/rakers which are used for uncured/green wood. These types of wood often jam other type of blades.

Dado Table Saw Blade

This is a circular table saw blade which is used for wide groove cut. This helps in joining of wood pieces due to the wide grooved cut, another piece of wood can easily fit in this.

Ply tooth Table Saw blade

This table saw blade consists of number of small teeth. These are especially made for cutting plywood.

Special Cut Blades

Some combination blades are used for cutting specific materials like hardwood, plywood, metals etc. These types of blades often have multiple rows of teeth. These provide much wider cut than normal.

Because of hybrid blades no need to change blade entirely for different woods. One blade can full fill your all requirements. These blades are called primary blades.

Primary Blade Choices

Primary table saw blade can satisfactorily work on every material & can make all types of cuts. Primary table saw blades are mainly of two types:

Combination Blade 50-Tooth

This is of original hybrid design, it is half crosscut and half rip. Like a crosscut blade these blades have 40 closely spaced teeth, & like rip blade it contains10 flat-topped, widely spaced tooth. These blades are often less expensive as compare to 40-tooth blades. These are better for cutting grooves & dadoes.

General Purpose Blade 40-Tooth

This is the best choice in a primary blade and every table saw user should have at least one blade of this type. These blades have evenly spaced teeth and have large gullets for sawdust removal. There are 10-40 widely spaced & flat topped teeth for aggressive cutting. The ripping speed of this blade is higher than other blades. Because of lesser number of teeth, teeth make crosscuts friendly.

Size/Diameter of Table Saw Blade

We should always use right size blade because if we use bigger size blade it would not clear the blade guard on a radial arm or on a miter or throat plate of a table saw. On the other hand if we use smaller size it cannot give the proper depth to the cut. So size should be appropriate. Smaller saws required higher RPM on the other hand bigger saw require lower RPM.

The size of Table saw blade is measured by diameter of hole which is in the center & external diameter of the blade. Generally blades are of 10 or 12 inches in diameter. But common size starts from five inches & ends up to twelve inches. Some commercial blades are of exceptional sizes.

The final check is how much big the central arbor hole is. Most blades today come with a 5/8” hole. Certain saws may have different size of blade axles.

It is best to go through the operating manual & see recommended size of blade for the machine. If blade size is not listed in manual than don’t use this blade even if it looks fit for that saw.

Blade Material & Material of Work Piece

Whenever we go for table saw blade material is a considerable point & when we talk about material than two different things come in our mind that is blade material or cutting material?

Selection of blade material mainly depends on purpose of its use. Firstly we should check that for which material we need blade like for wood cutting, metal cutting, and for plastic etc. If cutting material is hard we use different type of blade or if cutting material is soft than we use another type of blade. Means for cutting wood or plastic require different type of blades.

Several materials are used in making different table saw blades. These all material has own specifications. Some of material which is used in table saw blades are as follows:

Tungsten Carbide

This material is commonly used in making table saw blades. Today most people like blades of this material. While making the blades tungsten carbide is used in two different ways:

Solid Carbide

In this type of blade only tungsten carbide material is used. It means in these blades there is no mixture of other material. These types of blades are more durable and are with lower toughness. This material is very hard as compare to others.

Tungsten Carbide Tipped

These types of blades are not made with the whole tungsten carbide material. The blocks of small pieces of tungsten carbide material are welded on tip of teeth. Because of this, these are called Tungsten Carbide Tipped blades. These are normally used to cut laminated board, wood, grass, plywood, aluminum, plastic etc.

Steel

Mostly all manufacturers like this material for making table saw blades because steel is a strong, cheap & we can easily give shape to this material.

High speed steel (HSS)

High speed Steel without losing its hardness can withstand higher temperatures. These types of table saw blades are mostly used to cut copper, steel, aluminum & many other metals.

Diamond

On the base of blade diamonds are fixed by several methods.  Because diamond is a super hard material, these types of blades can cut ceramics, stone, glass, concrete, asphalt, bricks & gem stone etc.

Configuration of Teeth

The way in which teeth are grouped on a table saw blade & the shape of the teeth of a table saw blade effects the working of a table saw. By checking configuration of the teeth of a table saw we can find out that which one is best for crosscutting, ripping or for any other specific job work. On the bases of teeth configuration we can divide table saw blades in some following types:

FTG

FTG stands for Flat Top Grind Teeth. In this type of table saw blade teeth are ground flat with bevel angle of 0° on the top of blade. These types of blades are often long lasting & durable. These types of blades are commonly used for ripping. Main purpose of this type is wood cutting with the grain. Flat top grind teeth on blades are used for ripping soft & hard woods.

ATB

ATB means Alternating Top Bevel. This type of table saw blades have bevel angled teeth means the tip of blade teeth are not flat. In this type teeth alternates between left & right hand bevel. This type of tooth configuration is most common, which is generally used for cutting plywood, solid wood and particle board made from chip wood. This type of blade gives smoother cuts as compare to others. In this type of configuration of teeth as number of teeth increases it provides cleaner cuts. This type of blade makes cut slower than other types so we can say it provides clean cut but this is not time effective. This type of configuration is mainly used for crosscutting.

ATBR

The full form of ATBR is Alternating Top Bevel with Raker. This type of teeth configuration is also known as ‘Combination Tooth’ or ‘Planer Combination’. In this configuration 5-4 ATB teeth are combined with 1 FTG tooth for best performance of the blade. ATBR have features of both FTG & ATB. This have large gullet between each group. This single blade can do either ripping or crosscutting that’s why this is also called multi purpose table saw blade.

ATAF

Alternate Top Bevel with Alternate Face Bevels is full form of ATAF. By this type not only grind from top but can also grind from the face also at an angle. For brittle material this type of blade is mostly used. This is also good for veneered & melamine plywood. This provides both pointed edge & sharper cutting.

ATAFR

This is known as Alternate Top bevel with Alternate Face bevels with Raker. The only difference between ATAF & ATAFR is of raker. A raker is added after every few teeth for cleaning out cut.

HATB

HATB is in short, its full form is ‘High or steep Alternating Top Bevel’. In this type teeth have 30-40 degree (high steep) bevel angles. Because of high steep bevel angle it provides blade’s edge working like a knife. For very fine crosscutting or cutting of melamine’s surfaced material this type of blades are required.

GLRB

This is also a type of table saw blade; its full name is Glue Line Rip Blade. For ripping a lot of solid woods this type of blade is required. After ripping this blade provides clean edge so before gluing there is no requirement of finishing the pieces which are to be jointed. This type of blade can cut only up to 1” thick stock.

TCG

In TCG, T stands for Triple, C stands for Chip (Sawdust from kerf) & G stands for Grind i.e. Triple Chip Grind. In this type of table saw blades a beveled cornered tooth alternate to FTG teeth. This type is used for very hard material like hardwoods, Corian surface (solid surface), aluminum or laminate flooring, plastic and MDF etc.

Some Other Configurations

Today because of competition some companies are using some special tooth shapes, design & configurations. For creating uniqueness they make some different shapes & size which are not as per normal market. These types of blades have large number of designs & configuration. But these blades are not commonly used.

How Many teeth in a blade

As we discussed above that in table saw commonly combination blade of 50 teeth are most recommended. Table saw blades generally comes with range of 24-80 teeth per blade. Blade which has fewer teeth will remove material with fast speed as compare to more teeth blades. On the other hand blade which has more teeth will provide smoother cut as compare to blade with less teeth but have slower speed of cutting. For example rip blades have often fewer teeth because they are used for hard stocks & not used for smooth cuts. Same like this crosscut blade often have more teeth (60-80) which results in smooth cut but because of number of teeth it heats up which can cause overheating. So number of teeth in blade depends upon your requirement.

Blade’s Gullet

In table saw blades some space is available in front of each tooth for chip removal, this space is called gullet. When we talk about crosscutting blades, its speed is slower so chip size is mostly small so it require small gullet for removal. On the other hand if we talk about ripping, chip size is mostly bigger so it requires big size gullets for easy removal. In combination blade both small & large gullets are used. Smaller gullets are available between each grouped teeth which helps in small size chip removal. On the other hand bigger gullets available between each group of teeth which helps in removing bigger size chip removal.

So gullet is a main considerable part while discussing about table saw blade wrong size gullet makes it difficult in removing chip which is a big problem.

Hook Angle (Rake)

If you closely look at table saw blade’s teeth you can see that their faces are not in same direction. In most table saw blades teeth faces are tipped backward or forward. That angle on which teeth faces are tipped is called Rake or Hook Angle.

If the teeth faces tipped in the same direction of rotation of blade than this angle is called positive hook angle. On the other hand if teeth faces tipped in opposite direction of blades rotation than this angle is called negative hook angle. If teeth faces are not tipped forward or backward or not in any other direction that means blade has 0° hook angle. Aggressiveness of cut depends upon the hook angle if angle is high than cut is also aggressively high. But if we talk about harder material than negative hook angle provides good results. So hook angle requirement is depends upon cutting material.

Kerf Width

What is kerf? The width of removed material (slot) cut by saw blade is known as kerf. Generally people take blade thickness as kerf. But in practical this is not right. Because saw blades with same thickness can provides different size kerf. Actually kerf not only depends on thickness of the blade but also depend on hook angles, teeth configuration & wobbles in machine etc.

Table saw blades of different kerf sizes are available in market. According to kerf size we can divide table saw blades in two types:

Thin Kerf Table Saw Blades

This type of blade creates less than 1/8 Inch kerf. These blades often produce kerf range 0.090 inch to 0.106 inch which is very thin. As this produces less kerf, table saw requires less power to operate that means this type of blade can work easily on table saw with less than 3 horse power motor. That’s why this type of blades is recommended for contractor table saws & for portable table saws. Thin kerf blades produce less saw dust.

Full Kerf Table Saw Blades

As name describes this type of blades produce full kerf which normally ranging from 0.111 inch to 0.145 inch width. The average kerf width by full kerf blade is 0.125 inch. These blades are thicker so these are more stable during cutting. Because it produces wide cut, it require more power to cut. Because of this these types of blades are mostly recommended on table saw having motor with more than 3 horse power. Because of thickness these blades less vibrates than light blades.

We discussed both type of kerf sized blades which we can choose according to our requirements but today thin kerf blades are mostly recommended for most of the table saws.

Coated/Uncoated Table Saw Blade

While choosing best table saw blade most people confused between coated & uncoated blades. This problem is because mostly manufacturing companies prefers coated blades because the coated blades provide more earning to them because of its high sale pricing. Coated blades have some advantages like in these blades mostly a coating of hard material coating applied which is harder than base material of blade. Because of coating it is easy to clean. If we use coated blade we should be careful about compatibility of cleaner & coating. Most people demands uncoated blades because these are cheaper than coated blades. We can sharpen uncoated blades whenever we want.

So easy cleaning is the only advantage of coated blades that’s why most people are not ready to pay extra money only for coating .