Many professional woodworkers would intuitively ask themselves how thick the table saw blade is when cutting a wood piece. Well, I think they are asking this question because they like to figure out in advance how wide the cut will be. As a woodworker, knowing the width of the saw blade is essential in how you should do your measurements in your projects. But is the thickness of the table saw blades standardized? If standardized, what then is the standard thickness of table saw blades?
The answer, however, to the question of the standard thickness of table saw blades is definitely relative to the saw blade you are using because saw blades vary in thickness. For example, you will usually see a published blade thickness on their packages when you buy saw blades. But manufacturers do not actually deliver these indicated thicknesses. So, if you want to know exactly how thick the saw blade is, you should measure it on your own.
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Understanding the Blade’s Kerf & Blade Thickness
The blade type you will use will have a direct impact on the results of your project. Hence, you must know more about the saw blade you will use. But more importantly, it will be best to know the saw blade’s thickness. Of course, the saw blade’s thickness or the amount or thickness of the material removed by the saw blade gets also referred to as the “kerf.”
Knowing the blade’s kerf is crucial to the work you are doing. Some tasks, for example, are better done using a thinner kerf, while others are best done using a thicker kerf.
The Full-kerf Blade
The full-kerf blade is one-eighth-inch wide. So, for example, you want to make a slot about ¼-inch thick, you need to make several passes using the full-kerf saw blade to make a ¼-inch wide slot. The 1/8″ kerf is the standard kerf width. But if you are using an underpowered saw with three horsepower capacity, you might find the full-kerf saw blade drawing so much power from your tool.
A full-kerf saw blade will produce a kerf of around 1.110 inches. Yet, some heavy-duty saw blades can make a kerf of 0.125 inch or even 0.172 inch. The saw blade will rotate below its average speed if the kerf is too thick for a circular saw. Hence, a 2-HP circular saw will start grinding the wood if you force it to handle a too-thick saw blade.
Strictly speaking, the kerf is the carbide teeth’s width. So, it is not the width of the body of the saw blade but refers to the width of the teeth because it is the carbide teeth that remove material. A thin-kerf saw blade is perfect for fine-cutting on plywood, mdf and other wood boards, but would not have much problem burrowing through the thicker material because it is thin. It also requires not much machinery muscle to burrow through solid wood.
The kerf gets usually measured in increments of inches or millimeters. Moreover, you will find that most table saw blades range in width between 1/8 and 1/4.” Nevertheless, you can also purchase saw blades with unusual thickness or thinness for specialized tasks.
Why Does Saw Blade’s Kerf Matter?
Reasons abound as to why the saw blade’s kerf matters to woodworkers. First, knowing the kerf allows you to determine how much will the saw blade removes. Hence, you can have an almost perfect estimate of the amount of wood you will lose when sawing.
Being cognizant of the kerf’s width lets you precisely measure your cuts. Moreover, you won’t lose cumulatively enough wood, especially if you’re working on expensive wood.
Precise knowledge of the kerf’s width likewise lets you make accurate cuts. Besides, you can adjust your cut according to the kerf’s width to achieve a perfect cut.
The Value of Using the Table Saw Blade with Correct Thickness
As mentioned above, the table saw blade’s thickness would factor well in the type of tasks you can perform. Thinner saw blades, for example, provide high precision. Meanwhile, thicker saw blades can cut harder woods faster but less accurately.
So, if you would like to maximize every millimeter or inch of wood because it is expensive, you can use a thinner table saw blade. In a way, it maximizes your use of wood while minimizing wood wastage.
But if you need to rough cut wood while using a table saw with greater horsepower, a thicker saw blade would be perfect. If you use a thinner saw blade with a higher horsepower saw, the higher power might cause the saw blade to bend, damaging the wood.
It is easy to see how the saw blade’s thickness can determine the quality of cuts you would like to achieve. For this reason, it will be best to have several saw blades with varying thicknesses at your disposal.
If you need to cut wood at a specific width, you need to factor in the width of the kerf to ensure the correct size cut. You also need to keep keen attention to your saw blade’s thickness if you want to make the finest and most precise cuts for your projects.
Other Factors to Consider Besides Saw Blade’s Thickness
As mentioned above, the kerf or blade’s width plays a crucial role in the quality of your projects. Yet, it is not the only factor to consider if you want to achieve quality results. It will be best to consider the following factors likewise:
Aside from the kerf, it will help if you consider the tooth angle of the saw blade. If you want a smoother cut with higher precision, it will be advantageous to use a saw blade equipped with teeth that have no angle or minimal angle. Saw blades with more angled teeth will be best for rougher and faster cuts.
Another factor to consider is the sharpness of the saw blade. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Sharper saw blades will cut faster and more efficiently. They also exhibit less friction or resistance, allowing for a smoother cutting experience.
You should also consider the saw blade’s alignment. At the onset, it will be best to correctly align the table saw blade before cutting. If the saw blade is misaligned, it will wobble and vibrate vigorously. For example, if it wobbles, the saw blade will produce a wider kerf, making the cutting process imprecise.
Number of Teeth
It will be good to note that saw blades with fewer teeth will cause enough chipping and tearing on the wood. However, saw blades with fewer teeth would be perfect for making fine cuts.
If you want to determine the actual thickness of a table saw blade without basing on what the manufacturer indicates on the package, you can use a spare 1×2 wood. Then, set the saw blade on the table saw and let the saw blade pass through the wood. The cut made on the wood would let you see the actual thickness of the saw blade kerf.
As mentioned above, the saw blade’s thickness will factor well in the precision of your cuts. Besides, thin and thick saw blades come with their pros and cons. It will be best to be cognizant of these pros and cons when choosing saw blades for your projects.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.