December 21, 2022
If you are a serious woodworker who wants to raise your woodworking skills a notch higher, you should select the best table saw for your workshop. The table saw is undoubtedly the very heart of a workshop; hence, you should have one. Moreover, it will let you make precise cuts because you move the material over it, while with a circular saw, you move the saw over the material.
The table saw will enable you to make precision cuts on different materials like hardwood, plywood, and even MDF. However, you need to equip it with the best blade for the required saw cuts. Hence, you need to be knowledgeable about the different types of table saw blades.
List of Table Saw Blade Types
You can maximize the use of the table saw if you equip it with the right saw blades. Thus, it is crucial to understand the various types of table saw blades and when to use a particular type. Here’s a rundown of the common table saw blades in the market today:
1) Crosscut Blade
You will find the crosscut saw blades as the primary type of blades. This is because most cuts are crosscuts across the grain of the wood. The crosscut saw blades are perfect for cutting across the grain. Moreover, they come with more teeth with fewer gullets.
If you check out the different 10-inch table saw blades, you will notice that their teeth range in number from 60 to 100. This range allows for more cuts with every revolution of the saw blade.
Since there are fewer spaces between two teeth, the crosscut saw blades can only remove less material. But this results in smoother cuts. Moreover, with less space between teeth, these saw blades take longer to cut across the grain. The crosscut blades are perfect for carpentry finish and many other applications that necessitate smooth and precise cuts.
2) Flat-tooth Ripping Blade
Another type of table saw blade is the ripping blade. The ripping blade cuts along the wood grain. This type of blade comes with flat teeth configurations that can remove much material as you cut. The number of teeth of the ripping blade ranges from 10 teeth to 30 teeth. The teeth, likewise, come at angles of at least 20 degrees.
With fewer teeth, the saw blade has more gullets for removing more material. Furthermore, the ripping blades are perfect for making rip cuts, but they are not suitable for crosscuts. They also produce more tear-out and chippings, leaving behind jagged edges.
3) Combination Blades
You will also find general-purpose blades called combination blades. These blades can handle both rip cuts and crosscuts. The combination blades strike a middle ground between ripping and crosscutting blades. The teeth of these blades range between 40 to 50 teeth.
They are not the best blades for ripping or crosscutting. But these blades would allow you to do both without changing blades in the middle of a project. Moreover, the use of combination blades is perfect for ripping and crosscutting without needing to change the blade frequently.
4) Dado Blades
You will also find dado blades in the market. These blades are specialty blades. You can use them to create wide grooves in your workpieces for door panels, shelving, and drawers. These blades offer two designs: wobble and stacked.
The wobble blades rotate in a pattern that is offset. Thus, they can cut wide grooves while they spin through the workpiece. They also come with an adjuster that alters the wobble width. The wobble blades don’t offer higher quality cuts than those of the stacked blades. But you can get them at a lower price.
On the other hand, stacked blades feature multiple cutters and spacers sandwiched together, creating a wider profile. These blades are configured relative to the ripper style blades and spacers at the middle, while they also feature crosscut blade’s style outside. Thus, these blades can cut like a ripping blade while maintaining smooth edges along the groove.
Features and Factors to Consider When Choosing a Table Saw Blade
When choosing a table saw blade, you may indeed find yourself confused as to which table saw blade to choose. Hence, it will be best to know the following factors and additional features that you must be mindful of when selecting a table saw blade:
Thin-kerf blades vs. Full-kerf Blades
Aside from knowing the types of table saw blades, it will also help to know the difference between thin-kerf and full-kerf blades. Of course, the kerf is the widest part of the blade. The full-kerf blade, however, comes with more carbide. This implies that it will last longer and stay sharper. Nevertheless, using it can be challenging for your saw motor. Moreover, it will be more challenging to use for newbies.
Table saw thin-kerf blades, however, come with less carbide. As such, they will not stay sharp for a long time. They are, however, not demanding on the saw motor, and they are easier to handle for new users. They are also less precise when cutting.
Your table saw will generally indicate the kerf style best for it. If you have a high-power machine of 220V, you should use a full-kerf blade. With that powerful machine, you can power the full-kerf saw blade with ease. However, if you have a table saw with less power, you should use a thin-kerf saw blade to make the cutting process easier for you while not overburdening your table saw motor.
If you would ask me whether the blade coatings benefit the users, I would say with alacrity, “Yes!” Saw blades with coatings tend to cool faster and don’t overheat that much. Moreover, blade coatings provide the saw blade with an anti-corrosive property.
Sound Dampening Property
Another factor you need to consider is the sound-dampening property of the saw blade. Some blades are less noisy when operating because they have a feature that dampens sound. Sounds can also create vibrations. So, if the sound of the blade operation becomes less, the vibrations also lessen. Thus, blades with sound-dampening properties tend to run smoother.
Sound dampening can be achieved by equipping the saw blade with vibration-absorbing plugs and fillers. Sound dampening can also happen if the teeth have variable spacing and laser-cut reeds. You can test the sound dampening capability of the saw blade before buying it.
How to Choose a Table Saw Blade for Different Cuts?
Once you jumpstart your woodworking career, you will soon find that you will be dealing with various materials like MDF, plastic laminate, hardboard, and other materials. So, you need to figure out which is the most appropriate saw blade for the material you will cut:
Blades for Ripping
When ripping boards, you need to choose a 24-tooth (FTG) blade. This blade cuts through thick hardwood with ease. It doesn’t cut smoothly when ripping wood, but cutting smoothly when rip-cutting doesn’t matter much.
Suppose you choose a 40 to 50-tooth combination blade. It will deliver a cleaner cut than the blade with 24 teeth. Nevertheless, the combination blade will not rip as quickly as that of the ripping blade. Moreover, the feeding rate for hardwood would be slower.
Some combination blades come with anti-kickback shoulders that enable you to prevent overfeeding that could encourage kickback. If you don’t have a splitter on your table saw, you will find this saw blade with anti-kickback shoulders an excellent option.
Blades for Crosscutting
When making crosscuts, you would usually cut across the wood grain. You will likely make a tear-out when you exit. To lessen this tear-out, you can use crosscutting saw blades that come with ATB teeth. These blades allow for shearing action.
When making crosscuts, the more teeth you have on the saw blade, the cleaner it will cut. Hence, most crosscutting saw blades have teeth whose number ranges from 60 teeth to 100 teeth. With this type of blade, you can get the cleanest miter and crosscuts with the table saw.
You can likewise use combination blades for crosscutting. These combination blades come with 40 to 50 teeth. These combination blades may not cut cleanly as the crosscutting saw blades, but they can almost imitate the cuts of the crosscut blades. Moreover, it saves you from changing your blade more often to make rip cuts and crosscuts.
Blades for Cutting Sheet Goods
Sheet goods may include particleboard, plywood, melamine, MDF, plastic laminate, and hardwood. When cutting these materials, you should choose a saw blade according to the material you will cut.
Plywood: Plywood may tend to splinter or tear out because it is made of thin veneers. So, when you saw through the plywood, you may end up with a tear-out. Thus, it is best to cut plywood using an ATB blade.
Moreover, the more teeth the blade has, the better. Nevertheless, you can also use an all-purpose saw blade, and it will do fine more often. But when cutting delicate face veneers, it will be best to shift to an 80-tooth saw blade.
MDF Board: When cutting particle boards and MDF, including melamine and hardboard, you can use an ATB blade. Yet, these materials are dense, and the saw blade will indeed find it hard to cut through them. The ATB blade might wear down quicker if you use it on these materials.
Plastic Laminate Board: Plastic laminate, however, is very dense. It can be tough on the teeth of The ATB blade. Yet, the ATB’s sheering action can provide you with clean cuts. Thus, if you have a heavy workload, you can invest in a TCG blade for this purpose. If you use your ATB blade, you may soon be sharpening it.
Knowing when to use a particular table saw blade would save you from damaging your saw blade and your materials. It should be second nature to you as a woodworker to know the most appropriate blade for a particular material. Hence, it will help if you have different types of saw blades at your disposal so that you can quickly change saw blades when needed.
The combination blade may not give you the best rip cuts or crosscuts. But they would surely save you the hassle of constantly changing the table saw blade when you need to shift from making rip cuts to crosscuts. But they would indeed not give you the best rip cuts or crosscuts. You need to have dedicated blades for ripping and crosscutting to make excellent and quality rip cuts and crosscuts.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.