Last Updated on August 3, 2023 by Web Operator
A number of power tools have the ability to accept different sizes of bits or blades, and that does increase the versatility associated with the tool. But a table saw is different. You cannot add a bigger blade, but there is a way to add a smaller blade.
So, in this article, I’m going to focus on a table saw and whether you can change blade size and still get the saw to produce the kind of end results you were hoping for. I think this would be a great thing to check out because there’s something cool about a tool that can chop and change with what it has to offer.
Yet here’s the annoying thing. Even though it would be cool, it’s not always practical and knowing what the possibility is of making these changes in advance makes a lot of sense.
But also, with a tool that is the size of a table saw, knowing it can handle different cuts or can make a huge difference as to whether or not you will even buy it in the first place. So, that’s what I’m going to look at, and do so from a specific angle.
Yet, I have a few things to go through and will cover points such as:
- Will a smaller blade work with your table saw?
- Will a larger blade work?
- Can you use alternative blades?
- Is it safe to do this?
- Will it change how things cut?
However, I’m going to provide you with more information than simply whether or not you can put a different blade on your table saw.
I will also explain what it means from a usage perspective, and whether or not even doing this is safe.
Let’s face it, safety is always the number one thing when it comes to using a power tool, and it always feels even more important with a table saw.
But I think one of the reasons why people think about this question is because most users are aware, like I just said, that a table saw can be used for a variety of cuts. Those different cuts indicate a certain sense of versatility, and there’s something cool about all of that.
So, is this possible, or will you be stuck with always using the same blade size throughout the duration of the lifetime of your table saw? Well, I’m going to give you your answer, and it’s only going to take a couple of minutes of your time.
Is it Easy to Change a Table Saw Blade?
So here is an important point to kick things off. This question is not as easy to answer as you may have initially thought. Actually, it involves some knowledge of how a table saw is set up, and also how it is constructed, to get a better understanding as to whether or not this will work.
I do wish it was a simple yes or no. However, that’s not the case when it comes to a table saw. You see, this tool can be rather specific in its capabilities, and that’s for a good reason. Yet, it also means it places some limitations on you, and I know that can be frustrating at times.
But understanding those limitations in advance should manage to make things a bit easier, and also allow you to plan your projects to then avoid running into these difficulties in the first place.
To make it a bit easier to understand, I’m going to use a 10” table saw as my guide. I’m doing this because a 10” table saw is probably the most commonly used version on the market. It’s the size I would recommend to most people if they have the space to keep the tool in their workshop.
So, let’s get on with all the details you need to know.
Adapting a 10” Table Saw for a Smaller Blade
The first thing that springs to mind is that everything on a table saw that incorporates a blade of this size is set up specifically for a 10” blade. While that is clearly true, it doesn’t tell the complete picture.
Let’s say you have a 10” table saw, and you want to make smaller cuts. Can you insert, say, a 7” blade into the table saw, and it will still work?
The short answer here is that this is absolutely possible, but it does change how the table operates. Remember, everything is ready for a 10” blade, so the idea of simply dropping in that 7” blade and everything will work smoothly is not entirely accurate.
I know it will still work, but there is a sense of awkwardness surrounding it all that you will just be unable to avoid.
But there will be a few things that become immediately apparent regarding differences in how you use the table saw. Don’t expect it to just act in the way you think. It’s just not going to do that.
The first thing is the cutting depth drops dramatically. There is just no possible way for a 7” blade to cut the same depth as a 10” blade. Also, the difference is substantial. I’m talking about more than 1” of a difference, and that does dramatically reduce your options regarding the material you can cut.
Suddenly, the possibilities that come with using your table saw change, and then you have the issue of moving everything back to the bigger blade and effectively resetting the table. It’s a pain, even though it would mean you could continue with your project.
Yet, that could very well be the reason why you want to install a smaller blade, since it means you can use the one machine for multiple uses. You just know that you have a series of more minor cuts to make, and it feels like a waste to use a bigger blade, which could make life harder.
It will also mean fewer teeth will be showing from the blade as it will be sinking into the table compared to the 10” version. That does help with cutting smaller stock, but you still need to be aware of those limitations before you fire up your table saw.
So, in short, you can use a smaller blade even though I would not generally recommend it. This is not because it wouldn’t work, but it’s more because you just cannot achieve the same results without it feeling a bit too cumbersome.
To recap, these are the key points you should think about regarding adding a smaller blade to your table saw.
- It will at least fit on your table saw
- Fewer teeth will show for the cut, so keep that in mind
- There will probably be a height drop in the blade
- It works better if you plan on making smaller cuts on smaller wood
The Splitter Isn’t a Problem
I should also let you know that the splitter or riving knife will not pose a problem when it comes to using a smaller blade on your 10” table saw. The key here is that the blade will not be larger than the space allocated to it on the table saw.
You see, when you look at the table part, there has to be a space for the blade and controls to come through in order to allow the saw to work. That space is there at the point of manufacturing, so you cannot extend it in any way. However, the opposite is not true, because it’s obvious that something smaller could get into the space with ease, and that’s why this doesn’t pose a problem with a smaller blade.
In the case of both the riving knife and splitter, they will still perform the same function, and in the same way, with a 7” blade as they would do with the 10” blade. To those parts of the table saw, there is no difference when it comes to the size aspect. That’s good news, and it does then open up the possibility of using a smaller blade on your existing table saw.
Is it Safe?
But as with any power tool, knowing if something is safe should be your primary concern, and that’s where I do become slightly worried about inserting a smaller blade into a table saw.
Now, to make things as safe as possible, I would always suggest even contacting the manufacturer and asking for their advice on this matter. They will have no problem setting the record straight regarding the potential of using a smaller blade or even a bigger one, and it may even be something that appears in the manual.
I would always suggest referring to this even when you feel 90% certain that it is indeed safe to add a smaller blade to the table saw. Also, just take your time when setting it up and don’t be distracted when using the tool. However, you should be doing this anyway.
Won’t it Move Around?
People worry that a smaller blade will bounce around and possibly even produce more vibrations, but that’s not something I would worry about. While it may happen to a certain extent, it won’t be enough for it to make any real difference.
When you stop and think about it for a second, you will even realize that a dado blade will almost always be smaller in cutting size than the regular blade. However, you do not run into problems with using it, and the saw operates in a normal manner without any problems.
The same applies to just a regular table saw blade that is smaller in size, so you should have no concerns in this area. Well, at least not beyond the limits of what usually happens.
Can You Use a Larger Blade?
So, I’ve shown that you should have no real problems when it comes to using a smaller blade on your table saw, even though there are some limitations, but what about a larger blade?
This one is easy to answer. You just cannot do it. This is not possible, and there are several reasons why that’s the case.
The problem is with the way in which every component of the table saw is set up to accommodate a specific blade size. While it’s easy to add something smaller, as there will clearly be space for it, the same does not apply when you try to add a larger blade.
Again, I’ll use the 10” blade as an example.
Let’s say you are finding that you have a number of larger cuts to make on thicker material, so you would prefer to use a 12” blade instead of a 10”. The only way you can do this is if you have a 12” table saw and have already switched out the blade for a smaller one.
You cannot upgrade the blade size when the table saw you own is not set up to accommodate a blade of that size. In trying to do so, you are attempting to change a part that was manufactured in a certain way, and there’s no possibility of you changing that part to suit something else.
Why You Cannot Install a Larger Blade
The key here is the arbor hole of the saw. It has been designed to work up to a certain point, and you cannot go beyond that point with a larger blade. It just will not allow the machine to operate correctly.
The arbor hole dimension changes quite drastically between even a 10” and 12” blade. On the 10”, you will typically see an arbor hole measuring some ⅝,” but that increases to 1” for most 12” blades.
That is just not going to be something that can then work for you. Also, it does tend to mean you need to bore the hole on a 10” blade to allow it to fit a 12”, so it’s more hassle than it’s really worth to you.
Too Much Height Could Occur
There is one other key point regarding an attempt to add a larger blade to a specific table saw, and it’s the height.
Let’s say you manage to add the blade to a table saw designed for a smaller blade. The larger blade will obviously sit higher on the table than the smaller blade. That will, in turn, mean more teeth are exposed at any given time on the blade.
While you may think that exposing more teeth would be a good thing, that’s not the case.
Instead, this greater height pushes the blade closer to the splitter or riving knife. That has the potential to be quite dangerous, and I would certainly never recommend doing this as you never know when things could go wrong.
Thickness is an Issue
The thickness of a blade is also a major issue when it comes to trying to add a larger blade to a particular table saw. You see, a table saw is only set up to accommodate blades of a certain thickness. It makes sense that larger blades are thicker, so there’s just no way of slotting it into place in the table.
You can see why this does not cause a problem when it comes to using a smaller blade, as those blades are thinner in size. You will have no issue slotting it into the table saw, although the arbor point is something you still need to take into consideration.
Can You Install a Different Blade?
So, I’ve been focusing on whether or not you could install a larger or smaller table saw blade, but what about installing a blade for a different type of saw? Is this something that is going to prove to be possible?
The answer here is it does depend on the blade. However, I know of many examples where either a circular saw blade or a miter saw blade could be installed on a table saw. This is certainly something that’s worth considering, and I do see it as a real possible solution even though it does involve thinking out of the box.
But let’s look at the circular saw version, as I find those blades to be the most interesting.
A Circular Saw Blade
One of the cool things about a circular saw blade is that it’s almost designed to be used on different tools and to still be very effective. In a sense, it’s the multi-purpose saw blade that everyone should have in their workshop.
With these blades, you can move them between different tools with ease, but you are also helped by the fact that a circular saw blade is not going to typically be larger than the maximum capacity on your table saw.
In this instance, you are helped by the arbor size on a table saw being pretty much the same as you get on a circular saw. That does make it significantly easier to interchange the blades across different saws, and you will still get impressive end results.
For me, this is the option I would choose over anything else, as I believe it works exceptionally well and it’s at least significantly better than you would have anticipated.
The Only Reason Why You Should Change Blades On Your Table Saw
Honestly, the only reason why you should be changing blades on a table saw is that you need the blade to produce a different kind of cut. Having the correct blade from that perspective is far more important than playing with the actual dimensions.
A table saw can easily allow you to change between making rip cuts to cross cuts and also dado cuts. Interchanging blades from that perspective is easy, and it’s something almost every owner of a table saw is going to do at some point.
However, those blades will generally just involve a change in the number of teeth on the blade rather than a change in size. The arbor is still the same, and the overall size is identical, even though the organization of the teeth may be vastly different.
The Key Points to Consider
I’d like to finish things off by mentioning several key points that I feel you need to consider regarding this issue of changing a blade on a table saw for one that is either bigger or smaller.
First, there’s nothing wrong with adding a smaller blade to your saw when required. Most owners will have several blades with varying numbers of teeth and sizes. You can even find several companies that offer twin-pack blades for a table saw where there’s a smaller one included, even if that smaller one is intended for a different tool.
It’s all part of the process of changing blades to suit your needs, but the one thing I need to continue to stress is that safety is the key concern at all times. Unfortunately, safety is one of the main problems when it comes to adding a larger blade to your table saw.
To counteract the issue of being unable to add a larger blade to a saw, always purchase a model that fits in with the majority of your needs. In doing so, you manage to work around the problem of struggling to make those bigger cuts when your saw is just not up to the job.
Remember, you can always pay to have larger boards cut elsewhere and then finish the job at home with your tools. That is undoubtedly the safer option compared to trying to attach a larger blade to a saw.
So there you have your answer. You can put a different blade on a table saw, but only within certain limits. You cannot put a 10” blade on a table saw designed to hold an 8” blade, as the entire table saw is set up to only accommodate a blade of that size. Also, you won’t really use a blade smaller than 8”, so it just doesn’t work in that area.
But I suggest not only thinking about the blade size, but to go ahead and learn more about table saws, their abilities, and how to get the best out of them. So, the following articles should help.