Table saw blades are one of the most important features of a saw.
When I got into woodworking, I thought that the standard blade was great. Until I looked at other blades on offer.
So what are the different types of table saw blades and features?
- Blade Types
- Blade Quality
- Blade Materials
- Blade Size
- Blade Teeth
- Blade RPM
- Blade Adjustments
The table saw blade is one of the most important aspects of a table saw. If you look around on various woodworking forums, you’ll read the same thing.
If you want to gain a clearer picture of all aspects of a table saw, be sure to read my complete guide here.
As you’re reading this, I assume that you already know and understand table saw basics though.
Whether you’re at the beginning of your journey in woodworking or halfway there. At one stage or another, you’ll be changing the blade.
The choice of the blade is one of the most important aspects to get the most out of your saw. Every project is different and will need a certain type of blade.
The kind of material that you’ll be cutting will also determine the type of blade required. Choosing the wrong blade for the job will prevent you from making a clean, precise cut. Even worse, cause injury.
I want to make sure you to get the most out of your saw. So be sure to read the guide I’ve put together.
So let’s dive in, shall we?
There are two types of blades: rip, crosscut and combination.
Rip Cut Blade
Rip cut blades have a smaller number of teeth. The gullet size is larger to allow for shavings to disperse. The gullet is the trough between two the blade teeth.
The quality of the cut would generally be a little rough when compared to crosscut blades. They do cut fast along a grain of material though.
The crosscut blade is the preferable option if you want clean, fine cuts. It’s also required if you wish to cut across the grain of the wood.
It’ll provide a smooth cut surface to the material for that extra clean finish.
There is less space between the teeth to allow for chip removal though. So the rate at which you feed the saw will have to be steady.
The combination blade is perfect if you want the best of both worlds. If you perform rip and crosscut work, this would be the ideal blade.
It will provide a smooth finish on wood and wood composites. They’re also able to cut through harder materials such as brick.
A large gullet separates each set of five teeth to allow for chip removal. Combination blades also include dado blades.
Dado blades cut dadoes or grooves in materials. There are two kinds of dado sets: stacked and wobble blade.
A stacked dado set provides you with consistent results. A dado cut is a wide groove made into the timber to join one piece of timber with another.
A wobble blade doesn’t spin true. It’s offset and wobbles and the blades move back and forth at high speed.
Blade quality is important when cutting any form of material.
The best blades don’t hold back on steel or carbide. You will need to sharpen the blade teeth from time-to-time. They’re sturdy and made to last.
You should be able to spot a cheap blade. They have thin, stamped steel plates. The expansion slot (allows the blade to expand and contract) should not end in a blunt form. This would leave to noticeable noise when ripping.
Saw blades are made out of steel or carbon steel. And the teeth are made from standard tungsten carbide or hardened metal composites.
Blades are designed to be cut through many tough materials. So they’re made from different elements.
There are some blades with diamond-tipped teeth (continuous rim diamond saw blades). They combine diamond and metal powder and used to cut ceramic tile and slate. These are known as composite blades.
Each blade size is designed to handle a different style of cut.
Most blades are a standard 10” in diameter. Though sizes can range from 8, 10, 12”. There are some blades out there as big as 30” but aren’t used by a woodworker.
Be sure to consult your owner’s guide or instruction manual to know what size blade the arbor is able to handle.
Most table saws have a central arbor hole of 5/8” in diameter. Some models do have a different specification. So be sure to check the manual.
The teeth on a blade make all the difference to precision. As I’ve noted before, the teeth are normally made from standard tungsten carbide.
The number of teeth on the blade depends on the type of blade you have. Most blades have a range from 24 to 80 teeth.
This comes down to the task that’s required at the time. E.g. a rip or crosscut. Each blade has a different makeup.
The fewer the teeth, the faster the cut. This is due to the larger gullet size to allow for the removal of wood chips.
Whereas the more teeth on the blade will mean a smoother cut. Other factors such as the feed speed also come into it. This refers to how fast you feed the material into the saw blade. Also, how fast the blade is turning.
NOTE: Don’t force feed the material into the blade. You won’t have a pleasant experience. It will cause a nasty kickback.
It may even cause the material to violently be thrown from the saw causing injury to you.
Trust me on this. It hurts.
The blade RPM (revolutions per minute) is the maximum speed of a blade.
You should never exceed the maximum RPM of blade spec.
A blade is designed to rotate no faster than the spec. Doing so can cause damage to the blade and/ or table saw. It could even injure you if it broke due to centrifugal force. Centrifugal force relates to blade moving away from the center.
All table saws allow you to adjust the blade in various ways.
One way is to use the hand wheel to control the height of the blade (located at the front). This controls the depth of cut. With a standard 10” blade, you should adjust your blade to a maximum height of 3-5/8″. This will be enough to cut through 4 x 4 in a single pass.
You can also tilt the blade (tilt of arbor) with the hand wheel. They’re located to the side depending on which way the arbor is made to tilt. This will angle the blade for straight or bevel cuts. The range of blade tilt is 0 to 45 degrees from the fence.
The bevel cut is what professional cabinet makers rely on daily.
But what is a bevel cut?
A bevel cut is when you cut material at an angle other than 90 degrees. It’s a cut that’s angled relative to the face of the material. Most of the time it would be measured against a square-edge cut.
You can also make compound cuts.
A compound cut consists of two angles – the bevel and miter. The bevel angle is the vertical blade tilt. Regular square cuts have a bevel angle of 0 degrees.
These specific adjustments are generally found on expensive cabinet models. Portable saws won’t provide you with limited control. I.e. one hand wheel may combine elevation and tilt.
Choosing the right type of blade for your table saw is critical.
Performing a crosscut with a rip saw blade is asking for trouble which would splinter and tear wood. A serious kickback wouldn’t be out of the question either.
If you’re starting out, the blade that comes with the saw will do the job. It won’t be the best, but it’ll do.
If you get the itch and want to perform a dado cut, make sure to look into a good quality dado set that will perform do the job.
The blade of the saw is one of, if not the most important component. Don’t be careless and buy any type of blade.
Now I’d like to hear from you.
Has this helped you understand the different type of saw blade for your table saw?
Let me know by leaving a comment below now.
Don’t forget to read the rest of my table saw guide here as well.