Choosing the Right Band Saw Blade for Your Project

A band saw on an isolated white background

A band saw on an isolated white background
Caption: A band saw on an isolated white background

A band saw Blade is a fantastic and surprisingly versatile power tool. If you equip it with the right blade, it can cut through various materials, including metal, wood, etc.

The only way to secure optimal cutting results with a band saw is to choose the right blade. That’s what our article focuses on – we will help you pick a good blade for any job.

We analyzed critical factors from blade materials to tooth patterns to cover all the major elements’ selection process. Here is what you need to know when choosing the right saw blade!

Section 1 What You Should Know About TPI

A band saw cutting tool
Caption: A band saw cutting tool

First, we will learn the connection between TPI and band saw blades.

1.1 What Is the TPI?

TPI refers to the tooth quantity on the band saw blade. It stands for “tooth per inch” and describes how many teeth there are per a single inch of the tool.  Therefore, the number of teeth will affect the final results of the cutting process. 

However, higher doesn’t necessarily mean better for the TPI measurement. For example, metal cutting might require a different number of teeth than woodworking. In other words, it all depends on your goals and the material you are cutting.

1.2 Coarse VS Fine Blades

Depending on how many teeth the tool has, we could distinguish the following blades:

  • Fine blades – these have more teeth than their coarse counterparts. Although there is no exact rule, many consider fine blades to have at least 14TPI, and you’ll rarely find variants with more than 24. The main advantage of fine blades is making smooth and precise cuts. Besides, they are suitable for metal cutting.
  • Coarse blades – a coarse blade has up to six teeth per inch (it should have at least two). Therefore, you can use it for soft materials and larger cuts, making them suitable for woodworking.

As you can see, the higher the TPI, the finer the cut can be. For instance, blades that are between six and 14 TPI fall into the category of general-purpose blades. So, you can use 6-10TPI units for cutting aluminum and hardwood, and steel is suitable for blades with a TPI from 10 to 18.

2. Tooth Pattern

A band saw to use with wood

Caption: A band saw to use with wood

The next thing that we will consider is the tooth pattern. You will find some basic tooth styles, but also different sets. For this reason, we will cover them all below to help you pick a suitable pattern.

2.1. Basic Tooth Styles

As for the primary tooth styles, we can distinguish three categories. That includes a traditional style, but also skip and hook. If you take a look at your metal cutting blade, you might notice its teeth’ specific design. Additionally, the gap between them might vary. So, here are the specifics that you should know about tooth styles.

2.1.1. Regular Tooth

The word “regular” implies this is a standard tooth design. If you find a regular tooth pattern, that means the teeth’ shape doesn’t have a rake angle. It’s zero, making them suitable for thin sheets, softwood, and other materials that aren’t particularly hard.

You could say the accuracy of these metal cutting band saw blades is at a level that’s higher than average. Therefore, apart from standard cutting, they are also suitable for contour cutting.

2.1.2. Skip Tooth

The teeth in this pattern also have a non-existing rake angle. Apart from the fact that the angle is zero, there is an essential characteristic of this style. The skip tooth design has flat gullets. 

The gullets are shallow to ensure you can cut big chunks of material with them. Therefore, these blades are compatible with wood, plastics, and metal. The most significant advantage is that they decrease the clogging risk during the cutting process. However, you can’t expect an impressive level of accuracy with skip tooth blades. On the other hand, these are a better choice if you are looking to accelerate the cutting process.

2.1.3. Hook Tooth

Here is a blade-style that comes with a rake angle, usually positive and around ten degrees. Thanks to that, the blade will go deep into the workpiece. It’s why the companies also add deep gullets. You use these gullets to grab a large chunk of the application. The style is suitable for cutting metals, hardwood, and cast iron. Also, you use these with tough and large workpieces, which means the hook tooth design doesn’t make an accurate cut.

2.2. Tooth Sets

A band saw for wood sawing

Caption: A band saw for wood sawing

You can also choose tooth sets, which are specific because they have a bit of an offset. So, you could describe that as the bending toward a particular side. The idea is to provide clearance to the tool’s back. Therefore, you can use these sets if you want the cut’s width to be wider than the tool’s thickness.

2.2.1. Raker Tooth Set

The first option to go with is a raker tooth set. It features three different sections – if the first is straight (many call it unset), the second will have an offset to the left side, and the third to the right. That is the setup used in this set, and it can be suitable for various tasks.

2.2.2. Alternate Tooth Set

The alternate tooth set got its name for the specific style of teeth and their placement. If you decide to go with this version, you will notice that the first set of teeth has an offset to the left side. The second one is toward the right, and they alternate from there. That’s how they received their name.

3. The material of Blades

A band saw close-up

Caption: A band saw close-up

How does a blade material affect your cutting results? That is what we are discussing in this section. So, we’ll cover different band saw blade materials and their advantages. Here is what you should know to decide the desired material.

3.1. Carbon Steel Blade

A carbon steel blade is affordable. Consequently, it won’t cost you a fortune to purchase a carbon steel blade, and it is quite versatile. You can use this type for woodworking, but also plywood, plastic, and similar materials. Although a blade’s longevity might not be impressive, it will deliver plenty of value for the money.

3.2. Bi-metal Band Saw Blade

A bi-metal band saw blade combines high-speed (HSS) and spring steel. However, you will only find HSS at the tip, which ensures adequate strength to cut hard workpieces. The core utilizes spring steel, which serves to give flexibility to the tool. Therefore, you can use this blade for aluminum, copper, and other non-ferrous workpieces and woodcutting.

3.3. Alloy Steel Blade

An alloy steel blade can be suitable for various types of materials. That includes everything from aluminum, brass, bronze, and even tungsten. However, if you use it with hard applications like chrome, you might need to lower the operation speed. Also, make sure to adjust the thickness and TPI to the desired material.

3.4. High-Speed Steel Blade

As the name suggests, manufacturers use high-speed steel (HSS) to make these blades. It’s compatible with a wide range of materials, including non-ferrous metals like angle iron and aluminum. You can also use it for chrome and stainless steel, but it might require operating at a lower speed.

4. Width, Length, & Thickness of a Band Saw Blade

You can describe the width by using the cutting radius minimum and the blade’s maximum capacity. The bigger the width, the higher the radius it will cut. It’s vital to use the right blade length, so check out the product instructions to determine it. As for the thickness, assess the gaps between the roller bearings (or side guides). You need to ensure the rollers hold it securely for optimal cutting results.

5. Band saw Blades for Metal Cutting

Hook tooth is the best band saw blade for metal projects. It’s an excellent choice for a horizontal power tool. The blades are durable and ideal for cutting metals while maintaining sharpness. However, you can’t expect impressive precision. If you need a smooth finish, we suggest a vertical band saw with a skip tooth style.

6. What’s the Right Woodworking Band saw Blade?

Those working on cutting wooden applications will need to consider their primary requirements. For example, you can choose a regular style if you prefer to maintain maximum accuracy. It’s possible to add a few extra teeth to the TPI and still keep the accuracy high.

Now, you can also aim to accelerate the cutting process. If that’s true, you should go with a hook tooth style. Additionally, aim for a lower TPI to ensure you maximize the cutting speed.

7. Band Saw Blade– Frequent Q&A

We gathered the most frequent questions the community has about portable band saw blades and similar tools – check out the answers below!

7.1. How do we judge whether the band saw blade gets dull?

You can use different ways of checking if the band saw blade is dull. For example, you can use your fingers to touch the blade’s surface gently. If it feels sharp, it’s probably sharp enough to use it. Alternatively, you can take a photo of the blade’s teeth and zoom in to confirm their sharpness.

Finally, if something seems off during the cutting process, perhaps it isn’t exciting. That’s particularly true if you have problems cutting on the marked line, and the blade moves left or right on its own.

7.2. Why does my band saw blade become dull?

Here is the thing – saw blades are subject to normal wear and tear. That means they will become dull over time, especially if you use them frequently. However, there are some things to delay your blade going dull. For example, you can try cutting at lower speeds. That will ensure the blade doesn’t go dull quickly. Additionally, you can consider finding an optimal feed pressure, which often means increasing it.

7.3. What is the appropriate speed of the band saw blade?

If you want to choose an appropriate speed, it’s vital to determine the SFM. It’s an abbreviation for surface feet per minute. If you can’t find them in your product instructions, here is the formula:

“0.262 X Diameter of the drive wheel X RPM of the drive wheel.”

The calculation is relatively simple, and it will give you an idea of the optimal blade speed.

7.4. How do we calculate the blade length?

You can use a specific formula to find the desired blade length. Here is the formula:

“(Upper drive wheel radius X 3.146) X (Lower drive wheel radius X 3.146) + (2 X Distance from the drive wheel center)”

It’s possible to use this formula whenever you are unsure about the blade length.

Here is a nice video that might help you to align the bandsaw blades.

Summary

That rounds up our guide on metal cutting band saw blades. As you can see, you can use a band saw on various materials, including metal, wood, plastic, etc. The only thing to ensure is to pick the right tool for the job.

If you need a high-quality blade, you can always count on NCCuttingtools. The company has years of experience in manufacturing different blade types. It can meet customized requirements and deliver desired products in the shortest possible time frame. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or needs regarding saw blades!

Angle Grinder Concrete – How to Grind Concrete With An Angle Grinder?

A professional using an angle grinder
A professional using an angle grinder
A professional using an angle grinder

It’s not uncommon for power tools to have multiple uses, but the versatility of an angle grinder surprises even the most experienced users out there. You can use grinders for sanding, sharpening, and polishing, but also cutting metal and handling different projects.

Would you like to learn how to grind concrete with an angle grinder? The truth is that the process of smoothing rough concrete with this tool is more interesting and easier than people thought. Here is what you need to know about these tools and how to use them for grinding concrete floors!

1. Can I Use an Angle Grinder to Level Concrete?

Do you have an unlevel concrete surface and you’d like to resolve that problem? The good news is that a concrete angle grinder can smoothen, level, and polish these surfaces.

1.1. Why You Should Use an Angle Grinder for Smoothing Concrete?

The short answer is yes, but allow us to offer a detailed explanation. So, the main reasons why you should use this tool include that it’s portable and compact. Therefore, it will be easy to hold a concrete angle grinder in your hands and move it around.

You’ll also benefit from the grinder’s versatility. Why would you buy multiple tools that you only need occasionally? Instead, an angle grinding tool has multiple uses. These include cutting metal, bricks, concrete, plastic, and other materials. So, the potential of your grinder only depends on the blade you use. 

1.2. What Projects Are Suitable for an Angle Grinder?

The best angle grinder concrete tool is the one that fits your needs the most. While the most common size is around four inches, you’ll find bigger tools on the market, too. 

Angle grinders are affordable tools, although their price might vary. If you plan on using the unit frequently, it could be wise to pick a more powerful motor. Therefore, look for a motor with a minimum strength of 5-9 amps. 

Here is an overview of projects suitable for an angle grinder.

1.2.1. Cut Tile, Stone, and Concrete

Apart from concrete grinding, it’s possible to cut this material, and also handle cutting stone and tile applications. If you can’t use tile cutters because the area is hard to reach, cutting concrete with an angle grinder becomes a viable option.

Here are the steps for handling this task:

  1. Start by outlining the cut on both tile’s sides. Furthermore, use clamps to tighten the tile. 
  2. Begin cutting from the backside. You want to aim for straight and crisp corners.
  3. It’s smart to use a dry-cut diamond blade for this project.

1.2.2. Restore Cutting Edges

If you want to restore cutting edges, the best thing to do is to use a grinding wheel. So, you can use this option for the initial grinding of lawnmower blades, hatchets, axes, etc. 

Check out these tips to optimize the process:

  1. Always connect the blade to a vise, and then use clamps to attach it to the workspace. Make sure to use the guard to ensure the sparks go in the opposite direction from you.
  2. Now, align the blade and the grinding wheel. Activate the tool and use steady moves and minimal pressure.

1.2.3. Cutting Out Old Mortar

It’s tricky to use a hammer and chisel for these projects, so grinding can be a smart alternative. Now, here are the steps to follow for cutting out old mortar:

  1. Use a tuckpointing wheel for these projects. 
  2. Make several passes to clear the joint, but stay somewhat away from the brick because you don’t want to risk any damage.

1.2.4. Cut Rods, Bars, and Bolts

Would you like to cut a metal bolt or rod? If the answer is yes, these are the steps to follow:

  1. A metal-cutting blade is mandatory for these projects, so make sure to acquire a suitable one.
  2. Mount the cut-off wheel and hold the tool safely. 
  3. Get the tool close to the metal without applying too much pressure. Dropping the wheel should do most of the work as soon as it touches the surface.

1.2.5. Metal Cleaning

Cleaning metal structures with an angle grinder

Cleaning metal structures with an angle grinder

Source: Cleaning metal structures with an angle grinder

If you have a wire wheel or wire cup brush, it’s possible to clean metal with an angle grinder. Here is how to do that:

  1. You can use clamps to secure the workpiece. 
  2. The brush should always spin in the opposite direction, and not into the edge. So, make sure you position it properly since you want to avoid kickbacks.
  3. It’s possible to use a wire wheel to remove paint, too, especially since they fit into tight areas.

2. Pick the Right Diamonds

Selecting the right diamonds is a crucial consideration for angle grinding projects. That’s why the experts advise taking the time to understand the advantages of various styles and bonds. The primary factor to take into account is that you don’t want the diamonds to ruin the floor beyond fixing, especially if you plan on polishing it.

It’s smart to try a particular diamond on that type of concrete. Therefore, if you have an option, test and confirm you picked the right diamond. You can also talk to the manufacturer to help you make the right choice. Once you find the ideal option, the results will exceed your expectations.

3. How to Grind Concrete with an Angle Grinder

Are you ready to discover the details of grinding concrete smooth and ensuring an optimal surface? Here is a simple video that shows concrete grinding. You can find a comprehensive overview of the entire project below.

3.1. What Tools Do We Need?

Before you start grinding, it’s vital to prepare the necessary tools. 

Here is a list of everything that you’ll need to grind a concrete surface:

  • An angle grinder – the general idea is that it should have a blade of 4-7 inches in diameter. You might also need a dust shroud, and don’t forget the diamond polishing pads or similar alternatives.
  • Safety equipment – wear proper clothes, and put on a mask and goggles. Kneepads could also be useful when working on the floors.
  • Cleaning supplies – depending on your needs, you could use a vacuum, mop, or broom.

3.2. Steps to Grinding Concrete Successfully 

Angle grinder scoring concrete

Angle grinder scoring concrete

Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to move to the concrete grinding process. Let’s use the garage floor as an example because it’s an excellent testing area before you proceed to more sensitive ones.

3.2.1. Clean the Surface First

The first thing to do is to clean the floor. Therefore, use a broom to sweep it clean and remove any bumps from gums, grease, and similar stains. However, consider vacuuming it or even using a pressure washer if it’s a necessary solution. After the cleaning, you shouldn’t have any residue where the grinder might get stuck.

3.2.2. Get the Angle Grinder Ready

It’s much easier to divide the floor into sections because you’ll have more options to move around and better control of work done. Additionally, if you want to minimize dust problems, it’s smart to use a dust shroud for the project.

Now it’s time to mount the wheel on the tool. Make sure to not connect your grinder to the electricity socket yet. Therefore, check it’s powered off and mount a diamond polishing or an alternative pad. Finally, wear safety equipment, such as earplugs, gloves, masks, and kneepads. 

3.2.3. Start Grinding!

The time has come to smooth the garage floor by working with your angle grinder. Also, if you have problems with reaching corners, it might be smart to use a smaller tool for those sections. 

According to experts, you can divide the floor into sections, but also start by smoothing the edges first. That’s a matter of preference, so find the way that you consider most fitting. If you from the perimeter inwards, making circular moves with your grinder might be the fastest way to smooth concrete.

3.2.4. Deal with any Imperfections

Once you finish the grinding process, it’s time to check the results of your work. Therefore, start checking the floor and try to find any imperfections. If you identify that there is an area where the results aren’t up to standards, grind that section again. 

However, before you do that, remove the dust shroud from the tool. That way, the grinder will have better contact with the floor. Finally, the only remaining thing is to mop or vacuum the floor to remove any dust residue.

4. Stay Safe While Smoothing Concrete

Stay safe while using an angle grinder

Stay safe while using an angle grinder

Apart from ensuring a smooth concrete floor, your primary requirement for angle grinder projects should be staying safe. These are power tools, so caution is necessary if you don’t want to risk injuries and other problems.

Did you know that an average grinder runs at 10,000RPMs? That’s why you should follow these steps to stay safe:

  • Always wear protective equipment, such as gloves, glasses, and mask.
  • Never change wheels without checking that you unplugged the grinder. That’s risky because you could accidentally activate the tool, and that leads to injuries.
  • Keep the tool with both hands if possible, but always have a firm grip on the handle.
  • Test a new wheel before using it on a concrete surface. That way, you’ll ensure there aren’t any defects.
  • Try to ensure the debris goes down to reduce the risk of it going into your eyes.
  • Never work when other people are around, especially when they don’t have protective equipment.
  • Make sure there aren’t any flammable materials that could get in touch with the sparks.

5. Are the Grinders Best Tools for Grinding Concrete?

A grinder at a construction site

A grinder at a construction site

Grinding concrete with an angle grinder is fairly simple, which means even beginners will master the project quickly. However, you should take into account some factors that could affect the process. 

5.1. Size

The first consideration is the grinder’s size. Furthermore, it’s the blade size you want to focus on, and it should have a diameter of four to seven inches. However, the problem with these blades is that they aren’t that big. It means you’ll need patience when smoothing rough concrete surfaces, especially when dealing with large areas. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to consider a floor grinder as an alternative.

5.2. Comfort

An angle grinder is a small tool, and you’ll need to move it around. Therefore, using it for grinding floors will require going down on your knees, which can be uncomfortable. Using knee pads is a convenient option to make yourself more comfortable, but it can still be unpleasant to smooth large concrete surfaces.

5.3. Efficiency

Once again, we circle back to the small size of an angle grinder. It implies you’ll need plenty of time for smoothing a large surface, which doesn’t make this tool very efficient. 

Additionally, it’s worth noting that you might need a wet attachment for a grinding machine. That will improve the cooling down process, and also ensure the blades don’t head and wear down quickly during use.

Summary

Angle grinders can be the perfect option for smoothing concrete surfaces, especially for at-home use. Therefore, DIY enthusiasts and individuals who need it for modest-sized areas will find these tools convenient. Always remember that the project’s success depends on the blade’s suitability and quality.

If you need high-quality blades and other products for power tools, don’t hesitate to contact NCCutiingTools. We gather a team of experts that can help with customized orders and deliver large product batches quickly. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or requirements related to power tools and blades!

Cutting Stainless Steel – 4 Steps you should take

A worker using a saw to cut

Cutting Stainless steel ranks as a popular raw material in the manufacturing sector. The reason for the mass adoption of this material is its material strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. However, these same features make the stainless steel very difficult to cut.

When cutting stainless steel, you will need to have sufficient background knowledge of the type of tool you want to use to cut the steel. 

This article looks to supply you with much-needed information on how to cut your stainless steel.

A worker using a saw to cut

A worker using a saw to cut

Section 1: About stainless steel

Stainless steel is a type of steel variant. So, it possesses good physical properties. Stainless steel consists principally of iron and carbon in a two-alloy system. What makes stainless steel diverse in properties is chromium and nickel, which make them corrosion-resistant. 

Corrosion in steel occurs because of the iron present in its composition. It is why most manufacturers include other additives to improve their mechanical properties. After adding chromium to steel, it forms chromium oxide upon its exposure to air. This oxide then forms a defensive surface to keep air and dampness from causing rust, unlike ordinary steel. 

There are several types of stainless steel, but the most prominent are as follows:

Austenitic stainless steel

Austenitic steel is the most popular and used stainless steel. The simple reason for this is because of its good corrosive properties and low heat conduction. Another reason for its adoption is its superior mechanical properties. Austenitic steel is best suitable for housewares and modern funneling and vessels, development, and building veneers. 

Ferritic stainless steel

Ferritic stainless steel is another popular steel variant with comparable properties to austenitic steel but with better corrosive properties and mechanical properties. Hence, it is more suited for making clothes washers and boilers.

Martensitic stainless steel

Martensitic stainless steel is an exceptionally hard steel variant. However, it isn’t as resistant to corrosion as other grades of steel.  It contains just about 10% chromium, and it has its applications in aeronautics blade manufacturing.

Duplex stainless steel is more or less a combination of austenitic and ferritic steels. Hence, they are more solid and adaptable. Duplex steels are popular in making paper and other petrochemical materials. 

Advantages of stainless steel

  • It is corrosion-resistant.
  • It is easy to fabricate and has good malleability.
  • Stainless steel is strong and durable.
  • It is cost-effective for different applications.
  • It is aesthetically attractive.
  • Stainless steel is environmentally friendly.
  • It is recyclable.

Section 2: What tools do we need to cut stainless steel

Stainless steel has numerous applications, ranging from cars to jewelry. Reshaping stainless steel for different applications is only possible when you use different metal cutting tools, namely;

Angle Grinder

The angle grinder is a portable handheld tool that is famous for abrasive cutting. However, operators find it very suitable for cutting stainless steel due to its high cutting force. Additionally, this tool can cut both thin and thick stainless-steel plates or sheets.

Dremel

Another handheld tool is Dremel. Due to the design of the reinforced resin cutting wheel, it can cut stainless steel and aluminum. Hence, this property makes it possible to cut high-carbon steel.

Chop Saw

The chop saw is very similar to other handheld tools. However, it has a pneumatic feature. As a result, this pneumatic feature gives it an automated edge over its counterparts. They are popular for thin sheet cutting, and they can cut quite fast and more accurately due to their design.

Circular Saw

The popular  circular saw has vast cutting applications, and it is also suitable for cutting stainless steel. More so, its flexibility makes it suitable for making custom patterns on stainless steel.

Jigsaw

The Jigsaw is another power tool that cuts curves effectively on different material surfaces. However, It’s important to note that cutting steel always gives off high heat residue that can sometimes damage the steel. The Jigsaw comes in at this point to carry out longer cuts at high temperatures without risking losing your cutting tool.

Band Saw

The band saw is most suitable for doing cut-off works. Recent applications like cutting pipes and rail stocks are the most common you will find around. They are easy to use with their horizontal cutting application. Band saws can also cut stainless steel like the Jigsaw. However, the only difference is that it must be at a lower speed.

Plasma Cutter

The plasma cutter is a technology innovation that uses a concentrated energy beam to cut through materials. Over the years, the plasma cutter has expanded in the application as far as metal cutting. The plasma cutter is best suitable for cutting thick stainless steel that other tools can’t cut through.

Section 3: How to cut stainless steel?

3.1 Preparing the workspace. 

Regardless of the tool you choose, you’ll need to set up your workspace. A rigid and robust workbench will help to achieve stable cutting. In case you choose to use flammable tools, ensure to rid your combustible workspace materials.

3.2 Measuring for the cut. 

Use your standard measuring tape to get an exact estimation for the region you need to cut. Use markers to mark out points you want to miss. In case you will be missing a straight line, use a ruler or try square to get an accurate cut. 

3.3 Cutting the steel. 

After measuring and marking out the steel, the next thing is to choose the most suitable tool to cut the steel. You can have either thin or thick steel plates or sheets, and both require different cutting tools. Thin stainless sheets are most suitable to cut with tin snips. In contrast, thicker sheets will need power shears, circular saw, or plasma cutters. 

3.3.1 Cut stainless steel with a saw

The circular saw is the go-to power tool for cutting steel having a great thickness. However, while using the circular saw, you will also need to get a metal cutting blade that can cut steel. Next is to turn on your saw and let it run for some time before you begin cutting. Subsequently, carefully lower the saw blade on your steel to cut. 

3.3.2 Cut stainless steel with a grinder

An angle grinder is a handheld tool you can also use to cut your stainless steel. You must also follow the same precautions and principles as you see on your manual to prevent accidents. It is also important to note that you must keep the grinder running for 5 minutes before you begin cutting.

A worker using an angle grinder

A worker using an angle grinder

  3.3.3 Cut stainless steel with a tin snip

Very similar to your workshop scissors, the thin snip is suited to cutting thin sheets. Use the tin snips slowly to create an accurate cut and to protect your hands from being cut.

  3.3.4 Cut stainless steel with a power shears

A power shear is a handy tool as they allow you to determine the cut’s type and way. Its major difference from the tin snip is its motor for automated controls. Again, this is a tool that will cut not so smoothly. As such, it mostly operates at low speed to get more accurate cuts. It’s best suited to cutting thin steel sheets. 

Power shears

Power shears

  3.3.5 Cut stainless steel with a plasma cutter

A plasma cutter is a powerful tool that utilizes compressed air to make cuts on materials. It is most suitable for cutting thick stainless steel as opposed to thinner steel sheets. Therefore, to cut with your plasma cutter, connect it to your pressured cylinder and turn on the switch.  You must follow with setting the current for your plasma cutter to about 25 or 20 gauge.

Next is to turn in your cutter, then move the torch along or across the stainless steel you are looking to cut. You will get the best result by moving slow and in a very stable manner.

Cutting stainless steel

Cutting stainless steel

3.4 Clean up the edge.

It’s normal to have rough edges after cutting your stainless steel. To that effect, you have to create extra time to give your workpiece extra finishing. Use a hand file or a deburring tool to tidy up all edges to give your work a more professional look.

Section 4: Watch out for overheating.

Using stainless steel to make another item or structure has a lot of advantages. The advantages include high strength, ductility, and toughness. One of the main advantages of stainless steel is its capacity to withstand heat and harsh thermal conditions. Nevertheless, cutting steel can heat up to points of altering the properties of the material.  

Overheating may adversely affect the hardness and strength of steel. It is because overheating changes the microstructure of the steel. These adverse effects include prompting property harm as well as damage to the climate and injury.

Section 5: What precautions do we need to pay attention to?

All workplaces must be safe for cutting operations. This is because an accident can cause a serious mishap when you work with cutting tools. As a result, you need to make cutting operations safer. 

Here are a few hints on the best way to make your workplace safe:

5.1 Tips on how to make your work environment safe

  • Keep your workspace tidy for easy mobility. 
  • Light up your work area properly 
  • Place your power cables properly to avoid tripping over them.
  • Proper ventilation 
  • You must remove all flammable materials from your workspace.
  • Remove any jewelry, bracelet, or scarves. 

5.2 Tips on how to protect yourself.

  • Use goggles for Eye Protection 
  • Wear gloves Hand Protection 
  • Wear industry boots for Foot Protection.

Summary: 

Stainless steel is one of the most in-demand raw materials in manufacturing today. It is mostly down to its material structure and properties. However, cutting stainless steel can prove tricky if you lack the necessary knowledge about what to do. This article makes a concise step-by-step approach on how to cut the stainless steel.

Therefore, as you continue to look out for helpful tips to find power tools that can cut stainless steel better, look no further. NCCuttingtools has got you covered. 

Rabbet Joint – 5 Easy Ways to Make a Rabbet Joint

Two rabbet cuts

A rabbet joint is mostly prominent in furniture and cabinet construction as well as other woodworks. Furthermore, it helps to give your design an aesthetic look as you can opt for glue over other mechanical fasteners.

Nonetheless, to properly complete a rabbet joints, you need to consider some factors. Some of them are the types of rabbet joint, tools, and how to conveniently cut. 

Eventually, after reading this article, you will be able to make a great rabbet joint on your own.

Two rabbet cuts.

Figure 1: Two rabbet cuts. 

Section 1: What is the rabbet joint?

If you work in the construction industry, most especially with wood, then a rabbet joint should sound familiar. A rabbet joint is a rectangular recess created at the edge of a wood to flush with another wood. Rabbet joints are useful in the construction of picture frames, cabinet doors, drawers.

Section 2: Basic types of rabbet joint

When about to make a rabbet joint in your ongoing project, you must take time to choose the appropriate type. Therefore, a good understanding of the types of rabbet joints available will go a long way. Consequently, you can set out to make the best rabbet joints that fit the project at hand. 

2.1 Basic rabbet

It is the simplest form of a rabbet joint. When joining two planks of wood, only one has a rabbet while the other does not. Instead, the rabbit’s depth is such that it allows for the second wood to sort of flush. It means the rabbit’s depth on the first wood must be equal to the second wood’s thickness. With a table saw, wood router, or hand, you can make a basic rabbet joint. 

Finally, use mechanical fasteners over just glue because it is long grain to end grain connection. 

A basic rabbet joint.

Figure 2: A basic rabbet joint.

2.2 Double rabbet

It is directly opposite of the basic rabbet joint. Unlike just one rabbet cut on one wood, both mating planks of wood have a rabbet cut for a solid connection. The joint connection is stronger in this case than in the basic rabbet. For this reason, there is more area for joinery available with a double rabbet than the basic rabbet. More area is available via the two-way 90-degree cut on both mating planks of wood.

You need a higher accuracy for this type of rabbet joint (measurement and cutting) for proper flushing. For this reason, a table saw, or a wood router is best for making this rabbet joint. 

Ultimately, it is more rigid and stronger, especially for tall bookcases.

Double rabbet joint ready for gluing.

Figure 3: Double rabbet joint ready for gluing. 

2.3 Mitered rabbet

It is more complex than a basic and double rabbet joint. It came at an angle and used at critical points, which makes it more attractive. A table saw or wood router will also conveniently make this rabbet joint but with more care and attention. A 45-degrees cut at the corners of the mating woods differentiates the mitered and double rabbet. 

In one piece, the rabbet is cut to half the material’s depth and width equal to the material’s full thickness. Similarly, the rabbet is cut to one-half the material’s depth and width on the other piece. 

Section 3: What tools can cut the rabbet joint?

Each of these tools can cut any of the rabbet joints stated in section 3 above.

  • Table saw
  • Handheld wood router
  • Wood router table

Other tools for marking-out the rabbet dimension and smoothening the rabbet includes:

  • Pencil
  • Metre rule
  • Shoulder plane
  • Router plane

Section 4: How to cut the rabbet joint?

There are four broad methods of cutting a rabbet joint highlighted in this section with detailed explanations. Hence, you can select from them based on your preference.

4.1 Cutting a rabbet joint with a table saw

You can use either a dado set or standard blade. Here are the details below:

4.1.1 Table saw with a dado set.

A dado set is a special tool that produces an accurate rabbet at mostly one pass. Although a dado set takes a while to install, it is worthwhile when there are several workpieces. When using this method, you should cover part of the blade with another piece of wood. This approach protects the fence and prevents damage. 

4.1.2 Table saw with a standard blade

This is another method of rabbet making involving table saws. It occurs with about two passes of the circular blade through the wood. Firstly, place the workpiece horizontally against the blade for the first pass (required depth). Secondly, you turn it vertically for the second pass to complete the rabbet (required width). This method is faster and does not require any special set up, especially when there are few workpieces. 

A rabbet cut with a standard blade.

Figure 4: A rabbet cut with a standard blade.

4.2 Cutting a rabbet with a handheld router

Generally, a router always gives clean and smooth interior cuts. In a case like this, a router is very excellent to make a rabbet. You will not find any scratches or marks when you use a router.

One of the handheld router perks is that you can make a rabbet joint along a curve. In essence, it is flexible to use and can cut rabbits of varying width by changing the pilot bearing. Various widths of the rabbit bits are on sale up to about 1/2”. Furthermore, for rabbet joints, a special bit called a rabbeting bit is needed.

4.3 Cutting a rabbet with a router table

Besides making rabbits with a rabbeting bit and router, a router table with a straight bit is a viable option. With the help of a feather board or push stick, you can hold down the workpiece for the cut. In contrast to the handheld router, the router table has some significant advantages. 

Firstly, a router table has a fence, which would help guide the workpiece during the cut. With this, you can boast of a perfectly straight cut. Secondly, a router table can produce a rabbet joint of up to 1’’ in depth and width. 

Figure 5: A rabbet cut in progress with a straight router bit.

Figure 5: A rabbet cut in progress with a straight router bit.

4.4 Cutting a rabbet with a jointer.

A jointer can cut rabbet joints as wide as 1’’ and as deep as ½’’. Its cut is usually perfectly smooth along an outside edge. But to cut deeper, a table saw can help make an initial cut before using the jointer to continue. Also, the rabbit’s width should match the adjusted fence to blade distance. With this setup in place, begin your cut at no more than 1/8’’ removed per pass. Finally, this setup will prevent unnecessary hammering between the workpiece and jointer’s knife-head.

Summary

In conclusion, we have talked about the various approaches to cut a rabbet joint. But we have also discussed the types of rabbet joints you could cut and how to make them. Therefore, we are positive that you will be able to make any rabbet joint having read this article. For decades, NCCuttingtools has built the skill and expertise to provide diverse cutting tools and other customized services. If you have any concerns or problems, please contact us for proper consultation and guidance. 

Dado Blade Set – How to Cut Dados With the Dado Blade Set?

Dado Blade Set

Dado cuts are similar to rabbet and grooves but with a slight difference. Many methods to cut a dado exist, but using a dado blade set is easier and more accurate. 

You must ensure that you aim for the dado’s exact width that will fit the mating wood. Failure to do this will defeat the purpose of a dado in a bookshelf or cabinet design. 

Because of this, this article bears key information you need to cut a dado. Consequently, this key information centers around the use of a dado blade set for cutting dados.  

Figure 1: A typical dado.

Section 1: What are dados?

A dado is a three-sided slot carved on the woods’ surface for easy mating of another piece of wood. Often, either glue or mechanical fasteners help to secure the second piece of wood. Unlike a rabbet, which is two-sided, a dado is three-sided, which makes it a more solid joint. With either a special dado blade set, circular saw blade, or router, cutting a dado is possible. However, in the making of cabinets, door panels, drawer bottoms, bookshelves, etc., dados are important. 

Stacked dado blade set.

Figure 1: Stacked dado blade set. 

Section 2: Why do we need the dado blade set to cut dados?

While there are other means to cut a dado, using a dado blade set remains the best approach. Some of the reasons for this occurrence are:

  1. It delivers a precise, clean, and smooth cut that needs no finessing.
  2. It is versatile; with a dado blade set, you can successfully cut a dado, tongue, rabbet, and half-lap joints. 
  3. It limits wastage by removing just the exact amount of material required for the dado to form. 

Section 3: How to cut dados with a table saw and dado set?

3.1 What tools do we need before cutting dado joints? 

a. A Table saw

b. A dado blade set

c. A Measuring tape or square.

d. A Pencil

e. A Push stick

f. Safety gears

g. Chisel (optional)

3.2 Choose the right cutting width

The dado’s width must always correspond to the thickness of the mating wood for a perfect fit. Hence, you must put this in mind when setting out to cut your dado. Failure to do the needful checks will amount to the inaccuracy of the final dado joint. Getting an idea of the cutting width will help you in proper stacking and even height setting. 

3.3 Stack the dado blade set

The dado blade set is majorly a combination of small blades known as chipper blades with lesser teeth per inch. Typically, you can stack a dado blade set to cut a dado up to 1-inch wide. They come with two outer blades and a couple of inner chippers.

To effectively stack up the dado blade set to the dado’s required width, you need to apply some tricks. You start by dismounting the two outer table saw blades and place them on top of each other. In furtherance, begin to stack the dado blade set until it flushes with the mating wood’s thickness. On the other hand, there are cases when the dado blade set’s combination will not reach the required width. In rare cases such as this, you can use shims to achieve an accurate combination of the dado blade set. To check the extent of the flush between stack and mating wood, you can use a square. 

Finally, once you can achieve accurate stacking, you can now mount the table saw blade and dado blade set. This mounting could be with or without the shims depending on the situation at hand.  Besides, you should ensure that the blades’ teeth are in the opposite direction. 

3.4 Set your table saw blade to the correct height

Since the table saw blade is partly responsible for making the dado cut, it must maintain a certain height. This height refers to how much above the table surface the table saw blade protrudes. Also, this height is usually equivalent to the expected depth of the final dado. 

3.5 Set your rip fence

With your measuring tape, you can easily adjust the rip fence and lock it to the appropriate position. With this done, the blades can appropriately pass through the wood’s expected portion during the dado cutting. 

If you cannot access a measuring tape, then position the workpiece against the fence to locate the dado’s location. Afterward, then lock in the rip fence and get ready for the main cut. Always ensure that the table saw is never plugged into the mains when carrying out all necessary preparatory settings.   

 3.6 Cut dados

It is the last and final step to cut the dado on wood. However, it is best to have a scrap wood board to test out your dado cutting set-up. It is known as a test cut, ensuring that the whole set-up is in good working condition. Once you make the cut and everything seems fine, you can proceed with the main wood to make the dado cut. Make sure to put on the right safety gear such as earplugs, goggles, etc., and use a push stick. 

A dado joint.

Figure 3: A dado joint.

Section 4: Are there other tools that can cut dados?

Yes, a router and a circular saw mounted on a table saw can also cut dados. However, it is more herculean and less accurate than using a dado blade set.

4.1 The ban on dado blade set in Europe

According to the EN and IEC standards, using a dado blade set in the EU is forbidden. The authorities consider a dado blade set unsafe due to the removal of the guard and riving knife. A lot of injuries and accidents have occurred that made the authorities ban its use. For this reason, table saws have short arbors in the EU and cannot accommodate a dado blade set.

 4.2 How to cut dados with router/ circular saw?

Router

It does the same job as a table saw and dado blade set but most especially for some purposes.  Using a router in combination with a straight bit, you can cut a great dado.  The ability to cut a “stopped dado” is one distinct feature of using a router to cut a dado. Generally, when cutting a dado with a router, keep the speed low, and remain patient. You would have to carry out gradual multiple shallow passes. Typically, the depth per each pass ranges between 1/16 to 1/18-inch. 

The major reason for multiple passes is to prevent burning of the workpiece or quick dulling of bits. In conclusion, ensure that you use a straightedge to guide the router’s path. 

The major difference between using a router and a dado blade set is the accuracy. A dado blade set affords you the ability to set the right width for the expected dado exactly. In comparison, a router will require you to use your discretion and go through multiple passes. 

A router cutting a dado.

Figure 4: A router cutting a dado.

Circular Saw

With your traditional circular saw blade mounted on a table saw, you can cut a dado with multiple passes. The approach to this method is quite simple. Remember that a typical circular blade has a particular thickness. With this thickness, you can estimate how many passes to make to get the dado’s required width. For instance, for a 1-inch wide dado, you need two passes of a circular saw of ½-inch.

A table saw used for dado cutting.

Figure 5: A table saw used for dado cutting.

Section 5: How to avoid getting the rough edges of dados when using the dado blade set to cut? 

5.1 Cut dados on oversize board

It is an advisable approach to prevent tear out of the wood’s most fragile fiber. You can then trim down the oversized board to the required dimension once the dado is in place.

5.2 Score the edges

By scoring the edges of a workpiece with a utility knife before cutting the dado, you can avoid rough edges. Although this method works well for plywood. 

5.3 Lay down masking tape

It works particularly well around the edges of the dado. Lay the tape around the edges of the cutting line and make sure to pull towards the dado.  

5.4 Use a zero-clearance insert

This special insert helps to close up the gap left around the saw blade on the table saw. It prevents tear-out and provides support for the workpiece. 

5.5 Use Clamps and Hold-downs

Vibration is inevitable in a table saw, but you can limit its effect by ensuring a firm hold-down of the workpiece. Always ensure to clamp down your workpiece during dado cut; this will prevent any form of error from vibration.

 5.6 Take multiple passes

Despite the ability to complete the cut in one pass, taking multiple passes is still the best. As they slowly and steadily win the race, and such is the case in dado cutting. The outcome of a dado cut with multiple passes is usually a clean and fine one. 

Summary

In summary, we expect you to have learned a thing or two from the pane point of this article. Not only have we talked about setting up a dado blade set, but we also highlighted tips to prevent rough edges. Over the years, NCCuttingtools has built the expertise to provide premium cutting tools for your everyday needs. For all your customized services, consultations, and guidance, do not hesitate to reach out to us now. 

Polishing Concrete- 6 Steps For Making A Perfect Concrete Countertop

Countertop concrete polishing

Finishing is a vital part of most handcrafts, and the same also goes for sculptors or operators that work with concrete. 

It is very important to sand and polish the edges or surface of the concrete countertop so as to have a pleasing aesthetic finish. It helps to improve the concrete quality since it removes flaws and blemishes. 

Hence, this article presents everything you need to know about making a perfect concrete countertop.

Countertop concrete polishing

Countertop concrete polishing

Section 1: In what condition can we polish the concrete countertops?

Leave your concrete for a few days so as to allow for adequate curing. It guarantees the cement matrix almost no internal moisture. Hence, most quality concrete countertop mixtures take about two days for adequate curing. However, in colder regions or cooler seasons, you can allow for four days of curing. 

After leaving your concrete for adequate curing, you have to create profiles before sealing your concrete. Profiling your concrete guarantees the sealer builds up a decent mechanical bond with the surface. Before sealing the concrete, it is vital to have a matte finish to prevent any reflection.  Profiling also eliminates surficial material or foreign substances that would meddle with shaping a decent bond. Nevertheless, there are some popular profiling techniques, namely, etching and honing.

Cleaning should follow right after profiling your concrete.  It would be best to clean the concrete to take care of any scratches or flaws formed due to profiling. So, you can use a soft cushion foam along with clear water to wipe the concrete surface. 

Finally, your concrete should be arid after applying the sealer. Dry concrete allows the sealer to have a firm hold of the concrete. In contrast, moist or wet concrete will hinder the cure, causing ineffective sealing of the concrete countertop.

Cured Concrete

Cured Concrete

Section 2: What kind of concrete countertop look do you want?

Smooth Polish

The smooth polish offers you the smoothest sheen any polisher technique can offer. However, to get this sheen, hone your countertop lightly with your diamond pad and hand polisher. They are also famous for their excellent absorbent feature for dust and small particle dirt. 

Salt & Pepper Polish

This type of concrete polish is the easiest to achieve and is suitable to hold stains and colors better than smooth polish. So, to get this surface, you need to expose the underlying sand in the concrete mix. However, this requires a level of expertise, as you have to watch out not to expose the aggregate layer.

Aggregate Polish

It is the most attractive concrete finish type and most sought after. Nevertheless, for this concrete finish, you will need to expose the aggregate layer of your concrete countertop.

Section 3: What tools do we need when polishing?

  • You will need a wet concrete polisher. So, as a rule of thumb, the handheld version with variable-speed capability is more preferred. 
  • A set of diamond polishing pads, the grain size ranges from fine to coarse to allow polishing. 
  • A large squeegee will be needed because it helps to control the flow of the liquid on surfaces.
  • Safety glasses and earplugs: for protection.
  • Chemical hardener additives.
  • Need for a trash can so as to ensure that you always maintain a clean environment.
polishing concrete

polishing concrete

Section 4: How to polish concrete countertops?

4.1 Choose the right diamond polishing pad based on your project.

Polishers use polishing pads for any finishing they need to make and many factors in choosing the most suitable pad. However, the most vital factor would be the type of project you are undertaking. You can read more about how to choose the right diamond polishing pad.

4.2 Polishing preparation.

It is pertinent to allow the concrete countertop cure for a minimum of ten days and a maximum of thirty days. It allows you to get the best performance from your concrete. However, any attempt to polish your concrete countertop outside of this will give you a flawed project. After curing, use your squeegee to wash the surface of your concrete so as to remove any debris.

4.3 Clean and repair holes.

Sometimes your concrete countertop can have holes or scratches. In such cases, you can use a patching mixture to fill in the cracks or gaps.

4.4 Initial polish

You can start out polishing the countertop with a coarse pad as the workpiece demands. So, an important rule would be to work your way around the entire surface of the countertop, including its edges. However, bear in mind that you must consistently apply water as a form of lubrication.

4.5 Honing the Surface with a Coarse Grit Pad

  1. Use correct protection equipment like goggles and earmuffs.
  2. You should use a handheld wet concrete polisher with variable speed settings. Also, ensure that the water source and tool are attached securely. The tool must be capable of releasing water while you grind the concrete surface. 
  3. Attach the polisher and the coarsest grit grinding pad(diamond). As a rule of thumb, the set of grinding pads should be compatible and should range from fine to very coarse.
  4. Apply even pressure to the tool after holding it level to the concrete surface. 
  5. Hold the tool level and apply even pressure to the concrete surface.
  6. Buff out knocks or bumps to accomplish an even surface texture with the main pass.
  7. You should polish the surfaces after attaching a protective skirt to the tool. 

4.6 Using Finer Grits to Create a Sheen 

i.Switch to the following level grit and go over the whole surface once more. If you start with a 50-grain mat, change it to a 100-grain mat to reduce the texture. 

ii. Use a handheld diamond grinding tool to clean difficult to-arrive at zones. 

iii. Progress from the coarse-grit cushions to the medium-grit cushions. 

iv. Use medium-fine grits to make a smooth surface. After you finish the 400-grain mat, please change to an 800-grain mat. Also, rehash the way toward cleaning all surfaces of the countertop. 

v. Use the best grits to accomplish a sparkling completion. After the 800-grit cushion, you can stop with a 1,500-grit cushion. This grit will give a smooth-to-the-contact surface and smooth sheen. 

4.7 Treating the Concrete 

i. Rinse the countertop with water. 

ii. Treat the concrete with any paint or corrosive stains whenever wanted. As a rule of thumb, you should use paint or corrosive stain medicines on the surface at this stage before sealing

iii. Apply one layer of concrete sealer to the surface with a cloth. 
iv. Let the sealer completely cure before making the most of your new countertop. Permit the surface to dry totally to achieve the best results.

Section 5: What do we need to pay attention to when choosing a polishing pad for concrete?

As a rule of thumb, when buying polishing pads, you need to ensure it is suitable for use with your grinder and designed to be used on concrete. There exist polishing pads in the market that are not compatible with concrete. You will typically see many operators using pads designed for granite being used on concrete. This is wrong!


Concrete has a rough, hard aggregate in a relatively soft matrix, whereas granite is uniformly hard. If you use pads designed for granite on concrete countertops, they will not last long in operation and won’t work effectively.

polishing pads

polishing pads

Section 6: Tips for Achieving the Best Results

Here are some crucial steps you should follow to achieve the best results.

  • Make sure your concrete countertop spends a minimum of ten days to cure before polishing. Failure to do this can leave you with a softer concrete with poor workability.
  • Make samples if you can to reduce errors on the main concrete countertop.
  • Ensure to keep the polishers and pads as even as possible to avoid having swirl marks on your workpiece.
  • You can make use of accessories like a skirt to keep concrete chips from spraying into the ceiling. 
  • Make sure to keep water flowing on the polisher’s point of contact and the concrete for lubrication. It will reduce wear on the pads. 
  • Keep polisher in the same configuration sequence with the pads you opt to use.

Click for a video with up-to-date information about polishing the concrete countertop.

 Summary: 

Polishing is a vital part of concrete finishing today as it helps improve the beauty and quality of the concrete. Furthermore, concrete countertops polishing is relatively easy to achieve as long as you possess the needed knowledge. 
In conclusion, as you continue to look out for helpful tips on how to polish your countertops, look no further; NCCuttingtools has got you covered. 

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