6 Minefields When Choosing the Right Large Circular Saw Blade

Cutting dates back to the earliest generation of man. It is a skill that has evolved and is still in use to date in the modern world. Humans have progressed from the use of ancient tools such as the ax to modern-day tools such as saws. There are quite many saws, so much so that choosing one becomes a daunting task. The focus of this article is the circular saw, more particularly large  circular saw blade. Emphasis will be placed on examining the unique properties surrounding the blade and what you should consider before choosing a circular saw blade.

1 Close-up of carpenter cutting wood with circular saw

1. Type of Material to be Cut

The fact remains that the circular saw remains top of the list when you consider the tool that most woodcutters use. It can cut different materials ranging from either softwood or hardwood, concrete blocks, light steel, plywood, ceramic tiles, and the list goes on.

It is important to note that these circular saw blades are marketed based on their suitability to cut different material types. Nevertheless, it is not impossible to find that some manufacturers market some blades for cutting specific types of materials.

Now, it might come to mind to instead go for blades that can cut multiple types of materials, which would often come less cheap than those specialized ones. Many users fail to realize that specialty blades last longer and cut better. Even when they do realize, it becomes almost impossible to regain all the money plowed into maintenance.

Most material types come with a parallel fiber direction; in which case, rip cutting is the most suitable mode of cutting. Other times, materials may come in unique configurations that permit you to crosscut along the grain.

2. Blade size

Circular saw blades are generally categorized by their diameter, with each saw structural build-up specifying the extreme blade size it can accommodate. Most blade sizes of handheld circular saws come in the range of 7 to 8 inches, and sometimes it is possible to have custom made blades (Specialty Blades) of larger sizes like 9 inches or smaller sizes like 4 inches.

Circular saws used for this range of blade sizes often draw power from a 10 -13-ampere motor. This motor also has an in-built braking system, which stops the blade whenever you release its trigger. The blade size is one of the essential attributes of the circular saw that any user must consider as it determines what type of material you can cut and how fast you can cut.

 

Varying sizes of Circular blades

Another specialty blade like the table saws and miter saws has blade sizes in the range of 10 to 12-inches. Furthermore, you can have blade sizes of minimal diameter used by craftsmen for fine surface finishing.

3. Number of teeth

Another fundamental categorization of blades is by their tooth count. A general rule of thumb to note when considering tooth count is that the more the teeth, the slower and finer the cut.

Users looking to carry out cutting tasks that demand impeccable finishing will opt for a blade with more tooth, whereas users who seemingly require speed and not necessarily a fine finish opt for blades with a fewer tooth. Rip-cut blades usually have fewer teeth, while crosscut blades fall between extreme ranges of the rip-cut blade and combination blades with more teeth.

 

Circular saw blades with varying teeth

4. Kerfs

Now in the design of specialty blades, the producers often would create two versions of the same blade varying between Kerfs-the full-kerf version or the thin-kerf version. The full-kerf blade version is a blade with a cutting slot of 1/8 inch, and this is in alignment with the power of the saw.

While the thin-kerf blade version has a slot size of 3/32 inch with a motor power rating of 3hp, the variation in their slot sizes helps to distinguish both blade types in the width of their cut, with the full kerf blade having a wider cut. The thin-kerf blade is suitable for mini-jobs that require less power.

 

Kerf of a Circular Blade

 

These thin-kerf blades also come in different types depending on tooth geometry and the level of vibration. The thinner kerf produces less resistance during cutting operations, and so is better suited for the power needs of those saws. The trade-off, however, is that smaller blades vibrate, and as a result, reveal blade movement on the material surface. It is worth noting that these blades are difficult to use with hardwood.

5. Blade Type

The moment the user decides on what type of cut he needs, whether smooth or rough, and the surface finish requirements, then selecting a blade type is more or less an easy task. There are four types of blades for the different kind of cut that users will need when looking to carry out cutting activities, namely:

Rip Blades

This blade is best suitable for jobs that may not necessarily need an exquisite finish, and because of this function, manufacturers design these blades with a fewer number of teeth in the range of 22 to 24 teeth. This blade is popular in applications where the user needs to do much cutting without any regard for finishing.

Rip blades cut parallel to the grain of the wood. Apart from the fewer teeth number that often has deeper gullet between its teeth in comparison to the crosscut blade, this attribute of the saw helps to cut a lot of material quickly and clear them simultaneously

Crosscut Blades

Crosscut blades are carbide-tipped saws with an extension of a sharp chisel added to the tip of the teeth. They have a slightly deviated teeth configuration, which allows each point of the blade tooth to cut across both directions. The teeth design of this blade gives it the ability to cut cleaner and more efficiently, which makes them a perfect fit for cutting tasks that require an elegant finish. Their blades are often small in size but are more in comparison to the rip-cut blade, which is solely the reason for their fine finish during operation.

Rip cut blades

Combination Blades

These blades, on the other hand, permits two cutting modes. The blades come with a configuration that offers parallel cutting and crosscutting of the rip-cut blade and crosscut blades, respectively. They carry out their cutting by simply alternating between the rip-cut blade and the crosscut blade and are popular among unskilled or semi-skilled woodworkers.

General-purpose Blades

The general-purpose blade is very similar to the combination blade, mainly because they carry out the same task as the combination blade, which again is to cut across and parallel to the wood grain. Nevertheless, their only distinction is their bevel angle, which is more pronounced on the general-purpose blades, and because of this feature, they are gradually replacing most combination blades.

6. Blade Condition and Material

As you use a blade over a while, the blade becomes dull and will often perform less effectively.  The rate of this dullness of the blade varies across different blade materials. So, when you decide to choose a circular saw blade, the user must consider the material make-up of the blade.

Manufacturers have different grades when it comes to material types used in producing the saw blade. Often, you will find blades being nickel-plated, Teflon coated, or aluminum coated. Other times, you will find blades made from carbide steel. Usually, some are quite pricier than others. This marginal difference in cost is for a good reason as the material used in creating the more expensive blades provides the user with a long-lasting and better performing blade.

As users make use of the blade, cheaper blades will often become blunt. While sharpening of blades will suffice for cheaper blades, it is often not the case with the more expensive premium blades. These premium blades can cut for a longer period before becoming dull. This lesser sharpening procedure for premium blades justifies the difference in the process between both grades of saws.

Material Variation of circular blades

Manufacturers essentially utilize stainless steel for creating the cheaper blades, and as such, there exists a lower frictional force between the blade and material surface. The premium blades, on the other hand, have their entire body structure made of carbide steel, which makes them last far longer and cuts much better than blades made from stainless steel. Besides, the premium blades are coated with lubricants to reduce friction.

Conclusion

There are so many brands of circular blades in the market today. Selecting large circular saw blades can be daunting for not only beginners but also skilled and semi-skilled professionals. It is because many illegal brands put preference on profits over quality. Nccuttingtools has proved to be the most trusted manufacturer of large circular saw blades. Feel free to choose between the different range of sizes they offer. You should reach out to them if you need customized blades.  

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