HSS Saw Blade–6 Tips for Picking HSS Saw Blade

HSS saw blade is without doubts a valuable part of a saw. Yes, you have a saw, but did you know that a saw’s blade is equally as important as the saw itself?

There are different types of saw blades of which the HSS saw blade is part. Picking the right one can, however, be a problem as there are several things to consider.

Below, you will find six helpful tips that, if followed, will ensure you pick something satisfactory.

A circular saw disk blade
Figure 1: A circular saw disk blade

What are HSS Saw Blades?

HSS stands for high-speed steel, and it is a type of material used in manufacturing saw blades.HSS blades are just one of the different kinds of saw blades around. They are, however, inexpensive when compared to their counterparts. They are also relatively easy to sharpen, which is a good thing seeing as they become blunt quickly.

HSS saw blades are most suitable for use in cutting solid wood, although they are also ideal for use in cutting other materials. Similarly, the blades of such circular saws, although widely used in circular saws for cutting wood, are rare.

6 Tips for Picking an HSS Saw Blade

When picking an HSS blade, there are certain factors you need to consider if you are to choose the ideal one for your particular purpose. Your rumination should seek to marry these factors to what you plan to achieve. Below are tips on what these factors are and which objectives they best achieve.

1.Check the HSS Saw Blade Manufacturer

A crucial factor to consider when picking an HSS saw blade is who the manufacturer is. Ensure that your first choice of HSS saw blade manufacturer is one with a reliable track history. That is to say, choose a brand that is well known and for whom many users over the years have vouched for. Such manufacturers are less likely to sell low-quality blades, which might jeopardize their brand images as opposed to lesser-known manufacturers.

2.Reflect on the Number of Teeth

One of the essential features to consider when picking an HSS blade is the number of teeth it has. It is because there is a direct correlation between how many teeth are present and the cleanness of the cut.

For instance, HSS cutting tools that have plenty of teeth will give a cleaner, smoother cut as opposed to those with a lesser number of teeth. As such, blades with plenty of teeth are preferable for use in trim carpentry and cabinet making, such as in the making of a coffee table. However, blades with lesser teeth are preferable for use in rough carpentry work, such as in the making of wooden sawhorses.

A cutting blade slicing through a wooden table
Figure 2: A cutting blade slicing through a wooden table

3.Consider the Shape of the Saw Blade Tooth

When buying an HSS tool, it is crucial to consider the shape of the blade’s teeth, which is also the bevel angle. It is because the shape, and the manner of the grouping of the teeth, affects how the blade cuts. So, the blade tooth configuration you choose should depend on whether you want to use the saw blade for ripping, crosscutting, or laminates.

The bevel of a blade can be flat (with no angle), alternating, high alternating, etc. The higher the angle is, the more smoothly the blade will cut. Below are five different blade tooth configurations and what each is most suitable for:

Flat-Top – HSS cutting tools with flat-top teeth are more suitable for ripping both hard and softwoods. Rip blades have a design that enables them to cut through wood quickly and smoothly.

It is important to avoid the wood chipping and splintering, which usually occurs when you don’t cut wood with the grain. And it is for this exact reason that flat-top teeth saw blades are the best for ripping.

Alternate Top Bevel (ATB)–the ATB-type blade is as the name a suggests: a blade whose teeth alternates between a right and a left-hand bevel.

It is the best for use in crosscutting applications (of both natural woods and veneered plywood) because it cuts cleanly and smoothly.
Triple Chip Grind – this particular blade teeth type is best suited for use in cutting hard materials. It can be anything from a laminate to an MDF and even plastic.

Like the Alternate Top Bevel (ATB) type teeth, the TCG’s teeth also alternates. Unlike the ATB, it alternates between a flat tooth and a higher “trapeze” tooth.

Combination Tooth – combination tooth blades are blades that can perform a combination of different tasks, namely crosscutting and ripping. It alternates between the ATB (Alternate Top Bevel) teeth type and the FT (Flat-Top) teeth type with the ATB occurring in a sequence of four followed by one FT. A large gullet then ensures the separation of one group from the other.

High Alternate Top Bevel (Hi-ATB)– when we refer to Hi-ATB blades, we are referring to blades with the ability and capacity for extra-fine crosscutting.

Blades in this category have a high bevel angle, which enhances their propensity for knife-like action. They are capable of cutting materials that have a melamine surface without any chipping occurring.

A large spinning saw blade
Figure 3: A large spinning saw blade

4.Ensure the Bore Size Aligns

HSS saw blades have a bore, which is the hole that enables their attachment to the saw. When you are buying an HSS blade, endeavour to choose one with a bore size that matches the bore shaft of your saw unless you have a reducer ring.

Also, make sure that the diameter of the blade hole is slightly smaller than the diameter of the nut that connects the blade to the shaft (about 5 mm).

A worker cutting wood with a circular saw blade
Figure 4: A worker cutting wood with a circular saw blade

5.Take the Hook/Rake Angle into Account

The hook simply refers to the position the tooth assumes when it comes in contact with the cutting surface.

A positive hook angle assumes a position that is perpendicular to the wood’s surface. It aggressively eliminates waste material with the effect that the cut is quick but rough.

A negative hook angle, on the other hand, isn’t as aggressive. It cuts slower than a positive hook but results in a cleaner, smoother finish.

Close up on a circular saw blade
Figure 5: Close up on a circular saw blade

6.Consider the Blade’s Diameter

When picking an HSS blade for your saw, you must take its diameter into account. The design of a particular saw is such that it is suitable for use with a blade of a specific size.

Bear in mind that the diameter of the blade you purchase will affect the depth of the cut you will be making. As such, endeavour to choose a blade, and saw that would provide the type of cut you desire.

Here’s a bonus video on how to sharpen your saw blade with a machine.

Frequently Asked Questions About HSS Saw Blades

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding HSS saw blades.

What is the difference between HSS Blades and Carbide-tipped saw blades?

Manufacturers of carbide-tipped saw blades use a combination of a specific amount of cobalt and tungsten carbide particles. These materials render the blade extremely durable and able to remain sharp after a long period (about five times as long as HSS blades).

On the other hand, they use premium steel (or HSSE) to make HSS blades. HSSE is a combination of a larger amount of cobalt, aluminium, and a large percentage of tungsten carbide steel. HSS blades are necessary for making clean cuts. However, while they are sturdy and durable, they are not as durable as carbide-tipped blades.

Why are HSS tools referred to as High-Speed Steel?

HSS(high-speed steels) are so-called because:

  • Their ability to cut through materials at high speeds
  • Their ability to resist softening at temperatures up to 600°C

What are HSS blades used for?

HSS blades are useful for cutting through a wide variety of things. They can cut through plastics and non-ferrous metals of different shapes and sizes. Examples of these materials are tubes, sheets, plates, extrusions, and bar stock, among others.

You will find HSS saw blades in Twist drill, Endmill, Broach insert, Milling cutters, Reamers, Saw, Single-Point cutting tools, and Tap.
What are the disadvantages and advantages of HSS blades?

HSS saw blades have several disadvantages, which include the fact that they dull quickly as well as wear out faster than their carbide-tipped counterparts.

They are, however, very fast, cheap, and easy to sharpen. With this in mind, you should weigh the pros and cons and choose that which you feel is most suitable for your particular situation.

Final Thoughts

Now, you have sufficient knowledge to choose an HSS saw blade that will fulfil your purpose perfectly. If you are looking to purchase high-quality HSS tools, among others, then you should consider patronizing NCCutting Tools. With more than 20 years of operating in this niche, you can rest assured of unrivalled service quality.

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