Table saw blade vary in size, type, and other features. Whether you are a newbie or expert in using these tools, picking a suitable unit for your project is crucial. However, that is not always an easy task.
In this article, we are focusing on how to choose the best table saw blade for your upcoming project. You will learn all the basics about blade types, tooth configuration, and other relevant features to consider during the selection process.
Table of Contents
- Section 1 Why Do You Need a Table Saw Blade?
- Section 2 What Do I Need to Know About Blade Tooth Options?
- Section 3 What Is the Role of the Gullet?
- Section 5 Basic Types of a Table Saw Blade
- Section 6 How to Choose a Table Saw Blade According to the Cutting Material
- Section 7 Is the Saw Blade with More Teeth Better?
- Section 8 Will the Cutting Kerf Width, Affect the Operation of the Saw Blade?
Section 1 Why Do You Need a Table Saw Blade?
A table saw blade is a sharp blade that you mount on a table saw. This tool usually utilizes an electric motor to operate, and its strength can go up to 3HP or higher. The blade is the cutting portion of this tool, and the operators use it on different materials. That includes wood, plastics, laminates, and other applications.
The working process is simple – once you mount the blade to the tool safely, you activate it. It is critical to wear safety equipment, including goggles and clothes. After turning on the device, you start cutting the desired workpiece. The blade protrudes the top of the table and cuts the material.
As for the major components of a saw blade, those include:
Teeth – these are the actual cutting components of the tool. Teeth come in different configurations, but the critical thing to note is that they should be sharp.
Arbor hole – you will notice the hole in the middle of the blade. That is the arbor hole, and the vital thing is to size them correctly. That can affect mounting the blade and its operation. The general rule is that the arbor hole is from 5/8” to 1” thick.
Gullet – these are the swoops the manufacturer cuts out in front of the teeth. The idea is to ensure to remove any chips and dust from the working area.
Plate – it is the name for the entire base construction of a blade. Plate width can vary, and you should choose it depending on the application and the tool.
Table saw blades can have a different diameter. The primary consideration is that the diameter fits both the tool and the desired application.
Section 2 What Do I Need to Know About Blade Tooth Options?
Caption: A Table Circular Saw Blade on a Wooden Background
During the process of choosing a table saw blades, it is essential to consider blade tooth configuration. As for the tooth count, it can vary significantly. The standard is somewhere among 40-50 teeth, but you can also find models with less than 30 and more than 70 teeth.
2.1 Beveled Teeth
The primary purpose of using beveled teeth is to achieve a clean and fast cut. These blades are characteristic because teeth alternate left and right. They feature a different angle range, which contributes to speeding up the cut while keeping it clean.
It is worth noting that there is a difference between positive and negative hook angles. If the teeth lean forward, you got a positive angle and a faster speed of the cut. On the other hand, a negative hook angle indicates backward-facing teeth. That is great if you are looking to achieve better precision, and you don’t mind cutting a bit slower.
2.2 Flat-Topped Teeth
Your table saw blade might also feature flat-topped teeth. They often work in combination with beveled teeth for optimal results. If you are using a combination blade, the beveled teeth will cut, and the flat-topped units will have the task of clearing any waste left behind them.
If you use a ripping blade, flat-topped teeth can come in handy for efficient stock removal. That will optimize and speed up the entire cutting process. The important thing to note here is that additional teeth do not necessarily make the blade perform better. It is all about finding the most suitable choice for your tool and the application.
2.3 Triple-Chip Teeth
The next tooth shape we will present is the triple-chip one. If we want to explain it better, we can say triple-chip is usually thicker than the sharp beveled teeth, which is why it takes smaller bites. That means these are not as pointy as beveled teeth, but they still have the required sharpness for many tasks.
Triple-chip teeth are suitable for cutting any materials prone to chipping. That is why suitable applications include laminates, melamine, metal, plastics, but also solid surfaces. Their main purpose is to help to achieve a precise cross-cutting process every time you use it.
Section 3 What Is the Role of the Gullet?
If you take a closer look at a single tool on your blade, you will find some room in the front. That gap is the gullet, and its purpose is chip removal. While you are cutting, you will remove some material, and the particles will start flying everywhere. The gullet’s task is to ensure that there are no particles that remain in the working area. It ensures they can’t disrupt the working process.
If you are planning a cross-cutting project, you don’t need a large gullet. The rate is not that fast, which is why a small blade is enough. However, ripping projects require a large gullet. That is because it needs to handle more material and a faster feed rate. That is why you should find a deep gullet for your ripping project.
Section 5 Basic Types of a Table Saw Blade
Caption: Types of the Table Saw Blades
If you came across a table saw cutting blade, you might have noticed abbreviations on it. These might be unknown if you are a beginner, but they are crucial when choosing the right blade.
Some acronyms describe the type of tool. Find out the key feature of each below!
5.1 Flat Top Grind (FTG)
You will often find these under the FTG acronym, but some people also call it “rakers.” The critical thing about this table saw blade is that its edges are square to the plate.
As for the performance, a suitable explanation is that they perform similar to a chisel. For example, if you are cutting a wooden application, it will act as a chisel as soon as it touches.
Most people use these blades for cutting along the drain. That makes them suitable for a table saw rip blade. A flat-top grind might not provide the cleanest possible cut, especially when compared to other types.
5.2 Alternate Top Bevel (ATB)
Another common type of table saw blades is the alternate top bevel or ATB. As the word suggests, you will find that teeth are at different angles. The manufacturers usually alternate them, and the purpose is to achieve the shearing action.
That is the critical difference compared to the flat top grind. It chops the material, while the ATB shears it. It makes these tools a great choice for wood and any other application that requires a shearing action. If you want to maximize the shearing, aim for steeper bevels. However, please note that these tools go dull quickly, which means you might need a table saw blade sharpening sooner than usual.
5.3 Combination (ATBR)
The confusion about combination blades is because of their acronym ATBR. You will rarely find that it says “combination” on the tool because the abbreviation describes this type.
TBR stands for “alternate top bevel/raker.” That indicates this tool is a combination of the previous two, although the manufacturer has a usual setup. You will find that all teeth come in five groups – a single flat-top tool follows four ATB teeth. Another critical thing to note is that the gullet between the groups is bigger than usual. The idea is to achieve the best possible performance – the raker does the cutting, and the other four teeth remove any waste behind it.
5.4 Triple-Chip Grind (TCG)
The fourth table saw blade type we will mention is the triple-chip grind. These combine “trapeze” teeth that are high and “raker” teeth, and the ultimate goal is the capability of cutting tough materials. Those materials can include strong plastics, MDF, and laminates. Even if you are cutting non-ferrous metal, you can trust the TCG blade to do the job right.
As for the working process, it is similar to the combination blade. The chamfered tooth cuts the material, and the other does the cleaning. It is worth noting that triple-chip grind blades have better durability than alternate top bevels (ATB), especially if using them on hard applications.
Section 6 How to Choose a Table Saw Blade According to the Cutting Material
Caption: Man Cuts Wood on a Circular Saw
The next thing to consider when picking the best table saw blade is the cutting material. You will find that the task you want to perform is also important for choosing the right tool.
Take a look at these suggestions that will help you pick the right unit for the desired job.
6.1 Ripping Saw Blades
Let’s say that you have a wooden board that you want to divide into two pieces, and you want to do it quickly. Using a flat top grind blade is the best choice because it is the fastest option you have. The precision won’t be optimal, and the cut won’t be the cleanest possible, but it will do the job efficiently.
Are you cutting hardwood? If the material is tougher than usual, you might need to go with at least 40 teeth in the configuration. For softer materials, even a 24-tooth FTG will do. As long as you pick a top-quality table saw blade, you might not even need any sanding to achieve a satisfying finish.
6.2 Crosscutting Saw Blades
If you are planning on performing cross-cutting projects, you can go with alternate top bevel teeth. We mentioned that their primary task is shearing, and that will come into play here.
The general rule for cross-cutting is that you need to find an ATB blade with many teeth. The lowest you should go for is 60, but don’t hesitate to use a 100-tooth option if you have one. Thanks to those teeth, you can achieve a smooth cross-cut that will exceed all your expectations.
If you plan on performing both ripping and cross-cutting, go for an ATBR blade. That combination will ensure that you don’t have to switch the blades back and forth while operating.
6.3 Sheet Goods Saw Blades
The first thing to clarify is what sheet goods are. Those can be plastic laminates, hardboards, MDF, melamine, particleboards, and plywood. Now, the choice will depend on the exact workpiece you plan to cut.
For example, you should be careful when cutting plywood because it is prone to tearing. That is why a combination or alternate top bevel blade is the right choice. If you are cutting across face veneers and seem delicate, make sure that the blade has 80 teeth.
ATB blades are suitable for dense applications like a hardboard, MDF, or melamine. On the other hand, a plastic laminate might be more suitable for a triple-chip grind. That is particularly true because it will do a good job and last for a long time without requiring sharpening.
6.4 Thin Kerf Saw Blades
If we are talking about a thin kerf table saw blades, that means their thickness should be 3/32″ or as close to that as possible. These are thin, which means they won’t cut as much wood on a single pass. That is why your table saw won’t have to use its motor to the max, which is excellent for preserving the tool.
You might not have a strong table saw, which is another reason you should look for a thin kerf blade. As long as you find the blade of optimal thickness, even a compact-sized and underpowered tool can cut hard materials.
Section 7 Is the Saw Blade with More Teeth Better?
Caption: Teeth on the Saw Blade
This rule doesn’t apply when choosing a table saw blade. The best number of teeth is the one that fits your application correctly.
If you ask the experts, they will say the blades’ standard size is between 40 and 50 teeth. Now, if you want to rip solid wood, the best choice might be a 24-tooth flat top grind blade. On the other hand, plastics and non-ferrous metals are most suitable for an 80-tooth triple chip grind. So this is the whole reason what you want to do with the blade and not the number of teeth.
It is far more critical to discuss the quality of the saw blade teeth. You want the teeth to have thick carbide tips. Additionally, check if the manufacturer fused them to the plate. Carbide tips can be of different quality, but how you operate the tool will also affect when the teeth go dull.
Section 8 Will the Cutting Kerf Width, Affect the Operation of the Saw Blade?
Yes, you will find that the kerf width is capable of affecting the operation. Each table saw blade comes with a slot that the blade saws into the application. Users talk about that slot under the name “kerf,” and you will find both thin and full-kerf options.
You will find that a standard kerf features a 1/8″ slot, which is why you should use them on tools with at least 3HP. Some devices don’t have a motor that strong. If it is under 3HP in your table saw, go with a thinner kerf that cuts a slotless than 1/8.”
A thinner kerf means more vibration, which is why you should consider using an accessory to dampen the vibration. Additionally, it might require some experience to achieve stability and the desired cut results.
A table saw a blade is a versatile tool capable of performing different tasks. However, choosing a suitable unit is imperative for doing every job right.
You can pick between different saw blade types and consider various tooth configurations. The cutting material also plays a role when choosing the right tool.
If you are looking for a top-quality table saw blade, NCCuttingTools can make them for you. Our company has the equipment, skills, and experience required to meet anyone’s needs related to the cutting tools. Give us a call to talk about your requirements and discover why we’ve been users’ favorite for years!