Types of Saw Blades for Table Saw

As a woodworking enthusiast and advisor, I understand the importance of choosing the right tools for the job. When it comes to table saws, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is selecting the appropriate saw blade. The type of blade you use can significantly impact the quality and precision of your cuts. In this article, we’ll explore the world of table saw blades, discussing their various types and functions. By the end, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision on which blade is best suited for your woodworking needs.

When you purchase a new table saw they usually provide a general purpose blade that is just OK.

The best thing I did for my projects was to purchase a specialty glue line rip blade for my table top glue ups. I also purchased and ultra fine high quality cross cut blade. Premium saw blades really make a difference especially.

If you’re on a budget choose a premium general purpose blade. Don’t cut back on this one expense

Introduction to Table Saw Blades

Table saw blades are the unsung heroes of woodworking. They are the components responsible for making accurate and clean cuts through different types of wood. The choice of a table saw blade isn’t a one-size-fits-all decision; it depends on the specific woodworking task at hand. Before diving into the details of each blade type, let’s first understand the fundamental role of table saw blades.

The Role of Table Saw Blades

Table saw blades are circular cutting tools designed to fit onto the arbor of a table saw. They consist of various teeth, or cutting tips, that are strategically positioned along the blade’s circumference. These teeth make contact with the workpiece and, through their rotation, create the cut. The number, shape, and arrangement of these teeth vary from one blade type to another, which makes each blade suitable for specific tasks.

Precision and Efficiency

When it comes to woodworking, precision and efficiency are of paramount importance. A well-chosen table saw blade can provide you with the following advantages:

  1. Clean Cuts: A high-quality blade leaves smooth, splinter-free cuts, reducing the need for additional finishing work.
  2. Speed: The right blade can make your cutting process faster, saving you time and effort.
  3. Material Adaptability: Different blades are designed for various wood types, thicknesses, and cutting techniques, giving you versatility in your projects.
  4. Safety: Using the appropriate blade for your task enhances safety by minimizing the risk of kickback and binding.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of table saw blades, let’s delve into the different types and their specific functions.

Types of Table Saw Blades

In this section, we will explore the various types of table saw blades, their designs, characteristics, and the functions they excel at. Understanding these blade types is crucial for making informed decisions in your woodworking projects.

Rip-Cut Blades

Freud-Heavy-Duty-rip-8-24T-FTG-1 Types of Saw Blades for Table Saw

Rip-cut blades are the workhorses of woodworking. Their primary function is to make long, parallel cuts along the grain of the wood. These blades typically have fewer teeth, which allows them to remove material quickly. If you’re working on tasks like cutting boards to width or ripping large sheets of plywood, a rip-cut blade is your go-to choice.

There are also specialty rip cut blades used for joinery work that incorporate a flat tooth grind (FTG) tooth design. With my Dewalt jobsite table saw that takes a 8-1/2″ blade I use the 8″ Heavy Duty Rip from Freud with a full kerf for my table top glue-up projects and are thrilled with the results.

Some people suggest a FTG blade will leave rough edges. I have done numerous rip cuts for table top glue ups and I have not experienced this using this particular blade from Freud.

Cross-Cut Blades

Freud-fine-finish-48-1024x1024 Types of Saw Blades for Table Saw

Cross-cut blades are designed for making perpendicular cuts to the wood grain. They have a higher tooth count and often incorporate alternate top bevel (ATB) tooth designs. Cross-cut blades excel at providing clean, splinter-free cuts, making them ideal for tasks like cutting to length, mitering, or creating intricate joinery.

Combination Blades

Freud-combination-saw-blade Types of Saw Blades for Table Saw

Combination blades, as the name suggests, offer a versatile solution for woodworkers. They are designed to handle both rip-cutting and cross-cutting tasks. While they may not excel in either function as much as dedicated blades, they are a convenient choice for those who need the flexibility to switch between tasks without changing the blade frequently.

Dado Blades

Freud-dado-set-saw-blade Types of Saw Blades for Table Saw

Dado blades are unique in their design and function. These blades are intended for creating grooves, dado cuts, and rabbets in wood. They consist of two outer blades and a set of chippers that allow you to adjust the width of the cut. Dado blades are essential for joinery and cabinetry work, enabling you to create precise joints and recesses.

Note that dado blades will not work on many jobsite table saw due to the shorter arbor on the saw.

5. Specialty Blades

In addition to the fundamental blade types mentioned above, there are several specialty blades designed for specific woodworking applications. These include molding heads for decorative edge profiles, laminate blades for cutting laminate materials, and more. These blades cater to specialized needs and can enhance the quality and efficiency of your projects.

Table Saw Blade Teeth Comparison

Teeth DesignCharacteristicsBest Applications
Alternate Top Bevel (ATB)Pointed teeth with alternating bevels. Provides clean, smooth cuts. Suitable for cross-cutting and general-purpose use.Cross-cutting, fine woodworking, plywood, and laminates.
Triple-Chip Grind (TCG)Combination of flat-top teeth and beveled teeth. Provides clean cuts in hard materials. Reduces splintering.Cutting laminate, melamine, hardwood, and non-ferrous metals.
Flat-Top Grind (FTG)Flat-topped teeth with no bevels. Cuts aggressively and efficiently but may leave rough edges.Rip-cutting, softwood, and heavy-duty tasks.
High Alternate Top Bevel (Hi-ATB)Extremely pointed teeth with high bevel angles. Provides ultra-smooth cuts and reduced tear-out.Fine woodworking, veneered plywood, and hardwoods.
Select a saw blade style from the above table with teeth design that’s best for your application

What is Table Saw Blade Kerf?

One crucial aspect often overlooked is the table saw blade kerf. Let’s delve into this term to help you make informed decisions when choosing the best saw blade for your woodworking projects.

You will see terms like “full kerf” or “thin kerf” when shopping for a saw blade. I tried using a thin kerf blade to rip a board and it would jam up at the riving knife. Most riving knives thicknesses are designed for use with full kerf blades. I had to remove the knife to proceed.

Understanding Kerf

Firstly, let’s clarify what kerf means. In woodworking, kerf refers to the width of the material removed by a saw blade while making a cut. A narrower kerf results in less material wastage, making your cuts more efficient and precise.

Also, blade thickness is determined by kerf style. Saw blade thicknesses vary by kerf style and manufacturer.

Choosing the Right Kerf Size

When selecting a table saw blade, consider the thickness of the material you frequently work with. For fine woodworking tasks, a blade with a smaller kerf is ideal, as it ensures minimal waste and precise cuts. On the other hand, for rough carpentry, a wider kerf might be more suitable, speeding up the cutting process but with slightly less precision.

Moreover, the type of wood matters. Dense hardwoods may require a different blade with a specific kerf compared to softer woods. Always factor in the intricacies of your projects to optimize your blade choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I use a single blade for all my woodworking projects?

While a versatile blade exists, it’s recommended to have a selection of blades with different teeth design and kerf sizes to accommodate various materials and project requirements.

Q2: How often should I replace my table saw blade?

Blade replacement frequency depends on usage and maintenance. Regularly inspect your blade for dullness or damage, and replace it as needed to maintain optimal performance.

Some blades can be sharpened where economically feasible. Freud offers a network of blade sharpeners on their website.

Conclusion

We’ve explored the basics of table saw blade types and their critical role in woodworking. We’ve also touched on the different types of blades and their primary functions. Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or just starting out, understanding the right table saw blade for the job is essential for achieving the best results in your woodworking projects.

Jim Graf

I started with ZERO tools a few years back. I've learned a lot and built skills and confidence to do most any project. With this site, I'd like to share and empower others to take up woodworking and build their skill level and confidence, too. Anyone can do this!


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