Choosing Cutting Saw Blades
A saw blade is a critical tool in any woodworker's arsenal.
It helps ensure that you cut a clean, smooth finish on your project. It also makes the job easier by minimizing the amount of time you spend sharpening your saw.
When you're looking for a new saw blade, it's important to consider the types of cuts you plan to make. This will help you decide if you need a specific type of saw blade, or if you can get away with a general-purpose one.
For example, if you're making a coffee table from hardwood, you might want to use a crosscut blade that leaves a finely finished surface. You might also consider using a rip blade if you need to quickly remove wood along the length of the grain.
Rip cutting is typically done with a thinner kerf and lower TPI (tooth per inch) than crosscutting. This allows you to move the saw along the grain more easily and cut a lot more material in a shorter time.
The TPI on a ripping blade usually starts in the 24 to 28-teeth range, with some higher TPI blades available. This is because a rip blade is designed to remove material faster, which means the spaces (gullets) in-between teeth are deeper and the chiseling action of the teeth is more aggressive.
In addition, a rip blade's gullets and teeth are also slightly shallower than those of a crosscut blade, which prevents the buildup of heat in the blade. This is an especially important consideration when cutting hardwood, as heat can cause the blade to wobble or vibrate.
Another factor to consider is the hook angle of the teeth on the blade, which is often referred to as the rake angle. A positive hook angle enables the blade to grip the cut more tightly and produce an excellent through-cut, while a negative hook angle causes the blade to scrape the cut.
When choosing a ripping blade, you'll want to choose a tooth count that's suitable for the thickness of the lumber you're working with. Tooth counts of 38 or more are preferred for thicker materials such as plywood, while lower TPIs in the 30 to 40-teeth range work well on thinner lumber.
You'll also want to consider how many re-sharpenings you plan to do on the blade, which will affect its durability. If you're going to be using the blade for a long period of time, you'll probably want to invest in one with C3-grade micro-grain carbide teeth that are tough enough to withstand a few re-sharpenings.
Finally, if you're cutting dense or hard-to-cut materials like plastic laminate, solid surfaces, and non-ferrous metals, you may need to choose a TCG or FTG configuration of teeth.
These configurations have an ATB (alternating top bevel) tooth at the front of the blade, followed by a chamfered or FTG (triple-chip grind) tooth at the back.ZCDJ-073-084 Steel Surface Color Slot Arbor Wood Circular Saw Blades