The Best Table Saw Blades for Sharp Cuts
While a good table saw makes large jobs easier and more accurate when it comes to cutting wood, it’s only as good as its blade. A quality blade used for the right job can help you achieve the intended results, but the wrong blade can quickly ruin a DIY project.
Stroll through the saw blade section of the tools department in your local home improvement store, and you’ll soon realize that you have many options to consider. Selecting the right blade for your table saw and projects can be confusing.
Whether you need a quality all-purpose blade to cover all your needs or a specialty blade for making ripping lumber more efficient, read on to learn about some of the best table saw blade options available.
Types of Table Saw Blades
Understanding how saw blades meet specialized needs is crucial to picking the right one for the job. Below are some common types of saw blades you can buy.
Manufacturers design crosscut saw blades to make smooth cuts across the wood’s grain. These saws have more teeth and feature fewer gullets. A 10-inch crosscut blade may have 60 to 80 teeth, allowing it to make more cuts with each revolution than a ripping or a combination blade.
With fewer spaces between the teeth, crosscut blades remove less material, resulting in a smoother cut. It also means it takes these blades longer to move through wood. Crosscut blades are an excellent choice for finish carpentry and other applications that require precision and a smooth finish.
Ripping saw blade is designed to cut along or with the grain of the wood. Since it’s easier to cut with the grain than against it, these blades feature flat teeth configurations that can quickly remove large chunks of wood. Ripping blades typically have 10 to 30 teeth with more severe teeth angles of at least 20 degrees. Fewer teeth on the blade allow for more gullets for removing material.
While this design makes ripping blades ideal for rip cuts, they are not ideal for cross cuts since they produce too much tear-out, (the amount of wood removed with each cut,) plus this type of blade often leaves behind ragged edges.
General-purpose combination blades can handle both crosscuts and rip cuts. Combination blades find a middle ground between crosscut and ripping blades with 40 to 50 teeth. While they may not be the best blade for ripping or cross cuts, they can do both effectively, eliminating the need to change blades mid-project. Combination blades work well for projects that demand both types of cuts but don’t necessarily need the smooth finish of a crosscut blade or the speed of a ripping blade.
A dado blade is a specialty blade used to create wide grooves in wood for shelving, door panels, and drawers. Whereas other saw blades consist of one flat metal blade, dado blades come in two different designs: stacked and wobble.
Stacked blades consist of multiple cutters and spacers sandwiched together to create a wider profile. Manufacturers configure stacked blades with ripper style blades and spacers in the middle and crosscut blades outside. This setup allows the blade to remove large amounts of material while maintaining a smooth cutline along the groove’s edges.
Wobble blades rotate in an offset pattern to cut wide grooves as they spin through the wood. Wobble blades include an adjuster that alters the width of the wobble. Although wobble blades don’t offer the same quality cut as a stacked blade, they are usually lower-priced.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Table Saw Blade
Determining which table saw blade is right for your needs can be overwhelming. Read on to learn about the factors to consider before making a purchase.
Most DIYers can get away with a single combination blade for all of their project needs. Combination blades make both rip cuts and crosscuts across standard lumber while leaving edges clean enough to meet most project demands. Combination blades also reduce the added cost of buying multiple blades and also save time by eliminating the need to switch the blades between cuts.
Ripping, crosscut, and dado blades offer more specialized cutting and are must-haves for many carpentry projects such as furniture, cabinetry, and built-ins. For jobs that involve a lot of ripping, purchase a ripping blade, which will save time and effort while still leaving a clean edge for joining pieces of wood. A rip cut blade is also ideal for cutting hardwoods as it will cut through this tougher material without wearing out the blade.
Keep a cross-cut blade handy for ultra-smooth carpentry cuts. Crosscut blades offer the cleanest cutting edge, making them ideal for woodworking projects that require precision cuts. A dado blade is a must-have for shelving, furniture, and cabinetry projects that require recessed grooves.
Kerf refers to the thickness of the blade. The higher the kerf, the more material is removed with each cut. A full kerf blade is 1/8-inch thick. Thicker kerf blades resist bending while moving through the wood; however, they require more power from the saw to work effectively. Most table saws can handle standard 1/8-inch blades. If your table saw is equipped with less than 3 horsepower, consider using a thinner kerf blade. Thin kerf blades require less power, are more precise, and create less waste with each cut but are more likely to warp while cutting through the wood.
Blade size does affect performance. Smaller blades on equally powered saws spin faster, resulting in smoother cuts. A 12-inch blade requires more power to rotate and is more likely to wobble than a smaller blade. As such, a larger blade won’t make as precise a cut as a smaller one but does offer greater depth, allowing it to cut through thicker boards.
Most tables saws use 10-inch blades, although there are some variances, so check your table saw before making a purchase. While it is possible to fit a table saw with a smaller blade, never attempt to equip a 10-inch table saw with a larger blade.
We recently talked about the DeWalt Oscillating tool and how every DIY’er should own one! It’s such a versatile tool that can tackle many projects and make your DIY life much easier. But an important part of this tool is the blade attachments.
I’ve been using the plunge cutter wood blade that came with the tool kit for roughly 4 months. I’ve cut anything from 2×4’s to paneling and dry-wall with it. And it still performs like it did on day one.