DIY

Choosing a Table Saw

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Table saw blade basics for operating your power tool. For general cutting of solid wood, along (ripping) and across (cross-cutting) the grain, plus some rough cutting in plywood, select a combination blade.
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Table saw blade basics for operating your power tool. For general cutting of solid wood, along (ripping) and across (cross-cutting) the grain, plus some rough cutting in plywood, select a combination blade.

Learn table saw basics and building tips you need to know.

Table Saw Blade Basics

Many otherwise great saws come from the factory with second-rate blades. Part of your commitment to getting excellent table-saw performance means buying a high quality, carbide blade that’s designed for the work you intend to do. Any blade worth owning includes small blocks of extra-hard carbide metal that form the cutting teeth around the blade’s circumference. These wear-resistant carbide blades outperform older all-steel equivalents by more than 10 to 1.

For general cutting of solid wood, along (ripping) and across (cross-cutting) the grain, plus some rough cutting in plywood, select a combination blade. Typical 10-inch-diameter combination designs have 50 teeth around the edge of the blade, gathered in groups of five, with a large space between each group to accommodate sawdust.

Heavy cutting of solid wood along the grain is best done with a dedicated ripping blade. These include a couple of dozen coarse teeth arranged evenly around the blade, with lots of space for sawdust dispersal between each tooth. Fine cutting of veneered plywood, melamine-coated particleboard and thin sheet materials is best done with an extra-fine blade, sold exclusively for the job. Blades of this sort usually have 80 teeth evenly spaced around the 10inch-diameter disc. All carbide blades can be resharpened professionally, yielding an extremely long working life.

Buy anti-kickback blades whenever you can. “Kickback” describes a sudden and dangerous event where the blade grabs the work piece and hurls it back at the table saw operator. The anti-kickback blade design includes a small ridge of metal in front of each tooth (or each group of teeth in the case of a combination blade). These ridges limit the amount of wood each tooth can bite off, yielding much safer operation. Anti-kickback designs don’t interfere with normal saw-blade action or performance; they just reduce the chances that a work piece will be caught and flung back at you by the blade.