The teeth on your saw blade are not to be taken for granted. You will need to have a good idea how many teeth and in what configuration will be best for the type of woodwork project that you are working on. Choosing a blade with with wrong number of teeth, for example, can mean the difference between a nice, smooth finish and one that is rough and full of splinters. Read on to find out about how differences in the teeth on a blade make them suitable for different projects.
How Many Teeth
The number of teeth that you should look for on the saw blade that you want will depend largely on the type of wood work project you are working on. Saw blades with less teeth more commonly used to make rip cuts lengthwise on longer pieces of wood and those with more teeth are most often used to make crosscuts because they give a cleaner, smoother finish. The blade that you would use to rip lumber will normally have about 24 teeth and will be able to cut through long pieces of wood quickly. The blade that you would use to make a crosscut will however, typically have anywhere between 60 – 80 teeth and cut through wood at a slower pace. So if you are working on a woodwork project that will require a very smooth, fine finish you should get one that has more teeth but if you plan to make rip cuts then you will be better off with a blade with fewer teeth.
Configuration of Teeth
The way the teeth on a saw blade are positioned and grouped will also be a significant factor in determining the type of woodwork project that it will be best suited for. There are basically five different tooth configurations that you can find on a saw blade: high alternate top bevel (Hi-ATB), triple chip grind (TCG), combination tooth (comb.), alternate top bevel (ATB) and flat-top (FT). FT blades are perhaps the most commonly used type because they are used to make rip cuts in both soft and hard woods. Blades with ATB tooth configuration have teeth alternating between a left and right hand bevel and when used to make cross cuts in materials like natural woods they will produce very smooth cuts. Comb blades have teeth in both the ATB and Ft configurations and can be used for both ripping and crosscutting as a result. TCG blades are best for cutting materials like plastics and laminates while blades with teeth in the Hi-ATB configuration are suitable for projects that require an ultra fine finish.
The Width of the Kerf
Another important thing to consider on your saw blade teeth is the width of slot that is cut into the material by the blade – the kerf. A saw blade will typically either have full kerf (about 1/8 ”) or thin kerf (about 3/32”). Full kerf blades will remove more material because they make bigger slots and they will work best with saws that have a 3hp motor or better. Thin kerf blades can be used with saws that have less horsepower because they require less energy to work and they won’t bog down lower-powered saws. You may think that because thin kerf blades are thinner they will be less stable, but advances in technology have made it possible so that thin kerf blades, like those found on some Freud saw blades that use vibration-dampening systems, can compete with even the best full-kerf blades.
Now that you know all the important factors concerning saw blade teeth you will be able to choose one more wisely. It’s a good thing that you did some research too, as now your woodwork project has a better chance of coming out just the way you want it.