Peter's Picks & Tips


What saw blade should I use?
Today's sawblades are remarkable testaments to engineering.  But you don't need to be an engineer to understand the basics and choose the right blade.  Here's a rundown of the essential terms:

--  It goes without saying that Carbide needs to be at the tip of every sawblade you put on a machine.  The days of steel tips are long over. This brings us to the next crucial item.

--The steel plate or body of the blade.  The plate is ground flat and smooth in order to achieve the truest possible cut. Standard blades have thicker plates and provide smoother cuts than comparable thin-kerf blades. However, generally speaking, thin-kerf blades require less horsepower.


 --Saw Blade bodies heat up and expand during cutting.  Slots in the plate help dissipate heat and provide for expansion so that the blade remains flat and cuts true.

--The large gullets on rip blades are designed to efficiently pull the sawdust from the kerf. The teeth have a positive rake angle for aggressive cutting. The tops of the teeth are flat or slightly beveled to efficiently remove the sawdust from the kerf.

--Crosscut blades have a high tooth count for a smooth cut across the grain. The top of each tooth is sharply beveled to shear the wood cleanly.

--Radial-arm blades and sliding miter saw blades have a negative tooth angle to help prevent these types of saws from self-feeding.


     There are now more specialty saw blades to choose from than ever before.  Like a lot of woodworkers, I keep a combination blade, such as the FREUD LU    on my tablesaw much of the time.  It effectively rips and crosscuts both solid wood and sheet stock, but not as effectively as a specialty blade.  So when do you save time by leaving on the combo blade and when is it better to switch blades?    If, for example, I'm ripping a large stack of hardwood stock, I switch to a rip blade.  And if I'm ripping boards to be joined together I use the FREUD Glue Line Rip (LU   ).  Ultimately you'll often be more productive by taking a minute to switch blades to the specific job you need it for.