A table saw is one of the most versatile and important tools in a woodworker’s shop. And having a quality blade on the table saw can help a craftsman turn out the best product possible. But did you know not all table saw blades are made the same?

There are several different types of table saw blades that are suited to a variety of different cuts. Read on to learn more about table saw blades and what goes into choosing the right one for the job.

Table Saw Blade Anatomy

Before we talk about different types of table saw blades, let’s explore the basic anatomy of a table saw blade. Table saws have five basic components:

    • Steel plate – This is the main body of the saw blade. Spread throughout the steel plate are a variety of cuts designed to help the blade expand safely as it heats up due to the friction of the cut, as well as to reduce the noise and vibration the blade puts off.
    • Carbide teeth – These are the teeth that do the actual cutting. The curved space between the teeth is called the gullet and helps to remove wood shavings that come off as the blade cuts through the material.
    • Arbor hole – This is the hole in the center of the blade where the blade mounts onto the table saw.
    • Kerf thickness – This is a measurement of how much material is lost to the thickness of the blade itself during the cut. Standard kerf thickness for a table saw blade is 1/8”, which means if you cut five inches off a six-inch piece of material, the piece you’ll have left over will only be 7/8”, not a full inch.
    • Coating – Most table saw blades have some type of coating (often Teflon) designed to help the blade move through the wood easier and keep the heat down.

No matter what else changes on a table saw blade, you can always find these basic components.

Types of Blade Teeth

When you start comparing specific table saw blades, the biggest difference among them is the type of teeth they have. There are four basic types of teeth a table saw blade can have: flat top grind, triple chip grind, alternate top bevel, and high angle alternate top bevel.

    • Flat top grind (FTG) – These teeth have flat tops on them, which helps them to hold an edge well. They work well for ripping through wood quickly, but they can leave marks on the material.
    • Triple chip grind (TCG) – These teeth are beveled on the corners, which helps to reduce marks on the material.
    • Alternate top bevel (ATB) – The teeth on these blades are beveled on alternating corners, which helps to create a cleaner cut. The steeper the bevel on the teeth, the cleaner the cut you’ll get.
    • High angle alternate top bevel (Hi ATB) – These teeth have the same alternating bevel as standard ATB blades, but the bevel is very steep. This creates an incredibly clean cut, but they do dull very quickly.

You can also get table saw blades that have a combination of different types of teeth. This helps them to be suited to more than one purpose or to offset some of the downfalls of the various teeth types.

General Purpose Blades

After types of teeth, table saw blades are usually categorized by what sort of cuts they’re used for. As you might guess from the name, general purpose blades can be used for a variety of different cuts. As a rule, they have forty to fifty teeth on them, often ATB or Hi ATB teeth.

Combination Blades

As we mentioned earlier, combination blades can include a variety of different types of teeth, although they usually have mostly ATB teeth. Mixed in will be either some FTG or TCG teeth, depending on what the craftsman plans to use them for. They often have between fifty and sixty teeth.

Ripping Blades

Ripping blades are designed to cut wood along the line of the grain (called a rip cut). These blades usually have FTG or ATB teeth, and they often have between twenty-four and thirty teeth. These qualities help the blade move through the material quickly.

Crosscut Blades

Crosscut blades are engineered to cut wood across the grain of the wood (called a crosscut). Since the wood tends to fray more on crosscuts, these blades usually have ATB or Hi ATB teeth to create cleaner cuts. They also usually have between 60 and 96 teeth, providing even more precision.

Dado Stacks

Dado stacks are a specialized type of table saw blades designed for very thick cuts. Dado joints use a channel cut into the face of a piece of wood. You slide another piece of wood into that channel perpendicular to the original piece of wood.

Dado stacks are composed of multiple blades – two outside blades with ATB teeth and inner blades with FTG teeth. All of these blades go on the table saw at once, allowing the craftsman to cut the channel needed for a dado joint in one go. They’re a specialized tool, but they’re hard to beat when using this type of joinery.

Throat Plates

Hand-in-hand with table saw blades, we have throat plates. These accessories fit into the slot in a table saw where the blade comes up. They help to close the gap around the blade and prevent debris and wood chips from lodging in the workings of the saw.

There are different types of throat plates you can get, depending on the blade you’re using and your particular needs. For instance, a dado blade will obviously need a wider slot in the throat plate than a standard blade. And zero clearance throat plates that sit very close to the blade can help to create a cleaner cut on the material.

Get Expert Advice on Your Project

Choosing the right table saw blade requires a craftsman to consider a number of factors, including the kind of cut they’re making and how clean it needs to be. The four different tooth types and the various combinations you can make with them create blades that are suited to different types of cuts.

When you need a piece of fine furniture crafted with utmost attention to detail at every stage of the building process, reach out to us at The Handsome Home. We’re dedicated to bringing your home décor visions to life. Contact us today so we can talk about your next project.

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