Choosing a Saw Blade for a Radial Arm Saw

Advice on specs, and brand recommendations, for a furnituremaker's radial arm saw. July 29, 2012

Question
I have a Dewalt 14" radial arm saw. I saw crosscut 2 1/2 green red oak for my rocking chairs. I do not rip with this saw, just crosscut my length. What would be the best saw blade to buy?

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
First, make sure you get a blade with slightly negative rake (or hook), maybe 6 degrees negative. If you use the wrong blade, the saw will pull into the work and you will be trying to hold it from taking off. The proper blade would allow you to have the saw halfway through the cut and then take your hands off and it will just sit there (but do not do it!).

If you get too few teeth or large teeth, you will notice that on the exit side, it will be chipped. So you need a blade with more, rather than less, teeth. A 10" blade with 60 teeth would be good.



From contributor S:
Here in New Zealand I bought a DeWalt blade for my cross cut. It has a fine kerf of just 2mm and has totally improved the cross cutting power of my old Trojan. Hardly ever stall it now. It is a 12 inch blade. Not expensive, so I bought two.


From contributor W:
Radial arm saw blade would be:

14" x 60 tooth x .160 kerf x .118 plate 1" bore
0 deg hook part #RA1460A $134.00


From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
I have one 10" (60 teeth, 5/8" arbor and 6 degrees negative) from justsawblades.com. There are many other styles and manufacturers, but I like the slightly negative hook instead of zero. Note that you get what you pay for. Also, the larger the diameter, the more it costs, so I like the smaller sizes (about half of a 14" cost).


From contributor W:
Gene is correct - smaller blades are less money - but limit you to the thickness of material you can cut. Very true statement - you get what you pay for.


From contributor B:
I would contact Forest Mfg. in Clifton, NJ, USA. They by far manufacture the finest saw blades, and will make them to your specs. Prices are fair and customer service is excellent. They advertise in many publications including Fine Woodworking. I have been using their blades on my chop, table, and radial saws for years and would never use anything else.


From contributor C:
DeWalt also makes a decent blade, and they arenít so expensive either. If you want to experiment, I would go this route, but I second the vote on Forrest blades; they cut real nice. I stopped using my DeWalt RAS because it was a simple 10" home version with inaccuracies, but the 14" DeWalt is a pretty good saw and sounds perfect for your intended use.

Do you need to get finish cuts? Or are you just looking for rough cuts to length? The answer to this question will tell you how many teeth to get. Between 60 and 80 is a good choice. The negative tooth angle is very important; as Gene said, you donít want your blade to start climbing the work.

Play it safe. Keep your hands far from the blade. I didnít like the way the blade travels towards my hands. This and the inaccuracy of my RAS is what led me to discontinue its use.



From contributor N:
Between my own business, working as a custom cabinetmaker, and College of the Redwoods classes, I have used almost every professional/industrial blade out there - Skarpaz, Leitz, CMT, Amana, Freud, Forrest. The best blades hands down are the Tenryu blades. I have been phasing out all of my other blades to replace them with Tenryu blades. They have the best cut quality and last forever between sharpenings. Just a word of caution: look for the industrial series or the gold medal series, though - the others are more of a consumer grade.