Rip and Crosscut Saw Blades

A brief discussion of saw blade types and quality considerations. October 26, 2005

What is the best table saw blade to buy? We have tried everything that Freud makes and several others. We use zero clearance throat plates, and mainly rip hardwoods and rip and crosscut plywood. Seems like we have lots of tearout on the plywood shortly after being put on. I am thinking about CMT, Forest Woodworker, and Leitz.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
I hope you are using different blades for each process. A blade for ripping lumber is very different than something used to cut plywood. The number of teeth, geometry and grind should all be different. A 10" rip blade should have around 40 teeth with a positive rake, and probably a triple chip grind. A 10" plywood blade will have around 80 teeth, an aggressive rake, and an ATB (alternate tooth bevel) grind.

Systematic and Everlast worked good for me when I was cutting on a Unisaw. Good cuts and good value. Forrest makes good blades, too. I would stay away from a combination blade. I have not had excellent results from them.

You might also want to play around with other variables. Blade height and feed rate are two things that you can control. The higher the blade, the sharper the entry angle, and more prone to tearout. Too low, and you will not evacuate the chips. Call the manufacturers and see if there is someone in tech support that can help you.

I believe a rip blade should have 18 or 24 tips on a 10" blade. It's less load on your machine and rips much easier. Otherwise, the above post is right - you need dedicated blades for each type of cutting. Contact a company called R.K.O. Saw and Tool. They make high quality blades at a better price than a lot of the big names, as well as making custom blades for some of those big names. Their quality and service is outstanding. Their knowledge of the product is also exceptional.

A rip blade for solid wood can be 10 to 24 teeth for a 10" blade and has a flat top grind, not a triple chip. The company that sharpens your blades should be offering technical support.

I have a Freud 24 tooth flat-top rip blade and the cut is not smooth. I'm trying to figure out what to buy. Forrest has a great reputation, but their rip offering is the Woodworker II, which is an atb grind, which to me is a combination blade. Freud offers flat top and triple chip, but I already have a Freud, which is unsatisfactory. Love to get the definitive answer.

I like Integra's glue-line rip 30 tooth tcg for ripping, and general purpose plus for crosscut. Very good blades for the money.

Good grief, guys. It's been a long time since I bought a 10" blade, but when I did, the 32 - 40 tooth blades were closer to glueline. If you are going to use a 24 tooth, why not use a chainsaw? Just kidding. Are you getting glueline cuts with a 24?

You should talk to your blade rep and your blade sharpener (if they're not the same shop). For ripping solid stock, I use a 10" blade with 24 TPI ATB&R. For crosscutting, I use either a 60 ATB or an 80 ATB. All with positive rake. For sheet goods (ply, melamine, etc.), I use an 80 TPI High ATB. Again, positive rake. For dados, I use a stacked cutter set with negative rake. This works for both ply and solid stock with minimal splintering.

Dump the Freud, CMT, etc. lines, as they are targeted to the weekend warrior. You'll do better with the commercial blades like Amanna and others in that category. My Amana blades do as good as or better than Forrest blades at 1/3 the price. Oh yes, I do have 1 Freud blade in the shop. It's a 50 tooth combo blade I use to cut down offcuts/waste so they fit in the trash bin.