What does tooth count mean?
A saw blade consists of a set of teeth doing the action of cutting. Depending on various variables, including application, the number of teeth varies. So you will have to decide whether you will use the blade for ripping or crosscutting. Ripping or cutting with the wood grain needs a blade with fewer teeth than crosscutting, which involves cutting through the grain.
You may not be sure what kind of cutting you are going to do, or maybe you intend to do both ripping and crosscutting. The optimal solution is the combination, also known as general-purpose blades. They contain more teeth than a ripping blade but less than the crosscutting version, allowing them to manage both functions.
A blade with more teeth, in general, allows a cleaner cut but runs hotter. Three to five teeth should be engaged during a rip cut to prevent overheating. Five to seven teeth should do the job for crosscuts and sheet materials.
A blade with fewer teeth for cutting thick stock would be preferable to maintain the right engaged-tooth ratio. Adjusting the blade’s height (with the blade guard in place) is another option; it decreases the number of teeth in the cut by raising the blade higher. It also raises the hook’s angle, which makes the blade more vicious, so the quality of the cut drops.
What saw blade do you need?
Usually, you’ll use a saw to cut lumber both across the grain and with the grain. For this, a general-purpose or combination saw blade is needed. You’ll want to use a rip saw blade if you’re cutting with the grain. You’ll want a crosscut saw blade for cutting through the grain only.
For the specific cut style, you are making (crosscut or rip), the advantage of using a saw blade is that the blades made for such particular cuts will cut easier and quicker, and they will also last longer. You’d save time and money purchasing a crosscut blade for repetitive tasks, such as cutting 2x4s to length to frame a house. You would spend a lot of time adjusting the blade for projects that involve all cut styles if you used the rip and the crosscut blades so that a combination would make far more sense.
If you’re not sure what kind of cutting you’re going to do, or maybe you’re going to do both ripping and crosscutting. The best solution is the combination, also defined as general-purpose blades. They have more teeth than a ripping blade but less than the crosscutting variant, allowing both tasks to be managed.
Always go for quality blades. They don’t scrimp on carbide or steel. Their teeth, made for long life, can be sharpened several times. Economy blades almost always have thin steel plates that are stamped. Old technology and a noisy blade are signaled by expansion slots that end bluntly in open holes.
What type of saw blade do you have?
Another aspect to consider in selecting the correct blade is the type of saw you’re using. Following are two of the most widely used power saws:
At a variety of angles, miter saws can perform rapid, precise wood cutting. Choose a blade with a higher tooth count, as these saws are usually used for crosscutting.
The best approach for cutting large lumber or plywood panels is table saws. Ripping and crosscutting can be needed for this application, meaning you should select a combination blade. To use as required, you may also buy both ripping and crosscutting versions, but this may generate an additional cost and may entail more frequent blade switching.
How many teeth does a saw blade have?
Depending on the form and length, the number of teeth on a saw blade varies. The options available typically include:
10-inch blades with 50-teeth and 12-inch blades with 60-teeth—they are designed with sufficient efficiency for both crosscut and rip-cut, though they will not do either job quite as well as blades intended explicitly for the purpose. For general framing carpentry or a quick worker who doesn’t need extreme accuracy, they’re a great option.
10-inch blades with 24-30 teeth and 12-inch blades with 40 or fewer teeth—they have a lower TPI count, wider teeth, and deep gullets between the teeth. They are intended to cut parallel to the grain of the wood. The teeth are flat-topped on a rip-cut blade to enable them to cut the wood fibers effectively.
10-inch blades with 60 teeth and 12-inch blades with 80 teeth—they usually have a higher TPI count and smaller teeth, designed to cut wood perpendicular to the wood grain softly. The teeth have tips with alternating bevels; teeth with left-facing bevels are alternated with teeth that have right-facing bevels.
Rip and crosscut blades are the two fundamental forms of the table saw blades. Rip blades have a smaller number of teeth and bigger gullets, ensuring more space to clear the sawdust and debris. These blades are meant to cut along the grain of the material on the table, but the resulting cuts are rougher even if they cut quicker.
A crosscut blade is the best choice if better cuts are what you have set out to accomplish. The resulting cut is much smoother, but the feed rate is much slower because the teeth have less room for chip removal and because there are more teeth to cut through the wood.
There are combination blades that try to do both if you need both pace and smooth finishing. You may even come across unique cut blades, too. These are intended to cut through certain materials, such as plywood, hardwood, metal, plastic, or even cement.