Choosing a saw blade for woodworking projects can be a challenge. Though this seems to be a simple thing, there are so many things I wish I knew when I first got started. At the end of the day, we all want a clean cut with no chip out and the least amount of sanding. The best way to avoid bad cuts and cut safely is by picking the right blade for your materials.
In this post, I’m going to talk about some of the most used saw blades and the differences. I am no saw blade expert, but there are a few things that I have learned over the years. Unfortunately, I cannot review every sawblade because there are so many. There are blades to cut wood, different kinds of wood, steel, aluminum, concrete, tiles, and I’m sure I’ve missed a few. The point is, there is a lot, but I only want to focus on the ones I have in my shop and the ones I tend to use the most.
Before you turn on your saw and run lumber through it, you must think of a few things first — for example, what material, it really matters. This can be plastic, wood, or metal. With a material selected, we need to pick the right blade.
Saw blades teeth counts important?
When cutting solid lumber, you have to think about two directions going with the grain and cross-cutting the grain. If you want to cut both directions and end up with the cleanest cut, it’s important to use the correct blade.
Saw blades with fewer teeth are designed to cut more aggressively and remove more wood fibers with each rotation of the blade. The fewer the teeth, the easier it is to cut lumber. Each blade and their teeth count is explicitly designed for a particular application. 24 teeth blade is considered a low count tooth blade. They are uniquely designed with a large space behind each tooth known as gullets to collect and move large chips as the blade spin.
Some blades are designed with a raised area behind the teeth. That is known as an anti-kickback feature, I have only seen these on the blade with low teeth count. These blades are perfect for ripping lumber in the same direction as the grain. When it comes to cross-cutting, using blades with fewer teeth could result in tear-out.
I have a few different ripping blades in the shop: 18 teeth and 24 teeth. The 24 is more common, and it’s likely what you will see on construction sites, with framers, and anyone that is ripping solid lumber. For good practice, I would only recommend this for solid lumber, no plywood.
Hands-on experience with 24teeth blades.
- Have used on circular saw, table saws, and miter saw
- Rip through 3/4in, 1.5in, and 2in solid lumber.
- Eats through every lumber I have cut through.
- Have used for breaking down pallets
- Cuts clean when cutting in the grain direction
Blades with fewer teeth cuts easier, but don’t always leave the cleanest finish. That’s when you turn to a blade with a higher teeth count. The more teeth there is, the finer the cut. 60 teeth and up are considered finishing blades. When working with nice lumber, you want to use a blade to deliver the best result.
Ideally, after ripping down solid lumber with a 24 teeth blade, for example, use a 60 teeth + blade to cut against the grain when you need to make cross-cuts. This will ensure you deliver the cleanest cut. When cutting across the grain, there are fewer fibers to slow down or burn the blade.
Hands-on experience with 60 and 80 teeth blades.
- Great for crosscutting lumber
- Clean cuts, less sanding – an ultra-fine finish
- Works with hardwood and softwood
- Great for plywood
- MDF and Melamine
General Purpose blades:
It takes 30 seconds to a minute to change a blade on the table saw, my miter saw takes a lot longer. Either way, I don’t want to change these often. For convenience, I prefer to roll with a general-purpose blade. I tend to cut several materials, and for me, a multi-purpose blade makes sense. These blades usually have 40 plus teeth, and it meant to cut plywood, OBS, hardwood, softwood, pressure treated, and more. I have noticed clean cuts on both the miter saw and table saw.
In my shop, I have several blades for multiple applications. I have blades ranging from 6 1/2 inches, 7 1/4 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches.
The 6 1/2 inch and a 7 1/4-inch saw blades both go on circular saws. I have two different circular saws that fit each blade. For safety reasons is best to match the right blade with the right saw; this information is readily available on the tool somewhere or in the manual.
I have two miter saws on hand. One of them uses the 10-inch blade along with my table saw.
My second miter saw uses a 12-inch blade.
Below I will be presenting a number of blades, I do not have all these blades for each individual tools, but showing these gives a good visual. I tend to procrastinate when I have to change my saw blade, and I always try to find a way to work around it. After you change the saw blade, you realize it’s not so bad, but this is a battle each time I need to do it. Each saw blade I own has a different task. I have more of a verity for my circular saw because that’s my most used saw in the shop, plus changing the blade seems to be the quickest.
Sawblades can be very expensive, I wouldn’t consider myself a fine woodworker, so I tend to lean towards the general-purpose blades for most of my cutting needs. I still think about the purpose of the blade at the end of the day. I used to shop for more inexpensive blades, but I realize that I keep going through them rather fast and just didn’t cut right. As a newbie, I had to learn that you buy cheap you buy twice. I knew I had to explore, so I gave the red blades a try and never looked back. Right away, I notice they last longer, and there was more variety to choose from.
My miter saw is the only saw in the workshop that uses a 12-inch blade. The saw comes with a 32T general purpose blade, that blades cut pretty good as well, but I like to up the number a bit for my all-around blade. The Diablo 12″ x 44 teeth general purpose saw blade does an excellent job. These blades are designed for both the miter saw and table saw. When you see these take advantage, I never have any luck finding the dual pack at my local store. So I end up ordering them online.
Although I use 60 and 80 teeth blades, my go-to is the 44 teeth blades for my miter saw for me that’s like the sweet spot. They do cause a small amount of a tear out depending on the materials I’m cutting, but in general, they work for most things I throw at it. They’re suitable for cutting the following materials — plywood, OSB, pressure-treated wood, hardwood, Southwood, and crown molding. These blades are specially coated, with a non-stick perma shield to protect against heat, corrosion, and gumming up.
While this is similar to the 12-inch blade up above, I have the 10-inch version for my table saw. One difference is this is a 40 teeth blade vs. 44T. The Diablo 10in x 40 tooth General purpose blades are compatible with 10in table saw, and miters saw.
This blade cuts like butter, I have used them for several wood projects like pallets, all kinds of plywood, walnut, pine, oak, cedar, and maple. As long as it stays away from nails, these blades will deliver a clean cut for a long time. As I mentioned, this is one of those go-to blades; you want to have in the shop. It’s made of high-density carbide for long-lasting performance.
This is a bit out of the norm, but I have a few different circular saws on hand. I have collected them over the years there are a 6 1/2 inch cordless saw, 7 1/4 inch cordless saw and a 7 1/4 corded saws. Although it’s not needed, one of the reasons for having multiple circular saws is the fact that I can leave a particular blade on the saw.
The downside to that is I have to pick up multiple sizes because of the different size saw I currently have. Now, I didn’t go out and purposely bought two types of saw, it just happened that one of the saw came in a kit (the 6 1/2inch saw.
When it comes to my 6 1/2 inch battery-powered circular saw I only have two blades, the 40T and a 60T are my most used. I use them for breaking down plywood and doing smaller cuts around the shop. I like the portability of it being small and light weight.
- I haven’t had to use it much but the D0641R is A vanity blade and it’s compatible with the 6 1/2 inch corded or cordless circular saw’s. These are best for cutting plywood, laminate, melamine, OBS, hardwood, and 2 x 4 lumber
- I also have the D0660 ultra finish saw blade, this one is also for 6 1/2 inch cordless or corded circular saw’s. These are great for putting hardwoods, 2 x 4 lumber, laminate, melamine, plywood and trim work. Typically these leaves little to no tear out which can lead to little or no sanding.
I generally have the same blades as I do for the 6 1/2 inch circular saw as I do for my 7 1/4 inch circular saw. One difference here is I have many more blade options on hand. Just as a 6 1/2 in Circular saw I have the same blades for the 7 1/4 inch circular saw. In addition to those I also have a 24T Blade I used for cutting lumber and ripping materials.
Up to this point, all the blades covered has been for wood. Often times, I need to cut other materials such as metal, plastic, copper, and more. Since I have two of these blades, I’d figure I would shed some light on them, so you know these options or also available.
Generally, we think of circular saws, and we believe in merely cutting wood. Truth is they are one of the most versatile tools in the shop and hands-down. They are my favorite, although some may be a little hesitant to cut any other materials other than wood. If you’re very particular and you only want to use the circular saw for wood, that’s fine. One thing to consider is possibly going to a pawn shop and picking up a secondary saw.
Diablo steel demon metal blade
There are a few things you need to know about steel cutting blades; typically you want a saw that has low RPM. Most corded circular saw’s I have used been over 6000 RPM, So it’s essential to keep an eye on what RPM your saw runs at vs. the blade. Most woodworking circular saw blades are maxed around 8000 to 10,000 RPM that I have used.
The D0748CF Steel Demon is only rated at 5800 PRM. That’s a pretty significant drop off from wood cutting blades. To ensure you’re using the blades safely, it’s best to follow the recommendation on the blade. This is why they require a much lower RPM saw. Good thing, my circular saw Only delivers up to 4800 RPM, so this blade should not be an issue with this saw.
If you have a saw that fits the rating on this blade, to me it’s best to have one of these blades even if it’s just laying around for that time you may need it. This blade is made of tungsten titanium carbide for superior durability and designed to last five times longer than standard carbide blades. It’s a 7 1/4 inch 48T blade made for cutting mild steel and stainless steel up to a 1/4in thick.
Here are a few materials you can expect to cut with this blade
- Stud channels from 1/16th” to 1/4”
- Angle iron 1/16” to 1/4”
- Plates and bars 1/8” to 1/2”
- Pipes and tubes 1/8” to 1/4”
- EMT conduit 1/16” to 1/4”
- Threaded rods 1/4” to 1 1/2”
Not to be confused with the steel demon this the 7 1/4 inch 56 teeth aluminum blade, it’s designed to cut through several materials. Like most of the blades from the Freud selection, this blade is made of high-density carbide for a very long cutting life. With a laser-cut thin Kerf, it’s designed for fast and clean cuts leaving you with an ultrafine finish.
Unlike the steel blades, the D0756N can cut at a much faster RPM. This should work with any 7 1/4 inch circular saw. The D0756N and is designed to cut aluminum, plastic, copper, brass, and fiberglass.
The only downfall is if you’re not paying attention, you could easily confuse this blade with wood and other metal blades. Although the word aluminum is written on the blade over time, the coating could be erased due to cutting materials. As a tip, you could spray paint around the hole, so you can easily identify this at a later point.
Note: The teeth on D0756N is made a bit different. If you look below, you will see that every other blade has a dual bevel.
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