Study Up On Saw Blades!
Saw Blades 101
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What is a…
- Heel is the end nearest to the handle.
- Toe is the end furthest from the handle.
- Teeth are tiny, pointy protrusions you’ll find on the cutting side of the saw.
- Gullet is the space between the teeth.
- Rake is the angle of the front face of a tooth that can be found by looking at it from an angled perpendicular to the length.
- The arbor or mandrel is the saw motor shaft that spins the blade.
Saw Blade Basics
- TPI or teeth per inch is a system that measures the amount of teeth found on a saw blade.
- Crosscutting is the act of cutting or sawing against the grain of wood.
- Combination saw blades are utilized to rip and crosscut wood.
- Dado is a flat-bottomed recessed cutting method used to create an edge with precise grooves.
- General purpose saw blades have a lower tooth count and are ideal for quick cross cutting and ripping.
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Saw Blades 102
Flat Top Grounds
Flat top grinds (FTG) are found on blades that rip wood with the grain. A flat-top ground blade usually has a steep positive hook and low tooth count, typically 10-30 teeth.
Combination Tooth (4-1)
The teeth on 4 ATB and one flat ground tooth are divided by a large gullet. Combo models use this design that is best for ripping or cross cutting solid wood, composites, manufactured panels.
High Alternate Top Bevel
High Alternate Top Bevel (H-ATB) is the name for teeth with a top bevel of roughly 25° or higher. These are commonly referred to as H-ATBs, and they excel at clean cuts in plywood, laminates, melamine veneers, and ultra-fine crosscuts in hardwoods.
Triple Chip Grind
The triple chip grind (TCG) also combines two different tooth grinds in one blade – a flat top grind and a trapezoidal top grind, which is essentially a flat top tooth with a chamfered top. The TCG alternates between a flat top “raker” and a trapezoidal top tooth which is slightly higher than the raker tooth. The TCG is durable and has a low chip out in brittle materials, making it suitable for cutting metals, laminate flooring, tough hardwoods, abrasive materials, and teak.
Alternate Top Bevel
Alternate Top Bevel (ATB) is a grind that features an alternating bevel across the top of each tooth, which angles from outside to inside. This blade type has been shown to reduce tear-out on cross-grain and plywood cuts while still being useful for ripping with the grain. ATBs are commonly used as general-purpose blades because they can handle most cutting jobs.
Positive/Negative Hook Angle
The hook angle measures the cutting power of a saw blade that it has. Positive angles (0° to 20°) are aggressive blades because they bite into the wood at an extreme and steep angle. In comparison, negative angles (-5° to 0º) offer fewer aggression cutters, giving you more control over how your cuts turn out if you’re trying for finesse or not as much aggressiveness in general.