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Selecting the right saw blade

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Saw Blade Types

Today, there are more specialty saw blades to choose from than ever before. Although the most common sawblades are designed for ripping and crosscutting solid wood there are a number of specialty blades for cutting man-made sheet stock such as MDF and plywood, plastic coated materials such as melamine, and even demolition blades that are designed for cutting through an occasional nail.

circular saw for wood


Like a lot of woodworkers, I keep a combination blade, such as the AGE MD10-500, on my tablesaw much of the time. With its time-tested combination blade design, four alternate top bevel teeth with one flat-top raker, it effectively rips and crosscuts both solid wood as well as sheet stock, although not as effectively or efficiently as specialty blades. However, in many cases, the small tradeoff is worth it. I save a lot of time by not continually switching back and forth between rip and crosscut blades. So you’re probably thinking “why not just mount a combination blade on your tablesaw and leave it there?” The answer? It depends. For example, if I’m ripping a few boards for a drawer, the combination blade works fine. But when ripping a large stack of hardwood stock, I switch to a rip blade. The large gullets and aggressive tooth angle will smoothly and effortlessly rip all day long without bogging down the saw. And for silky-smooth miters, I use 80 tooth miter blade. The sharp 20 degree top bevel easily shears tough end-grain for gap-free miter joints. The bottom-line? You’ll often be more productive by taking a minute and switching to a specialty blade.

wood cutting circular saw


Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most popular styles of specialty blades and discuss how they may be put to use in your shop.

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