Blades for table saws need to be able to perform a number of basic tasks extremely well. Because table saws are for long cuts, you’ll find yourself using them for many purposes and numerous materials.
You’ll use your table saw for different tasks, particularly if you have other saws available like a hand saw or a miter saw. In this case, you may find your table saw useful for performing one type of cut over another. For instance, if your miter saw is set up to make crosscuts — that is, cuts across the grain of wood instead of parallel to it — then you may want to have a dedicated rip saw blade on your table saw. Ripping blades have a high feed rate and are useful for long, straight cuts along the wood’s grain, typically to split a long board into smaller parts.
Your table saw blade might also need to handle gummier, denser materials like plywood, sheet metal, plastic and particle board, and you may have a miter saw ready for all the necessary lumber cuts. In this case, you’d use a dedicated blade on your table saw for cutting through tougher material.
It’s also likely that you’re looking for an all-around blade for your table saw — one capable of cutting both across the grain and along it. Whatever your preference, a quality blade will make the difference.
Benefits of Having a High-Quality Table Saw Blade
Table saws are designed to improve accuracy, save time and reduce the effort needed to make a straight cut. The blade is what ultimately creates the cut, so investing in a high-quality blade will save you lots of time in the long run. Because lumber costs money, a slip in accuracy will cost you money as well — another reason that a high-quality blade can pay itself off with just one perfect cut on a large piece of plywood.
Table saw blades do a lot of work. Because the machine itself is so useful for long cuts, the blade is subject to long hours and grueling work conditions. It needs to be able to withstand a high amount of friction and the heat that results, and its teeth need to stay sharp so you don’t have to spend much time sharpening them.
When metal heats up, a number of things can happen to it. Primarily and unavoidably, the metal will expand. It can also warp and buckle, causing it to cut a wider slot in the wood and stray off course more easily. A cheap blade may be more susceptible to warping, which is why those long, skinny notches are built in. Additionally, a cheap blade’s teeth will inevitably dull faster than those of a high-quality blade.
When you invest in a good blade, that extra bit of money pays off when you don’t have to head back to buy a replacement. It also rewards your investment when your cuts are tight, smooth and precise.