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Saw Blade Types - Differences

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  • Saw Blade Types - Differences

    I see that there are many, many variations of blade types. Of particular note is the quantity of teeth. I wanted a blade that will produce a good clean cut on soft wood such as Pine.

    The blade that ships with the TS-3650 seems to be pretty much general purpose for cutting 2X4's, etc. I'd like to start making small projects out of Pine and I don't think that's a blade for the job.

    To that end, today I purchased the DeWalt Series 40, 10", 80 Teeth ATB, Ultimate Crosscut blade, their P/N DW3218TK. This can be seen at the following URL:

    Upon returning home I noticed at their Website that they also offer the DW3218 (note the lack of the "TK", or 'Thin Kerf' designation') as a "WOODWORKING Blade" at this URL:

    I do not understand the difference between their 'Coated Thin Kerf' product line and the 'Woodworking Blades' product line. Collectively both blade types can be seen at:

    I have emailed DeWalt with these questions about the differences but the short of it is that I want a blade that will do a nice clean job of cutting soft material such as pine for these little woodworking projects. I'm just starting out in this, and feel that those withing this Forum will have a better handle on what grade and types of blades are best suited for a particular job.

    Any idea what the difference is between the two? Should I have purchased the DW3218 rather than the 3218TK? Or have I blown it altogether and gotten the wrong blade type period? I.e., too many teeth? If so, can you recommend another blade?

    Thank you!

    [ 04-22-2004, 01:08 AM: Message edited by: lgldsr ]

  • #2
    First---I have several DeWalt blades and think they're extremely good----old Series 60s.

    Personally, I wouldn't even consider a thin kerf blade for both safety and performance reasons.

    They're claim to fame is that they supposidly can cut through wood easier (with less power required) than a standard kerf blade----and the coating (likely teflon) is supposed to cut down on friction.

    But, with a 3650, or similar saw, if you follow good habits, you'll never see the need for a thin kerf. By good habits, I mean keeping the saw properly aligned and the top waxed. I've got an old Craftsman, with a 1 hp motor. With my Series 60 rip blade, I've cut through 10/4 oak without breaking a sweat.

    You got a good start on a blade collection---now, get a good rip blade and you'll be on your way.


    • #3
      Thanks Dave. If not the Thin Kerf DeWalt, what would you recommend I get?

      You say "Series 60". The one I bought is a Series 80. Given that you've forgotten more than I KNOW about these details, what should I be looking for?
      Perhaps the "Woodworking Blade" as found at

      Thanks again - indeed greatly appreciated! [img]smile.gif[/img]


      • #4
        If you can exchange it, I'd go with the woodworking blades. I'm sure the one you have is of good quality. I'm a big fan of DeWalt blades, but, just think the thin kerf disadvantages outweigh the advantages. First, it's likely that you would have to change or modify the splitter on your saw since the width may be larger than the blade's when ripping. Second, if you ever get wood jamming up against the fence, the TK will have more flex and could really cause problems.

        From talking to a DeWalt guy at a ww'ing show---the Woodworker blades replaced the Series 60 I have. I've been very happy with mine. For comparrison, I had purchased an Oldham Signiture series general purpose blade, which was OK, but not as fantastic as it should have been for the price. When I wanted a rip blade, I bought the DW and really loved it, so thought it was worth it to try one of their general blades---again, superior to the Oldham.

        Also, since you said you'd be working with pine----any blade can get a pitch build-up, particularly from pine. I've found Simple Green is a great cleaning product for pitch---not toxic like oven cleaner and you won't risk lossening carbid tips.


        • #5

          Thank you for the invaluable input and the information re Pitch buildup. Much appreciated!


          • #6
            Hello Y'all,

            Allow me to throw a monkey wrench in the mix.

            I have found that when ripping soft woods, a quality 24 tooth thin-kerf blade is perfect for ridgid saws. I often use a Freud "Diablo" blade for this. The Diablo blade is affordable at $18-24 per blade and will rip wet lumber with no problem and dry wood (you guessed it...) "Like Buttah!" I have not really found flex to be an issue with soft woods.

            For Cross Cutting soft or hard woods, I have found a pre-stressed steel blade, standard kerf 80 tooth is best for ridgid saws. I, too, recommend the Dewalt blades for this. You can reduce potential flex by using a cross cut sled (which helps reduce human error too. The Dewalt blade takes lots of abuse and can be re-sharpened a few times. They are mid priced at $50-70 and will be a work horse in your shop.

            Hope this helps


            • #7
              I have a couple of Oldham woodworker combo blades for my ts2400 (they run about $50 retail, less from ebay). They seem to be pretty good. If you want the best blade for your ts, I have heard that the Forrest Wood-Worker II (aka WWII) blade is it. It costs around $100 though, so you had better be sure.
              I agree with daveferg. I would not purchase a thin kerf blade. On some cuts (especially on a miter saw) there is too much flex to be very accurate. I even have that problem with the standard kerf blade that came with my dewalt 12 inch cms. I did buy a dewalt woodworking blade from home depot (not series 60 or 80, but I'm not sure why), but haven't tried it yet. Stick with Forrest blades if you can afford them.


              • #8

                Thank you for your input, suggestions, and comments. Without a doubt I am making this far more complicated than need be...I think.

                I am still confused as to why some blades have fewer or more teeth than others. To wit, the DeWalt #DW7647 has 80 teeth, the DW7646 has 60 albeit with the same Hook Angle. Wherein lie the advantage of one over the other?

                As I write this I have five new blades in front of me, purchased this evening. Welcome to 'Blade City', Gentlemen!

                Four will be returned unopened but I wanted all specs in front of me. The differences astound me. All are 10" and will be used on a Ridgid TS-3650:

                (1) FREUD Woodworking, 80T, Thin Kerf, "Ultra Fine Crosscut"

                (2) FREUD Combination, 50T, C4 Carbide

                (3) CRAFTSMAN Carbide C300, 80T, "Fine Finish Trim"

                (4) DEWALT WOODWORKING SERIES, DW7647, 80T, ATB, "Recommended Applications: Crosscuts"

                (5) Oldham WOODWORKERS SIGNATURE SERIES, 40T, Combination/Table Saw Premimum Carbide. (Note that Pentair purchased Oldham).

                (On a side note, any opinions on CMT product?).

                ..24T...40T...50T...60T...80T...this is driving me nuts.

                Based on what you have said, the Thin Kerf is out the door. Your statements are packed with common sense. Thanks for the heads-up.

                I can appreciate the differences in Carbide Level, pretty much a no-brainer. Stronger = better, but back to that in a moment.

                But why the varience in quantity of teeth? What I am gradually picking up here is that some blades are better at Crosscutting, others at Ripping.

                My needs will be both. I am not a professional Woodworker by any means but in due time I'd like to get into Cabinet making, etc. For now though until my skills are honed, it's going to be lots of pine boxes, small items such as outdoor planters, indoor planters, Jewelry get the idea.

                I may find myself having to crosscut anything from 1x4 to 2x4 to 2x6's. Or ripping 1x4's. Maybe just having one blade isn't going to suffice for what I need to do. And on top of it, I want a clean, neat cut. (I.e, the Woodworker-II claims to essentially cut a finish where sanding isn't required. How much I believe that...well, common sense tells me it's probably cleaner than most but also a bit of advertising embellishment in there. Or is it actually THAT good?). Am I trying to mix too many Worlds into one blade?

                I need your best opinions. If purchasing the Woodworker-II for $105.00 will do it, then so be it. I'd rather bite the bullet now than start off in the wrong direction.

                Trust me: your Opinons are extremely valuable. I am also researching the Web for articles explaining the various differences between blades.

                Speaking of differences: in your opinion(s), is the extra money well spent on a C-4 Carbide? I.e., should I wholly not even remotely consider any blade NOT C-4?

                I'm also wondering if I should take a piece of 1 X 6 and use each blade and see for myself on Crosscuts and Ripping. Pursuant to their store policy, any item purchased can be returned to the place of purchase used or not.

                Let me throw this out: you know what I intend to do. So if you were me and had $125 to resolve this, what would YOU do? Buy one blade and change as necessary? Buy two blades? Buy the Woodworker-II?

                I apologize for the length of this Post. All I can promise is that in years to come I can pass along to other 'newbies' what you've taught me.

                Thanks...anyone have any Tums?

                [ 04-24-2004, 12:12 AM: Message edited by: lgldsr ]


                • #9
                  This is always a tough question with a variety of opinions.

                  These are the blades I've got and the order they were acquired in:

                  - 28T Vermont American that I was disappointed in.
                  - 60T Oldham contractor series that I was very disappointed in. (never use either now)
                  - 50T Freud LU84R011 combo that's really nice. (in the CMS)
                  - 40T Forrest WWII that's just an excellent clean cutting blade. (main blade)
                  - 28T Skil ($7 closeout) to replace the VA. (used for ripping) Works much better than the VA even though they look almost identical.

                  Eventually I'd like to get a 24T Freud rip blade, and that's a suggestion I'll make to you.


                  • #10
                    Thanks Hewood. I was leaning towards the Woodworker-II but just found out that it's a Thin Kerf blade, and the general concensus seems to be to avoid the TK's. Nonetheless, at their Website they state "We strongly recommend a dampener-stiffener against the outside of the blade for the smoothest, quietest, cuts. Dampener should be 1/2 the diameter of the saw blade." Are you using these?

                    You feel that the 24T Freud rip blade would be the best all-around choice?

                    >50T Freud LU84R011 combo that's really nice. (in the CMS)

                    CMS? Don't quite follow...

                    Thanks much!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lgldsr:

                      >50T Freud LU84R011 combo that's really nice. (in the CMS)

                      CMS? Don't quite follow...

                      Thanks much!
                      CMS = Compound Miter Saw [img]smile.gif[/img]
                      "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06


                      • #12
                        I just bought a 1/8" kerf Forrest WWII and I LOVE IT! Smooth crosscuts and smooth rips, very worthwhile purchase! Go here: Hope I helped!


                        • #13
                          Forrest makes a full kerf as well as TK. I've got their TK and it's still cleaner cutting than my FK Freud LU84.

                          What I was suggesting was to add a dedicated rip blade to your blade inventory in addition to whatever else you choose. Cost is not that high, and when you get into some thick maple, you'll save your motor.


                          • #14
                            I don't think that anyone has yet answered your original (or second) question in the manner you are looking for: Number of teeth difference and why.

                            For ripping (cutting stock the long way) you are best to use a low tooth count, 24 tooth is popular. These blades have deeper gullets and more space between teeth to allow the sawdust to remove itself easier. For very smooth cuts across the grain (crosscutting) a high tooth count is preferable. Most use about a 60-80 tooth blade for this. An 80 tooth blade is preferable for plywood for very little tearout. There is a blade type in the middle, called a combination blade (such as the Freud LU84 series). It has 50 Teeth, but of a differect tooth design as a compromise between ripping and crosscutting. For general use, I keep a LU84 in my saw most of the time. If I am going to rip a large quantity at one time (preparing stock for a large project) I change to a rip blade. If I am working with a lot of plywood (at $80+ per sheet for good hardwood veneer) I change blades to a good 80 tooth planer blade. There are specialty blades also, I have a blade designed for cutting melamine which cost $85 but there is absolutely zero chip-out on the melamine. This blade has a combination of many teeth (80) and a special tooth grind.

                            As far as CMS's (compound miter saws) as well as Radial Arm Saws, you should use a blade with a negative hook angle on the teeth. Since most cutting with a CMS is crosscutting, usually a 60 tooth blade will suffice for permanent mount in a CMS.

                            A minimum arsenal of blades would be, a 24 tooth, a 60-80 tooth, a 50 tooth combo, and any specialty blades for special material you cut a lot of.

                            A good quality of blade, $50-$80 each, will save you money in the long run. I can get carbide blades sharpened for 25ยข/tooth. A good blade will have thicker carbide teeth and can be resharpened many times (much cheaper than buying new blades). Compare the blade tip thickness between a $20 blade and a $60 blade.

                            With a well tuned saw and keeping your blades clean, there is no need for thin kerf blades. I use full kerk only.

                            Hope this helps to answer you question about whay different tooth counts on the blades.



                            • #15
                              More teeth = smoother cut!? I Have Fued Diablo Blades and they splinter cross cuts on plywood. Great for 2x4" but thats about it. I work with used lumber at times and the diablo will rip through nails without chipping a tooth, nor dulling out. I hit a nail with my stock ridgid 12" CSMS blade and lost three teeth, ouch! Anyway I am going to try the 12" woodworkers Frued. Oh yeah I tried a thin kerf on my old skill table saw and the flex warrented me to return it the next day.