Pay Attention to the Teeth on Your Saw Blade

Saw teeth come in different sizes, numbers, and configurations, and these differences make them suitable for different projects. So, before taking on your next woodwork project, you will have to determine which type of saw is suitable for your cutting needs; if you need more tips on how to choose the correct blade, check out

The number of teeth

Like everything else, how many teeth there are on the blade depends on the type of wood work you need to do. More teeth ensure a smooth finish, whereas fewer teeth are more suitable for making rip cuts on longer pieces of wood.

If blades with more teeth are used for making crosscuts, blades with fewer teeth are better at making lengthwise cuts. Thus, you will only need about 24 teeth on your saw blade to rip wood quickly, but the cleaner the cuts you wish to make, the more teeth your blade will need and the more time it will take. Crosscut blades typically have between 60 and 80 teeth; for example, a finishing blade that makes the smoothest cuts has at least 40 TPI (teeth per inch).

Teeth configuration

The configuration of teeth refers to how these are positioned and grouped on the blade; the five tooth configurations are the following:

  • FT, or flat-top blades – the most common type
  • ATB, or alternate top bevel
  • , or combination tooth
  • Hi-ATB, or high alternate top bevel
  • TCG, or triple chip grind

FT blades can rip through both soft and hard wood, which makes them very popular with woodworkers, while ATB blades are great for making smooth cross cuts in natural wood due to their left and right alternating teeth. Comb blades combine ATB and FT configurations and can therefore both rip and crosscut. Hi-ATB blades provide the finest finish, while TCG blades are designed for cutting plastics.

The kerf width

The kerf is defined by how wide a slot the blade teeth can cut into the material. There are two types of kerf a blade can have, namely a full kerf and a thin kerf.

A full kerf blade can cut a slot of 1/8”, while a thin kerf makes a 3/32” slot. The former works better with a 3 horsepower and above motor saw, while the latter with motors of up to 3 horsepower. In fact, thin kerf blades are generally used on portable and table saws, but they tend to be less stable, unless the saw features a vibration-dampening system.