Saw Blade Selection Guide
posted on May 9, 2013 by Rockler

The Rockler Saw Blade Guide

Use the handy reference chart below to find the perfect blade for your table saw, miter saw and radial arm saw. You'll find blades for nearly all applications from top manufacturers, including Freud and Forrest.

Other Saw Blade Resources:

Glossary of Saw Blade Terms (on this page)
Saw Blades 101 (A Rockler Article covering the most important saw blade facts and terminology)

table saw blade

Rockler's Saw Blade Recommendations
Tool
Application
Recommended Blades
Diam. Teeth Hook Kerf Arbor
Table Saw
(over 3HP)
Ripping Hard
and Soft Wood
Freud LM72R
Freud LM74R
10"
10"
24 ATB
30 TCG
20°
12°
.126"
.118"
5/8"
5/8"
Crosscutting Hard
and Soft Wood
Freud LU85R
Freud LU85R
Freud LU82M
Delta 35-1060T
Freud Crosscut
10"
12"
10"
10"
10"
80 ATB
96 ATB
60 TCG
60 TCG
60 ATB
10°
10°
10°
12°
10°
.116"
.116"
.126"
.126"
.126"
5/8"
1"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
Combination Ripping /
Crosscutting
Freud LU84R
Freud LU84R
10"
12"
50 Comb.
60 Comb.
10°
10°
.126"
.126"
5/8"
1"
General PurposeCutting Freud Premier FusionForrest WW II
Freud LU82M
Delta 35-7656R

10"10"
10"
10"
40 HiATB40 ATB
60 TCG
40 ATB
18°20°
10°
10°
.126".125"
.126"
.126"
5/8"5/8"
5/8"
1"
Veneered Plywood Freud LU97R
Freud LU80R
Forrest Duraline

10"
10"
10"
80 TCG
80 HiATB
80 HiATB
-3°

.126"
.126"
.125"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
Laminates Freud LU80R 10" 80 HiATB .126" 5/8"
Melamine Freud LU80R
Forrest Duraline
10"
10"
80 HiATB
80 HiATB

.126"
.125"
5/8"
5/8"
Nonferrous Metal Freud LU89M 10" 72 TCG -7° .122" 5/8"
Table Saw
(under 3HP)

Ripping Hard
and Soft Wood
Freud LU87R
Freud LM75R
Irwin 14233
10"
10"
10"
30 TCG
24 ATB
24 ATB
12°
20°
20°
.091'
.094"
.095"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
Crosscutting Hard
and Soft Wood
Freud LU88R
Freud LU74R

10"
10"
60 ATB80 ATB 15°
.095".091" 5/8"5/8"
Combination Ripping /
Crosscutting
Freud LU83R 10" 50 Comb. 10° .091" 5/8"
General Purpose
Cutting
Forrest WW II (TK)
Freud LU86R
Irwin 14070
Freud LU88R
Freud Premier Thin Kerf

10"
10"
10"
10"
10"
40 ATB
40 ATB
40 ATB
60 ATB
40 HiATB
20°
13°
20°
15°
18°
.094"
.094"
.095"
.090"
.098"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
Veneered Plywood Freud LU79R
Freud LU96R
10"
10"
80 HiATB
80 TCG

-3°
.091"
.091"
5/8"
5/8"
Laminates Freud LU96R 10" 80 TCG -3° .091" 5/8"
Melamine Freud LU79R 10" 80 HiATB .091" 5/8"
Nonferrous Metal Freud LU89M 10" 72 TCG -7° .122" 5/8"
Sliding Compound Miter Saw / Radial Arm Saw Crosscutting Hard
and Soft Wood /
General Purpose
Cutting
Freud LU91R
Freud LU91R
Freud LU91R
8"
10"
12"
48 ATB
60 ATB
72 ATB
-5°
-5°
-5°
.090"
.090"
.090"
5/8"
5/8"
1"
Extra-fine
Crosscutting/
Veneered Plywood/
Melamine
Freud LU79R
Freud LU80R
Forrest Chopmaster
Forrest Chopmaster
Forrest Chopmaster
Delta 35-1080HNS
10"
10"
8.5"
10"
12"
10"
80 HiATB
80 HiATB
60 HiATB
80 HiATB
80 HiATB
80 HiATB


-5°
-5°
-5°
-5°
.091".091"

.094"

.109"

.109"

.126"

5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
1"
5/8"
Laminates Freud LU96R 10" 80 TCG -3° .091" 5/8"
Nonferrous Metal Freud LU89M 10" 72 TCG -7° .122" 5/8"
Non-Sliding Compound Miter Saw Crosscutting Hard
and Soft Wood /
General Purpose
Cutting
Forrest WW I
Freud LU85R
Freud LU85R
Freud LU85R
Irwin Marathon
10"
8"
10"
12"
10"
60 ATB64 ATB
80 ATB
96 ATB
80 ATB
15°
10°
10°
10°
15°
.095".116"
.116"
.116"
.095"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
1"
5/8"
Extra-fine
Crosscutting / Veneered Plywood/ Melamine
Freud LU80R
Freud LU80R
Forrest Chopmaster
Forrest Chopmaster
Forrest Chopmaster
10"
12
8.5"
10"
12"
80 HiATB
96 HiATB
60 HiATB
80 HiATB
80 HiATB


-5°
-5°
-5°
.125"
.125"
.094"
.109"
.109"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
5/8"
1"
Laminates Freud LU96R
Freud LU97R
10"
10"
80 TCG
80 TCG
-3°
-3°
.091"
.126"
5/8"
5/8"
Nonferrous Metal Freud LU89M 10" 72 TCG -7° .122" 5/8"

Notes on Rockler's Saw Blade Recommendations:

General Purpose Blades

A general purpose blade is a good choice if are planning to cut a variety of materials and prefer not spend time frequently changing from one specialty blade to another.

The larger gullets and typically more aggressive hook angle of a 40 tooth ATB blade make it the best choice when faster, cleaner ripping is most important. A 60 tooth ATB or TCG blade with a moderate positive hook angle (5 - 15 degrees) will produce better crosscuts and cuts in veneered plywood and man made materials, and will make acceptable rip cuts at a moderate feed rate.

Freud's new Premier Fusion Blade combines an agressive hook angle and large gullets with the clean cutting action of a Hi-ATB Tooth grind for a blade with the widest range of excellent cutting capability.

Veneered Plywood Blades

TCG (triple chip grind) blades and HiATB (high angle alternate top bevel) blades are both an excellent choice for cutting hardwood veneered plywood.

TCG blades will give superior cut edges on both sides of a variety of difficult to cut materials, and will also stand up to more brittle and abrasive material like high-pressure laminates and particle board. If you are planning to routinely cut particleboard and laminates with your veneered plywood blade, a TCG blade will be the more durable option.

HiATB blades will produce near perfect cut edges on the veneered plywood, melamine, and crosscuts in hard and soft wood. High ATB blades may require slightly more care if they are used regularly to cut man-made materials, but the quality of the cut produced by a HiATB blade in wood and melamine is unequaled.

Sliding Compound Miter Saw and Radial Arm Saw Blades

Both sliding compound miter saws and radial arm saws behave differently than other circular saws and require a special consideration when choosing a blade. Both tools encourage the tendency of a saw blade to "climb" the material they are cutting, and can present a potentially dangerous situation if they are outfitted with the wrong blade.

In general, blades with a strong positive hook angle are more aggressive and tend to feed faster than blades with a low or negative hook angle, and because of that are more likely to climb during a cut and are not the safest choice for sliding compound miter saws and radial arm saws. Blades with a hook angle of less than 5 degrees are safer to use and produce smoother cuts on these tools.

Crosscutting Blades for Table Saws

A good crosscutting blade is not necessarily limited to crosscutting hard and soft wood. When you're choosing a crosscutting blade, take the following into account:

In general, blades with fewer teeth and a stronger positive hook angle are more aggressive and feed faster than blades with more teeth and a less aggressive hook angle. Blades recommended for crosscutting hard and soft wood generally have between 60 and 80 teeth (for a 10' blade). A blade with fewer teeth - a 60 tooth blade with a hook angle of greater than 10 degrees is an excellent choice for crosscutting hard and soft wood and will also rip wood reasonably well at a moderate feed rate. A quality 80 tooth blade with a hook angle of 10 degrees or less will produce near perfect crosscuts and will outperform most 60 tooth blades with more difficult material, like veneered plywood, but will be less effective for ripping wood.

Thin Kerf Blades

Thin kerf saw blades - blades with a kerf thickness of less than 1/8' - were developed for use on "under powered" saws. Portable and contractor model table saws under 3HP are examples of under powered saws. Because a thin kerf blade has to cut less material than a full kerf blade, it requires less power to operate and allows lower powered saws to cut material at an appropriate feed rate without the risk of bogging down during the cut.

A trade-off for the thinner kerf is the fact that thin kerf blades have a thinner blade plate, and therefore run the risk sacrificing a small degree of the blade stability afforded by a thicker, more rigid plate. Vibration dampening systems, like the one Freud LU/LM Series Thin Kerf Blades employ, compensate for the slight loss of stability, and make thin kerf blades the optimum choice for lower powered saws.

Glossary of Saw Blade Terms:

E - Expansion Slots: Laser cut expansion slots in some saw blades that make room for blade plate expansion caused by heat from friction.

G - Gullets: The space cut out from blade plate between the teeth of a saw blade. The gullets provide room for chips and waste to exit the cut.

H - Hook Angle: The amount that a saw blade tooth either tips toward or away from the direction of the blade rotation. A zero degree hook angle means that the face of the teeth are in line with the exact center of the blade.

K - Kerf: The slot a saw blade cuts into a material. A 10' "full kerf" saw blade usually has a kerf width of around 1/8'. A 10' "thin kerf" will typically have a kerf width of approximately 3/32' (.094').

L - Kickback Limiters: Some blades have kickback limiting tabs positioned behind the saw blade teeth to help keep the blade from over-feeding.

P - Blade Plate: Saw blade plates are usually made of hardened steel, which is tensioned to prevent the blade from becoming "floppy" due to centrifugal force at high rotation speeds.

Tooth Configuration: (Tooth Grind)

Flat Top (FT): Flat top teeth are used on blades made for ripping hard and soft woods. Since wood is much less likely to chip and splinter when it is being cut in the direction of the grain, the focus of a rip blade is to quickly and efficiently remove material. The flat top tooth is the most efficient design for cutting and raking material out of the cut.

Alternate Top Bevel (ATB): "Alternate top bevel" means that the saw blade teeth alternate between a right and left hand bevel. This tooth configuration gives a smoother cut when crosscutting natural woods and veneered plywood. The alternating beveled teeth form a knife-like edge on either side of the blade and make a cleaner cut than flat top teeth.

Combination Tooth (Comb.): The combination (4&1) configuration is used for "combination" blades -- blades designed to do both crosscutting and ripping. The teeth are arranged in groups of five - four ATB teeth and one FT -- with a large gullet in between the groups.

Triple Chip Grind (TCG): The TCG configuration excells at cutting hard materials like laminates, MDF, and plastics. Teeth alternate between a flat raking tooth and a higher "trapeze" tooth. The TCG configuration is also used for non-ferrous metal cutting blades.

High Alternate Top Bevel (HiATB): The HiATB configuration is used for extra-fine crosscutting and to cut materials surfaced with melamine, which is prone to chipping. The high bevel angle increases the knife-like action at the edge of the blade.

posted on May 9, 2013 by Rockler
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One thought on “Saw Blade Selection Guide”

  • Lloyd

    Thanks so much for all the info on blades. Inherited a little 10" table saw and wanted to select a blade fit to do some home"milling" of my own lumber. Just some small projects that my son and I could say we built from the true start to finish, tree to display. This website helped a bunch. Thanks!

Comments

What People are Saying:

I have been ordering from Rockler for almost 20 years and have found their products to be very inexpensive and of high quality. Shipping is fast even when an item is back ordered. The best prices I have found anywhere."

- Orval - 08/07/2012

What People are Saying:

I have been ordering from Rockler for almost 20 years and have found their products to be very inexpensive and of high quality. Shipping is fast even when an item is back ordered. The best prices I have found anywhere."

- Orval - 08/07/2012
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