Reply by knotscott

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Posted on Tablesaw Blade 101

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8014 posts in 3374 days

#1 posted 01-02-2010 09:09 PM

_”Ok, next subject: For general purpose sawing, is a combination blade good enough, or should one get both a dedicated rip blade and dedicated crosscut blade?”

Also from my blog on blades:

Whether to choose separate task specific blades or one good general purpose/combo blade is a matter of preference, with merit to each philosophy. A decent purebred 60-80 tooth crosscut blade will certainly make “cleaner” crosscuts than a 30, 40 or 50 tooth general purpose blade of comparable quality. Inversely, a 24 tooth bulk ripper will certainly be more efficient at ripping thick material than the general purpose (GP) style blade. The key to “better” depends on how you define that term. Better performance in one aspect of cutting doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better choice overall. There’s never a “free lunch”. Every design parameter has pros and cans, and any blade that excels in any specific region, will certainly have weaknesses in another. Consider both sides of the equation before making a decision. Taking the approach of using task specific blades requires owning at least two blades that each excel in a limited operating region, and are typically unacceptable for tasks outside of their intended scope. They also require blade changes for each different task for optimum results. Two task-specific blades (typically a 24T ripper and a 60T or 80T crosscutter) will generally stay sharp longer than a single general purpose blade because they share the work load, but will cost more upfront and will also cost more to re-sharpen when the time comes. A general purpose blade will neither rip as efficiently as a true rip blade nor crosscut as cleanly as a dedicated crosscut blade, but you may find that it’s more than acceptable at doing both tasks for most situations. A valid argument in favor of using one high quality general purpose blade is that the GP blade leaves a cleaner edge than the rip blade, crosscuts faster than a crosscut blade, and does so with the convenience and cost of using one blade. Most good general purpose blades will leave a glue ready edge, which is often as good as it needs to be. If you happen to do a lot of specialty cutting of fine veneered plywoods, veneers, melamine, MDF, plastics, etc., a blade made specifically for these materials is definitely recommended. If you tend to rip very thick dense materials regularly, then a dedicated ripping blade is a wise choice for you right from the start. Sooner a later a decent general purpose blade will be useful, so it’s always a reasonable starting point IMO, even if you pursue separates later.

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