$100 to spend - combination saw blade or dedicated rip and crosscut?

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Forum topic by woodnoobie posted 12-11-2009 09:48 AM 3343 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View woodnoobie's profile


5 posts in 3117 days

12-11-2009 09:48 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw blade

Hi all,

Thanks for your answers on my first question and for your warm welcomes. My second question…

If I budget $100 to spend on the saw blade component of my workshop is it better to spend that all on one combination blade or would it be better buy separate rip and crosscut blades? Do I have those 2 separates right?


11 replies so far

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 3168 days

#1 posted 12-11-2009 10:25 AM

Hi Erik the seperates are right. The best is to have one of each ie 1 rip 1 crosscut I have yet to find a good combination blade in the past 36years and i am 60 as i type this comment.
Kind Regards Roger inSA

-- Africa is not for sissies

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3135 days

#2 posted 12-11-2009 11:36 AM

There is an article in Wood Magazine september special Tablesaw Jigs, Tips, & Ideas where they did a big test and comparison of combination, rip, and crosscut blades, the end result being they found for most jobs a good (stress good) combination blade helds its own against the dedicated rip and crosscuts.

They tested about 30 blades, the best of the pack were the Forrest WW10407125, Freud P410, Infinity 010—44, and Tenru GM-25540, they all performed at least as good as dedicated blades in their respective tests.

I certainly don’t have tamboti’s experience (less than a year since I really got into woodworking, and only about 20 projects under my belt, nothing big yet) but I splurged on a Freud blade and when paired with a simple sled (for zero-clearance, my little skil tablesaw has a wierd throat plate thats hard to make an insert for) I’ve gotten nice clean cuts everytime (mostly various plywoods, MDF, and generic 2×4 whitewood, but also some maple, pine, and oak, but nothing to push it, which I’m sure makes a difference)

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3700 days

#3 posted 12-11-2009 12:16 PM

I would buy 1 rip blade and 1 crosscut blade, I dont care for combination blades.

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3402 days

#4 posted 12-11-2009 01:52 PM

Both philosophies have merit depending on the saw, your preference, budget, and cutting objectives. 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 being “better” depends on how you define the term….there’s never a free lunch. Better performance characteristics in one aspect of cutting doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better choice overall, because a strength in one characteristics also means a weakness in another. Neither philosophy leaves you with an edge that’s ready to accept a finish, so 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 an 80T crosscutter) will generally stay sharp longer than a single general purpose blade because they share the work load, but cost more upfront and will also cost more to re-sharpen when the time comes. If you choose to go with separates, it’s worth looking into a “Hi-ATB” grind for the crosscutter so you’ll have the best possible cuts in plywood.

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. You’ll probably want to have a decent general purpose blade anyway… handy to have around.

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.

There’s a modified version of going with separates that I’m fond of…using a 30T ATB general purpose blade and a 60T ATB or Hi-ATB cutoff blade with a positiive hook angle. These blades each have a region that they’re stronger in that the other, but both are still suitable to cover the majority of ranges needed for common general purpose work including crosscuts and moderately thick ripping from either blade. This gives you an advantage in a thicker rip cut with 30T, and the 60T gives cleaner crosscuts and plywood cuts if needed, but without the need to change out the blade for most tasks. Both leave glue ready edges. Appropriate blades are a little harder to track down, but blade like the 30T Forrest WWII or DeWalt/Delta 7653 or suitable, and for the 60T the Forrest WWI, Infinity 010-060, Freud LU73 (LU88 for thin kerf), DeWalt/Delta 7646, or Amana 610600 are good choices.

Whichever way to go, it’s worth buying good quality…not a good place to cheap out unless you find a great sale price.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3700 days

#5 posted 12-11-2009 04:30 PM

I like to keep around 1 good rip, 1 good cross cut and 1 good combo

The combo stays on for normal use. finish cutting uses the dedicated blades.

Keeps the good dedicated blades sharp longer when you do all your misc cutting with the 3rd blade. A good combo doesn’t have to be expensive, I don’t mean a Foresst or anything that weird looking multi tooth spacing Porter Cable is a great combo for general cuts.

View woodnoobie's profile


5 posts in 3117 days

#6 posted 12-11-2009 11:21 PM

Awesome guys, thanks very much for your thoughtful answers. Sounds like there are many good schools of thought around this, as with anything.

I think I’ll get an ok combo blade to start – Freud D1050X Diablo 10-Inch 50-tooth ATB Combo, the aforementioned report posted by Karson says rates it almost as good as the $100 blades. I’m somewhat limited by the kerf (>.92) and plate (<.88) requirements of my Bosch 4100 table saw.

Then buy a decent rip and crosscut when budget allows. Heck I’m a beginner, a finer blade at this point would proly be wasted on me.


View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4015 days

#7 posted 12-11-2009 11:51 PM

I use the same blade for everything (Forrest WW II).

I probably do a 50-50 combination of rip/crosscuts. Will the blade be perfect for both? Probably not but nothing that a very little bit of sanding won’t take care of.

The Forrest is basically a crosscut blade that does a great job at ripping. The time I would spend changing a blade would take longer that running the piece across the jointer or a couple passed with a piece of sandpaper. (which I would end up sanding anyway)

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View woodnoobie's profile


5 posts in 3117 days

#8 posted 12-11-2009 11:57 PM

Nope changed my mind. :) Going to go for the Tenryu GM-25540. Noticed that the Diablo D1050X did not do so well crosscutting ply and I have that in my immediate future.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3801 days

#9 posted 12-12-2009 01:49 AM

I use a Forrest II 10” X 40 tooth for all my hardwood cutting and a Forrest Thin Kerf 10” X 100 tooth for plywoods. I think the Tenryu GM-25540 blade will work fine for now. You might consider Forrest blades down the road as you get more into woodworking.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3158 days

#10 posted 12-12-2009 03:46 AM

I have two Forrest WWII’s. Unless you’re ripping a LOT of 8/4 hardwood, you really don’t need a rip blade. I have about a dozen blades, and don’t own a rip blade.

-- Gerry,

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3402 days

#11 posted 12-13-2009 09:07 PM

“I’m somewhat limited by the kerf (>.92) and plate (<.88) requirements of my Bosch 4100 table saw.”

Erik – You might want to reconder again. The Tenryu Gold Medal isn’t a true thin kerf blade. It has a kerf of 0.111”. Most TK’s are ~ 0.090 to 0.098”, and most full kerf blades are ~ 0.125”. I think the Gold Medal is a nicer blade than the Diablo 1050, but I’m not sure that odd kerf size will work as well as for you as a standard TK. Holbren sells the Ridge Carbide TS2000 for the same price as the Gold Medal…it’s American made and is every bit the equal of the Forrest WWII and Gold Medal, and is available in a true thin kerf width, plus has thicker carbide than either and is sharpened to 1200 grit.

Also, I would not treat any comparison or review as gospel.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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