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Rip, combination, crosscut blades

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Forum topic by Craftsman on the lake posted 07-02-2012 10:48 AM 1987 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Craftsman on the lake

2420 posts in 2186 days


07-02-2012 10:48 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question miter saw tablesaw

This question was prompted by a current post on table saws vs miter saws.

It’s about types of blades. I have an older table saw that I keep a rip blade in and a high end 12” compound sliding miter saw for crosscuts that compensates for the fact that I don’t have a great table saw. My table saw rips wonderfully so I get by just fine in preparing wood to work with. This setup works for me so I don’t have to purchase a new table saw till this one bites the dust.

The question: How do you manage blades?

My miter saw has a crosscut blade, my table saw a rip blade. Rip blades suck at crosscutting. Crosscut blades don’t rip with beans. Combinations blades which I also have are….sort of okay… at both but not the same as a dedicated blade. For those of you with table saws that you use exclusively for all your cuts do you you use a combination blade or change blades out for each type of cut?

If I put a combo blade in my table saw it cuts okay but sometimes fights some hardwoods a little… I just have to slow down. My rip blade often acts like the wood isn’t even there when I put it though. Maybe your horsepower is the factor that overcomes this. I don’t have a powermatic to compare with. How does this blade thing work for you, or is it a non-issue?

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.


27 replies so far

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1064 posts in 1035 days


#1 posted 07-02-2012 11:11 AM

I have a sliding miter saw, but it needs adjusting as it isn’t cutting square right now. I use my table saw for everything except cutting long boards roughly to length. That gets done on the sliding miter saw. I can simply cut them to exact length because…. it needs adjusting.

So I change blades on my table saw a lot. Ripping blade for ripping, crosscut blade for crosscuts. My ultimate goal is to adjust the sliding miter so it cuts square and use that for repetitive cuts for length (like rails and stiles). But right now I’m too busy getting things DONE to stop and take time to tweak the miter saw. I REALLY like your setup for a dedicated crosscut station, but I almost always roll my miter saw outside the shop. I have a small shop and no matter where I place that miter saw it seems I don’t have enough clearance at one end or the other.

My table saw gets used for squaring up panels and stuff using a sled. My miter saw doesn’t have enough slide to do this. So I just got used to changing blades on the TS. :)

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knotscott

5603 posts in 2124 days


#2 posted 07-02-2012 11:22 AM

Most of the time I keep a 40T or 50T general purpose/combo type blade on the saw for convenience, but I do change blades when I see a need. Most cuts come off the saw “glue ready” as is, which is really as good as it needs to be most of the time. But on more critical fine crosscuts or ply cuts, I’ll throw on an 80T Hi-ATB blade. When I’m doing a lot of thick ripping, I’ll use a dedicated 20T Amana Tool FTG ripper….it’s more efficient and spares the teeth on my better blades, but doesn’t cut as cleanly. If I need really clean rips in material under 2”, I’ll use something like my Infinity Super General, which leaves a very polished edge.

It always boils down to a matter of preference and individual circumstances, and there are pros and cons with each choice. 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. 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 one blade.

It’s worth noting that a RAS or a sliding CMS should have a blade that has a very low to negative hook angle for safety reasons. Hook angle is less critical on a standard CMS but should still be < 15°. A TS is best off using blades with a positive hook to help keep the material down against the table.

Tips for picking saw blades

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

View Cato's profile

Cato

641 posts in 2061 days


#3 posted 07-02-2012 12:00 PM

Craftsman, I mostly go with the same set up as you do. I use a Freud 60T on my sliding miter to break down pieces to manageable lengths. It is fairly accurate for a lot of work, but does get a small degree of deflection on thick pieces.

For ripping, I use a Freud full kerf 24T heavy duty rip blade. It was my favorite on my R4511 and still is on my cabinet saw that I upgraded to a few months ago.

I am not as fond of combo blades, but I have a Infinity Super General that rips okay on stuff up to 1 inch, and does a great job on my finer more accurate cross cuts that I do on the table saw with my Osborne miter gauge.

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2847 posts in 997 days


#4 posted 07-02-2012 12:29 PM

I find my CMS collects a lot of dust these days. The only thing I really use it for is breaking down REALLY long lumber to more manageable pieces. I change blades a lot on my table saw. Most of the time, I will use my combo blade. The Infinity combo max is amazing. I have an under powered saw (Ridgid R4512) so I got the thin kerf blade. It really shines in the cross cut area. Unless I am cutting expensive laminated plywood or doing a lot of ripping, I leave that one on there. I do find that my Freud LU87R010 (30 tooth rip) blade is far more efficient for ripping. The Infinity does a great job. however the Freud is completely effortless.

I also recently got in the mail the Infinity 010-080 “ultrasmooth” cross cut blade. Comparing a combo blade, even an excellent one such as the Infinity I mentioned above, to this one is not even fair. The cuts come off the saw look like they have been sanded down to 400 grit, and there is not one splinter. Combine this with my new cross cut sled and now cross cutting (especially miters) are my favorite thing to cut.

Quick Summary
A good cross cut blade will give you acceptable ripping performance and great cross cuts
A dedicated ripping blade and a dedicated cross cut blade will give you amazing results
The arbor wrenches for my table saw are some of the most used tools in the shop

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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ajosephg

1860 posts in 2310 days


#5 posted 07-02-2012 12:53 PM

I only have a table saw, for which I have Freud combination, rip, and crosscut blades for.

If I am working on a “casual” project I use the combination blade for all the cuts. If I’m working on a “museum” piece then I use the crosscut or rip blades as appropriate. I then try to plan my cuts to minimize blade changing.

I’ve found that the most important factor in making clean cuts is to have the saw in perfect tune, i.e blade and fence aligned.

-- Joe

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15801 posts in 2967 days


#6 posted 07-02-2012 01:24 PM

I keep a Forrest WWII on my table saw, and about the only time I take it off is to use my dado stack. It gives me rips that are glue-up ready, and perfectly decent crosscuts as well. I do keep a fine-tooth crosscut blade on my miter saw for more delicate work.

I’ll admit I’ve never used a dedicated rip blade because of the quality of cut I get from my Forrest combo. Maybe I’m missing something.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 997 days


#7 posted 07-02-2012 01:31 PM

Charlie, I’m not sure what kind of saw you have, but on mine (1.75 hp R4512) a combo blade rips pretty good. However, if I put a dedicated ripping blade on, like the LU87R010, ripping is so much easier. I feel like I could stand behind the saw and just toss the wood through it

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15801 posts in 2967 days


#8 posted 07-02-2012 01:50 PM

Joe, I probably should give it a try, because I also have an underpowered Ridgid TS3660.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 997 days


#9 posted 07-02-2012 02:00 PM

As i mentioned, the combo blade works fine, but when I toss on the rip blade, it feels like I have an extra horsepower or so

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View RogerM's profile

RogerM

460 posts in 1148 days


#10 posted 07-02-2012 02:20 PM

I am in line with CharlieM above. I have a 3 HP Delta Unisaw and run the Forrest Woodworker II in it most of the time with superior results. This blade is a little pricey but gives good all around results and stays shop a very long time. For cross cutting I use a 12” Dewalt chop saw with a 90 tooth Amana blade and a 10” Festool Kapax.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5603 posts in 2124 days


#11 posted 07-02-2012 02:27 PM

”I’ll admit I’ve never used a dedicated rip blade because of the quality of cut I get from my Forrest combo. Maybe I’m missing something.”

Charlie – If your Forrest combo is a 40T, it should give a cleaner cut than a good 24T TK ripper, but the ripper will loaf through thicker material a lot more easily. Like Joe says, it just makes the saw seem more powerful in thicker rips. Many of the 20T-24T rippers will still leave a cut that’s marginally “glue-up ready” right off the saw. If you’re strictly a Forrest guy, their 30T WWII is really good, and definitely leaves a glue line edge.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15801 posts in 2967 days


#12 posted 07-02-2012 03:31 PM

Not to hijack Craftsman’s thread too much, but I have a question for you Scott: I use the standard kerf 40-tooth Woodworker II. Other than speed and less wasted material, am I correct in thinking there is no advantage to using the thin-kerf model? Since I do mostly small projects I rarely rip a lot of lumber at one time, so speed is not much of an issue. I’ve always worked on the assumption that the thicker blade would give me the most accurate cut.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 997 days


#13 posted 07-02-2012 03:44 PM

Charile, Scott’s response is going to be a lot more comprehensive and most of what I know came from his posts or links he suggested, but here is my take. I also have a full kerf WWII. I barely use it. I’ve found the best home for one of those is on a 3hp+ saw. I thought it was awesome, until I started using quality thin kerf blades like the Freud LU series and recently Infinity. A thicker blade might give a more accurate cut in theory, but read some of the articles about thin kerf blades and stabilizers. There is a lot of fables and lore there. This could start a whole debate, but based on MY experience and what I have read with MY set-up, I don’t believe I have anything to worry about using a thin kerf vs a standard kerf blade.
It takes a lot more effort for you saw to make that WWII go around than it would a thin kerf blade. That effort is better spent removing material from wood than making the blade spin. This was my primary reason for sticking with thin kerf. If you have 70$ burning a hole in your pocket, I would strongly recommend trying the Infinity 010-150 (thin kerf combo max) on your TS3660

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View AJLastra's profile

AJLastra

86 posts in 977 days


#14 posted 07-02-2012 03:53 PM

For Joe, Charlie and Craftsman, I found myself right in the middle of this issue for the past month or so. I use a dedicated 80 tooth cross cut blade on my miter saw. I rarely cross cut on the tablesaw. Not because it cant handle it….I have a 40 tooth Forrest thin kerf in the saw…...I use the miter saw because, well…...forgive me Jim Forrest for saying this….....that Forrest WWII just doesnt crosscut as cleanly as the dedicated Freud 80 tooth does. I can tell you, from having spent the past three weekends working on the dining room furniture my wonderful wife has hounded me to make, that using a thin kerf WWII to rip 8/4 hard maple has surprised me. I started he project thinking I would use one of two dedicated rip blades that I own; one a Freud 24 tooth, the other a CMT 24 tooth. I cut some wood with both, changing out the blades as I went and for what its worth, the thin kerf WWII out performed the dedicated rip blades. I’m using a well adjusted contractor’s saw, and have found that thin vs full kerf hasnt made much difference when it comes to cutting speed or power loss, but I like the thin kerf because I can feed a bit faster, especially with thicker stock. The cut quality of the WWII on those rips was impressive. I really didnt need to go to the jointer to clean up the edges but I did any way. I have the machine, so I figure i’m going to use it!

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 997 days


#15 posted 07-02-2012 04:01 PM

AJLastra, that’s awesome! I have often contemplated getting the TK version of the WWII, but I opted for the Infinity combo this time around. Overall I am very happy with the results. I wonder if the speed/ease of ripping can be attributed to the lower tooth count on the WWII (I assume you have the 40 tooth). I would be interested to see how well the thin kerf WWII cross cuts and handles laminated plywood. In addition on my saw there is a noticeable power difference using a full kerf vs a thin kerf blade, however I don’t have a fair comparison point. The only full kerf blade I have is the WWII and it is 40 tooth – and besides the 40 tooth ridgid blade that came with my saw (that has never even been on the arbor and is now a clock) I don’t have another 40 tooth blade to compare it to.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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