Using Multiple Table Saw Blades

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 06-25-2013 09:51 AM 1634 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3351 posts in 1996 days

06-25-2013 09:51 AM

I think of myself as an intermediate hobbyist woodworker. I’m by no means a professional or advanced hobbyist, but I’ve built multiple cabinets, an island, a mahogany nightstand, etc. My TS is one of the ubiquitous older craftsman contractor saws that I upgraded with v belt, trunions, and a nice Shop Fox fence. It gets the job done.

Early on I replaced the poor combo blade with a 40 tooth fine finish blade and I was astounded b how much smoother all the cuts were. I use it for everything but dados—rips, crosscuts, cherry, plywood, 2×4s, etc.

I finish a project every month or two on average, so I am not making repetitive cuts. So, I may rip 2 or 3 cuts in a few minutes, then put on the cross-cut sled and make 2 or 3 more cuts and be done with the TS for the day.

I understand that many change blades regularly—rip blade, crosscut blade, combo blade for 2×4s, etc. This seems like more trouble than its worth for my purposes. Am I wrong? What would I gain from using multiple blades?

If you primarily use one blade, what do you use?


-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

16 replies so far

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2891 days

#1 posted 06-25-2013 10:49 AM

Any blade will get the job done but to use the proper blade for a certain cut can make the job go more smoothly.

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View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2775 days

#2 posted 06-25-2013 10:51 AM

I keep a 40 tooth combo blade on my saw for everything except instances where I need flat bottom cuts, like for miter keys, which I use a 24 tooth ftg rip blade for.

So 99% of the time I’m using a combo blade.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3169 days

#3 posted 06-25-2013 01:01 PM

I had a 10”- 80 tooth blade on my TS originally which I moved to the miter saw and went with a 50 tooth combo blade for the TS. Been very happy with this blade.

If I had a lot of ripping to do in long hardwood I’d probably switch to a 24 tooth rip blade, but for almost all my work I like the combo blade; and I hate changing blades.

View CrazeeTxn's profile


151 posts in 2148 days

#4 posted 06-25-2013 01:19 PM

I’m a weekend hobbyist too. When I started, I had a blade for everything. Course they were cheap ones you could get 5 to a pack. I finally just bought a mid-grade 50 tooth combo blade. I also have a 24 tooth rip blade and only put that on if I have a lot of ripping to do. And by a lot, I mean more than five boards over 3 feet. Other than that, I just keep the combo blade on there.

View ChrisK's profile


2014 posts in 3280 days

#5 posted 06-25-2013 02:00 PM

I have a Freud LU86R in my Craftsman table saw. I have purchased at least 3 over the last 8 or so years. They seem to work well and they are not the most expensive. If I am cutting a lot of plywood I switch over to a new plywood blade. I usually buy a new one, though less expensive, from whatever store I am that week.

-- Chris K

View CharlesA's profile


3351 posts in 1996 days

#6 posted 06-25-2013 02:17 PM

This is the blade I picked up without much research some time ago.

Consensus seems to be that a good combo blade would perform better than this one? When I first got it, the quality of the cut was so much better than the blade that was on it, that I was ecstatic. Speed is not a factor for me—smoothness and no burning are.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View CharlesA's profile


3351 posts in 1996 days

#7 posted 06-25-2013 02:19 PM

The DeWalt blade I use and the Freud LU86R look like twins, perhaps made by the same folks.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View BBF's profile


143 posts in 2037 days

#8 posted 06-25-2013 02:44 PM

If you are happy with the quality of the cuts that you are getting with your blade, rip and cross, then just use that blade, if you are not happy then go to specialty blades.
Have fun and keep your fingers away from sharp spinning things.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View Manitario's profile


2679 posts in 3081 days

#9 posted 06-25-2013 03:01 PM

I have a Freud premier fusion blade that does the bulk of the TS cutting and a thin kerf rip blade that I use when ripping larger boards.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 2071 days

#10 posted 06-25-2013 03:25 PM

I rarely change blades on MY old Craftsman 113, but maybe I should. I was ripping some 8/4 maple the other day and the smoke got so thick I had to open the garage door to air it out. Of course I am using an old cheapo Craftsman blade to match my cheapo saw. Contemplating getting something better.

-- Dave K.

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Bill White

5121 posts in 4159 days

#11 posted 06-25-2013 03:27 PM

I’m one of the “purists” who has, and uses, the different blade for different purposes. Having said that, I do keep a combo blade on the saw unless I’m building a product that will have (and need) multiple cuts such as rip or crosscuts.


View knotscott's profile (online now)


8146 posts in 3574 days

#12 posted 06-25-2013 09:33 PM

The DeWalt Precision Trim series is actually pretty good IMO (owned by Stanley/B&D, made in the USA) and seems to be a pretty well kept secret….I’d be surprised if another good combo blade outpaced your DW7140PT by very much. I’d consider it fairly comparable to the Freud LU86 (now owned by Bosch, made in Italy), Diablo D1040X, CMT ITK Plus, and other good quality thin kerf “value” blades in the $30-$40 range….all a clear step up from most stock blades and mediocre construction blades, but none are quite on par with the premium blades like an Infinity Super General, Forrest WWII, Freud Fusion, Ridge Carbide TS2000, or Tenryu Gold Medal.

Re: your question about the benefits of swapping blades…it’s really a matter of preference. There’s always a trade-off. Task specific blades require owning at least two blades, and require blade changes when the cutting task changes, but they stay sharp longer, can stress the saw less, and give better results. A good example of a 40T general purpose or 50T combo blade should be “good” on most cuts, but will give up a fair amount of performance at the extreme ends of the spectrum, like thick ripping and fine crosscuts/ply. Good quality task specific blades are “excellent” in their respective areas, though aren’t as convenient as a general purpose/combo blade, and aren’t suitable for much cutting outside of their intended scope. A good 20T-24T rip blade will hog through materials that a 40T or 50T blade will labor and burn in…the down side of the efficiency gained when using a 24T ripper is that the cut isn’t as clean, though the best of them are capable of leaving a glue ready edge if the wood is flat and straight. A good 80T Hi-ATB will leave less tearout in crosscuts and ply cuts than a general purpose blade.

There’s nothing wrong with having and using a general purpose/combo blade even if you have task specific blades available. I have more blades than I know what to do with, but tend to leave a 40T or 50T blade installed most of the time…I will switch to a dedicated blade when I want better performance for a specific task. At the very least I’d suggest getting a decent 24T TK ripper for thicker stock….it’ll be easier for your saw to spin. Keep your blades clean….they’ll perform better and last longer.

The ABC's of Picking Saw Blades

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

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


3661 posts in 2187 days

#13 posted 06-25-2013 11:49 PM

I typically keep a sharp 24 tooth Freud rip blade on my cabinet saw. I use this for cutting most things. However, when I am making a piece of furniture, I use a couple of other blades. I have a 80 tooth hi-ATB blade for cutting hardwood plywood. None of the other blades will cut the plywood and leave an absolutely splinter free edge. I will also use a special cut off blade for cutting hardwoods for a project. It leaves a clean cut that almost needs no sanding.

I have had several different combo blades but find that they are OK for doing different things but really do not excel at any of them.

One of the reasons that I change blades is that the cost of sharpening a hi-ATB blade or high tooth count cut off blade is very expensive and I only use them when the task requires it.

I have thought about buying either the Freud Fusion blades or a Forest Woodworker 2 blade which have very good reviews for almost all cutting operations. I will get one of these when the budget will allow it.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2704 days

#14 posted 06-25-2013 11:53 PM

Freud LU86 40 tooth and Woodworker 2, 30 tooth, are what I use 99% of the time.

Most of the time a good 40t combo blade can handle most applications.

View jmartel's profile


8230 posts in 2348 days

#15 posted 06-26-2013 02:06 AM

I use a 60T crosscut and a 24T ripping blade, both Freud.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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