How many table saw blades do you need?

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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 08-11-2009 05:27 AM 6030 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3822 days

08-11-2009 05:27 AM

I am looking at getting a 24 tooth, 40 tooth, 60 tooth, and a 80 tooth blade for plywood, but do I really need all the blades could I get by with a Freud Thin Kerft 40 finishing blade?

23 replies so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2657 posts in 3676 days

#1 posted 08-11-2009 05:45 AM

1 combo
1 cross cut
1 rip
1 dado set
1 box set
1 thin kerf
1 for plastic
1 for ply and laminate
and it goes on… Its like everything else, there is the better tool to do a really good job but there is another tool that will give a sort of a good job.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3419 days

#2 posted 08-11-2009 07:01 AM

I think its a tool thing…you ever notice that there is no tool sold without there being “accessories” galore…and of course all at an additional cost…

I was just looking at woodslicer blades for my bandsaw…..more “accessories” ...least I wont be bored…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Mauritius's profile


96 posts in 3375 days

#3 posted 08-11-2009 07:14 AM

I have a 24 tooth thin kerf rip blade (Freud), a 40 tooth general purpose blade (Forrest WWII) and a dado set (Freud super) and I haven’t found anything I can’t do with them yet. Can’t say I’m all that experienced, but I’ve done a wide variety of projects so far.

View jack1's profile


2111 posts in 4177 days

#4 posted 08-11-2009 07:40 AM

Go with the new Freud Premier Blade ($90). Pricey but it will do most everything. YOu will love end cuts as well as rips. Look for deals. I hate changing blades… ;o)
However, on a chop saw go for the 80 if you are doing final finish cuts on it.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4217 days

#5 posted 08-11-2009 07:57 AM

Like all things, the correct answer is “it depends”. It depends on what you are cutting. It depends on the quality of cut you want. It depends on how much tear out you are willing to live with. It depends on how often you are willing to change your blade. It depends on the types of cuts you want to make. And so on.

If you are cutting mostly sheet goods and you want to minimize tear out you should look at a higher tooth count, 60 – 80. If you are mostly ripping 2x stock or thicker you should be looking at a 20 – 24 tooth. If you are going to be cutting a LOT of grooves and dados a stacked dado set is really nice.

On the other hand if you dont really like changing blades and you’re willing to slow down when ripping thick stock and dont mind a little tear out on sheet goods a quality 40 tooth combination blade will fill the bill.

Not knowing anything about what you are cutting I’ll second Mauritius, a 20-24 tooth ripping blade, of middling quality, a high quality 40 tooth, possibly a 60 or 80 if you cut a lot of sheet goods, and a middle of the road dado set.

For general purpose woodworking you’ll find you use the 40 tooth blade by far the most. It is worth getting a good blade for the one you will be using all the time. The other blades are more likely to be used just now and then. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to invest heavily in the specialty blades unless you can easily afford them or the woodworking you do relies heavily on them.

View knotscott's profile


8130 posts in 3525 days

#6 posted 08-11-2009 08:51 AM

Let’s see…you need a rough 10T bulk ripper, a slightly less rough cut 20T bulk ripper, a glue ready 24T ripper, a clean cutting 30T ripper, three 40T ATB general purpose blades, one Hi-ATB 40T general purpose blade that’s better at crosscuts and ply, four 50T ATB/R combo blades (beacuse they were a good deal), three 60T ATB fine cut general purpose/crosscut blades, one Hi-ATB fine crosscut/plywood/laminate/veneer blade, and one 80T negative hook plywood/laminate/veneer blade to help keep the dust off the blades underneath it in the rack. Then you should always keep a few clunkers around for wood that the neighbors want cut.

OK, maybe the term “need” was a bit strong. Seriously, you can get by with any blade that cuts, but knowing that you’ve ascended to the level of a Unisaw, I know you want to do more than “get by” with your blade. The blade and setup of the saw ultimately detemine the end performance of the saw.

Blade selection is very much proprietary to your saw and what you cut. The philosophies about which direction to head range from task specific blades that will perform very well in a narrow operating range, to more of a “do-all” general purpose blade that will give good results in most applications but excel at none. Both philosophies have merit depending on the situation, 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 that term. Better performance characteristics in one aspect of cutting doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better choice overall. 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. 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.

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 is some logical middle ground. If you’re looking to get a taste of the best of both philosophies, try a good 30T ATB general purpose blade like the Forrest WWII 30T or DeWalt DW7653…to compliment that blade, get a good Hi-ATB 60T blade like the Infinity 010-060 or DeWalt DW7160. The combination of those two blades should cover all your bases from ripping to full blade height, to fine crosscuts, ply or veneer work. The 30T will handle the heavier ripping, the 60T will handle finer cuts, plus either the 30T or the 60T could be left in the saw for general purpose work without the need to change it out unless a task comes along that swings to one extreme or the other.

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3822 days

#7 posted 08-11-2009 03:02 PM

I use a lot of plywood so I figured I need a 80 tooth plywood blade, 24 tooth blade for ripping, and a 60 tooth, for crosscutting a maybe a dado set. Going to be getting a Dewalt Presion Trim Blade for my Miter Saw.

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4217 days

#8 posted 08-11-2009 03:15 PM

If you are cutting a lot of plywood I strongly suggest you use a ZERO clearance insert. You wont believe the difference it makes on preventing bottom side tear out.

The reason I stress zero in zero clearance is I like to have a good tight fit. As the insert gets worn or you cut with a different width blade the slot opens up and you start to get micro tearout near the blade. Learn to make your own inserts because you will want to have more than one and because purchased inserts are stupidly expensive.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3894 days

#9 posted 08-11-2009 03:26 PM

A 40 tooth blade is a good all around blade. For plywood, a 60 tooth blade with a zero clearance insert, would be a good second blade to have.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5622 posts in 3862 days

#10 posted 08-11-2009 03:43 PM

As I slowly acquire more experience I am developing an appreciation for special purpose blades (I still get a buzz when I use my new dado set). I was using the general purpose blade that came with my TS and then I bought a rip blade for a particular project and wow what a difference. I am now a confirmed ‘blade switcher’ and will take the extra time, and frustration from dropping the arbor nut repeatedly, to change blades. It also makes me plan my cuts a little more so I am not switching blades ridiculously often.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2657 posts in 3676 days

#11 posted 08-11-2009 03:50 PM

reggiek, You are going to love the woodslicer bandsaw blade. I finally got one and what a huge difference in resawing. The blade cuts through hard woods like butter, thin kerf, little or no burn.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3436 days

#12 posted 08-11-2009 03:55 PM

Freud’s Premier Fusion is a great all around blade. Yes, it’s expensive, but it could save you having to buy several blades. I own a bunch of different blades, but I hate to change unless I really have to. As others have said, it really depends on what your needs are. Judging from your name I don’t think you need to get too technical here. It’s so easy to get so caught up in trying to do everything just right, that you can loose the focus of what you really want to do. That said, there’s a lot of very good advice here. Take it and apply it to fit what you want to do with your woodworking.


View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3612 days

#13 posted 08-11-2009 04:56 PM

I am using a Forrest WWII with a zero clearnace insert and get almost perfect cuts in all materials. If I do need to rip thicker stock I will switch to a Freud rip blade, that is if I have a lot to rip. If its only a few pieces I will stay with the WWII and it does well. I dont really se the need for all the blades, unless you feel you want to spend the money on them. Thats why they make “combination” blades, so balde changes are pretty much eliminated and you can keep the cost at a minimum. My .02

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3917 days

#14 posted 08-11-2009 04:58 PM

i use a frued 24 tooth rip and a cmt 40 tooth combo. i havent found anything i cant do with these blades. also when buying tablesaw blades you really want to spend the extra for the premium blades. the box store blades barely have any carbide on them but the good ones have chunks of carbide on them as well as a much thicker saw plate for more accurate cuts because you get less runout at the teeth. go premium and you wont regret it.

and a dado blade is nice. i have a cmt

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3822 days

#15 posted 08-11-2009 05:11 PM

I am a big fan of Freud Blades!

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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