Is it time for me to buy a rip blade?

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Forum topic by John146 posted 04-13-2017 03:20 PM 897 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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90 posts in 1244 days

04-13-2017 03:20 PM

I was ripping 5’-6’ long boards of 1” thick poplar yesterday and realized that I was getting burn marks on the edges, and that the cuts weren’t perfectly straight. Most annoyingly, they were quite difficult to push through, and I felt like if I applied any more feed pressure, I would reach levels of danger where my hand could slip and push itself into the blade.

I have a jointer, so I’ve smoothed out the cut pieces (really only needed one pass), and I’ve checked that the fence is parallel to the miter slot (using my finger – it even bends a hair outward – away from the blade) and that the miter slot is parallel to the blade within 0.002” (using a dial gauge).

I’m using a Ridgid TS3650 contractor saw and an Irwin Marples combination blade. I don’t think my blade is dull (but it’s the only blade I’ve been using for several months.. but it works good enough for other tasks. I cleaned it about a month ago), and all other measurements seem to be ok. Of course I’d like to buy a new toy (new blade) – but I don’t know whether it’ll be useful for me or not. If it’s just a matter of time and burn marks then I’ll just manage with a combination blade, but if it actually cuts smoother (and straighter) then it might be something worthwhile buying. Also, any recommendations?

-- John 14:6

19 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


21095 posts in 2656 days

#1 posted 04-13-2017 03:29 PM

A good Freud ripping blade is like $30. I would say buy the blade either way. I dont like combination blades for ripping. If this extra force and burning is new then there is something wrong. I doubt the blade is dull in a few months. Is the poplar bowing as you cut it? Sometimes that can happen and then causes binding and burning. Loose belt or bad belt could also be a cause.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View syenefarmer's profile


557 posts in 3880 days

#2 posted 04-13-2017 03:30 PM

You may not think it’s dull but it sounds to me like your existing blade is either dull already or getting there. But to answer your question, yes, get yourself a good quality rip blade. While a good combination blade may work for some things it’s always better to use a blade designed specifically for the task at hand. Changing blades all the time can be a pain but the better end results make it worth while.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2795 days

#3 posted 04-13-2017 03:32 PM

Straight cuts is probably more of an issue of technique. Make sure you are pushing the workpiece towards the far corner of the fence, not straight back. So if your fence is on the right of the blade, you should be pushing towards the far right corner from where you stand. This ensures the piece is pushed in to the fence. If you just push straight, the tendency us to actually pull it away from the fence and in to the blade.

Burn marks could be because the blade is not parallel to thee fence/miter slots. Could also be related to pushing too hard. At some point the wood wants to flex, and that can cause burning and curs that aren’t straight. You could test this by slowing your feed rate.

A dull blade never helps either.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View HokieKen's profile


14473 posts in 1938 days

#4 posted 04-13-2017 03:33 PM

Poplar will burn pretty easily so that’s not unusual. The binding is likely release of internal stresses after the cut. I’d try some other wood and see if the issues are still present. If not, it’s probably just the wood.

For the record, your hand should NEVER be where it would go into the blade if it slipped. Buy/make yourself some push sticks/blocks. If the wood binds, hold the board firmly in place and turn the saw off.

If you do decide to get a new dedicated rip blade, I’d highly recommend a Freud think kerf glue-line rip blade.

Good luck and be safe!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View John146's profile


90 posts in 1244 days

#5 posted 04-13-2017 03:50 PM

Indeed the newly cut piece is more bowed than the board it was cut from, so there does seem to be some extra tension there, and that might be a cause.

I’ve never ripped stock this long before so I don’t know what to compare it to; however I’ve tried test cuts with plywood and some scrap pine (= stuff that’s cheap enough to test on!) and it works fine: No resistance, perfectly square, etc. I just got this saw (replaced my R4512 with it.. long story) and it cuts better than the previous saw in all ways – but that’s probably because the fence doesn’t bend inwards. The test cuts have all been straight and accurate.

The funny thing is (and this is why I’m thinking there might be an issue with the blade) is that the blade seems to have a hard time chewing through the poplar. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of binding between the blade and the fence.

I’m not feeding with my hand directly – but using a push shoe; however I’m worried that if I apply any more force, I will destabilize the shoe and cause it to rock/bend/topple over. So my hand is safe as long as I’m mainly using it as a guide with some mild feeding force. The binding has not been bad enough for me to have to turn it off – the resistance seems constant along the length of the board.

From the comments you’ve all given, it sounds like part of what’s happening is normal, and that I’d do well to apply force towards the top end of the fence rather than the middle/bottom. I guess a rip blade would be nice to have – but it doesn’t sound like it would be a game changer in this particular case?

-- John 14:6

View firefighterontheside's profile


21095 posts in 2656 days

#6 posted 04-13-2017 03:57 PM

Thicker and harder wood is always going to require more force, no matter what blade you use. With a combo blade that is going to be more noticeable. Add in a bit of binding and it will be significant. A thin kerf rip blade will help with all of it.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3398 days

#7 posted 04-13-2017 04:08 PM

Having your existing blade clean, and pitch free is also pretty important. I would say buy a rip blade, because you “need” one anyway. Get a FTG model and it is very useful for joinery. Splines, cleaning tennons, and so much more. Clean is big though.

View John146's profile


90 posts in 1244 days

#8 posted 04-13-2017 04:14 PM

Bill, I can’t seem to find the $30 freud blades – do you mean the Diablo ones sold at the Home Depot? ( there’s also a Freud for $43 (

The ones that say “Glue line rip” on them seem to double in price.

I’m only somewhat impressed with the Irwin Marples blade. It does a beautiful job on plywood, but maybe I’ll step up in quality this time – wood is expensive and I’m discovering that the more milling I need to do, the smaller my lumber gets.

-- John 14:6

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3398 days

#9 posted 04-13-2017 04:16 PM

This one has a FTG. Good value in my opinion. There are better options, but more $$$.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1695 posts in 3649 days

#10 posted 04-13-2017 04:16 PM

I guess a rip blade would be nice to have – but it doesn t sound like it would be a game changer in this particular case?

It’s a pain in the butt to change the blade when you’ve got only a little bit of ripping to do, but Yes, you will certainly notice a significant difference it the ease of cut when you go to an 18 or 24 tooth blade to rip with. I regularly run a 50 tooth combo Freud blade and it does okay for a few rips, but if I’m milling a large bit I load the 24 tooth because each cut goes faster, cuts better, and feels safer.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View firefighterontheside's profile


21095 posts in 2656 days

#11 posted 04-13-2017 04:28 PM

Yes, I usually order them from Amazon. It is not a “glue line rip” but i do just fine gluing as long as one side is straight first.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Woodbum's profile


928 posts in 3865 days

#12 posted 04-13-2017 08:52 PM

For small everyday rip jobs I use my Forrest WWII with great results; since blades changes back and forth is a major PITA for me. However, when I have a LOT of ripping to do, prepping stock for a project etc; I use a Freud Glue Line rip blade. Excellent blade, excellent results. It sounds like your combo blade may be getting dull, which will show up with bad rip results before it shows in bad cross cutting results. Bite the bullet for a new combo blade or have yours sharpened if you have a reputable sharpening service locally. Then get yourself some sort of dedicated rip blade. You will be much happier in the long run with the results. JMHO.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4175 days

#13 posted 04-14-2017 01:06 AM

Even though you cleaned your combo blade a month ago, it could still be dirty…doesn’t take long. It could also be dull, especially if you’ve been ripping thick materials with it.

Regardless, get the rip blade….it’s never a bad idea to have the right blade on hand. It’s unlikely it’ll make a “cleaner” cut than your combo, but it’s far less likely to burn, and will a lot easier on your saw. A good ripper for thick stock like the Irwin Marples is about $30. The Freud Industrial LU87 is < $40.

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

View John146's profile


90 posts in 1244 days

#14 posted 04-14-2017 02:10 AM

So the rip blade doesn’t produce as clean a cut as a combo blade (because of the tooth count) – is this true even when ripping?

(I still don’t have a rip blade. It’ll be arriving on Saturday).

-- John 14:6

View HorizontalMike's profile


7874 posts in 3714 days

#15 posted 04-14-2017 10:25 AM

FWIW, I would recommend buying a FULL KERF (1/8in) rip blade 18-24T. IMO, less chance of warping it if you really do a lot of ripping in a single session.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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