which circular saw blade is worth my application?

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Forum topic by TargetSlayer posted 03-12-2021 02:29 AM 668 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 3204 days

03-12-2021 02:29 AM

Thanks in advance…
On a 10”-blade table saw:
I cut blanks of hardwood about 1/4” x 2” x 4” that are then precision machined with a flue and holes and a bevel, as a part for traditional woodwind flutes.

These blanks are cut, though, out of branches about as big as my arm. It’s a hardwood about like walnut or hard rock maple in hardness (a very rare mimosa when it comes to lumber, mimosa tenuiflora I grow myself and sometimes dies back in a freeze). Definitely not a soft mimosa like some.

And I inevitably wind up putting the blanks through a mill, planing them smooth and regular and within tolerance, so the initial finish straight off the saw is not critical. I am also making dozens, not thousands, so how fast I move through the wood doesn’t matter.

I have been using a finishing saw blade chock full of closely-spaced teeth, which saws through the pieces well when it’s sharp, and it also leaves a nice surface… but that’s just it…. there must be some reason people use coarser blades with fewer teeth and space to better eject more wood… and I’m going to refinish the surface with an endmill anyway…

Maybe I’m wasting money because the blades with many, many teeth are expensive and maybe a blade with fewer teeth would serve my purpose just as well, cheaper, or even dull slower?

The main thing is I don’t want the blade to warp because the straighter and truer the part, the less milling to fix it. But the smoothness I could give or take a little in that intermediary phase.

Any advice what blade to try next as this one dulls? Thanks.

-- Sometimes that which we never dare to believe is true, is.

8 replies so far

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

438 posts in 2019 days

#1 posted 03-12-2021 02:34 AM

A good rip blade sounds like what you need.

View xedos's profile


434 posts in 544 days

#2 posted 03-12-2021 02:46 AM

A little less vagueness would be helpful.

How many teeth does a blade with many, many teeth have ?

What is expensive to you ?

What kind of saw do you have?

I see 10” blades with 60-80 teeth for $20 -$40 regularly, which is not expensive to me. A 10” Forrest blade with 40 teeth can cost over $150 – which I do think is expensive.

Premium blades will tend to stay sharper longer and provide more sharpening. But, you don’t do the volume necessary to recoup the expense.

View Loren's profile


11274 posts in 4891 days

#3 posted 03-12-2021 03:19 AM

I reckon a rip blade will dull just soon since it spends the same time cutting wood, but resharpening it will be cheaper.

You can check a blade plate with a straightedge. Blades are tensioned so they don’t warp when heated. Maybe there’s some difference in that. Forest advertised hand tensioning and sawmill operators used to have to tension blades as part of the sharpening process as I imagine those big blades warp in use.

View tvrgeek's profile


2286 posts in 2893 days

#4 posted 03-12-2021 11:03 AM

You say your finished size, but not the size of rough stock or which dimension rip, which crosscut.

FWIW, I use an Amana full kerf 80 tooth crosscut and a CMT full kerf 24 tooth rip for almost everything. I used thin kerf before as I had a 1 3/4 HP contractor saw. My new 3 HP just laughs at whatever wood I feed it.
If I needed to cut a lot of 1/4 inch thick, I would pull out a 7 1/4 40 tooth. A trick I just learned from luthiers here on this forum. I will probably pick up a glue-joint rip blade before my next project.

I take the time to organize and batch so I am not swapping blades too often, but I do stop and swap. I had several very expensive combo blades (Freud and Ridge) and found they did not cut as well as the correct blade. Slower crosscuts, much slower rips and struggled with 3 inch hardwood. Even though my new saw would not struggle, I will keep using the right blade for the job.

Saw setup is critical for the best cuts. Blade to t-slot, blade to fence, trueness of sled etc. Talking only a couple thousands leeway.

Amana, Freud, CMT, Ridge Carbide, Forrest. I know. Anyone know Carbide Processing? Some suggest the house blades from Klingspor and Infinity are very good and a lot less. A glue line rip will be 30 to 40 tooth, but different tooth shape than a rip. There is that Japanese brand I can’t think of.

A bit if a religious topic, but tooth height above the work may not be the same for all blades. I follow the SOP for about half gullet most of the time, but glue line are sometimes fed shallower and rips full gullet. You need to experiment with each blade and find out what height is right for you, your blade, your wood.

View therealSteveN's profile


8866 posts in 1818 days

#5 posted 03-12-2021 04:10 PM

I cut blanks of hardwood about 1/4” x 2” x 4” that are then precision machined with a flue and holes and a bevel, as a part for traditional woodwind flutes.

These blanks are cut, though, out of branches about as big as my arm.

- TargetSlayer

Hmmm sounds like a recipe for twisty noodles. I would think blade choice is not the tip of that discussion.

-- Think safe, be safe

View dschlic1's profile


515 posts in 3213 days

#6 posted 03-12-2021 06:15 PM

I use Diablo blades purchased from Home Depot. Inexpensive and I get reasonable life. In my area there are no shops which can sharpen circular blades. In ten years I have only gone through two blades.

My go to blade is a 80 tooth crosscut. Went to a woodworking show and could not believe the poor quality of cuts they were getting with blades costing ten times more. That being said I also purchased a 24 tooth Diablo rip cut blade. In cutting 2” thick pine, oak and walnut I did not find any difference in cut or speed between the two blades. So the cross cut blade lives on my saw all the time.

I find the quality of the cuts with the Diablo blades rarely need anything more that a touch of sanding with 220 grit.

View TargetSlayer's profile


9 posts in 3204 days

#7 posted 03-12-2021 08:04 PM

Thanks all , this told me exactly what I needed and more… thank you….
I learned I could benefit by changing my overall blade type and how to help avoid dishing, and thoughts about height duly noted, much appreciated.

I cut blanks of hardwood about 1/4” x 2” x 4” that are then precision machined with a flue and holes and a bevel, as a part for traditional woodwind flutes.

“Hmmm sounds like a recipe for twisty noodles. I would think blade choice is not the tip of that discussion.”

- therealSteveN

Steven are you saying this because it’s the wrong type of piece of wood for the part?
(wanting to twist or warp because of changing wood anatomy in one piece)
I’d be inclined to agree but for one thing I left out for brevity…
This wood is considered spiritually sacred and/or extremely novel to the particular buyers and is the only reason they’ll buy it, and the only way I can get it.
I grow it and nature prunes it, which is another reason they’ll buy.
If I start encouraging folks in its native country to hack them down (for larger lumber from the trunks) it will go against their beliefs. The only product they buy from there is medicinal root bark that has supposedly been harvested only a bit per tree to not hurt it years after year.
I have not had any problems. They get cured for a year then laminated flat on one side to the flute, and the detail has never gone out of tolerance over time thus far.
But what you said has merit, thanks.


1) When it comes to not saying exactly how many teeth, I did not think it vital since I’m asking if I could possibly change the whole family of blade. I’m not at the shop, the lettering is rubbed off, and I didn’t think it relevant enough to count teeth when I’m only asking for generalities.

2) When it comes to not saying what’s expensive to me up front, again, the point was many teeth are more expensive than fewer teeth in the same brand and quality, whether you’re looking at high quality or low quality, and I suspected there was no need to use a finishing type blade maxed out in teeth when the part goes to the mill for fine tuning anyway.

3) When it comes to not stating the specific cut, it’s because I was asking for a general blade that would do many. I said the rough is a branch the size of my arm give or take and I leave the same blade on and make the blank part I mentioned, out of the branch, from A-Z in a few minutes. So… many different cuts and directions and I already know there’s no need to change blades for each cut because if I did nothing but what I’m already doing, it’s okay enough. I’m supporting myself with my shop (not a woodworking shop, just suited adequately to very specialized items, requiring multiple disciplines, without focusing on one so much the rest suffer with time available). I could probably use to probably switch blade type to fine tune expenses etc.

Intuitively, as you might expect from me saying I make a 1/4” x 2” x4” part from the branch, the 4” cut is longways with the grain or lengthy dimension of the branch, the ¼” is taken between the center of the branch and
the bark, and the 2” dimension is roughly in line with the diameter of the branch (but away from the center a bit).

While I’d be well advised to eventually memorize all these terms for what the cuts and grains etc. are, I thought if I said I’m cutting a 1/4” x 4” x 2” part from a branch the size of my arm there’s really only one reasonable way to orient that part “in that branch” and that’s how I’m doing it.

The reason I haven’t learned the proper terms for all these cuts and things is: this woodworking aspect is only one integral part of a bazillion different ones including software design and acoustics and so on and so on, and I’m making all the cuts from one blade at one station in one fell swoop, so there hasn’t been a reason to prioritize learning more until now (after it all working fine for some time, now, even if I did nothing at all to change) I decided doing it all with a finishing blade is probably unnecessarily pricey.

I can look at the terms and such, but after everything working fine for another couple years, I’ll forget them again…

Thank you again for your genuine help.

I’m not griping I’m just explaining why I thought it unnecessary to include certain details (ineptly) and why my question was answered adequately as-is (thanks)

Seriously, TY for hearing me out as well, if you read all that for kicks & giggles….

-- Sometimes that which we never dare to believe is true, is.

View therealSteveN's profile


8866 posts in 1818 days

#8 posted 03-12-2021 09:34 PM

Yeah I said that because it’s limb wood, which of all wood from a tree is generally the worst for twisting, and not behaving.

I can’t speak to it’s spirituality. I feel that all of Mother Natures gifts to us are sacred. Something to be valued.

-- Think safe, be safe

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