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Selecting the Right Saw Blade

 

Whether you’re ripping several thousand board feet of oak, mitering fine moldings or cutting hardwood veneered plywood Amana Tool has a blade for the job. And having the best blade for the work-at-hand is critical to success; the finest saw will disappoint you when it is equipped with a poor blade or the wrong saw blade. In fact, the most important part of any saw is the blade.

Today, more than ever before, there is a wider variety of blades from which to choose. While this ensures that you can find a blade for any job it can sometimes add to the confusion when selecting a saw blade. Let’s take a close look at the types of blades and sort through the terminology so that you can choose the best blade for your next job.

Today’s saw blades are remarkable testaments to engineering. But you don’t need to be an engineer to understand the basics and choose the right saw blade. Here’s a rundown of the essential terms:

--The steel plate or body of the blade is dynamically straightened, balanced, and tensioned. This three-step process ensures that every Amana saw blade cuts clean and true.
amana saw blade

Standard saw blades have thicker plates and provide smoother cuts than comparable thin-kerf blades. However, generally speaking, thin-kerf saw blades require less horsepower.

--Blade bodies heat up and expand during cutting. Expansion slots in the plate help dissipate heat and provide for expansion so that the blade remains flat and cuts true.

--Copper plugs in the slots reduce operational noise.

--Carbide teeth are specially ground on each type of blade to provide clean cuts. The finest blades have thick teeth to provide repeated sharpenings and long blade life.

--The large gullets on rip blades are designed to efficiently pull the sawdust from the kerf.

View our complete line of saw blades.

Saw Blade Types

Today, there are more specialty saw blades to choose from than ever before. Although the most common sawblades are designed for ripping and crosscutting solid wood there are a number of specialty blades for cutting man-made sheet stock such as MDF and plywood, plastic coated materials such as melamine, and even demolition blades that are designed for cutting through an occasional nail.


The Prestige Saw Blade
Like a lot of woodworkers, I keep a combination blade, such as the Amana Prestige, on my tablesaw much of the time. With its time-tested combination blade design, four alternate top bevel teeth with one flat-top raker, it effectively rips and crosscuts both solid wood as well as sheet stock. The Prestige features a massive tool-steel plate (.102” thick!) with large expansion slots that virtually eliminate vibration. And the copper plugs practically eliminate noise. The 40 teeth are ground with a steep twenty degree bevel angle for crisp, clean cuts both with and across the grain.


View Prestige Series Saw Blades




Rip Saw Blades
Ripping a stack of hardwood can push your saw to its limits. But a great rip blade, such as the Amana #610200 will reduce the load on both you and your saw. That’s because rip blades are specifically designed for smooth, efficient cuts while reducing the feed resistance normally associated with ripping.

Rip blades have a fewer number of teeth than crosscut or combination blades, typically twenty to twenty-four on a ten inch blade. The low tooth count combined with large gullets and an 18 to 20 degree hook angle makes Amana rip blades fast and aggressive.

Glue-line rip blades use a special triple-chip tooth grind and an extra high hook angle. The unique tooth grind allows aggressive feed rates while at the same time producing a cut so smooth that the surface is ready for gluing—no jointing required!

View all Ripping Saw Blades




Melamine, Plywood & Laminate Saw Blades
With its paper-thin veneer, plywood can be a bit of a challenge to cut without chipping or splintering; plastic laminates are also difficult to cut because the brittle plastic veneer tends to chip. Plywood and laminate saw blades, such as the Amana #MB10800, totally eliminates chipping and splintering by incorporating a special “high ATB grind”. The result is an absolutely smooth finish on a variety of sheet stock from hardwood veneered plywood to MDF and TCG. These specialty blades are ideal for use in custom cabinet shops.

View all Melamine Saw Blades






General Purpose Saw Blades
As the name implies, general purpose blades are designed to effectively rip and crosscut so that you can continue working without changing blades. General purpose blades combine a lower tooth count and larger gullets than crosscut blades so that they can rip effectively. And the alternate top bevel (ATB) tooth configuration also makes them effective for crosscutting cleanly.

I keep a combination blade 610600 on my tablesaw most of the time. As a furnituremaker I’m continually making a variety of cuts and I save a lot of time by not continually switching back and forth between rip and crosscut blades. So you’re probably thinking “why not just mount a combination blade on your tablesaw and leave it there?” The answer? It depends.

For example, if I’m ripping a few boards for a drawer, the combination blade works fine. But when ripping a large stack of hardwood stock, I’ll sometimes switch to a rip blade. The large gullets and aggressive tooth angle will smoothly and effortlessly rip all day long without bogging down the saw. And for silky-smooth miters, I use 80 tooth miter blade. The sharp 20 degree top bevel easily shears tough end-grain for gap-free miter joints. The bottom-line? You’ll often be more productive by taking a minute and switching to a specialty blade.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most popular styles of specialty blades and discuss how they may be put to use in your shop.

View all General Purpose Saw Blades


Crosscut Saw Blades
When the job requires the cleanest possible cut across the grain I use the Amana #610600 crosscut blade. Crosscut blades have lots of teeth, usually 60, and an alternate top bevel (ATB) tooth design. The bevel angle is sharp, typically 10 degrees, in order to cleanly shear the tough end-grain fibers. Although a combination blade will effectively cut end grain, a crosscut blade will leave a much smoother surface. This is important when the end grain will be seen and touched, such as when making a table top.

If you own a sliding miter saw or a radial-arm saw you’ll want a crosscut blade that is specially designed for these machines. Sliding miter saws and radial-arm saws have a tendency to self-feed which leaves the wood torn and ragged and can sometime even grab the stock—a potentially dangerous situation. The negative hook angle of radial-arm and sliding miter saw blades pushes the stock downward and against the fence to provide an extra margin of safety.


Miter Saw Blades
With 60 teeth and a 2 degree negative hook, the Amana #MS10600 miter saw blade is the blade to choose when you want glass-smooth miters that are ready for assembly. This blade is ideal for miter saws and radial-arm saws.

View all Miter Saw Blades

Perfect Miter saw blade for picture framers




Non-Ferrous Saw Blades
As the name implies these specialty saw blades are specifically designed for cutting non-ferrous materials such as brass, copper, and aluminum. They feature a negative hook angle, triple-chip grind, and a thick plate. Amana has blades specifically designed for both thick-walled and thin-walled materials.

View all Non Ferrous Saw Blades






Demolition Saw Blades
The unique blade has a negative 15 degree hook angle and specially designed carbide (90% tungsten, 10% cobalt) that is more shock resistant and less brittle than standard carbide. This saw blade is a favorite among fire rescue workers.

Warning! Demolition Blades are not to be used on gas powered saws.

View all Demolition Saw Blades




Saw Blade Tooth Configurations

Flat Top (FT)
used on rip blades for fast, efficient cuts along the grain.
Alternate Top Bevel (ATB)
an alternate left and right bevel to cleanly shear the wood fibers when crosscutting.
Alternate Top Bevel Modified (H-ATB)
Steeper bevel than the standard ATB for chip-free cuts on Melamine and plastic laminate without the use of a scoring blade
Combination Tooth (4&1)
Groups of four ATB teeth and one flat-ground tooth. Each group is divided by a large gullet on the saw blade. The design is used on combination blades for ripping and crosscutting.
Triple Chip (TCG)
Alternate flat raker tooth and higher trapeze tooth divides the chips to achieve smooth cuts in hard materials such as MDF, OSB, and plastics. This tooth design is also used on blades for cutting non-ferrous materials.
California Triple Chip (C-TCG)
Specialty tooth design for miter saws. Used in picture frame shops, window and door manufacturers or anywhere that miter saws are used.
Hollow Ground (HG)
A hollow face grind used for cutting melamine and other challenging materials. Most often used on vertical panel saws.

Saw Blade Tooth Angles

Hook Angle (Rake Angle)
The angle between the face of the tooth and an imaginary line from the blade center. Steeper angles, from 18 to 22 degrees, are most effective for ripping and cutting softer materials. Hard materials require a shallow angle such as 6 degrees. To prevent self-feeding, sliding miter saws and radial-arm saws require a blade with a negative tooth angle.
Top Clearance Angle
The angle between the top of the tooth and an imaginary line tangent with the cutting circle of the blade. This angle varies according to the hardness of the material being cut, 12 degrees for hard and 15 degrees for softer materials.
Top Bevel Angle
Flat top for ripping, beveled for crosscutting, steeply beveled for difficult materials such as melamine.
   

Saw Blade Maintenance

You’ll get better results and a longer life from your sawblades if you follow a few simple guidelines for their care.

Protect the teeth—carbide teeth are brittle and can be chipped or broken if dropped or allowed to contact other tooling. Use care when installing blades and store them so that they are not in contact with other blades or bits.

Keep them clean—the teeth on a sawblade undergo a tremendous amount of heat and stress during cutting. As a result, gum and dirt will build up on the tooth surfaces. Use a blade cleaner to remove the crud.

Keep them sharp—when the feed resistance begins to increase or the quality of the cut suffers slightly it’s time for sharpening. Avoid touching up the tooth surfaces yourself; you’ll risk spoiling the cutting geometry. Instead, take the sawblade to a professional saw sharpening shop and have the teeth ground.

Amana’s line is among the finest industrial-quality saw blades available. And Amana Tool has a saw blade for every woodworker, from high production furniture and cabinet plants to the small custom shops and woodworking enthusiast.


View our complete line of saw blades.





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