Why so many saw blades? Do I really need more than one?
Published April 28, 2017
Ever wondered why there are so many varieties of saw blades to choose from?
It can be confusing. If all you need to do is make a single, rough cut in a piece of wood, then any blade will do. But most of us want to make numerous, high quality cuts in a variety of materials. That’s why EAB has over 140 unique blades to choose from, each one designed to produce optimal results for the job at hand.
Here are the ‘must-knows’ to help you choose the right blade as well as some key benefits to having a variety of blades at your disposal.
A quality blade means a quality cut. EAB produces quality blades to cut virtually any material and fit any budget. Standards are high and blades undergo extensive testing in our lab to ensure consistent high quality. For light to medium duty work GEN (General Purpose) blades will certainly fill the need. PRO (Professional Series) is designed for the heavy duty needs of the professional user or demanding DIYer. And IND (Industrial Series) is EAB’s highest quality line of blades, designed for the extreme duty needs of the commercial woodworker and contractor. Before you buy, determine whether you need GEN, IND, or PRO so you won’t be disappointed.
While this may seem obvious, you may be surprised to learn that each tool requires the right diameter blade to match cutting requirements and specific RPM (speed) of both the blade and saw. Using the wrong diameter blade and mismatching the RPM can result in equipment damage and operator injury. When selecting your blade, check your power tool requirements and the blade label carefully.
Number of teeth
How many teeth should you have? It’s not a case of more is better. Too many teeth cause a slow cut and burning, while too few teeth will give a very rough and splintered cut. A good rule of thumb, regardless of the blade diameter or thickness of material, is to have 2 to 4 teeth in the material being cut. This will produce the smoothest cut, optimal chip removal, the least amount of friction, and less strain on your equipment. Most importantly, it’s also safer.
It's all in the teeth
The teeth are the critical feature of any saw blade. The teeth determine the type of materials the blade can cut, how fast or controlled your cut will be, how smooth your finished cut will appear, and how long your blade will last. All EAB blades are designed to achieve optimal results regardless of the type of blade.
Carbide Grade or Type
The grade of carbide tooth will help determine the type of material to be cut and the expected life of a blade. You might think that a harder grade of carbide will hold its sharp edge longer and have a longer life. While this is true to a certain degree, it also depends on the sharpening and usage. Generally speaking, softer carbide tips are more shock resistant and while harder tips will hold an edge better, they’re more brittle. For example, C2 or C3 carbide blade tips are best for cutting wood and construction materials on job sites. C4 and C6 blade tips are best for cutting melamine, plastics and metal products.
The hook angle is the amount of forward or backward lean of each tooth. A higher hook angle will give you a more aggressive and faster cutting speed, ideal for ripping and crosscutting lumber. A low (less than 5°) or negative hook angle will give a smoother, slower cut, which is ideal when cutting hard or brittle materials such as melamine and metal materials. While low hook angle blades are ideal for cross cutting with mitre saws, they are not ideally suited for ripping on table saws.
Tooth Configuration or Shape
As with any cutting device, the shape or configuration of the cutting edge determines how well it will perform. The design of a blade’s teeth determines how well it will cut different materials and how long it will last.
Alternate Top Bevel (ATB)
Alternate Top Bevel with Raker (ATBR)
Triple Chip Grind (TCG)
High Alternate Top Bevel (Hi-ATB)
Polychrystalline Diamond (PCD)
Sharpening is the all-important final step in the production of a quality saw blade. All EAB blades go through a “complete sharpening” process, which means they are sharpened on the face, top and sides on computer controlled sharpening machines. These machines hone the tips to a mirror like finish with 400, 650 and 1,000 grit diamond wheels. This means that the blade you buy has the best cutting edge, to provide you with optimal performance and long life.
EAB’s expansive selection of blades includes the right blade for every job and every budget. And its green exchange system saves you dollars. Find the right blade for your next job.