Saw Blades

Heritage of Hawk Ridge Wood Working Club

prepared by Barry Bingham

April 16, 2008




Buy high-quality premium price (above $90), carbide-tooth blades for table saw, miter saw and circular saws.




Use a rip blade for the table saw (compared to a cross-cut blade for a miter saw).


Rip blades have fewer teeth and deeper gullets.  Miter saw blades have many teeth and shallow gullets.


From Wood Magazine, Issue 181, December/January 2007/2008 and Wood Magazine, Issue 183, May 2008


1.         There is no substitute for having a properly tuned table saw.

2.         Forrest and Ridge Carbide have long, thick teeth that deliver high-quality cuts with little or no tearouts.

3.         Premium priced blades ($90 or more) earn their keep with little to no scoring or tearouts.

4.         The Freud P410 produced chip-free cuts on the top and bottom faces of melamine

5.         Many blades have teeth with complicated grinds, so blades should be sharpened by a service with up-to-date computer-controlled grinding equipment.  Check the manufacturer’s web site for recommended sharpening services.  Forrest blades are re-sharpened at their factory.

6.         Based on their study, top honors go to:


a.         The Forrest blades (full and thin kerf)

b.         Freud P410 (full kerf)

c.         Infinity 010-044 (full kerf)

d.         Tenryu GM-25540 (thin kerf)


Web site references for premium blades:


            Forrest Blades –

            Freud –

            Infinity –

            Ridge Carbide –

            Tenryu –



                                                            Forrest            Forrest                                    Freud

                                                            Table Saw       Miter Saw                    Table Saw


            Woodcraft                               $104.99           10” = $119.99              $99.99

                                         12” = $129.99







Use to cut grooves, dadoes, and rabbets. 


Forrest Dado King set (see Woodcraft) is one of the finest dado sets on the market providing cuts from ¼ inch to 7/8 inch with variations in between.  Includes high impact storage case.  Price $299.99.


Freud Dado set (see Woodcraft) is priced at $199.99.




Use a blade that has a high tooth count and a negative rake.  A negative rake means the teeth lean slightly backward and cut less aggressively.  A ten-inch high-tooth-count blade has 60 to 80 teeth; a similar 12-inch blade has 70 to 100 teeth.  (American Woodworker, July 2006, page 66).


Use a cross-cut blade for the miter saw.  Use a rip blade for the table saw.




Recommend Timber Wolf Bandsaw Blades (thin kerf, low tension, silicon steel).  See Woodcraft.  Prices for a 14-inch bandsaw range from $26 to $33 depending on width of bandsaw (from 1/8 inch to ¾ inch). 


An alternative at a lower price is the Olson Flex Back bandsaw blades are carbon blades.  Prices for a 14-inch bandsaw range from $14 to $17 depending on width.  See Woodcraft.




From ShopNotes, Volume 16, Issue 93, May-June 2007, pages 42-43 and ShopNotes, Volume 16, Issue 96, pages 10-11.


Be careful when handling carbide-toothed blades.  The carbide teeth are brittle and can be damaged easily.


Keep the blades free of pitch and resin buildup.  Blades will remain sharp longer and make cleaner cuts.


To clean the blade, spray with CMT Formula 2050 (available from Woodcraft) or Rockler Pitch and Resin Remover (available from Rockler), let it set for five to ten minutes, use a non-abrasive scrub pad to remove residue, use a brass-bristle brush for hard-to-reach spots on the teeth and gullet, rinse with water, then dry with a rag to prevent rust.  Don’t use lye-based cleaners like oven cleaner on carbide-tipped teeth (either saw blades or router bits).  Another cleaner recommended is Extreme Simple Green that was developed to clean aircraft and won’t damage or corrode metal.


When do you sharpen a blade?  When you notice poor quality cuts, burning on the wood, and worn corners on the carbide tips. 


Store the blades on a rack where the carbide-tooth teeth do not touch anything.