Selecting the Right Type of Saw Blade

A circular saw cutting a wood plank.

There are many different saw blades on the market. Choose wisely with this guide.

Saw Accessories Safety Tips

A self-retracting guard that closes over the blade as it cuts is a good safety feature on portable saws, and you should only use an abrasive blade if you also have an aluminum or magnesium guard for protection.

When using a circular saw, beware of kickback. Kickback is when the blade becomes pinched and the saw lifts up out of the workpiece, toward the user. To prevent it, make sure the blade is sharp and clean. Do not let the saw overheat, support large panels so they will not pinch the blade, and beware of knots or sap in the wood. Never remove the blade from the material while it is cutting. Release the switch immediately if the saw stalls or binds.

Carbide-Tipped Saw Blades

Carbide-tipped saw blades are circular blades used for working with plywood or hardwood. They last up to 10 times longer than regular blades.

Combination Blades

Combination blades are the most commonly used circular blades. They are used for cross-cutting, ripping, and mitering in hardwood, softwood, veneer, and plywood. They are not suitable for work requiring a smooth finish.

Abrasive Cut-Off Wheels

Abrasive cut-off wheels blades are circular blades used for cutting ferrous metals, masonry, glazed materials, and ceramic tile. They must match the type of material being cut and can only be used with saws that have an aluminum or magnesium guard.

Diamond Blades

Diamond blades are circular steel discs with a diamond-bearing edge. They are used to cut tile, marble, slate, quarry tile, granite, stone, limestone, and porcelain tile, and can have either a segmented, continuous rim, or turbo-rim configuration.

Plywood Blades

Plywood blades are circular blades used for cutting plywood. They have small teeth to resist splintering and the abrasion of plywood glue.

Dado Head Blade

Dado head blades consist of two kinds of blades in one assembly: two small and thicker-than-normal circular blades on the outside and blades called cutters on the inside. They are used in table saws to cut grooves or slots across boards. There are also adjustable dados, which consists of single blades.

Sabre Saw Blades

Sabre saw blades are carbon steel blades used for cutting most woods and some plastics. These high-speed steel blades are used for cutting metal, fiberglass, abrasives, and thin plastics.

Reciprocating Saw Blades

Reciprocating saw blades are carbon steel blades used for soft woods and plastics. Carbon-tipped blades are best for nail-free wood, nonferrous metal, plastic, and fiberglass, as they are brittle and easily broken. Bi-metal blades combine carbon steel and high-speed steel. They last as much as three times longer than other blades.

Rip Fences

Rip fences provide a guide for circular saws that allow them to rip large sheets of plywood. They are usually made to fit a specific brand and model of saw.

Beam-Saw Attachments

A beam-saw attachment for a circular saw looks like a chain saw and gives the standard circular saw a 12” cutting capacity. It is used to rip, crosscut, or notch heavy girders or planks.

Edge Cutting Guides

Edge cutting guides attache to jigsaws, allowing them to making straight cuts. Some models come with a pivot knob, which guides the saw in a circular cut.

Selecting the right saw blade for your project is vital. This guide will help you stay safe and get the job done right!

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