How to Select the Perfect Saw Blade for Any Job
Having recently added to the range of Carbitool saw blades, now is a better time than ever to clear up some terminology and offer some insight into how you can select the perfect saw blade – no matter what job you’re taking on.
Even a surface-level understanding of the basics will help you choose the most suitable blade for the job. Blades come with different uses in mind, some for professional use on tricky materials, and others more suited to DIY use around the home.
What is “Kerf”, and What Does it Mean for Me?
Let’s answer those questions one at a time. You may have seen “kerf” in a catalogue or on blade packaging, and if you never knew what it meant, you’ve come to the right place. The kerf on a blade is the width of the tip which determines the thickness of the cut. Generally speaking, the larger the blade, the greater the kerf. However, as with anything, there are exceptions.
For example, special application blades may not conform to this, as they may have smaller or larger kerfs to suit a specific material. Some ultra-thin kerf blades are available in the new section of Carbitool’s TCT Circular Saw Blades. These are designed to suit battery powered machines, as they reduce the power required to make a clean cut in your material.
Life’s a Pitch
The “pitch” of a blade is the distance between the tips of the teeth. This determines the size of the material the blade is suitable for. It’s important to measure the thickness of your workpiece, as the pitch selected should be equal. This will ensure that at least one tooth is always in the cut. The thicker the workpiece, the greater the pitch – it really is that simple.
It’s also important to note – too small a pitch will end up with too many teeth in the job at once. When this happens, there isn’t enough space in the saw blade’s gullet (the recessed space between the teeth) to accommodate (clear) the swarf. This often results in “binding”, where the saw jams continuously. Naturally, this can cause a poor finish.
When looking for the perfect saw blade, it is imperative that the style of tooth is correct for what you want it to do. There are four basic categories of tooth style, though there are countless more designed for specialised applications. Here’s a breakdown of the readily available ones:
- Alternate bevel
Alternate bevel blades have an angle ground on the top of the teeth. One tooth is angled left, the next right, and so on and so forth. Some of the new saw blades in the Carbitool range, including Wood Cutting – Standard Kerf, Wood Cutting – Ultra Thin Kerf and Wood Cutting – Professional, among others, all have an alternate bevel top grind.
- Triple Chip
Triple chip blades alternate from every first tooth having a square top, to every following tooth having a 45-degree bevel off each side. This makes triple chip blades a less vulnerable option for cutting aluminium, for example.
- Flat Top Grind
A flat top grind is as it says – a flat, square tooth. Carbitool’s Metal Cutting series combines a flat top grind with a neutral rake angle, which leads nicely onto our next point…
Find the Right Angle
The rake angle (sometimes known as the hook angle) refers to the amount of backwards or forwards lean each tooth has relative to the centre line of the blade. A positive rake (forward leaning) will bite more aggressively into the workpiece.
Negative rake teeth lean away from the centre line of the blade and engage with the workpiece from the bottom of the tooth first, taking a less aggressive bite. Some machines specify that a negative rake blade must be used for safety reasons. These are less prone to “grabbing” and experiencing “kickback”. Carbitool’s Mitre Saw series incorporate a negative rake and provide an extra margin of safety.
Whether you’re choosing a saw blade for professional use on difficult material or a more standard blade for a DIY application, Carbitool has the right one for you. Check out our catalogue and make the most of free shipping on orders over $90 Australia-wide.