A Guide to Circular Saw Blades

Diamond saw blades

There are various types of circular saw blades available. Whether you’re working with wood, metal, or other materials, this article will review some knowledge about saw blades, helping you understand them better.

Circular Saw Blades Explained

A saw blade is a thin circular tool used for cutting solid materials. It is mainly used for cutting, breaking, trimming, and slotting workpieces. Saw blades are widely used in processing materials such as wood, metal, stone, and composite materials. It is one of the most widely used cutting tools in production. Saw blades are primarily used in equipment such as table saws, reciprocating saws, panel beam saws, single-blade saws, and multi-blade saws.

Diamond saw blades

What Are Circular Saw Blades Made Of:

Circular saw blades are made of different materials to meet different cutting requirements. There are mainly 4 types of saw blades based on the material used:

  1. HSS saw blade

These blades are made of high-speed steel and are suitable for cutting metal materials such as steel, iron, copper, and aluminum. They are favored for their cost-effectiveness and versatility. However, their durability is relatively short, making them ideal for applications where cutting precision and speed are not critical

  1. Carbide saw blade 

Carbide saw blades are circular saw blades that have been processed and heat-treated on a round thin steel plate (substrate), with several teeth cut into the substrate and embedded with hard alloy cutting heads, also called carbide-tipped circular saw blades. These tungsten circular saw blades are mainly used for cutting solid wood, artificial board, aluminum alloy, aluminum profiles, radiators, plastics, and plastic steel.

Carbide circular saw blades are widely used in the woodworking and furniture manufacturing industries. Approximately 95% of woodworking circular saw blades use carbide tips. They are used for cutting various types of soft and hardwoods, as well as materials such as MDF, particle board, laminate, fiberboard, plywood, bamboo, and other wood materials.

  1. Diamond saw blades

Diamond saw blades mainly consist of two parts: the saw blade core and the blade. The core serves as the primary support structure for the bonded blade head. The blade is composed of bonding materials such as diamond particles and metal powders, which are welded to the substrate under high temperature and pressure. PCD blades are suitable for cutting various thin materials, ceramics, marble, granite, refractory materials, concrete, and other hard materials. 

PCD saw blades offer superior cutting performance, high efficiency, exceptional wear resistance, and prolonged lifespan. However, their cost is relatively high.

Carbide and diamond saw circular saw blades are widely used in wood cutting.

  1. Cold saw blades,  also known as metal circular saw blades, are composed of a body and a metal ceramic blade head. They use a cold milling cutting method, which generates minimal heat during the cutting process. This avoids internal stress and changes in material structure at the cut section. Additionally, the saw blade exerts minimal pressure on the steel tube, preventing deformation and burrs on the cut surface. This improves the cutting precision of the workpiece and maximizes the lifespan of the saw blade.

Cold saw blades are widely used in cutting various rolled steels, cold-formed steel sections, high-frequency welded pipes, 45# steel bars, stainless steel bars, and solid black metal bars.

Different types of cutting machines require different types of saw blades. Choosing the right saw blade can greatly improve work efficiency and production quality.

Circular Saw Blades

Circular Saw Blades Sizes

  1. Circular Saw Blade Diameter

The diameter of the saw blade is related to the thickness of the workpiece. A smaller saw blade diameter results in a relatively lower cutting speed, while a larger diameter increases the requirements for the saw blade and cutting equipment, as well as improves cutting efficiency. The outer diameter of the saw blade should be selected to match the diameter recommended for the specific circular saw machine model.

  1. Circular Saw Blade Thickness

In theory, thinner saw blades are preferable for their cutting efficiency. However, saw blades that are too thin may wobble during operation, affecting cutting performance. When selecting the thickness of a saw blade, one should consider both the stability of the blade during operation and the material being cut. Some materials require specific blade thicknesses, such as slotting saw blades and scoring saw blades, which should be used according to equipment requirements.

     3. Circular Saw Blades Teeth

  • Alternate top bevel (ATB) teeth, also known as left-right teeth, are the most widely used because this arrangement creates a larger front angle, allowing for sharp cutting of wood fibers, resulting in fast cutting speeds, smooth cuts, and relatively easy sharpening. They are suitable for ripping and cross-cutting various soft and hard woods, as well as MDF, plywood, and particleboard.
  •  Saw blades with anti-kickback teeth on the left-right teeth configuration are known as dovetail teeth which are suitable for longitudinal cutting of all kinds of wooden panel with knots. 
  •  Flat tooth blades have rougher cuts, slower cutting speeds, and are the easiest to sharpen. They are mainly used for cutting regular wood, are cost-effective, and are commonly used for small diameter aluminum blades to reduce adhesion during cutting, or for dado blades to maintain a smooth bottom.
  •  Flat-triple chip tooth blades combine a trapezoidal tooth and a flat tooth. They are more complex to sharpen but can reduce veneer chipping during cutting, making them suitable for cutting various single and double veneer boards and fire boards. Blades for cutting aluminum often use blades with more teeth in the flat-triple chip configuration to prevent adhesion.
  • Raker tooth blades are commonly used in the bottom slotting of panel saws. When cutting double-sided veneer boards, the dado blade adjusts the thickness to complete the bottom slotting, and then the main saw completes the cutting process to prevent chipping at the cut.     

       4. Circular Saw Blades Teeth

Generally, the more teeth a saw blade has, the better its cutting performance in a given unit of time. However, a higher tooth count also requires more material for manufacturing, leading to higher prices. Additionally, a densely packed tooth configuration reduces chip clearance, which can cause the blade to overheat. Moreover, with too many teeth, improper feed rates can result in minimal cutting per tooth, increasing friction between the blade and the workpiece and affecting the saw blade’s lifespan. Typically, tooth spacing ranges from 15-25mm, and the number of teeth should be selected based on the material being cut.

      5. Circular Saw Blade Direction

It is essential to ensure that the direction of spindle rotation is consistent with the direction of the saw blade during installation. Generally, there is an arrow on the saw blade indicating the direction of the teeth, which is usually clockwise. If the saw blade is installed incorrectly, it can pose a safety hazard, damaging the cutting machine and the saw blade. It can also cause the teeth to fly off, potentially injuring the operator.

    6. Circular Saw Blade Angle

The angle of the saw teeth refers to their position during cutting. The angle of the saw teeth affects the performance and effectiveness of the cutting. The most important angles are the rake angle γ (gamma), the clearance angle α (alpha), and the wedge angle β (beta).

PCD saw blade

Circular Saw Blade Types And Uses

There are many different types of circular saw blades. Here are some common types of saw blades for your reference:

  1. Saw blades for general purpose: These blades have moderate tooth size, angle, and spacing, providing fast cutting speeds and strong cutting performance. They are used for cutting solid wood, chipboard, MDF, and composite materials.
  2. Cross cutting saw blades: These blades have a larger tooth angle than general-purpose blades and are designed for cutting solid wood across the grain (perpendicular to the annual rings). They can effectively cut through the coarse fibers of wood, leaving a smooth surface. They are suitable for use on table saws and double-end machine
  3. Ripping saw blades: These rip blades are designed for solid wood ripping along the grain (parallel to the annual rings). They have similar tooth angles to general-purpose blades, but with larger tooth size and spacing to increase chip size and reduce binding. They are cost-effective and provide sharp cutting. They are suitable for use on table saws.
  4. Ripping and cross-cutting blades for solid wood
  5. Panel sizing saw blades: These blades are suitable for cutting hard veneer chipboard, MDF, and plywood. The boards can be stacked in multiple layers. If there is veneer material, a scoring saw blade should be used.
  6. Precision cut-off blades: Suitable for pre-cutting to prevent edge chipping, melamine-faced chipboard, and aluminum composite panels, used on table saws and reciprocating saws    
  7. Saw blades for Edge Banding Machine: Used for pre-cutting before edge banding, mainly for cutting chipboard, MDF, and composite panels.
  8. Multi rip saw blades: They are specialized blades used for cutting logs into slices. The saw blade comes in two main types: multi-blades with rakers and multi-blades without rakers. Multi-blades without rakers are designed for cutting dried softwood and hardwood. Multi-blades with rakers are used for cutting wet softwood and hardwood.
  9. Ultra-thin Multi saw blades: Suitable for high-quality softwood and hardwood with a moisture content of less than 10%.
  10. Scoring Saw Blade: Used for panel cutting marking to prevent chipping during cutting. Suitable for cutting double-faced chipboard and MDF.
  11. Wood Trimming Saw Blades: It is used for ripping and flush trimming solid wood and used on flushing trimming saws and table saws. Material: 
  12. Double End Saw Blade: used to cut solid wood, plywood, and composite materials.
  13. Circular saw blade for crush machines: used for flush trimming and crushing plywood, solid wood, and composite materials.
  14. Double Scoring Saw Blades: Used for pre-scoring double-faced panels, adjusting the scoring width by adding or removing shims. Suitable for scoring depths below 2mm. Also used for marking with twin-blade combination saw blades. 
  15.  Plywood circular saw blade, designed for cutting plywood and boards with high glue content. They provide a smooth cutting surface without leaving burrs on the veneers.
  16. Circular saw blades for aluminum: specifically designed for cutting aluminum materials, offering excellent cutting results. They are commonly used on single and double positive (oblique) cutting machines, as well as on mitre saws.
  17. Saw blades for acrylic: for processing organic glass and acrylic, used on automatic or portable saws.
  18. Saw blades for picture frame and loudspeaker box 
  19. circular saw blades for metal cutting: suitable for cutting cast iron, medium and low carbon steel, stainless steel rods, and pipes.
  20. Saw blades for polyglass, used on automatic or potable saws

Each of these blades has specific applications and is used for different cutting purposes, ensuring efficient and effective cutting results.

woodworking saw blade

How to change the circular saw blade

  1. Preparation

Before replacing the saw blade, you need to prepare some necessary tools and materials. First is the new saw blade, ensure that the model of the new blade is the same as the old one to ensure cutting quality and performance. Additionally, you will need an adjustable wrench and cleaning tools such as tissues to clean the saw machine during replacement. Also, remember to turn off the power to ensure safety.

  1. Removing the Old Circular Saw Blade

To replace the saw blade, you first need to remove the old one. Pay attention to the direction of the saw blade on the machine and use the wrench to loosen the screws holding the blade. Unscrew the screws counterclockwise according to the direction of rotation of the blade. After removing the blade, place it in a safe place to prevent scratches or damage.

  1. Installing the New Saw Blade

Before installing the new blade, ensure that the interior of the saw machine is clean and dry. Clean the saw bed carefully using tissues or other cleaning tools. Then, place the new saw blade on the saw bed, ensuring that it is installed in the correct direction of rotation. Tighten the screws and check if the blade is secure. During installation, ensure that the spindle, mounting holes, and flanges are clean and free of dirt to avoid affecting the fit between them and causing vibration during blade operation.

  1. Testing the New Saw Blade.

After installing the new blade, you need to test it to ensure it operates correctly. First, gently rotate the saw blade to ensure it moves smoothly without obstruction or unusual noise. Then, perform a simple cutting test with wood and observe the cutting quality and speed. If everything is normal, you can restart the saw machine.

Panel sizing saw blades

How to sharpen circular saw blades 

  1. Using a specialized grinding stone is the ideal choice for sharpening new saw blades. These stones typically come in various grits, allowing you to choose the right one based on the blade’s material and purpose. Grinding the blade with a stone ensures a smooth and polished surface, enhancing cutting efficiency.
  2. During the grinding process, it’s important to adjust the amount of material being ground based on the requirements. Grinding too much can make the blade thinner, affecting its lifespan, while grinding too little can result in a blade that is not sharp enough, affecting cutting performance. Therefore, it’s crucial to adjust the grinding amount appropriately.
  3. To ensure the flatness and stability of the blade, it’s important to grind along the circumference. Rotate the blade once during the grinding process and gently press the edge of the blade with your fingers to ensure even grinding.
  4. During grinding, it’s important to use water for cooling. This helps reduce the temperature on the surface of the blade, preventing heat deformation and cracks. Additionally, it helps remove impurities produced during grinding.

Carbide tip saw blades

How to clean circular saw blades

Properly cleaning saw blades not only extends their lifespan but also improves work efficiency and safety. Here are the four steps for cleaning saw blades:

  1. Prepare a saw blade cleaning solution: Add the cleaning solution to a cleaning basin, ensuring the concentration of the solution and the size of the basin are appropriate.
  2. Soak the saw blade: Place the saw blade in the cleaning basin, ensuring it is completely submerged in the cleaning solution. Generally, the soaking time for saw blades is 10 to 15 minutes, which can be adjusted based on the condition of the blade. Gently shake the cleaning basin during soaking to allow the cleaning solution to penetrate every corner of the saw blade.
  3. Rinse the saw blade: After soaking, remove the saw blade and rinse it thoroughly with clean water. Use a brush to gently scrub the surface of the saw blade to remove any remaining dirt and cleaning solution.
  4. Air dry the saw blade: Place the saw blade in a ventilated area to air dry naturally. Do not use hot air to dry the blade, as this may cause deformation or affect its lifespan.

wood saw blade

How to store circular saw blades

  1. Avoid moisture and high temperatures

Prolonged exposure to damp and high-temperature environments can cause oxidation and rust, affecting the lifespan and cutting performance of saw blades. Therefore, it is advisable to store them in a dry, well-ventilated place to avoid these conditions.

  1. Avoid compression, use specialized protective cases for storage.

For wood saw blades, using specialized protective cases for storage not only helps avoid compression but also effectively prevents oxidation and rust. Choose protective cases made of durable, pressure-resistant materials such as plastic or metal. When storing in these cases, try to avoid mixing different types of saw blades. It’s best to store them separately to prevent friction, which can lead to scratches or damage.

Here is a simple guide to circular saw blades. Hope it is helpful to select the right saw blades for your job!

Plywood circular saw blade


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