A circular saw blade on a pale yellow background.

Cut to the chase: The easy guide to finding circular saw blades

Published 27th January 2023
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Whether you’re a woodworking pro or a DIY enthusiast, it pays to know the ins and outs of circular saw blades – after all, they’re the key to achieving a smooth, clean, and easy cut. We'll show you the different types of blades, key features, and the cut finishes you can achieve with them in this easy-to-understand buying guide. Let’s get started!

What are circular saw blades?

Circular saw blades are an essential tool for any woodworking project. They're circular discs with sharp teeth that fit into a circular saw and rotate at high speeds to make clean cuts in wood, plastic, and metal. The size of the blade determines the size of the cut it can make.

Types of circular saw blades

There are three main types of saw blades: standard blades, combination blades, and speciality blades. Each type is used for a different purpose:

  • Standard blades are the most common type and are designed for general woodworking projects. They usually have a large number of teeth and a medium-sized kerf (the width of the cut).
  • Combination blades are designed for both cross-cutting and rip-cutting (cutting with the grain of the wood and against it - non-combination blades will struggle to cut against the grain).
  • Speciality blades are designed for specific tasks like cutting masonry, compound materials, or metal. They're usually made from tougher materials like carbide or diamond-tipped teeth.

The type of blade you use will determine the finish of your cut. Standard blades produce a smooth finish, while combination blades produce a rougher finish. Speciality blades can produce a variety of finishes depending on their design.

Which blade is best for certain materials?

The type of material you're cutting will determine the type of saw blade you need. Here are some common types:

Wood blades: These blades are designed for cutting through wood and other soft materials. As a general rule, fewer teeth mean a faster, rougher cut, while more teeth will give you a smoother cut. They're usually made from high-speed steel or carbide.

Metal blades: Because they're up against a tougher material, you'll usually need a carbide or diamond-tipped circular saw blade. They have fine teeth for a smooth cut.

General purpose blades: These blades are designed for cutting both wood and metal. They have both fine and large teeth and are usually made from carbide or diamond-tipped steel. If you're not using your saw regularly, this is a good option to pick.

Circular saw blade features to consider

Circular saw blades come in a variety of sizes, with different numbers of teeth, bore sizes, and materials. Here's a breakdown of each feature and how it affects the cut:

Number of teeth: The number of teeth on a circular saw blade determines how smooth and clean the cut will be. Generally speaking, blades with more teeth are better for cross-cutting (cutting across the grain), and will produce a smoother cut, while blades with fewer teeth are better for rip-cutting (cutting with the grain).

Size of blade: The size of the blade determines the size of the cut it can make. Smaller blades are better for making tight turns or narrow cuts.

Bore size: The bore size is the hole in the centre of the blade that fits onto the arbor of your circular saw. Make sure you get the right size bore for your saw!

Blade material: The material used to make the blade affects durability and performance. Generally speaking, steel blades are more affordable, while carbide or diamond-tipped blades are more expensive but can last longer and cut faster.

Key things to remember

Circular saws are an essential tool for any woodworker. With the right blade and some practice, you can achieve clean, precise cuts in a variety of materials.

If you're not using your circular saw regularly, a general-purpose blade should do the job for you. However, if you want a more precise cut, you'll need to consider the different blade types, features of the blade, the material you're cutting, and the finish you want to achieve.

Now that you know more about circular saw blades, you can choose the right one for your next project!

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