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The Top 5 Blades You Need for Your Table Saw

If you have a table saw, you know there are all kinds of blades to choose from. Here are five of the most useful blades to help you take advantage of everything this king-of-the-shop tool is capable of.

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General Purpose

For most table saw work, this combination (or general-purpose) blade will suit you just fine. It’s a compromise; it’s not the best for either crosscutting or ripping, but it performs pretty well. If you use your table saw only occasionally, it’s probably the only blade you’ll need for everyday use. Make cleaner, safer, straighter cuts with these easy-to-make accessories and jigs for your table saw

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These two tasks—cutting boards to width (crosscutting), and cutting veneered plywood—call for a blade with more teeth for a smoother cut. You can crosscut with combination blades, but you’ll get tear-out. So when you’re doing fine woodworking, buy a crosscut bladeHere’s how to perform crosscuts on a table saw.

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Cutting in the direction of the grain, also known as “ripping,” is best done with a ripping blade. It takes bigger bites of wood than a blade with more teeth. And the bigger spaces between the teeth make the wood chips exit better. That means faster, more efficient cutting with less chance of scorching the wood. The thicker and harder the wood, the more important it is to use a ripping blade. Learn how to safely rip boards on a table saw.

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Dado Set

When your project calls for dadoes (slots across the grain) or grooves (slots with the grain), you’ll need a dado set. With a good set, you can cut immaculate grooves or dadoes on your table saw ranging from 1/4 in. wide all the way up to just below 1 in. and everything in-between. You can buy 8-in. sets, but a 6-in. set is less expensive and will do most everything you need.

You can also cut rabbets with a dado set. That’s an L-shaped groove on the edge of a board. That’s important when you want to inset a panel on the back of a cabinet, for example. Here’s how.

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Flat-Tooth Ripping

If you’re getting into cutting joinery–such as tenons or half-laps–on the table saw, you may want to invest in a flat-tooth ripping blade. Most blades have teeth with slight angles that alternate direction with each tooth, which leave small but visible grooves in your work. Flat-tooth blades have teeth with no angles; they’re completely flat on the ends, leaving a smooth surface on the visible edges of joinery.

Table saw sleds and jigs make your table saw so much more useful. Now hear this.

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