Beginners Woodworking Videos

Selecting Saw Blades for Table Saws

There are hundreds of different table saw blades available from many, many different manufacturers so how do you begin by selecting the one you need. There are probably a number of blades that will work for you so narrowing down what works best for the amount of money you want to spend is a simple matter of knowing the basiscs. This article along with the video will help eveyone new to woodworking, gain the knowledge to make wiser choices when selecting table saw blades.

There are 3 questions you want to ask yourself when looking for table saw blades, 1) - What material will you be cuting  2) - What  machine do you have (table saw, mitre saw and what size, 9 inch, 10 inch, 12 inch and is horse power or amperage of the saw) and finally 3) - what is the purpose of what you are doing - furniture making, building a fence or a chicken coup or installing crown molding. 3 very relevant questions that will all come together to help you find the best blade(s) for your use.

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Easily the most popular table saw blades on the market right now are 10 inch blades and also the widest selection. There are basically 2 types of blades, Full Kerf - approx 1/8" (kerf referrs to the width of the saw blade tooth) and Thin Kerf - approx 3/32".

Full kerf blades are thicker teeth, thicker steel bodies and heavier blades. They are used in bigger more powerful saws. Full kerf blades have more carbide in their teeth which means the teeth stay sharper longer, and they can be resharpened more more times than thin kerf. Full kerf blades will cut a wider swath so they will use up more material and will create slightly more saw dust and shavings. Full kerf will be slightly harder to push material through as the width of the blades is slightly wider. Full kerf blades are often preferred by commercial and industrial businesses that are using saw blades constantly as these blades withstand harder more rugged use and can be resharpened more often.

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Reciprocating Saws and Blades - Beginner #29

Reciprocating saws or "recip saws" as they are commonly called, are not commonly regarded as woodworking tools but many woodworkers have and use them. Recip Saws are standard fare for home reno and DIY projects because they can be used to quickly remove parts of buildings, and with the correct blades, can easily cut through wood and nails so they are big time savers. The good thing with recip saws is that they all take standard blades. The blades can be inserted right side up, or upside down on most saws. Once the collar or collet as some call it, is twisted and the blade inserted they are locked in place. To remove the blades, twisting the collar will release the blade.
The one thing I have learned is that when it comes to recip saws, bigger is better. By that I mean that in many cases, the underpowered recip saws are just not capable of doing the work that many people expect from them. Whether you are looking at a corded or cordless tool, my recommendation is to purchase the most powerful one you can. I seldom give this kind of advice but for recip saws, I have never, ever heard anyone complain that the purchased a saw that was too powerful ... I have heard them complain that they should have purchased a more powerful tool.

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 Like many tools that cut, the blades you select for the saw can make an enormous on how easily you can get the job done, and recip blades are no exception ....

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Tips, Jigs & Ideas - Beginners #28

I do not know of any other working medium that uses more tips and jigs than woodworking. There are so many tricks and adaptions that can be made to make woodworking easier and safer ... the whole thing could be an industry of it's own.

I have few favorite jigs and tips that I use all the time, and these are some of them that I find ... for what I do ... are very useful, but there are many more and I will present more of them at a later date. 

My most useful jig is the 2 step, stop block. For some reason I see to use this a lot for making shorter and one or two dado cuts into something that I am making. It saves me so much time from the alternative which is bringing out and setting up my stacked dado blade set. For short, quick dados, this little jig is perfect.


 My second most used jig is a simple stop block jig on the table saw for making exact cross cut pieces ... I know many people are going to say, yes, but why would you not do that on the sliding mitre saw or chop saw, and the answer is ...

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Circular Saws: Using and Safety

The Circular Saw was invented way back in the early 1920s by a company that later changed it name to Skil. The tool was SO POPULAR that for decades people referred to every circular saw as as "skil saw", which is the same kind of thing that happened with Hoover. The company name became synonymous with what it did. Even today I hear people sometimes calling circular saws "Skil Saws" and if you tell someone you need to do some "hoovering" they know you really mean vacuum cleaning. Funny how that goes ... but I digress. The circular saw is arguably one of the most popular power tools on the planet. The only thing that might  bump it would be the power drill.

Sadly, circular saws have created a TONS of injuries over the years and thanks to a number of people who have looked at these injuries and come up with good ways to help prevent them in the future, we now have a pretty good guidelines on circular saw safety. I am happy to report that these guidelines and best practices are being taught to our carpenter and woodworking students in trade schools and colleges and we know what they are learning is working because we can monitor the positive results.

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 Many, many years ago the first blades I ever used on circular saws were old hardened steel blades and they didn't stay sharp very long. You had lots of choices back then too, you get a blade with 20 or 24 teeth depending on what manufacturer you wanted to purchase from. The good news was that you got pretty good a sharpening your own blades with rusty old file ...

Read more: Circular Saws: Using and Safety