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Thread: Do I really need a rip blade?

  1. #1
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    Do I really need a rip blade?

    I have a Freud Glue Line Rip blade - two in fact since I bought them on sale for a price too good to pass up.
    I also have a Frued 26 tooth thin kerf blade for anything over 4/4 or 5/4.

    I spend a lot of time swapping out my rip blade for a 40 tooth combo blade.
    Since i nearly always cut 3/4" stock, would I be better served just getting a good combination blade and leave that in the saw?

    I don't mind the added time it takes to swap out the blades, but, it does seem a waste to spend more time swapping out the blade than actually making the cut a lot of the time when I only have a cut or two to make.

    My saw is a Ridged TS 3660 contractor saw - and so far, it's been working just fine with the regular kerf GLR blade - but - I'd probably go with a thin kerf combo blade.

    I'm also open to recommendations for a very good combination blade.
    Is the Forrest WWII still considered "the best"?
    Last edited by Rich Engelhardt; 06-03-2021 at 5:30 AM.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  2. #2
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    It's never a popular opinion when I say this, but you do not gain anything by switching blades between a good combo and a rip for normal use. Unless you are trying to rip something thick and fast (don't do this expecting a clean cut), there is no benefit in my opinion to a dedicated rip blade and the time wasted changing them is better devoted somewhere else. Further, I have yet to see a dedicated rip blade that does a better job than a good combo for cut quality. I personally would not use a thin kerf anything, the stiffer thicker sawplate is worth the extra kerf width in my opinion.

    I have several WWII and they are good blade. There are several others who have blades of the same caliber now, arguably better.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    I use a dedicated rip blade only when I'm setting up to make a number of rip cuts, or when I'm cutting multiple flat bottom grooves for drawer bottoms or corner splines on mitered boxes. I have a good combo blade that will rip just fine, but the dedicated rip blade offers an easier cut and leaves a cleaner finish.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  4. #4
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    Your saw has a 1.5 hp motor, which is plenty of power for most cabinet making and hobby woodworking. If you are consistently cutting 5/4 and thicker stock you probably need to consider a bigger saw. I find on my 1 hp saw that I get superior cuts wit dedicated 60 tooth cross cuts and 30 tooth ripping blades. I use Freud blades almost exclusively. .

    I change blades on my saw fairly often and it takes me less than 2 minutes each time. Try to think ahead and plan your cuts to some degree so that you make less frequent blade changes.

    IMO compromise is a more appropriate name for a combination tool of any sort. It will get the job done, but not as well as a dedicated tool.

    Woodworking is best done at a steady pace, rushing through a project leads to errors and possible injury.

  5. #5
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    If I'm satisfied with the quality and speed of the cut I stick with a combo blade... if I'm getting any burning or the cut isn't smooth enough I'll switch to a ripping blade.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Rozmiarek View Post
    It's never a popular opinion when I say this, but you do not gain anything by switching blades between a good combo and a rip for normal use.
    I personally agree with this. I use one blade (12" WW-II 48T ATB) for pretty much everything unless there is a clear advantage to using my aggressive ripping blade. (WW-II 20T ripping 10") Now if I were going to be doing an all day "rip a thon", the time for the change could be justified by the slightly better results that are possible with an optimized blade, but switching back and forth for routine work...nope.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    May 2018
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    I keep a rip blade on the 5 hp SawStop and a crosscut on the Radial Arm Saws along with the panel saws
    Switching out to a dado blade only when necessary

  8. #8
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    Oct 2015
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    SW Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    I use a dedicated rip blade only when I'm setting up to make a number of rip cuts, or when I'm cutting multiple flat bottom grooves for drawer bottoms or corner splines on mitered boxes. I have a good combo blade that will rip just fine, but the dedicated rip blade offers an easier cut and leaves a cleaner finish.
    I shall simply say this is what I would have said!
    A wannabe woodworker!

  9. #9
    My table saw is a 1.75hp PCS and it wears a 50 tooth combination blade or a 40 tooth combination blade, both Freud, most of the time. Sometimes I put in a 50 tooth Infinity combination blade. The Freuds are thin kerf and the Infinity is full kerf. The 50 tooth blades have 10 flat top raker teeth so they work fine for something like a dado in drawers for the bottom. The need for the ripping blade depends on the wood. For me, it is both the thickness and the straightness. If the wood keeps trying to close on the blade, it consumes power and makes the ripping blade more necessary. Sometimes I even have to jamb a wedge into the kerf. But 8 quarter hardwood means ripping blade and probably the thin kerf one (Freud). I also have both riving knives and the thin one SawStop offers works far better for thin kerf blades - it is also not expansive (a pleasant surprise for this brand).

    Unless the wood is problematic, a full kerf combination blade works fine for 4 quarter stock in my saw. I built an entire dresser, for instance, with 10 drawers mostly out of cherry and used nothing but my full kerf infinity combination blade. Ripping blade in my shop is purely for problematic wood or really thick wood. Normally 1.5 inch thick wood is still very doable for the combination blade.

    I've been making furniture for about 50 years now and have never had a 220V table saw. I work with any thickness of any wood my project needs. I have to change blades sometimes when I wouldn't with a 3hp or 5hp saw but 110V table saws will make any project the "big" saws will. They just are not as tolerant of using the "wrong" blade or a dirty or dull blade. I am specifically saying that 3+ inch deep rips in hardwood are completely possible and not even at all dramatic with my saw, I just have to use a thin kerf ripping blade that is clean and fairly sharp. Feed rate can be normal. I have no problem with people wanting more hp but I do have a problem with any suggestion that it is necessary to get the work done. I have too much experience in the other direction to accept that conclusion.

  10. #10
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    Curious, I've never found a combination blade to be much good for anything on my 1 or 1.5 hp saws. They don't crosscut as cleanly as a crosscut blade nor rip as well as a ripping blade. Sort of like all season tires compared to real summer and winter tires. They get the job done but not nearly as well as ones designed for that specific task. Changing blades is just the price of admission for quality cuts.

    John

  11. #11
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    Jul 2016
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    My experience, I have a 3HP SawStop PCS. I generally use a Forrest WWII Combo blade.

    Usually at the start of a project, I go through the ripping phase. At this point I put on a Forrest Thin Kerf 20T rip blade, 2 minutes change over.

    The rip blade cuts so much better/easier than the 40T Combo blade, especially on hard maple and Purpleheart. It leaves fewer burn marks and at times, it's tough to feel the difference between the jointed and the newly sawn edge.

    I would not be without this rip blade.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2011
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    As most of my blades were badly in need of a sharpening, I bought one of Infinity's Super General Combination blades to fill in while everything was at Dynamic Saw. I was never a fan of combination blades in the past but this one is amazing. I'll still switch out to an 80 or 60 tooth TCG for plywood but will definitely be leaving the Infinity one on the saw for the mean time, cut quality is awesome in solid woods.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    Curious, I've never found a combination blade to be much good for anything on my 1 or 1.5 hp saws. They don't crosscut as cleanly as a crosscut blade nor rip as well as a ripping blade. Sort of like all season tires compared to real summer and winter tires. They get the job done but not nearly as well as ones designed for that specific task. Changing blades is just the price of admission for quality cuts.
    There are differences between various "combo" blades which shouldn't be surprising. Some do better than others but it certainly is true that there is always a compromise with something that's "all purpose". It comes down to a subjective decision about what's acceptable to the individual. For the blades I use, I'm genuinely happy with the results I get, but in the early days of my woodworking when I thought even a 50 blade was uber expensive, the results were not even close to current. Some of that is likely technique, but again, different blades perform better or worse.

    What would be super nice would be to have a shop large enough to have multiple machines that are dedicated to specific kinds of cuts. But that ain't gonna happen for me for sure...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    In one employment guys would fill the place with smoke by trying to rip 8/4 rough lumber with an 80 tooth saw. Took more time ...but
    saved labor ! The foreman seldom left his desk , a pretty smoke proof place with a glass front.

  15. #15
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    So much depends on what you are doing. I have combo blades and use them to break things down. I rarely use them for final cuts on things. Many folks never use an edge or surface right off a machine so the quality of that cut becomes a work-saver of varying degrees.

    I do have a set of dedicated purpose blades that I use as the job requires. Since it takes less time to swap a blade than to wash your hands I tend to do it without much remorse. I am also set up to do it. My tools and blades are at hand.

    To rip thick stock I use a rip blade. To crosscut a show face on fibrous woods I will grab an 80 tooth cutter. I use a combo blade . . . a lot. I also have 24, 30, 50, 55, 60 and 80 tooth cutters in the quiver. In the end, what works for you is correct and I am always interested in hearing what other do.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 06-03-2021 at 12:22 PM.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

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