All About Radial Arm Saw Blades Complete Guide

Are you struggling to get the best performance out of your radial arm saw blades? You’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about radial arm saw blades – from selecting the right blade for your job to maintaining and sharpening it.

Get ready to take your woodworking skills to the next level!

Radial arm saw blades are an essential tool for any woodworking shop. As the name implies, they are cutting devices that are attached to a radial arm saw and used to cut boards, panels and other woodwork components into desired shapes. The different types of blades available can differ slightly in size and application but all serve the same purpose – to provide precise cuts with clean edges.

Unlike many power tools, there is no single radial arm saw blade that is suitable for all jobs. The right blade depends on the material being cut, the thickness of the material, and the desired finish. Before selecting a blade for your project, it is important to consider what type of cuts will be made, as this will determine which type of blade you need.

This guide will provide an overview of radial arm saw blades and offer information about when different types should be used for optimal results.

Types of radial arm saw blades

Radial arm saw blades come in a variety of sizes and types, with each blade made for a specific purpose. The main types of radial arm saw blades are the crosscut, rip cut, combination, and dado type blades. Depending on the manufacturer and model of your saw, you may be able to purchase specialty blades as well. Detailed below is a brief description of each type:

Crosscut Blades: Crosscut blades are designed specifically for making crosscuts across the grain of wood. These particular blades come with many teeth; usually thirty to sixty-four. They offer very accurate cuts that are smooth and splinter-free with their thin kerf design.

Rip Cut Blades: Rip cut blades only have a few teeth compared to those found on crosscut blades. This is because they’re designed strictly for ripping boards lengthwise along the grain. The wide gullets between the teeth help whisk away wood chips from the cut area so that it performs better than other blade types; all while leaving behind an even surface on both sides of the cuts as it tears through them effortlessly.

Combination Blades: Combination blades feature alternating configurations of teeth, including some number of alternate top or flat top beveled teeth between regularly shaped teeth at various intervals around the blade’s circumference; these allow you to efficiently accomplish both rip cuts and crosscuts without changing out your blade as you switch tasks.

Dado Type Blades: Dado type blades are mostly used in combination with another piece of machinery like a miter or table saw to accomplish special grooves or slots into materials such as lumber or plywood; which is why they’re also sometimes called slotting or cutting groove machines! These special radially arranged cutting edges produce wide slots at consistent depths depending on what type you select for your job requirements — popular choices being raised panel dadoing routers and reverse groove dadoing routers for carpentry work such as cabinet or furniture making applications.


Crosscutting blades

Crosscutting blades are designed to cut straight across the grain of the material being cut. They usually have fewer teeth than a combination blade, typically having between 24 and 50 teeth. Crosscutting blades are ideal for making rip cuts, non-through cuts and moulding cuts. The fewer number of teeth and large gullets on a crosscutting blade mean that it can move more material at once than a combination blade. This allows for faster cutting but at the expense of leaving more saw marks on the edge of the wood being cut.

When choosing a crosscutting blade, make sure to select one with as many teeth as possible so you can get a cleaner cut with less sanding required afterwards. Examples of crosscutting blades include:

  • Carbide tipped general purpose blades
  • Thin kerf general purpose blades
  • Aluminum cutting blades

Ripping blades

Ripping blades are designed specifically for making cuts along the length of a board and have fewer, large teeth. This type of blade is an ideal option for heavier duty material and larger projects. The number of teeth on these blades may range from 5 to 10, but 7 is the most commonly used size.

The gullets on this type of blade, between each tooth, measure about 5/32” in depth and ¼” in width. The hook angle is more aggressive than that used on crosscutting blades making it ideal for plunge cuts thanks to its large teeth which will help reduce tear-out along the edges of the boards when you’re cutting with the grain or ripping them into smaller sections.

Because they offer a slower feed rate they generate less heat while cutting meaning they require less frequent sharpening than other saw blades. As long as you don’t get too overzealous when setting your saw up to make a cut then this type of blade should provide you with cleaner, more precise cuts – all without having to sharpen it as often as a regular crosscutting blade.

Blade Size

The size of the blade is a crucial factor when selecting the right blade for your radial arm saw. It will determine the depth of cut you are able to make, as well as affect how well the blade operates in a variety of materials, including hard and softwoods. The blade diameter will be listed on the packaging and can range from 3-7 inches (76-178mm). Typically, larger diameters are used for deeper cuts while smaller ones are used for shallower cuts or to provide finer more intricate details.

When choosing a blade size, consider what type of material you’ll be cutting most often. Harder woods require larger blades while softer woods can handle smaller blades. Generally, a good general-purpose blade would be 6Tooth with an 8” diameter which provides just enough teeth to provide smooth cuts without bogging down the motor on heavier materials.

However, when dealing with tougher materials such as plywood or MDF it is important to choose a higher tooth count for a smoother finish and fewer tear outs. A good choice for these particular wood types would be an 80tooth 10” diameter blade which provides plenty of teeth for efficient cutting speeds without overloading the motor or producing excessive heat during use.

Factors to consider when choosing the blade size

Before shopping for a radial arm saw blade, there are several factors to consider in order to make the best possible selection. First and foremost is the size of the blade which is often determined by the material that is to be cut and its size. A larger blade will handle thicker material more easily than a smaller one; whereas a smaller blade can do a better job with fine cuts that require more precision. Additionally, a larger blade will run at slower speeds, creating less heat and less friction; however, this generally means lower torque in some cases. For best results, the table should be adjusted according to the size of the job and blades should never be used at speeds greater than those specified by their manufacturer.

Another important factor when choosing a radial arm saw blade is its teeth configuration which should match with the material type. Different materials require specific types of teeth configurations such as rip or crosscut teeth for lumber/wood or variable tooth designs for non-ferrous metals like aluminum or plastic laminates. The condition of your machine’s arbor and any arbor collars especially in older machines can have an effect on your choice as well because they could dictate slight blade size and width variations.

Blade Material

Blade material refers to the type of metal from which your radial arm saw blade is constructed. Choosing a saw blade with the right material is key for accurate, effective, and safe cuts. The three most common materials used for saw blades are carbon steel, high-speed steel (HSS), and carbide-tipped (CT).

Carbon steel is the most economical option and generally preferred for cutting soft materials like plastic or woods. It also has a softer bite, so you can use a carbon steel blade on low-power motors without having to worry about blowouts. On the downside, carbon steel blades can easily dull after repetitive use or wear down when used on harder materials like metals.

High-speed steels consist of hard alloyed steels such as M2 and PM-M4 that have been designed to stay sharp even under high levels of heat created by power tools; they also remain sharp longer than carbon blades. This makes them perfect for cutting harder materials like metals while providing clean cuts every time given sufficient power from your motor. However, they are more expensive than other options.

Out of all three options, carbide tip blades provide longest life and stay sharp even in difficult situations; however, these blades typically cost more due to their sophisticated construction process. CT blades are best suited for cutting metal because their construction makes them highly resistant to heat generated by power tools. In addition to metal cutting, these types of blades can also be employed for cutting plastics, non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and brass, foam board insulation panels as well as composites like laminated countertops and flooring decking materials.

Types of blade materials

Radial arm saw blades are available in a wide variety of materials and types. Material choice will ultimately depend on what the blade will be used for, so for example blades for woodworking generally have a different material compared to those used for logging or masonry.

For woodworking applications, steel blades are the most popular. High-speed steel (HSS) blades are available in a variety of sizes and are suitable for general cutting tasks. For deeper cuts and higher precision, carbon-steel blades can be used as they offer superior strength and maintain their sharpness better throughout prolonged use while providing accurate results with minimal heat buildup during cutting. For specialized tasks such as trimming or shaping edges, high-carbon steel tungsten carbide tips can also come in handy for even more durability.

For metal work and logging, carbide tipped circular saw blades offer higher strength compared to regular HSS, meaning they can cut through tougher materials with less wear over time due to increased heat resistance from friction during cutting. Carbide tipped circular saws are also easier to sharpen than other types of blades due to their hard compound construction which reduces wear and extends usage life. Finally dedicated diamond-tipped saws offer extreme precision when cutting hard rocks or heavily etched masonry blocks due to diamond’s unsurpassed hardness when compared against any other blade material by far – these circular saws often require dedicated heavy-duty machinery though which makes them suitable only for certain specific applications where nothing else will suffice.

Advantages and disadvantages of each material

The four most common radial arm saw blade materials, each of which offers advantages and disadvantages. From the hardest blade material to one of the most economic, each type can be used for different tasks depending on the needs of the job at hand.

HSS (High Speed Steel) – High speed steel is considered by many to be the finest all-purpose saw blade material available. It stays sharper for a longer period of time than other materials and is less prone to chipping when cutting harder materials like metal or particle board. Despite its higher cost, HSS blades are a good choice if you plan on using your saw regularly on hard materials.

Carbide Tipped – Carbide-tipped blades offer an exceptional combination of strength, sharpness and longevity and are often used as an alternative to HSS blades when more precise cuts are needed. They typically hold their edge longer under heavy use than HSS blades and resist fractures better than other blade materials when cutting hardwoods or metal.

Tungsten Carbide – Tungsten carbide is similar to carbide-tipped blades but employs smaller pieces of tungsten carbide brazed onto a steel body for improved strength and precision cuts in wood or metal. Although they generally cost more than standard carbide tipped saw blades, they can offer much greater durability in terms of repeated use with hardwoods or particle board as well as time saved between sharpening regimens due to their high hardness steel core construction.

High Carbon Steel – High carbon steel is often chosen for its economic benefit rather than its strength or longevity as it tends to dull quickly in comparison to other types of material when cutting thick boards or hardwoods. But given the right circumstances — like thin-bladed cross cuts — they can provide excellent value at a low price point while still lasting several times longer than standard high speed steel blades due to their low heat treatment temperatures during manufacturing processes.

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Maintenance and Sharpening

Sharp blades are essential for accurate and safe operation of radial arm saws. Keeping cutting edges sharp and free of defects will maintain blade performance and increase cutting accuracy; it will also decrease the potential for a tear-out at the end of a cut.

Maintaining the radial arm saw blades requires periodic sharpening and cleaning. While periodic sharpening is fairly easy, cleaning may require more effort as it involves removing resin or “pitch” build-up on the blade caused by hot sawdust impinging upon it during the cut. Pitch build-up can cause burning, kickback, binding and vibration during cutting, ultimately leading to poor accuracy or quality cuts. This can be avoided by performing proper maintenance on your blades. Here are some tips for preventing pitch build-up on your saw blades:

  1. Inspect the blade before each use by checking for dull edges, missing teeth and any other damage that could impair performance while cutting; this should be done with a magnifier or loupe if possible to get an accurate reading of edge quality in different light settings.
  2. Balance the blade properly — if not already done at manufacture — to reduce vibration while making cuts which can cause teeth breakage or wear due to jarring impacts; this should be performed by professionals as even slight misalignments can have negative effects on both safety and accuracy of cuts made with radial arm saws blades.
  3. Immediately clean cold pitch from blades using solvent intended specifically for this purpose after each use; make sure to rinse away all traces with warm water afterwards though as any remaining solvent can cause corrosion over time which will eventually weaken blade integrity through material degradation from its exposure – never use gasoline or acetone solvents to clean blades as these may have adverse chemical reactions when used improperly! Repeat this process every couple weeks depending on use frequency for optimal performance results out of radial arm saws machines in general operation settings over extended periods without significant degradation occurring due just stationary exposure alone as well if necessary (as opposed however active operation mode).

Importance of maintaining and sharpening saw blades

Maintaining and sharpening saw blades is an extremely important task for anyone who operates a radial arm saw. Dull blades become dangerous; they are more likely to cause kickbacks, burn marks on the wood, inaccurate cuts, and vibration. Sharp blades will produce cleaner cuts that require less sanding or touch-up work.

Sharpening a blade requires skill and expertise, so it’s usually best left to professionals if you’re not comfortable with the process. A qualified sharpener will also be able to inspect your blades for defects such as cracks or chips that can be dangerous to use. In some cases, the cutter may need to be replaced by a professional rather than attempting to sharpen it yourself or taking it in for sharpening services.

Blade maintenance should happen consistently throughout the life of your blade to ensure you get the most out of it. This includes tasks such as wiping down the blade after each use, frequently inspecting for wear and tear, and regularly checking tensioning mechanisms that secure the cutter head in place during operation. With regular maintenance and proper sharpening techniques, your saw blades should last much longer than expected and provide superior results compared to unsharpened cutters.

How to properly maintain and sharpen saw blades

To ensure the optimal performance of your radial arm saw, it’s important to maintain the saw blades with regular checkups and sharpening. Keeping up with saw blade maintenance and sharpening can improve the longevity of the saw’s motor and trunnion pins while also saving you time and money.

Before getting started, it’s important to wear protective glasses or goggles when working on any power saw. Additionally, it is also recommended to wear hearing protection since a radial arm saw produces a significant amount of noise during operation.

Follow these steps for properly maintaining and sharpening your radial arm saw blades:

  1. Inspect for signs of damage—Carefully inspect your blades for any dents, chips or other signs of damage that can be caused by using dull blades. If a blade shows signs of damage, remove it from use immediately and discard it according to safety guidelines. If a blade is simply dull from normal wear-and-tear, proceed to step 2 below.
  2. Clean off all dirt—Using a cloth dampened with soapy water, wipe down each side of each blade removing any dirt or residue that may have built up over time. Be sure to inspect both sides carefully before going on to step 3.
  3. Sharpen with lubricant—Applying lubrication (such as machine oil) between passes is key in achieving maximum effectiveness when sharpening your blades; this helps add base lubrication while ensuring an even edge on both sides of the blade throughout the entire process.

4 Test sharpness—Place a wood block over one side of the finished blade to ensure uniform contact between the surfaces during testing; press lightly then try using a thumb tack against both sides (or just one if only one side was being sharpened). If both surfaces are correctly sharpen correctly, you should feel resistance when trying piercing outwards from center point but no resistance when piercing inwards from center point towards edge.

5 Reattach onto Radial Arm Saw – Finally attach your freshly cleaned &sharpened blades back onto their respective arms along with a new set screws making sure that they are firmly secured in place before turning on power switch resuming work operations as normal.

Safety Considerations

Safety should always be the primary concern when dealing with power tools and saw blades. Radial arm saw blades can be dangerous and must be used with care. To maintain the safety of yourself and those around you, it is important to follow the best practice measures recommended by experts. Some general safety tips include:

– Wear proper protective clothing, including eye protection, when operating the saw;

– Make sure that your work area is well lit and free from clutter;

– Inspect both blade and saw for damage that may affect its performance prior to use;

– Never alter or modify a blade or saw without consulting a professional technician;

– Always turn off the saw when changing a blade or performing maintenance work;

– Remove any loose clothing or jewelry before operating the saw;

– Use only manufacturer designed blades for optimum saw performance.

General safety guidelines when using a radial arm saw

It is essential to take safety precautions any time you are working with a radial arm saw. Before you begin, make sure to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying dust, sparks and metal chips. Wear sturdy leather gloves when handling a blade and keep your hands away from the blade at all times.

Make sure the area free of obstructions or other trip hazards that could cause you to lose your footing while using the saw. Securely attach the blade guard before turning on the saw, and use a dust collecting system to reduce airborne particles while working.

Keep in mind that lightweight materials should be held down firmly with a wood clamp or other device as they may move unexpectedly while cutting them with a radial arm saw. After use, unplug the saw from its power source and store it properly until needed again.

Why Radial Arm Saws are the not dinosaur you remember – The Dusty Lumber Co.


In conclusion, the radial arm saw blade is one of the most versatile and useful tools for workbenches, tool chests, and carpentry jobs. It can be used for cross-cutting, ripping and beveling of materials ranging from hardwood to softwood and from timber to metal. The radial arm saw blade is a great investment as it not only makes cutting easier but also saves a lot of time.

To get high-quality results with your radial arm saw blade, it’s important to select the right type of blade for your cuts. You should also make sure that your blades are properly maintained so they produce consistent cuts each and every time. When selecting a radial arm saw blade, ensure that you purchase blades made with high quality materials such as stainless steel or tungsten carbide which is designed to last longer than regular steel blades. Additionally, ensure that you practice safe handling when working with them in order to avoid any potential accidents while also extending their lifespan.


What blade to use on radial arm saw?

The type of blade to use on a radial arm saw depends on the material being cut.

What are the different types of radial saw blades?

The different types of radial saw blades include crosscut blades, rip blades, combination blades, dado blades, and molding blades.

What are the main parts of radial arm saw?

The main parts of a radial arm saw include the motor, blade, blade guard, arm, yoke, carriage, fence, and table.

How many teeth does a radial arm saw blade have?

The number of teeth on a radial arm saw blade can vary, but typically ranges from 24 to 80 teeth.

What is the most common size blade used on a radial saw?

The most common size blade used on a radial arm saw is 10 inches in diameter.

How thick is a radial saw blade?

The thickness of a radial arm saw blade can vary, but typically ranges from 0.06 inches to 0.125 inches.

How do you sharpen a radial saw blade?

Radial arm saw blades can be sharpened using a saw blade sharpening tool or by a professional saw sharpener.

How deep are radial arm saw blades?

The depth of cut for a radial arm saw blade can vary, but typically ranges from 2 inches to 4 inches.

What are two uses of radial arm saw?

Two common uses for a radial arm saw are crosscutting and ripping wood.

What is the best use for a radial arm saw?

Radial arm saws are versatile tools and can be used for a variety of woodworking tasks, including crosscutting, ripping, mitering, beveling, dadoing, and molding.

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