Combination Table Saw Blades: When to Use Them Complete Guide

Are you confused about when to use combination table saw blades? Then you are in the right place. In this guide, you’ll learn exactly when to choose combination table saw blades for specific cutting tasks, so you can get the job done with the best results.

Whether a novice or a pro, it’s time to save time and energy with this comprehensive guide.

Table saw blades, like all saw blades, are considered tools and are designed for specific uses. Understanding when and how to use the correct blade for a particular job can help reduce accidental injury as well as reduce wasted time and money.

Combination table saw blades have multiple teeth on each side of the kerf to create a smoother cut with less tear-out, but are best used with soft woods only. It is important for woodworkers to understand when to use them so they can get the most out of their tool set.

In this guide we will look at what combination table saw blades are and the different types available in the market. We will look at the pros and cons of using a combination blade compared to other types of blades, as well as how to choose an ideal blade depending on your project’s requirements. Finally, we will provide some useful tips on how to properly care for your combinations table saw blades any time you need them.

Understanding Table Saw Blades

In order to make the best decision when selecting a table saw blade, it is important to understand what the different blades are designed to do. Table saw blades have a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and teeth configurations that affect their performance.

The majority of woodworking projects call for standard or combination saw blades.

Standard or ‘general purpose’ table saw blades are designed for cutting softwoods and hardwoods with a clean finish. These blades usually feature 24-80 teeth, depending on the blade size and cutting application. Typically 10”-12” in diameter, standard saw blades are suitable for use light surface cuts and cross cutting softwoods and hardwoods.

Combinationblades consist of both rip (straight cut) and crosscut (perpendicular cut) teeth that alternate along the same edge. They offer versatility as they can be used to make rip cuts along the grain as well as crosscut cuts across the grain without having to change blades in between operations. Combination saws typically feature ATBR (Alternate Top Bevel with Raker) tooth design which makes them great for a variety of woodworking tasks including ripping, crosscutting and eveninlay work. The number of teeth on a combination blade may range from 32-140 depending on its size; larger sized combination table saw blades are available for industrial grade applications where tougher materials need to be cut at high speeds.

Components of Table Saw Blades

Table saw blades are composed of several important parts that help to shape the blade and make it capable of cutting through different materials. These parts include the teeth, arbor, gullets, sideplate, and core.

The teeth are the most visible part of a table saw blade and allow for precision cutting through a variety of materials. The arbor holds the whole blade together and allows it to rotate at high speeds. Gullets are sections cut into the top plate that allow chips to be cleared away more easily so that finer cuts can be made. The sideplate is a thin metal plate with holes in it that attaches to both sides of the blade to keep it secure while rotating at high speed. Finally, the core is a strong metal tube inside the blade that allows it to stay balanced during operation while withstanding extreme temperatures generated during operation.

Together, these five components make up a table saw blade and determine its ability to cut different types of materials successfully.

Types of Table Saw Blades

Table saw blades can be divided into three main categories: Crosscut, Combination and Rip-cutting. With a little knowledge of the features and benefits of each blade type, you can choose the right one for your saw’s application.

Crosscut blades are designed to produce clean cuts with minimal splintering on both hard and soft woods. They work best with small to medium size projects of moderate complexity, such as cabinetry, furniture and other general construction applications.

Combination blades are ideal when you want to achieve high-quality results in a wide variety of materials. The placement of teeth on combination blades allows them to cut both vertically down through wood (rip-cutting) as well as across wood fibers (crosscutting). This makes them suitable for ripping rough lumber into boards or smaller stock, as well as resawing thin slices from larger pieces.

Rip-cutting blades cut quickly through wood fibers in one direction only, moving away from your body towards the back edge of the material. They produce smoother edges on narrow boards or along the grain than crosscut teeth do; so they’re ideal for cutting larger boards into thinner strips when constructing cabinets or making shelves.

When to Use Combination Table Saw Blades

Combination table saw blades offer the best of both worlds, combining the rip and crosscut capabilities of two separate blades. Combination saw blades are versatile tools that can make various types of cuts such as ripping and crosscutting on different types of wood. Such tablesaw blades are generally characterized by a slightly deeper gullet toward the teeth that reduce chatter, as well as carbide tips with higher rake angles to reduce heat build-up.

When to use combination blades depends on several factors, such as the type of wood being cut and how evenly or unevenly it splits. For soft woods with a low risk of splitting or for when some extra precision is needed, combination blades should be used. They offer stable flat bottoms for dado operations and clean crosscuts with minimal tearout because they are designed to use fewer teeth than either a regular ripping blade or a dedicated crosscut blade would require.

If you’re looking for straight cuts in hardwood boards, then a combination blade is also ideal since their integrated design allows them to handle more demanding stock efficiently, while providing cleaner edges on both sides of the material where possible – though bear in mind that when dealing with solid hardwoods, you may start to notice a decrease in cutting accuracy towards the end as the blade starts to dull faster due to its increased complexity.


Crosscuts are cuts made across the grain of wood, producing pieces that have an even, finished surface. Combination blades for crosscuts typically have a tooth count between 24 and 80 and are best for making beveled cuts with small amounts of tear-out. They typically feature alternating hook angles that make it easier to rip through different types of wood with less vibration. The higher the hook angle, the more aggressive the cut will be.

Tip designs on combination blades also make it easier to feed both wide and narrow boards through the saw without jamming or binding. After you determine your teeth count and hook angle, you can then decide which type of tip design works best for you – flat top or alternate top bevel (ATB). Generally speaking, an ATB blade will provide a smoother cut than a flat top blade because each tooth has a slightly different cutting angle.


Rip blades are designed to cut along the grain of a board, using fewer teeth than what is used in combination blades. Rip blades have deep gullets to help clear chips and are best used when making straight cuts on long boards that can’t be fed through a dado blade safely. Common blade sizes for ripping are 8” and 10” but there also specialty 12” rip blades available when cutting thicker materials is required.

Thanks to their large gullets, rip blades remove more material compared to other types of saws blades so they require greater power from the motor and take longer to cut with. For added support on a long board we recommend using additional clamps or featherboards during the process.

Plywood Cutting

When it comes to cutting plywood, using a combination table saw blade is essential in getting the most out of your saw. Combination blades have higher teeth count than a rip blade, so they’re better at making clean cuts. A combination blade also has alternating top bevel and flat top teeth that help reduce tear-out on the surface of plywood.

These blades are curved, which makes them very effective for changing direction quickly when cutting curves or irregular shapes in plywood. Thanks to their shapes, combination blades can cut both across and with the grain without chipping or splintering the face of the plywood. It is important to note that there are two grain configurations for plywood: cross-grained and long-grain. Cross-grain is when the wood’s fibers cross in different directions— creating an X pattern— while long-grain has fibers running more parallel with each other.

A good rule of thumb when selecting a combination saw blade for working with plywood is to ensure that it’s a high tooth count model that can handle both cross-grained and long grain matchups easily. With these features in mind, you can be sure that your blade will provide smooth cuts every time and help extend the lifespan of your saw blades significantly.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Combination Table Saw Blades

Combination saw blades offer both advantages and disadvantages over standard blades. The most obvious advantage is that they last longer than other types of saw blades and require fewer replacements, so they can help lower overall costs. For example, if you are using a combination blade on hardwoods such as oak or maple, you can get up to three times more cuts than a non-combination blade. They also improve the quality of the cut by reducing chipping on thinner material and ensuring a smoother surface finish.

The downside of combination blades is that their teeth are more prone to wear over time due to the harder steel used in their construction. This means that regular sharpening is needed in order to keep them working at maximum efficiency. Additionally, there may be some loss of accuracy due to the combi-tooth geometry, specifically on softer materials such as plywood where it might leave a slightly rougher edge. Finally, because they are more complex mechanisms, there may be an increase in noise from their use compared with simpler blades.

Tune-Up Your Tablesaw | Wood

Advantages of Combination Table Saw Blades

Combination table saw blades offer many advantages over standard blades. They are designed to cut a variety of materials with precision and efficiency, while reducing blade wear. Combination saw blades have carefully placed and angled teeth that work together to provide a clean, smooth cut on both hardwoods and softwoods. Many combination blades are also coated with titanium for increased resistance to heat and wear. In addition, these blades often feature a deeper gullet design that maximizes cutting speed and improves chip clearance from the cut area.

As such, combination table saw blades allow users to make quick, efficient cuts on many materials without the need for multiple saw blades.

Disadvantages of Combination Table Saw Blades

Combination table saw blades have some disadvantages and when choosing a blade, it’s important to consider these.

The first disadvantage is that combination blades may leave tearouts at the edges of the cut. This can be especially noticeable with soft woods, such as pine or poplar, or when trying to make fine cuts. In addition, because there are more teeth than standard rip blades, they tend to vibrate more than other types. With increased vibration comes increased wear and tear on the blade itself; this can lead to a quicker dulling of the blade and replacement down the line. Finally, combination saw blades tend to cause more heat buildup while cutting; this can lead to burning of both the wood and the blade itself if precautions are not taken.

Maintenance and Safety Tips

In order to make sure that your combination table saw blades perform at their best, it is important to follow some important safety and maintenance tips. These tips will ensure that your saw blades last longer and provide consistent results.

Safety -: The first tip to remember when using any type of power tool is that it should never be operated unless the user has a complete understanding of how to safely use the tool. Make sure you always wear protective eyewear when operating a table saw, as flying particles of wood can be dangerous. Do not attempt to free a stuck blade with your hands or fingers—use a wooden block instead. Make sure that you unplug the saw when cleaning, inspecting, changing blades or making any adjustments.

Maintenance -: In order for the blade to function properly and produce precise cuts, keep it clean and free from debris. Use compressed air regularly or brush each tooth at least once every couple weeks in order to remove built up sawdust from between the teeth and sides of the blade . Always let the blade come up to speed before starting any cut, as slower speeds can cause potential kickback or strain which can lead to dulling or breaking of the teeth on higher-tensile blades . Keep your tablesaw level and install new pads if necessary in order for tensioned blades like those used in combination table saw blades will stay securely clamped down properly while in use.

Blade Maintenance

Whether you’re using a combination table saw blade for the first time or replacing one that’s worn out, it is important to remember that maintenance and regular cleaning are key aspects of a successful blade. Before introducing the blade to its job, clean the saw with compressed air and make sure any dust or debris is removed from both sides of the blade.

Regularly lubricate moving parts and check for any signs of wear or damage. It is also important to check for any cracking in the resin bond that holds together individual pieces in the cluster; this will let you know when it’s time to replace the blade.

Whenever you are making adjustments to your saw, make sure all guards are in place and functioning properly before switching on the motor. This can not only help extend the life of your blades but also enhance safety while cutting.

Safety Tips when Using Combination Table Saw Blades

Safety should always be your first priority when working with table saws and combination table saw blades. A few important tips to keep in mind include:

-Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using the combination blade. Anyone who is unfamiliar with using it should practice on a scrap piece of wood first.

-Always wear eye protection and other applicable safety gear.

-Make sure that your work area is clear of any trip or slip hazards.

-Ensure that the blade guard is in place before beginning to cut and that all other safety features are engaged properly.

-Use a push stick when necessary, especially for long or wide pieces of material that may be difficult to control or reach manually.

-Whenever possible, secure larger pieces of wood firmly in place before starting the cut. This helps prevent unintentional movement during cutting, which can cause injuries and damage both the saw blade and material being cut.

-Be mindful of how much pressure you are applying against your combination table saw blades while making cuts; too much pressure can cause kickback which may result in serious injury or damage to property.

Selecting Table Saw Blades | Woodsmith


In conclusion, understanding when to use the right combination table saw blade can be immensely helpful for getting the best results and making sure your projects are safe and sound. From determining which types of materials can be used to when to use standard or wobble blades, it’s important to know as much as you can about a combination table saw blade before making a purchase.

Researching what is out there and comparing products from different manufacturers is also key in ensuring that you get the most suitable saw blade for your needs. By taking the time to educate yourself on today’s combination table saw blades, you will have greater confidence in the work that you do.


What is the difference between combination and general purpose saw blades?

A combination saw blade is designed to handle both crosscuts and ripping, while a general purpose saw blade is more versatile and can handle a wider range of cutting tasks.

Is a combination blade the same as a rip blade?

No, a combination blade is designed to handle both crosscuts and ripping, while a rip blade is specifically designed for ripping cuts.

What are two different types of blades for a table saw?

Two different types of blades for a table saw are rip blades and crosscut blades.

What are the 3 types of blades used in a table saw?

The three types of blades used in a table saw are rip blades, crosscut blades, and combination blades.

What is the advantage of using a combination blade?

The advantage of using a combination blade is that it can handle both crosscuts and ripping, allowing for greater versatility in cutting tasks.

What are the benefits of a combination saw blade?

The benefits of a combination saw blade include versatility in cutting tasks, the ability to handle both crosscuts and ripping, and convenience in not having to switch out blades for different cuts.

How do I choose saw blades for different operations?

Saw blades should be chosen based on the type of material being cut and the desired type of cut. Rip blades are best for ripping cuts, while crosscut blades are best for crosscuts. Combination blades are versatile and can handle both types of cuts.

Which is the most common saw blades?

The most common saw blades are general purpose blades, which are versatile and can handle a wide range of cutting tasks.

Which saw blade to use?

The saw blade to use depends on the type of material being cut and the desired type of cut. Rip blades are best for ripping cuts, crosscut blades are best for crosscuts, and combination blades are versatile and can handle both types of cuts.

Which saw is good for cutting straight and why?

A table saw is good for cutting straight because it has a large, flat surface for supporting the material being cut, and the blade can be adjusted to make precise cuts at the desired angle.

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