Are table saw blades reverse threaded? A clear answer

As a woodworker myself for many years, I understand that table saws are an essential tool in any woodshop, offering precise and consistent cuts for woodworking projects.

However, for those new to this power tool, the various components and terminology can be intimidating.

One common question that arises among novice woodworkers is whether table saw blades are reverse threaded.

Well, the short answer to the question are table saw blades reverse threaded is: If a table saw blade tilts to the right, it indicates that it is reverse threaded. Conversely, blades that tilt to the left do not possess reverse threading.

A wide variety of blade types are available, each offering distinct qualities tailored to specific job requirements. Regardless of the chosen blade, it is essential to understand the safe procedure for blade replacement.

In this article, we will delve into the concept of reverse threading, explore the different types of table saw blades available, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to safely change your blades.

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Are table saw blades reverse threaded: An in depth answer

What Does ‘Reverse Threaded’ Mean?

Threaded and reverse threaded bolts
Threaded and reverse threaded bolts (Picture by essentra components)

When a tool or part is reverse threaded, it means that the threads of the tool run in the opposite direction compared to the more common threading direction. For instance, most bolts are threaded in a way that they tighten when turned clockwise, following the principle of “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.” However, in the case of reverse threaded bolts, they tighten when turned counter-clockwise.

Are table saw blades reverse threaded?

The concept of reverse threading applies to table saw blades as well. If a table saw blade tilts to the left, it will not be reverse threaded. However, when the blade tilts to the right, it will indeed be reverse threaded. You might wonder why the reverse-threaded blade tilts to the right instead of the left. Well, it’s because a right-tilted blade is positioned on the left side of the table, while a left-tilted blade sits on the right side.

Why are table saw blades reversed threaded?

Table saw blades are sometimes designed with reverse threading for specific reasons. The primary purpose of using reverse-threaded table saw blades is to prevent the blade from unscrewing during operation. When the table saw blade direction spins in the direction of the cut, the reverse threading helps to counteract the natural tendency of the rotational force to loosen the blade from the arbor.

This feature is particularly beneficial for table saws that have a left-tilting blade design. As the blade tilts to the left, the reverse threading ensures that the rotational force generated by the spinning blade does not loosen the blade from the arbor. It provides added stability and security, minimizing the risk of the blade becoming loose or detached during cutting.

It’s important to note that not all table saw blades are reverse threaded. Blades that tilt to the right usually have a standard threading because the rotational force naturally tightens the blade onto the arbor during operation. Therefore, the reverse threading is specific to blades that tilt left and serves as a safety measure to maintain blade stability during use.

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Choosing the Right Blade

Selecting the appropriate table saw blade for your woodworking projects is crucial to achieve optimal results. Let’s explore the different types of blades available and their specific applications:

Flat Top Grind (FTG) Blades

FTG blades are designed for ripping through wood quickly by cutting along the grain. These blades feature square-shaped teeth called rakers, which can chisel through wood. While FTG blades may leave behind an unfinished surface, they are ideal for cutting large wood pieces.

Alternate Top Bevel (ATB) Blades

ATB blades, also known as ‘all-purpose’ blades, offer versatility in cutting angles. Unlike FTG blades, the teeth of ATB blades alternate directions, allowing them to work effectively at multiple angles. However, it’s worth noting that ATB blades may dull more quickly compared to other blade types.

Combination (ATBR) Blades

ATBR blades combine the features of FTG and ATB blades. They typically have 50 teeth, with 4 ATB teeth followed by one raker for every five teeth. This combination enables the blade to make clean crosscuts while still being suitable for ripping tasks. ATBR blades are often referred to as “all-purpose” blades due to their versatility.

Triple Chip Grind (TCG) Blades

TCG blades are specifically designed for handling heavy and dense materials that are too challenging for ATB, ATBR, and FTG blades. These materials may include plastic laminate, brass, and aluminum, among others. TCG blades have teeth that alternate between rakers and chamfered teeth. The chamfered teeth rough out the cut, allowing the raker to clean it up effectively.

The teeth of a blade play a crucial role in determining its performance. The angle of the teeth, known as the hook or rake, significantly impacts the cutting quality. Blades classified as all-purpose, such as ATB and ATBR blades, usually have a hook angle between 15° and 20°. Some blades may feature a zero or negative degree rake to prevent self-feeding.

When choosing a blade, consider the specific requirements of your task. Are you planning to make rough cuts that will be detailed later, or do you need to make precise, subtle cuts? The materials you’ll be working with also play a role in blade selection. For example, FTG blades are best suited for ripping hardwoods quickly but may not leave a polished finish. ATB blades are ideal for crosscutting, as they minimize exit tear-out when cutting against the grain. Thin materials like plywood are well-handled by ATB blades, while TCG blades excel in cutting high-density materials such as plastic laminate.

How to Change Your Table Saw Blade

Now that you understand the concept of reverse-threaded table saw blades and have an overview of the different types available, let’s explore the step-by-step process of changing your table saw blade safely:

Preparation

Before changing the blade, it’s crucial to follow these preparation steps:

1. Ensure that your table saw is unplugged to prevent any accidental start-up.

2. Refer to the instruction manual of your specific table saw model to identify and remove any throat plate or blade guard that may be obstructing access to the blade.

3. Raise the blade to its highest position to facilitate easy blade removal.

Removing the Arbor Nut

The method you use to remove the nut will depend on the tools available and the design of your table saw. Here are a few common methods:

1. Two wrench method: Secure the arbor with one wrench while using another wrench to loosen the nut.

2. Arbor lock method: If your table saw has an arbor lock, engage it to secure the arbor while using a wrench to loosen the nut.

3. Blade-lock method: Consider purchasing a blade lock accessory designed to secure the blade in place and protect your hand. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the blade lock and then use a wrench to loosen the blade bolt.

4. Wrench and woodblock method: If you only have one wrench available, you can keep the blade in place by pressing a block of wood against it while using the wrench to loosen the nut.

5. Wrench and woodblock variation: Lower the blade slightly so that the teeth are just above the tabletop surface. Place the table saw blade removal tool on the backside of the blade opening and gently nudge the block of wood against the blade to free the nut. Once the nut is loose, you can use your fingers to remove it. Placing your index finger at the end of the arbor will free your hand to catch the nut.

Changing the Blade

Once the arbor nut is removed, follow these steps to change the blade:

  1. Remove the washer located beneath the nut.
  2. Take off the old blade carefully, ensuring not to damage the teeth or yourself.
  3. Position the new blade on the arbor, making sure that the teeth are facing you.
  4. Replace the washer onto the arbor.
  5. Secure the arbor nut back onto the arbor, following the same method used to loosen it but in reverse. Ensure that the nut is tightened securely but not excessively, as overtightening can damage the blade or the arbor.

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Are table saw blades reverse threaded – Conclusion

In conclusion to the question “are table saw blades reverse threaded”, understanding the concept of reverse-threaded table saw blades is essential for safe and efficient woodworking. The tilt of the blade determines its threading direction, with right-tilted blades being reverse threaded. It’s crucial to choose the right blade for your specific woodworking task, considering factors like the type of cut, the material being worked on, and the desired finish. Additionally, mastering the process of changing the table saw blade correctly is vital for optimal performance and safety.

Remember to always refer to the instruction manual of your table saw model and take necessary safety precautions when working with power tools. By following these guidelines, you’ll be equipped to tackle woodworking projects with confidence andachieve professional-quality results with your table saw. Happy woodworking!

For more tips on how to use a table saw, visit my article How To Use A Table Saw—Easy Starter’s Guide For Perfect Cuts now!

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