What Are the Different Types of Track Saw Blades – Best Guide

For woodworkers, having the right saw blade is essential to achieving precise and accurate cuts. Track saws have become a popular choice lately, and choosing the correct track saw blades for specific tasks can significantly improve your craftsmanship.

The selection of a track saw blade depends on what you’ll be cutting and the number and type of teeth on your blade. These aspects significantly contribute to which blade will provide the best results for the project at hand.

If you are wanting to take your woodworking expertise to the next level, then this comprehensive guide on track saw blades is essential. If you are an amateur or a pro, the information in this article will help you make knowledgeable choices when it comes to picking the most suitable plunge saw blade for your purpose. Let’s explore the range of track saw blades now so you can choose the best track saw blade for the job.

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

Definition of track saw blades

Understanding the Different Types of Track Saw Blades - Quick Guide - Definition

When discussing track saws, the blade is an integral part and most important track saw accessories of assuring quality and precision in your cuts. Specifically designed for track saws, these circular blades feature a center hole known as the arbor hole or bore hole which must fit the arbor found on your apparatus. Make sure to verify that this connection is secure, as well as the correct track saw blade size before using your tool.

Importance of using the correct blade

The crux of the matter is that using a correct blade is essential. Failure to pick the right blade will result in inferior cuts, harm to both the device and the person. As various blades are designed to cut different materials, selecting the ideal blade for the purpose at hand is mandatory. This is what I’m going to talk about in this article.

How Track Saw Blades Work

The track saw enables precise cuts every time by spinning its blades at a high velocity and coming in contact with the material being cut. The specially crafted teeth on the blade cut through the material efficiently, leaving behind a precise and clean edge. Utilizing a track saw ensures the blade remains straight during operation, guaranteeing consistent results.

Advantages of using track saw blades

The plunge saw blades offer great versatility, enabling them to cut a multitude of materials such as wood, metal, plastic and more. Additionally, these blades ensure accurate cuts which are harder to obtain using other kinds of saws.

Can you use regular blades on a track saw?

It is not advisable to utilize a standard blade on a track saw since they are not made to fit the zero-clearance strips on the guide rail; resulting in misalignment of the track along the marking line and also resulting in poor-quality cuts, damage to the blade or saw, or even personal injury. To protect yourself, it is best to use a blade specifically designed for use with your track saw.

Ebook part 1 woodworking basics

Different Types of Track Saw Blades

Rip Blades

Rip blades are specially crafted track saw blades that are optimized to make long, straight cuts in the direction of the wood grain. Their fewer teeth, arranged in an efficient pattern, facilitate the rapid removal of materials.

Rip blades are specifically engineered to prevent wood from catching fire during sustained cuts; while they are excellent for slicing lumber, they are not as proficient when used on plywood or other sheet materials.

The advantages of using rip blades are their knack of making swift, effective cuts along the wood grain. Furthermore, they are unlikely to scorch the wood, unlike other blade types. Besides, they usually come at a more affordable price than other kinds of blades.

When making crosscuts or cutting against the grain, rip blades are not recommended; they tend to leave a less refined finish that requires extra sanding or buffing. Choosing the right blade for the job is paramount, and for ripping, a rip blade is essential.

Crosscut Blades

Understanding the Different Types of Track Saw Blades - Quick Guide - Festool crosscut track saw blade 6 1/2 inch
Festool crosscut track saw blade 6 1/2 inch (Check price on Amazon)

Crosscut blades feature smaller, more numerous teeth that are closely set together in order to generate a satiny outcome when slicing across the grain. Moreover, fine tooth blades are intended to minimize tear-out, which is usually an issue with other types of blades.

Crosscut blades can be used for a variety of projects, from chopping tough hardwoods to slicing soft woods and plywood sheets. For example, these blades are perfect for cutting perpendicularly to the grain when creating mortise-and-tenon joints or trimming boards down to size.

The advantages of utilizing crosscut blades are evident: these fine cut blades offer a smooth finish and minimize tear-out when making cuts not parallel with the grain. Furthermore, they are adaptable, providing a broad scope of potential uses.

When making rip cuts – or cutting along the grain of wood – crosscut blades are not the best option. Furthermore, they can be more expensive than rip blades due to featuring more teeth; these additional teeth generate extra friction and heat, causing the blade to suffer accelerated wear and tear. To ensure a successful job, select the correct blade for track saws – in this case, a crosscut blade will do the job.

To find the best fine toothed track saw blades for your tool, check out my comparison article 5 Best Track Saw Blades for Making Crosscuts (Fine Tooth Saw Blades)

Combination Blades

Understanding the Different Types of Track Saw Blades - Quick Guide - Festool Combination 6-1/2 circular blade
Festool Combination 6-1/2 circular saw blade

Combination blades, living up to their name, are highly adaptable and can accommodate many different tasks. Featuring elements from both rip and crosscut blades, they provide an all-encompassing solution for those seeking a single blade that works in any cutting situation.

Universal wood blades have an alternating arrangement of bigger teeth for ripping and smaller teeth for crosscutting, sporting a wider gullet than crosscut blades but not nearly as large as those found in rip blades.

Combination blades are incredibly useful for a diverse set of projects, ranging from hardwoods and softwoods to plywood sheets. They provide a comprehensive solution by enabling both ripping and crosscutting tasks, making them an invaluable addition to any workshop.

These general purpose blades provide advantages to those looking for versatility and cost-efficiency, as they allow users to avoid the hassle of buying multiple blades specialized for different tasks. Furthermore, they are typically more economical than acquiring separate blades.

Despite the convenience they offer, combination blades may not give you the same high quality finish that more specialized blades, like a dedicated crosscut or rip blade, would.

These blades generally aren’t suitable for cutting through thick materials either, and the greater depth of their gullets could lead to more tear-out when making crosscuts.

Therefore, it’s essential to take both the pros and cons of using combination blades into consideration before deciding if they are a suitable choice for your specific requirements.

Plywood Blades

Specifically crafted for plywood and other sheet goods, plywood blades have a considerable number of teeth — usually ranging from 80 to 100 — and provide an even cut with little or no splintering.

The reduced gullet size of plywood blades compared to other track saw blades minimizes material removal with each tooth, thereby preventing tear-out and creating a smooth cut.

These blades are ideal for cutting a range of sheet products such as plywood, particle board and MDF with precision. A track saw is also helpful in producing neat cuts in these materials.

The prime benefit of using a plywood blade is that it can offer a smooth, tear-free cut while cutting through sheet materials. This is due to its large number of teeth and reduced gullet sizes. Additionally, these blades boast a longer lifespan than other varieties.

A major drawback to utilizing a plywood blade is that it isn’t suited for cutting through thick materials or hardwoods.

Operating a plywood blade on these materials can result in the blade overheating and being quickly blunted. It is essential to select the proper blade for the job so as to guarantee ideal outcomes.

Pro Tip

Choosing Festool for my workshop was an easy decision for me, as their crosscut blade can be used to cut plywood – eliminating the need to purchase an additional saw or to constantly change blades. Want to find out if this brand is right for you? Be sure to read my article entitled “Is Festool Worth it? The essential info you are looking for“. It could provide you with some valuable insight!

Laminate Blades

Understanding the Different Types of Track Saw Blades - Quick Guide - Festool Laminate 6-1/2 circular blade
Festool Laminate 6-1/2 circular saw blade (Check price on Amazon)

Laminate blades, also called melamine blades, are specifically crafted to carve through hard and fragile materials such as laminates, melamine and plastics. Given that these materials break off easily, a laminate blade is constructed to ensure clean cuts with minimal splintering.

Laminate blades usually feature lots of teeth, just like plywood blades, and boast a negative hook angle. This backward tilt of the teeth reduces the likelihood of any chips or tears occurring in the material during the cut.

These blades are perfect for slicing through laminates, melamine, and other comparable materials; they can be employed with a track saw for exact cutting. They are also suitable for cutting plastic and other fragile substrates.

The clear advantage of using a laminate blade is its capacity to produce clean and smooth cuts with little or no chipping. Similarly, these blades are designed to last longer than other types when used on such materials.

When cutting through thick materials or hardwoods, a laminate blade is not the ideal choice; it can easily overheat and quickly lose its sharpness. To get the best results, always select an appropriate blade for the task at hand.

MDF Blades

Specifically crafted for trimming MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard), a type of manufactured timber often utilized in furnishings and cabinetry, MDF blades are distinguished by their outstanding ability to cut without splintering or chipping. With its consistent structure and uniformly smooth surface, MDF is notoriously difficult to cleave cleanly.

MDF blades usually have numerous serrated teeth that lean slightly forward to ensure a better grip during the cutting process. Additionally, the tips of these teeth are strengthened with carbide for enhanced toughness.

The advantage of employing an MDF blade is its capacity to slice through engineered wood materials with precision, ensuing in impeccable edges. Additionally, these blades have a longer life expectancy than other blades when being used on these same materials.

MDF blades have one significant drawback; they cannot be used to cut hardwoods or other dense items. If attempted, the blade is likely to overheat and quickly become dull from friction. Choosing the suitable blade for each job is essential for optimal results.

Again, working with Festool is incredibly efficient for me, as its crosscut blade can easily slice through MDF just as when cutting plywood.

Aluminum Blades

Understanding the Different Types of Track Saw Blades - Quick Guide - Festool Aluminum and plastic 6-1/2 circular blade
Festool Aluminum and plastic 6-1/2 circular saw blade (Check price on Amazon)

Specifically crafted from carbide or high-speed steel, aluminum blades are designed to efficiently slice through aluminum and other non-ferrous metals. Their specialized tooth geometry prevents clogging and significantly reduces the heat buildup during operation.

The blades may come with a unique finish to mitigate heat accumulation and prolong the longevity of the blade. These blades, commonly featuring a minimal tooth count and a reverse hook angle—the teeth slanting back to deter the blade from binding with the material—are highly useful.

Aluminum blades are advantageous when slicing a range of aluminum components, including sheet metal, extrusions, and ACM; they can also be employed to cut other non-ferrous metals like copper and brass.

Utilizing an aluminum blade carries with it the significant disadvantage of being incompatible with ferrous metals like steel or iron. Attempting to use an aluminum blade on these metals can cause the blade to become overheated and quickly lose its edge. Consequently, it is essential to select the appropriate blade for the particular task at hand for optimum results.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Track Saw Blade

Deciding on a suitable track saw blade is essential for delivering excellent results and optimal efficiency when cutting. Here are some essential elements to ponder over when choosing a plunge saw blade:

  1. Type of Material to be Cut: The kind of material you plan to cut will dictate the sort of blade you’ll need. There is a blade for every type of material, such as a rip blade being recommended for cutting along the wood grain while a crosscut blade would be better used to cut across it.
  2. Tooth Count and Shape: The quantity of teeth on a blade influences the cutting excellence. Blades with more teeth create cleaner and smoother cuts, whilst blades with fewer teeth cut faster. Furthermore, the form of the teeth is essential. Blades with flat-top teeth are best for ripping, and those with alternating top bevel teeth make better crosscuts.
  3. Kerf Width: The kerf, the cut left behind by the blade, varies in width and this impacts the amount of material taken away. A broad kerf implies there will be a larger extraction of material, whereas a slim one indicates a smaller strip will be missing.
  4. RPM of the Saw: When selecting a track saw blade, it is vital to consider the rotational speed of the saw. Each blade is engineered to work at a specific revolutions per minute (RPM). Thus, you need to ensure that your saw’s speed is compatible with the blade. I have noticed while having Festool’s TS55 track saw that its RPM can be modified. Therefore, regardless of what cut needs to be done, I am able to adjust the RPM accordingly.

Considering these factors, you can opt for the ideal plunge saw blade that suits your needs, guaranteeing impeccable results.

Conclusion

In conclusion, expediting your woodworking projects and assuring excellence in craftsmanship can be accomplished by selecting the suitable track saw blade. Taking into account the kind of substance you intend to cut will help you pick out the ideal blade for every endeavor. Keep in mind that applying an incorrect blade could result in substandard outcomes, harm to your saw, and even potential dangers.

It is essential to make sure you purchase top-notch plunge saw blades and utilize them appropriately so that the end results are of optimal quality. However, having good blades alone won’t cut it, as much will depend on the type of track saw you possess.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a rip blade and a crosscut blade?

A rip blade is created to efficiently cut wood along its grain, while a crosscut blade is used for cutting wood with the grain. Rip blades usually have fewer teeth and broader gullets for speedy removal of material, whereas crosscut blades usually have more teeth and finer gullets for a refined result.

Can I use a crosscut blade to cut laminate?

It is possible to employ a crosscut blade to cut laminate, however it is not the optimal option. Laminate blades, specifically designed for the intense pressure and wear-and-tear involved with cutting through laminates, are more suitable for this task – thus it is highly recommended to use laminate blades.

How often should I sharpen my track saw blade?

Sharpening a plunge saw blade should occur with regular intervals, usually every 2-3 months of frequent use. However, this time span may vary depending on how often the blade is used and the type of materials being cut.

How do I know when my track saw blade needs to be replaced?

It may be time to switch out your track saw blade if you spot any dullness, warping, chipping or burning. Additionally, inconsistent cuts signify that it’s time for a new one.

Can I use a combination blade to cut any material?

Combination blades are useful for cutting several kinds of materials, but it is key to consider the material being sliced and select the appropriate kind of blade for ideal outcomes.

The Ultimate workshop free e book

Building your workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been there too.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on Christofix.com, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.

I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!