Are more teeth on a Saw Blade Better?

The rule of thumb is that a saw blade with more teeth means a smoother cut and fewer teeth means a faster cut.  There are other things that affect the cut quality and the feed speed, like how fast you feed the material into the saw blade and how fast the saw blade is turning. 

 

The number of teeth a saw blade should have really depends on the application and will vary based on: desired feed speed, desired cut quality, whether you are cross cutting or ripping, and the type of material you are cutting.

 

As an example, take Tenryu’s 36 tooth brush cutter blade.  Typically the quality of the cut is not all that important when you are cutting brush. I have some brush cutter blades for my little handheld machine that only have three teeth on them.  They sort of chew through the blackberry cane.

 

Sawblades with 80 to 100 teeth are typically made for an application where cut quality is extremely important.  People that are going to be cutting picture frames, window blinds or similar use a saw blade with a lot of teeth because they want to get an absolutely smooth, clean cut.

 

Depending on which way you are cutting the wood, you may want a saw blade with more or less teeth. If you are ripping wood you are cutting in the same direction that the wood fibers run.  You can do very well here with fewer teeth.  If you are crosscutting then you are cutting against the direction of the fibers and you need a lot more teeth to get a smooth cut. 

 

The type of material being cut should also be a deciding factor on how many teeth the saw blade should have.  Man-made materials, such as countertop materials, can easily chip while being cut, so you want a special kind of saw blade with a lot of teeth.

 

You can only put so many teeth on a saw blade.  There has to be enough space between the teeth for the gullet. The gullet collects the sawdust while it is in the cut. The gullet then dumps the sawdust as soon as it is out of the cut. The gullet has to be big enough that the sawdust does not pack in it.  If the sawdust packs in the gullet it may not come out and then you get very poor cuts.

 

Depending on the grind, and the quality of the saw blade, you may be able to get smooth cuts with a saw blade that doesn’t have a high tooth count.  Modern saw blade grinders are extremely accurate so you can get a very smooth cut with fewer teeth than you could even 20 years ago.

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