How To Achieve Faster Cutting Rates

A woodworker asked a very good question regarding whether using a saw blade with fewer teeth would achieve faster cutting rates.  Here is his question along with Tom’s response:

“Will a saw blade 30″ dia, x 42 teeth carbide tipped, achieve a faster cutting rate if it had less teeth. How many teeth will achieve fastest cutting rate.”




A common rule of thumb is that more teeth give you a cleaner cut and fewer teeth give you a faster cut. However this is only slightly true over a limited range.  If you follow this rule all the way out then one tooth ought to be really fast and that’s not the way it works out in real life.

Besides number of teeth you also have something called ‘tooth bite’ which is a term used to describe how much material each tooth removes. You also have to consider gullet capacity. If you remove more material than the gullet can handle you also have problems.

The RPM of the blade is obviously extremely important. You have to consider the angle at which the saw tip enters the material. If you speed up the blade and don’t change the angle then you will be entering was something other than the optimum cutting edge.

If you want to run a saw blade faster you have to consider the side clearance angles. A very small side clearance, as in the Forrest blades, is very clean cuts but also tends to heat up more rapidly than sawblades with a larger side clearance.

In actual practice cut quality is almost always the first consideration.  Even in sawmills, where a key metric is the amount of material produced per day, no one wants to run real fast just to produce material they can’t sell.

Tom Walz

Click here for our Saw Blade Feed Speed Calculator.

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