Table and miter saw blades come in many different configurations.
First, when it comes to the number of teeth, fewer teeth cut more quickly and more coarsely while more teeth on your blade will cut slower but it will also leave a smoother cut.
Next, is the tooth style.
Alternate Top Bevel (ATB)
Here is where we will discuss one of the few styles of teeth called ATB, which stands for alternate top bevel.
Blades with ATB teeth are great blades for all purpose crosscutting and ripping.
The ATB blade teeth are angled on the top edge with alternating angles per the above drawing. Most of these blades in the 40 to 60 tooth range are labeled as all purpose or general purpose. They can also come in a steeper angle usually listed as Hi-ATB. The steeper the bevel, the cleaner the cut. But the teeth will dull quicker on these blades. This tooth profile will assist the blade in shearing the wood fibers cleanly, using a slicing motion.
Flat Top Grind (FTG)
Here is where we will discuss one of the few styles of teeth called FTG, which stands for flat top grind.
Blades with FTG or Flat teeth are great blades perfect for ripping. They can also be used for rough crosscutting.
FTG/flat tooth blades have teeth that are square. See above drawing. These teeth are also called rakers. The teeth cut through the wood more like a chisel. These blades cut fast, are durable and are designed to rip cut along the wood’s grain. Because of the tooth design and typically lower amount of teeth, these blades will product a rougher cut.
You will also see these FTG teeth on combination blades along with ATB teeth. Which make for a great all purpose blade.
Here is where we will discuss one of the few styles of teeth that make up combination blades.
Combination Blades, also listed as ATB+R teeth, are great all purpose blades for ripping and crosscutting. Combination blades and configured like the drawings above. With 50 teeth grouped into sets of five teeth, the sets consist of four ATB teeth (alternate top bevel) and one FTG tooth (flat top grind). The ATB teeth help the blade cut clean crosscuts while the FTG teeth help the blade make rip cuts.
Triple-Chip Grind (TCG)
Next, is the tooth style.
Here is where we will discuss one of the few styles of teeth called TCG, which stands for triple chip grind.
Blades with TCG teeth are great blades for cutting dense materials.
As you can see from the above drawings the teeth on these blades alternate between a chamfered tooth and a flat raker tooth. The chamfered tooth roughs out the cut while the flat tooth cleans up the cut.
The types of materials that these blades are best for are dense materials, such as, solid surface materials, plastic laminates, brass and aluminum. ATB teeth would dull too quickly on these materials. The TCG blades can also be an option when cutting mdf, melamine, particle board.
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