Changing Table Saw Blades
Time Required: Under 2 hours
Saw blades come in various sizes, colors, and with a range of teeth. Each has a protective coating that keeps the blade from overheating, gumming up and rusting. The gold is titanium, the yellow is special nonslip coating, and the red is Teflon.
The big difference is the number of teeth. The more teeth on the blade, the finer the cut will be. The titanium-coated blade has 24 teeth for cutting framing lumber. The yellow-toothed blade has 36 teeth for finishing cuts in wood that will be exposed, such as doorjambs. The red blade has 40 teeth for cutting plywood.
This guide walks you through how to select the appropriate blade for your saw and how to safely change it.
- When buying a blade, look for thin, laser-cut slots that reduce vibration. The first three blades (A-C) are titanium-coated.
- The 10-inch blade (A) is a combination table saw blade, designed for both crosscutting and cutting with the grain (ripping).
- The 60-tooth blade (B) is for smooth, polished crosscuts on the miter saw or table saw, but could scorch the wood when ripping.
- The 90-tooth blade (C) has special teeth designed to minimize chipping when cutting veneered plywood.
- The black blades (D) are a complete dado set for cutting wide grooves in lumber on the table saw.
- Before you begin, make sure you unplug the saw. Next, remove the blade guard, and then stand on the operator’s side of the machine. With the included wrenches, place a wrench on the arbor nut and another on the blade locking pin to hold the blade in place. Pull the wrench forward to loosen the nut.
- To tighten the blade, reverse the steps and push the wrench backward. If your saw didn’t include blade changing wrenches, you can use a piece of scrap wood to prevent blade spin. Be careful when wedging the blade with scrap wood, however. Jamming the blade to loosen or tighten it can bend the blade enough to affect the cut.
- Many modern miter saws come with blade stops. These are small buttons that lock the blade into position, and prevent turning during a blade change.
- To get a perfectly square crosscut, the blade must be perpendicular to the table and the miter gauge must be perpendicular to the blade.
- To see if the blade is perpendicular to the table, mark a thick board with a single line on one side and a double line on the other. Cut the board and then flip one of the pieces over. Look at the edge of the boards to see if the vertical seam is tight. If there are gaps, adjust the angle of the blade and test again.
- To make sure the miter gauge is square with the blade, mark a board as before and make a test cut. Flip one of the cutoffs, and hold them both against a straight edge such as the miter gauge. Look along the top of the board. If the seam is tight, the miter gauge is square with the blade. If there is a widening gap between the boards, the cut isn't square. Reset the miter gauge and test again.