JULY/ AUG 2001
Volume 44 /  Issue 4

Project Articles
Butcher Block/ Microwave Oven Table
Gourmet Bird Feeder
Recipe Box and Interlocking Play Logs

Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
All About Saw Blades
Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You

National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH
Service Pointers
Bandsaw Service Pointers
Safety Tips
The Safety Caper...

The Shopsmith Universal Lathe Tool Rest
Specials & Online Catalog
Links Worth Visiting
Find A Shopsmith
MARK V Demo Near You

Free Woodworking Tips
Request Accessory Catalog
Request MARK V Information Package

Contacting Shopsmith

Copyright 2001.
Shopsmith, Inc.
All Rights Reserved


Notes &

From the Shopsmith
Woodworking Academy
All About Saw Blades

Near the end of the last century, a Shaker woman was watching two men sawing a log with a pit saw when a wagon passed by. It was at that moment that a thought occurred to her to put saw teeth on a wheel and use the power of the water wheel to saw trees into boards. The power saw was born! Initially, most of the circular saw blades had teeth resembling those of a pit saw formed into a circular plate of steel. Then, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, numerous different blade configurations began to appear from many different manufacturers, but they all had one thing in common...they needed to be sharpened frequently.

Then, carbide appeared on the scene...a revolutionary new material that was expensive, but lasted ten times longer than steel. Today, dozens of different-looking blades can be found on the shelves of hardware stores and home centers. It's no wonder woodworking tradesmen and hobbyists alike are often dumbfounded and confused. "Which blade should I use for what job? How do I make the right choice ?" Let's talk about that.

To begin with, it's important to remember that the blade and the table saw work hand-in-hand. A high quality $50 to $100 saw blade will do little to make your "cheapie" $200 table saw perform more admirably. However, put that same high quality blade on your Shopsmith MARK V and the story will be different.

For the sake of clarity, there are two primary terms that will help you understand why saw blades are so varied. Those terms are kerf and set. Since the sole purpose of a blade is to make a cut, it must remove the wood in its path to do so. The kerf is the path cut by the blade as it moves through the wood. If this kerf left by the blade isn't slightly wider than the blade body, binding will result, and that spells trouble in the form of dangerous kick-backs. There must be clearance here...and that clearance is determined by the set of the blade's teeth...the direction or angle the teeth are positioned in order to clear the wood out of their path as they make the cut.

Continue . . .