Table saw beginner questions - blade sizes - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-03-2020, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Table saw beginner questions - blade sizes

I just received my first table saw from a kind man that is moving out of town. He gave me a huge box of everything he had with his table saw. He was a handyman and the box has a LOT in it. The table saw is a 10Ē saw and thereís a lot of 7 1/4Ē blades in this box. Are they ok to use on the table saw?

In a related question most of the dado sets I see out on the market are smaller than 10Ē or 12Ē. Do people typically use smaller blades for dado sets?

Thanks for any info on this! Excited to start my woodworking journey.


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post #2 of 18 Old 08-03-2020, 11:12 PM
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The 7 1/4 blades would be for a circular saw. If they have the same arbor size I suppose you could use them. I don't think you would have much cut capacity though(blade raised all the way up, only like 1" of teeth exposed I would think).. I just used a 7 1/4 blade to cut the start of a slot in my zero clearance insert, my arbor doesn't go low enough to allow the blank insert in with a 10" blade.

Dado sets for 10" saws are typically 8"s. I don't exactly know why they are smaller. I just assume it's a mix of keeping costs down with less steel/safety/not many 3" deep dado cuts happening.

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post #3 of 18 Old 08-04-2020, 12:46 AM
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Be very careful with your new table saw.
it can be a lethal weapon without proper care.

Heres a stark warning notice
https://www.chaffinluhana.com/table-saw/

I recommend searching out "Stumpy nubs" on youtube. He has some extremely good safety videos without all the hysterical hype that so many of the videos have.

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post #4 of 18 Old 08-04-2020, 09:05 AM
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Nearly all table saws use 10 inch blades.

A @Nick2727 mentions, the 7-1/4 inch blades are for circular saws. If the 7-1/4 inch blades have 5/8 inch circular arbor holes, then you can use them on your table saw, but you won't be able to raise them very high above the table, a limitation. I would recommend buying a 10 inch blade for your table saw and save the 7-1/4 inch blades for when you get a circular saw.

Dado stacks are usually in 8 inch and 6 inch sizes. Most dado stacks come as a pair of outer blades plus "chippers" that are inserted between the two outer blades. Different combinations of chippers allow you to cut dados of different widths. There are also "spacers" and "shims", which do not have cutting teeth, but allow you to make finer adjustments of dado width.

Dado stacks are smaller because they are much heavier than a single 10 inch blade, and they are not used to make "through cuts", only dados (grooves) and rabbets (edge grooves). The most common dado stack size is 8 inch. If you are not making deep dados, consider buying a 6 inch dado stack, which is less expensive and requires less power from your table saw motor.

Finally, @sunnybob is 100% right about table saw safety. Learn everything you can about table saw safety before you start using your new-to-you table saw. All power tools have dangers, but injuries from table saws can be some of the worst kinds, and they are not always about direct contact with the blade, either. Kickback can be very serious, too.

SawStop note:
SawStop table saws work only with 10 inch blades and 8 inch dado stacks. You cannot use other blades sizes with them. I doubt your friend gave you a SawStop table saw.
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-04-2020, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Itís a craftsman 10Ē saw. Itís an older saw but I bought this one because it was only a $100 investment for an older saw and a ton of blades. I am going to buy a saw stop or a grizzly if I really do start woodworking on a regular basis. This was kind of my low-budget saw step into the hobby - the guy was moving and just needed to get rid of things and I got a steal of a deal. He was a handyman and used this saw regularly so Iím positive itís a working model.

Iíve spent about a year studying woodworking before getting a saw. For whatever dumb reason Iíve accumulated a track saw, circ saw, 12Ē miter saw, and router all before getting a table saw. So Iím pretty well versed with the safety and horror stories. I be using the blade guards until I become comfortable and familiar with the saw.

The 7 1/4 inch blades just threw me off because there were so many in the box. The box is full of 10Ē blades, 7 1/4Ē blades, and dados. I think itís just a case of the guy throwing everything in there and the smaller blades just threw me off. Iíll probably donate them on to the next guy unless they fit my track saw.

Thanks for the help!


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post #6 of 18 Old 08-04-2020, 10:57 AM
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I be using the blade guards until I become comfortable and familiar with the saw.
Why on earth would you remove the most important safety feature when you decide to become complacent?

You can always tell the american utuber from the european utber. the american always believes he "dont need no stinkin safety guard"

Did you read the article I posted on the amount of amputations EVERY YEAR?
Dont become a statistic, keep the guard.
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post #7 of 18 Old 08-04-2020, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnybob View Post
I be using the blade guards until I become comfortable and familiar with the saw.
Why on earth would you remove the most important safety feature when you decide to become complacent?

You can always tell the american utuber from the european utber. the american always believes he "dont need no stinkin safety guard"

Did you read the article I posted on the amount of amputations EVERY YEAR?
Dont become a statistic, keep the guard.

Thanks I will


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post #8 of 18 Old 08-04-2020, 12:59 PM
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The 7 1/4" blades will be fine for thinner material. I use them for cutting PVC. If you're cutting thinner material the 7 1/4" blades are a cheaper alternative to a 10" blade. Table Saws that don't have a lot of power do better with smaller, e.g. 6" dado blades. The larger the dado blade the deeper the depth of cut.

Last edited by JIMMIEM; 08-04-2020 at 01:01 PM. Reason: Add info
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-04-2020, 01:10 PM
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Bondra76: My guard is not on the saw 95% of the time. It gets in the way of certain work, and for other work I use push sticks and push side pads to keep my hands well away from the blade. Occasionally I use the fence itself as a safety rest if I need to touch the active piece being cut, with part of my hand on the far side of the fence as a positive restraint on my hand.

Being aware and usefully careful is appropriate.

Being paranoid is not helpful (same applies to riding a motorcycle, which I used to do).

P.S. - like you I got all the other saws, and the (jobsite) table saw was my last saw acquisition. I wish that I had bought it years ago. It was a "refurbished" (return) item.

Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA. Been working with wood since the 1960's. From the 50's if you count the scrap woodpile on the farm!
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-04-2020, 09:00 PM
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One of the best ways to get hurt working safely with a table saw is using a dull blade, or fence/blade out of alignment. My suggestion would be ti get a good quality 10" blade. If there are 10" carbide tipped blades in the box, pick out the blade with the tooth setup you are looking for and have it sharpened before putting it on the saw. Do some reading about setting up the saw. On your Sears Craftsman the trunion has to be aligned to tun dead parallel to the miter slots, and the fence set up to run dead parallel, or 1/1000 to 2/1000 open at the back of the blade. This should get you off to a good and safe start.
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post #11 of 18 Old 08-05-2020, 01:51 AM
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If I may step into this discussion as well...I'm also very new to the hobby.

I picked up a 10" Craftsman "Flex Drive" table saw about a year and a half ago for $50. Just the motor and the body, not even a blade. By haunting eBay since then I've acquired a rip fence, an upper guard, a miter gauge, an "on-off" switch (the original owner just plugged/unplugged the motor), and casters. Picked up a 2-pack of new blades (24 and 60 tooth, Craftsman brand) from the Big Blue Box.

Also, back in May I purchased a Shopsmith Mark V, vintage 1980, which came with most all of the accessories. I've been getting acquainted with it; this past weekend I made a rip fence extension and bought a pair of featherboards in order to use the Craftsman molder and wobble dado packages which someone on another forum was kind enough to give away. I also picked up a 6" stack dado set (Shopsmith brand, made I believe by Vermont American) from eBay just before I was offered the wobble dado.

I do take sunnybob's cautions to heart. I know that these machines are dangerous and I'd much rather learn from someone else's mistakes than from my own. I've used the upper guards on every through-sawing operation so far; if (as happened a couple of times) the board catches on the back support of the guard I stop the blade, reposition the guard, and then finish the cut. I always use the (removable) lower guard on the Shopsmith and I made the 1-1/4" wooden spacer recommended to allow it to be used with molder and dado accessories. When I can't use the upper guard, as when cutting the dado for the featherboard mounts, I use push blocks and table featherboards to move and guide the material.

With that said, I'm still very much in learner's mode. I knew about alignment for the Shopsmith (and have some issues there; trying to work through them with help from another discussion group), but this is the first that I've heard about aligning the Craftsman table saw. I don't have a manual for the table saw and don't really know where to find one (I do have a full set of manuals for the Shopsmith). So I would very much appreciate any advice hard-won from experience. Thanks for any help.

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post #12 of 18 Old 08-05-2020, 08:51 AM
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Saw blades need to be parallel with their respective fences/guides

A saw blade is a semi-circular flat plane, no matter if it's in a hand held circular saw, table saw, a radial arm saw or a Shop Smith. It will cut just fine IF you don't twist the wood or workpiece. Once you twist it in it's kerf it will slow down, stall or bind up and it may kickback at you in resistance. Kickbacks are the most common mishap using circular saws. To prevent them always keep the blade in parallel alignment with the fence!


The Shop Smith has a very short fence, so it's prone to the slightest misalignment of the workpiece with the blade and therefore most dangerous. Blade guards and splitters are safety accessories that should be in place at all times. A standard size table saw has a long fence and is therefore somewhat safer, but it still needs the splitter and blade guard in place. A splitter helps maintain the workpiece in constant contact with the fence so it's much less likely to twist and kickback so it is also a safety device!


There are rules for using a table saw!
1. Only place straight and flat wood or workpieces on the saw table and against the fence. This is to prevent the twist I mentioned above and therefore minimize kickback. Even if workpieces' edge is straight but the face is warped, a piece of wood can twist downward and bind the blade, and kickback!



2. Never place your hand or any fingers in a direct line with the cutting plane of the blade. Most table saws have a removable plate to access the blade and it's typically painted RED. This is the "danger zone" which you must avoid at all times! Anytime the workpiece is more narrow than the width of your hand you must use a pusher block to keep your hands far enough away from the blade if a kickback should occur. There are many shapes and sizes, BUT the best one allows you to apply both forward pressure and downward force at the same time. This does not include the long slender push sticks that are most often included with a new table saw!

This will explain:



3. You should have your ON/OFF switch mounted near the front left side of the table for easy access. If the workpiece should bind while you are cutting and the blade still wants to spin and force it back at you, having the OFF switch so you can easily bump it OFF using your hip or upper leg without removing your hands from the workpiece will keep you safe. After many years of fumbling around reaching under trying to find the switch and leaning over taking my eyes off the blade and cutting operation I finally figured this out.


4. The fence is the heart of the table saw and it the most used and accessed device you have, other than the ON/OFF switch. It must stay in place when locked down and it must also be aligned so it's exactly parallel with the blade! It's always best to align BOTH the blade and it's carriage/trunnion system AND the fence to the miter slot on the right side of the table. This can be done with a simple tri-square and a feeler gauge for the saw blade and the tips of your fingers for the fence. I've done this many times over the years on all sorts of table saws and fences. This will explain:


5. Use the correct blade! Ripping and crosscutting are different operations and require either a combination blade or a specifically designed blade when you have many pieces or many rip cuts to make in thicker stock. Plywood has a thin veneer layer on top and bottom and will splinter easily if the blade has a lot of offset to the teeth, so a blade with many teeth and very little offset is best for that. Hardwood lumber that is 1.5" or greater, requires a blade with fewer teeth and more space between them to allow the cut fibers to get out more easily and it will have more off set to the those teeth to make for faster cutting. Combination blades that have 50 teeth are great for most common sawing operations and I have used one for years. A 40 tooth blade, a general purpose, works well also. Ripping blades typically have either 30 or 24 teeth. Crosscut blades typically have either 60 or 80 teeth. Some plywood only blades may have 100 teeth. The thin kerf blades take away less material from the workpiece, so they require less power to cut. These are best suited for almost any table saw these days. They are accurate and don't flex, a common complaint, unless you are just shaving off a thin slide from the end of a board. Even then, take your time and let the blade do the work. That's all I use these days!


6. Do wear eye protection. If a chip gets in your eye you will lose concentration and that will distract you and you may lose your grip on the workpiece. Need I say more? My opinion on ear protection is that's it's personal. Use it if you feel it's needed for some operations.


Good luck with your new hobby!

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 08-05-2020 at 10:51 AM.
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post #13 of 18 Old 08-06-2020, 09:36 PM
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Just for grins, google: ridgid table saw recall
It has to do with using a dado on a cheap Asian import table saw.
I think the older Craftsman, if USA-made, will be fine.
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post #14 of 18 Old 08-06-2020, 10:42 PM
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It appears that the R4512 and all other Ridgid saws will be fine too. It looks like that recall is limited in scope to about 3,000 R4511 saws.

I've used a dado blade on my R4512 hundreds of times and never had an issue.
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post #15 of 18 Old 08-07-2020, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnybob View Post
Be very careful with your new table saw.
it can be a lethal weapon without proper care.

Heres a stark warning notice
https://www.chaffinluhana.com/table-saw/

I recommend searching out "Stumpy nubs" on youtube. He has some extremely good safety videos without all the hysterical hype that so many of the videos have.
Seems like the text in that website is a little bit small. I wonder what kind of settlement they'd get me if I ever injured myself. "I pulled a bonehead move, help me sue...myself...I want money for being stupid"
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post #16 of 18 Old 08-07-2020, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bondra76 View Post
It’s a craftsman 10” saw.
the belt drive craftsman 10" table saw is probably the most popular saw in this country (usa)
also the most used saw on this forum in my few years reading on this forum
and unlike sunnybob, we probably all removed any guard or safety devices, years ago
i've had my belt drive craftsman 10" table saw since 1982 when my father bought it for a house warming gift
it's still a great saw

as for blade size. yes the 7 1/4" blade is for a circular saw, but as long as the arbor fits, it will work
my belt drive craftsman 10" table saw has an 8" wobble dado blade, a 6" stack set dado and a 6" molding head (scary af btw)
lots of older table saws had 8" blades, thus the smaller dado blades became popular

Last edited by _Ogre; 08-07-2020 at 10:39 PM.
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post #17 of 18 Old 08-07-2020, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo415 View Post
Seems like the text in that website is a little bit small. I wonder what kind of settlement they'd get me if I ever injured myself. "I pulled a bonehead move, help me sue...myself...I want money for being stupid"
but i gave you a stark warning,... whatever that is
saw stop feeds on fear, fear of messing up and probably fear of who can i sue when i mess up
i backed over my kid and my car didn't warn me, type of who can i sue
sorry folks, some people have to learn the hard way, i'm ok with that
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post #18 of 18 Old 08-08-2020, 12:08 AM
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I have seen too many woodworkers with past injuries. Last night a very experienced woodworker in our club showed us a photo of his way-too-fresh injury alongside his woodworking project during "show and tell." He lost an inch off his left thumb ... and he is left handed. The plastic guard covering his thumb was shorter than it should have been, wrapped in gauze.

The only good thing I can say about it was his amazingly cheerful, positive attitude. He told us how the ER nurses at the hospital were so elated to be getting a real blood-and-gore injury to treat instead of COVID.

For any given cut, I always attach all of the guards and safety mechanisms that can be used for that cut. Yes, it takes time to attach or change them, but it is worth it to me.

For the record, unlike @kiwi_outdoors, I still ride motorcycles. I have been a rider for over 50 years. I ride locally and all over the country. I always live by ATGATT - All The Gear, All The Time. It is the motorcycle equivalent of leaving the guards on your table saw.

It is not about paranoia or liability; it is about learning from the experiences of others who came before us.
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