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A ten inch carbide tipped standard blade creates a lot of dust and takes away more wood (needlessly). If think thin kerf blades solve both issues, why not use them as standard? What's the difference between the two?

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  • A think kerf blade will take more passes to plow out a dado than a "standard" kerf blade will. Of course, a dado set will take the fewest passes...
    – FreeMan
    Aug 26, 2022 at 15:06
  • The difference is obviously the width of the kerf. This might be better answered if revised as "What are the advantages and disadvantages of one blade type over the other?"
    – gnicko
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:02

2 Answers 2

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Yes, a thin kerf blade will create less sawdust and leave more wood on the piece being cut. This is advantageous for lower powered saws, but unless you're making a lot of cuts in a single piece of wood the kerf width won't save you much wood.

The benefit of regular or full kerf blades is that they are stiffer, allowing for smoother cut (as they deflect and vibrate less while spinning and while cutting into the wood).

How much does that matter? I don't know, but I'll bet that differences between specific saw blades play a much larger role than whether or not they are thin or full kerf.

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A ten inch carbide tipped standard blade creates a lot of dust and takes away more wood (needlessly).

It's not needlessly.

While thin-kerf blades are certainly of use, the fact that they're not almost ubiquitous is suggestive about the advantage they supposedly offer in run-of-the-mill woodworking. Which is most woodworking.

Even more to the point, the fact that those who already own a thin-kerf blade may not1 leave it fitted almost permanently tells us something about them having a global superiority over standard blades.

What's the difference between the two?

One creates a thinner kerf than the other. It sounds trite but that is essentially what it comes down to!

It's important to realise that the amount of sawdust2 generated is simply inherent to the amount of wood being cut; there's no way of reducing it, i.e. it is what it is for any given width of cut. As such it's not an issue one can counter.

And two factors to bear in mind are that table saws are either:

  • being used in contractor-saw mode, where dust is not really a factor to consider
  • being used in what might be called workshop-saw mode, where there should be proper dust collection and regardless of saw model or vintage dust collection should take care of at least 95% of dust/chips produced (and can be significantly better than this).

why not use [thin-kerf blades] as standard?

I think the key thing to realise is that for the vast majority of woodworking purposes, in most woods, for most people, the loss of wood to the kerf is basically irrelevant.

It's not that you don't have to account for it, you very much do, but at the end of the day the actual loss of material is practically a non-issue.

The few specialised purposes where this is not the case, where the loss of material to the kerf is of importance, are where a thin-kerf blades is of most benefit. This of course includes resawing and even more so sawing veneers from choice wood...... although arguably it's still the wrong tool for this job. 3


1 As one should expect, there is some variation in this user to user. Some do leave their thin-kerf blades fitted for almost all cuts they do, but the type of work each person is doing and as such the material they're cutting are very much factors.

2 Just to be clear, I mean all sawing waste here not only dust per se.

3 Bandsaws are way better suited to this work.

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