What are the Different Types of Saw Blade Teeth?
If you look closely at different style saw blades, you will see the differences in how the blade’s teeth are positioned, and their tooth patterns. This page will explain what they are called, and what type of cutting they’re typically used for, so you can make the right choice for your project. Hopefully, you will save yourself some time and headaches. The 3 most common types of teeth design are the Alternate Top Bevel (ATB), Flat Top Grind (FTG) and Triple Chip Grind (TCG). These tooth designs are made in both thin kerf and full kerf blades.
The ATB Family of Saw Blade Teeth- ATB, HiATB, ATBR and ATAF
ATB – Alternate Top Bevel
The basic ATB is a versatile grind that has a bevel from the top, outer part of the tooth pitched down toward the opposite of the blade. The bevel sequence alternates from one tooth pitched from the left to one pitched from the right. This sequence continues around the whole blade. The angle of the bevel on the tooth is typically between 10 and 20 degrees. A bevel at 20 degrees will make a cleaner cut than one at 10 degrees. However, it cuts slower and produces more heat through friction. ATB blades are best suited for cross cuts, specifically high tooth count ATB blades. ATB blades finish cuts with a clean, smooth edge. They can be used for rip cuts with the grain with less than spectacular results. ATB blades are also a good choices for mid-range tooth count general purpose blades.
HiATB / HATB / Hi-ATB / Hi/ATB / High ATB – High Alternate Top Bevel
The HiATB tooth style differs from the ATB blade in that it features a bevel of 25 degrees or higher. HiATB teeth also cause less tearout than any other tooth styles. It is optimized to make the cleanest, most finished cuts. Use the HiATB for cutting easily marred materials such as laminates, melamines, veneers, and plywood. They are also great for ultra-fine cuts on hardwoods. The high, sharp points cause the Hi-ATB blade to have a shorter lifespan than other blades, but they will still last a fair amount of time if used by low volume professionals, or for home project DIYers. Here is a guide to tell if your saw blade is beginning to dull.
ATBR / ATB/R / ATAFR – Alternate Top Bevel with Raker / Alternate Top Alternate Face with Raker
The ATBR is the last ATB-style saw blade. It is also known as ATAFR, but it’s more commonly called ATBR. It usually has a repeating pattern of 5 teeth. The first 4 teeth are ATB style, and the 5th tooth is a flat-top raker. The flat top raker tooth leaves behind a flat surface after it cuts. It has a large gullet between each 5 tooth sequence to remove sawdust efficiently. The ATBR is optimized for crosscuts. It leaves a clean finished cut on hard and soft woods. It also works decently on rip cuts, so think of it as a good all-around general purpose tooth design.
ATAF – Alternate Top Alternate Face
The ATAF is a modified version of the ATBR that does not have a final raker tooth. The ATAF grinds the top at an angle, and also the face at an angle. When these 2 grinds combine, you get a sharper cut that gets you a more pointed edge. The ATAF is best for cutting brittle material, and for smooth, extra fine cuts.
The Non- ATB Types of Saw Blade Teeth
FTG – Flat Top Grind
FTG saw blades are designed to rip wood with the grain. They are optimized to remove chips of material and sawdust from the teeth quickly and efficiently. The FTG blade makes fast, efficient cuts, and is durable and long-lasting. One downside to consider is that it will chip and cause considerable tearout on almost all cuts. Keep that in mind when using it on materials and woods where appearance is important. The FTG is also the only tooth design that leaves a perfectly flat bottom when grinding. That makes it ideal for cutting grooves and splines.
TCG / CTCG / C/TCG – Triple Chip Grind / California Triple Chip Grind
The TCG design combines a trapezoid-shaped leading tooth followed by a flat raker tooth that sits slightly lower. This pattern continues around the whole blade. TCG blades combine balanced cutting force with low tooth drag and free chip flow. These characteristics make the TCG one of the more durable blades. The TCG tooth style produces very little chip out and tearout when cutting brittle materials. This makes it a good choice for cutting chipboard (OSB), ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, MDF, laminates, and very hardwoods. There is also a California TCG- CTCG. It is a niche blade with a very specific purpose. It is a specialty miter saw blade used for ultra-fine cuts in producing picture frames, windows, and doors, etc.
Those are the different saw blade teeth. There are other niche tooth designs out there besides the CTCG. But the blades listed here are the main ones you will come across outside of a specialty woodshop.