How do you choose a saw blade for your radial arm saw?
What material do you want to cut?
When choosing the right saw blade, consider the material you'll be cutting. Each type of material has a different structure and requires its "own" saw blade when it comes to hardness, the number of teeth, or the thickness. As you can probably imagine, you need a harder and better-quality saw blade for cutting solid hardwood than when you're working with chipboard. For harder materials, you need a saw blade with less teeth than for softer materials. Are you planning to cut aluminum, laminate boards, as well as for instance plastics to size without having to get all kinds of different saw blades? In that case, a universal saw blade would be a smart choice.
Do you want a rough or precise cut?
The number of teeth on a saw blade has a lot of effect on the cut. Basically, a saw blade with fewer teeth will be faster and create rough cuts. If a saw blade has lots of teeth, the cuts will be cleaner and you can work more precisely. If your sawing beams against the grain for construction, a rough cut won't bother anyone and a saw blade with 24 teeth is sufficient. On the other hand, if you're making a tabletop, bookcase, or cutting laminate flooring to size, you do want a neat finish free of splinters. In that case, a saw blade with 48 or even 72 teeth is a better choice. When cutting, make sure at least 3 teeth are biting into the material. If there are less, adjust the depth of the radial arm saw until there are 3.
How deep and wide do you want to cut?
How deep you'll want to cut depends on the thickness of the material of course. For baseboards or window frames, a maximum cutting depth of 65 millimeters is enough. If you're sawing pinewood beams against the grain however, you need more range. In that case, you should use a radial arm saw that can fit a larger saw blade; think of a diameter of about 250 millimeters. Obviously, that will allow you to cut deeper into the material than a 210-millimeter saw blade. A radial arm saw only fits 1 specific size of saw blade, so it's not possible to use different sizes of saw blades. The maximum cutting width is also fixed for every radial arm saw. Here it's again logical that the bigger the saw blade, the wider the boards or panels you can cut with it.
How large should the arbor hole be?
A radial arm saw has a fixed size piece where you attach the saw blade. If it's 30 millimeters, you need to look for a saw blade with an arbor hole of that size. That's the hole in the middle of the saw blade. If it's different, the saw blade won't fit on your radial arm saw. There are saw blades available that come with a reduction ring. In that case, the 30-millimeter arbor hole can be adjusted to smaller diameters, such as 16, 20, or 25.4 millimeters. That way, you can make the blade fit your radial arm saw, without having to by a set of new saw blades.
Does the saw blade have to be by the same brand as my radial arm saw?
No, that's not necessary. A saw blade from Kreator will fit a Metabo radial arm saw just fine. There is of course a difference in quality between the different brands. A 20-euro saw blade is less suitable for cutting hardwood and is more likely to get dull if you use it frequently than an 80-euro saw blade. That's in part determined by the material the saw blade is made of. Do keep in mind that – regardless of the brand – a saw blade for a circular saw isn't suitable for use on a radial arm saw and vice versa. The angle of the teeth differs per sawing machine, because a radial arm saw's saw blade pushes the workpiece towards the table, and a circular saw pulls the material up as it were.