Can You Use a Smaller Blade On a Table Saw?

Can You Use a Smaller Blade On a Table Saw

We know that square pegs do not fit in round holes.  We played that game when we were kids.  Now that we’re grown up and have our own woodworking shop, whether basement or garage, one of the comparable concepts is whether you can use a small blade on a table saw, to wit:  if you have a table saw with a 10” blade, can you substitute in a smaller-diameter blade?  Or even a larger blade?

We know that teeth count on a saw blade (number of teeth per inch) is an important consideration when choosing the right blade.  When ripping wood (cutting with the grain), fewer teeth per inch are needed for a good and clean rip; when cutting across the grain, though, more teeth are needed for a clean cut. 

We’ve written about this on Obsessed Woodworking before, and you’ll find that piece here. 

But in answering the main question for you, this does not come into play since all size blades come with different teeth per inch counts to choose from. 

Forrest WW08407100 Woodworker II 8-Inch 40 Tooth ATB 3/32-Inch Kerf Saw Blade with 5/8-Inch Arbor

There are two primary considerations in forming an answer to this question:

  • Is using a smaller blade on your table saw safe?  Are there advantages to swapping blades that don’t increase the risk of use?
  • Will a smaller blade make your task easier?  Will a smaller blade perform the cutting task well?  Are any special devices or adapters needed?

The throat plate on your saw will certainly accommodate a smaller blade since the width of the smaller blade will be less than the width of the larger blade.  The riving knife on your table saw will be wide enough to maintain kerf separation to prevent kickback, too; it was wide enough for the wider, larger blade, so you’d expect it to be wide enough for the smaller blade, too.  The same will hold true if your table saw has a splitter.

Just to be sure, and in case you are curious, though, here’s a video that talks about riving knives and splitters as related to thick and thin kerfs.

And here’s a previous piece we wrote about riving knives if you need it.

Can I Use A 7” Blade On A 10” Blade Table Saw?

Yes, you can use a 7” blade on a 10” blade table saw.  There will be a diminution in the depth of the cut, but it is possible to use a smaller blade.  There will be less noise and less waste (sawdust) using the smaller blade, too.  You’re probably cutting thinner material and don’t need the cut depth of the larger blade, or are using expensive wood and want to minimize waste in your cutting.

The riving knife or splitter on your table saw is not likely to be a concern and will serve the same purpose with a smaller blade as they do with the larger blade. 

Safety and function concerns, then, are served.  To be sure, though, always read the User Manual for your table saw to see what the manufacturer has to say about swapping out a smaller blade for a larger blade.  Safety is likely to be the manufacturer’s primary concern, and you’ll find their answer in the manual.

Freud 10" x 50T Thin Kerf Combination Blade (LU83R010)

One thing we are sure of, though, is you should not use a larger blade.  The arbor hole on your saw will have been sized to accommodate the blade size of the saw.  Larger blades will be thicker, and you run the risk of a tight fit if it fits at all.  The blade will rise much higher, exposing more teeth, could run too close to the riving knife or splitter, and present a major safety issue.

Go smaller or don’t go at all is the rule.

Can a Circular Saw Blade Be Used On a Table Saw?

Yes, they can.  Circular saw blades are designed for use with several different types of power saws, including table saws, miter saws, radial arm saws, and, of course, circular saws.  Many circular saw blades can be used interchangeably among these types of saws. 

The arbors used in a table saw are pretty much a universal size and correspond to the arbor on a circular saw, so using a circular saw blade on your table saw will not require an adapter. 

Here’s a helpful video about using a circular saw blade on your table saw.

Price may be a concern with table saw blades, in addition to versatility.  Most table saws today are 10” and come with a 10” blade; usually, a low teeth count blade that would be suitable for ripping lumber and plywood.  You’ll have to spend more money for a higher teeth count blade for cross cutting.

But, perhaps your needs extend to thinner stock or more expensive stock, and that second table saw blade would have only occasional use.  In such cases, you can save money on a smaller blade for those occasional uses, even with a higher teeth count for cleaner cuts cross- or otherwise.  The cost of a 7” blade can be in many instances half or less than the cost of a 10” blade of comparable teeth count.

So, safety, functionality, and cost become the values to consider when it comes to blades for your table saw.  But the short answer to the general question is yes; you can use a smaller blade on your table saw.