All About Saw Blades
Saw blades are classified as rip, crosscut, or combination (also referred to as all-purpose) according to their assigned task. They're made of either high carbon steel, alloyed with nickel and chrome -- or of tungsten carbide-tipped steel.
Rip Blades (1) have large, chisel-shaped teeth and have been designed to cut only with the grain of hard or soft woods (cutting to width). They should not be used for making cuts across the grain of the wood. They feature deep gullets between the teeth for removing large shavings as they create a clear path for the following tooth. While steel rip blades offer flat or bevel ground teeth that are alternately set, their carbide-toothed counterparts offer square top ground (or flat ground) teeth with no alternate set.
Crosscut Blades (2) are designed to cut only straight or diagonally across the grain of hard or soft woods (cutting to length). They should not be used for making rip cuts with the grain of the wood. Crosscut blades work equally well on solid woods, plywoods, particleboards or veneers. The steel version of these blades feature small, alternately set teeth, beveled front and back to a sharp point, while their carbide-tipped counterparts also have similarly ground teeth as well as a triple chip grind.
Combination Blades (3) are good general purpose blades for both ripping and crosscutting. They're the number one blade of choice for most woodworkers because of their versatility...but remember, they're not the best blade for either job...just the most economical alternative. Carbide-tipped combination blades do an admirable job of cutting thick or thin hard or soft woods, plywood or particleboard.
Plywood Blades (4) are made specifically for sawing plywood, paneling and veneers. They offer fine, tiny teeth to eliminate splintering and fraying of single and multiple layers of thin wood. They work equally well for ripping, crosscutting and mitering stock up to 1" thick.