What is a Cold Saw?
A cold saw is a saw that is used for cutting metal, it is by far the best option if you need to make a lot of accurate cuts. When most people think of a metal cutting chop saw the first thing that comes to mind is an abrasive saw, the ones that send sparks flying everywhere when cutting. A cold saw does not do this, it produces no sparks, very little heat and almost no sound. Using a cold saw is basically like using a miter saw when cutting wood, you can make extremely accurate cuts on even the hardest metals.
Just like a miter saw you have a variety of blade options with a cold saw, in order to make sure that you get the most out of your saw you have to know how to choose the right blade. There are a number of factors that you are going to need to look at when you are making your choice.
A cold saw blade can be quite expensive so it is a major investment you are going to want to make sure that you take the time to do the research to get the best one for your needs.
Cold saw blades are generally made out of one of three materials, carbon steel, high speed steel and tungsten carbide. In the last case it is just the tip that is made out of tungsten carbide the rest of the blade is made out of steel. A carbon tungsten tipped blade cuts better and lasts longer than a high speed steel blade which cuts better and lasts longer than a carbon steel blade. Of course price goes in the opposite direction with carbon steel being the least expensive option.
In general you will find that it is worth investing in a good tungsten carbide blade, their longer life and better cutting ability will make the extra cost money well spent.
Pitch rating tells you how many teeth the blade has, this is measured in teeth per inch. As a rule the softer the material that you are cutting the more teeth you will need. A good general purpose blade will have between 6 and 12 teeth per square inch. This is the blade that most users will want unless you are doing a lot of work with a specific metal like aluminium where a specialized blade would be a better option.
Ideally you will have a few different blades for different materials however given the cost of a good cold saw blade this is likely not the case. If you are only going to have one blade you are almost certainly going to want to go with a general purpose one.
In general the thinner the blade the better it will cut. That being said you do have to make sure that you get a blade that is the right thickness for your cold saw. This is one of the reasons that you should put some thought into the type of material that you are going to be cutting when buying a saw so that you can get one that uses the right blade thickness.
On all cold saws you will have some leeway in terms of the thickness of the blade that you use. The manual that comes with the saw should tell you which blades are acceptable. The blade manufacturers have charts on their websites that you can use to determine which thickness is best for the type of material you are cutting and type of saw that you have.
The last thing to consider when choosing a cold saw blade are the teeth, both the design of the teeth themselves and the way that they are laid out. A standard tooth design is not surprisingly the best option for general purpose cutting. If on the other hand you are going to be cutting a lot of thin material a hook tooth design is best. For cutting large pieces you will do best with a skip tooth design.
General purpose blades have the teeth laid out in an alternating pattern on opposite sides of the blade. This allows them to make accurate cuts on almost any material that you are likely to have to work with. For softer materials you will find that you get better results with a wave pattern in which the teeth are arranged in groups on opposite sides of the blade.