Some saws are a bull in a china shop. Big honking blades with aggressive teeth that chunk chips with abandon. Plowing through metal and wood. These are not finesse blades. Learning to use such a blade is easy. But slitting and slotting saws don’t have aggressive teeth and serious rake. No, these saws are specialized tools. They create deep and narrow slots. Think slicing a thin bit of material from your work stock. Almost like shaving. Special saws need special saw arbors. And when it comes to making cuts that are deeper than they are wide, pick the slitting saw over and endmill. A slitting saw with a rigid arbor will the job better and faster.
First, look for the number of teeth on the blade. You want a high tooth count if you want a clean cut.
Carbide and high speed steel are the most common slitting saw blade materials. Always choose the appropriate blade material for the material you are cutting.
Evaluate the width of the saw blade next. You want the thickest saw blade that will cut your material. Remember, the thicker the blade the more stability. Stability is your friend. Go for maximum stability and rigidity with every job to cut problems off at the pass.
Lastly, get the right size diameter of blade. You don’t want a large diameter. As the diameter increases, so does your chances of runout and wobbling. Most slitting saw blades are about 3” to 4” in diameter.
Use the same care in selecting slitting saw arbors as you do with your slitting saw blades. Get slitting saw arbors made by Sierra American Multi-Systems and you’ll be good to go. Every slitting saw arbor they make is heat treated to prevent vibration. Get added rigidity from deep, low-profile caps. Reduce your blade slippage. Look to your tool dealer for individual slitting saw arbors or a complete set of arbors in a variety of sizes. Right now, they make ¼” to 1 ¼” inside diameter.
Sierra American makes tools in the USA. You get a full 5 year warranty and American made quality with every purchase.
Slitting Cut Techniques
Now you’ve got a blade and arbor, it’s time to get to work. There are two techniques for making deep cuts. The first makes multiple cuts that start shallow get deeper. Or, you can make the full cut in one single pass. The second approach assumes that all chips don’t clear and they cause problems with subsequent passes. However, if you just use the right feeds, speeds, and fluids this isn’t a problem. Pros make use of the series of passes approach. They get better results.
Feeds and Speeds
Speaking of feeds and speeds, the right combination is imperative. Get it wrong and destroy the blade. Slitting cuts are precise. So, use precise feeds and speeds. Check that your software is can handle slotting or slitting saw cuts. It should. Remember slitting saw blades are delicate. Don’t break them with bad feed and speed settings.
To get the cleanest slitting or slotting cut:
- select the right blade
- use the right arbor
- program feeds and speeds correctly
- apply fluid generously
- cut in a series of progressively deeper cuts.