Triple Chip Grind is a modification on the standard flat grind or FTG blade. It is predominantly a ripping blade, as it does not have the scoring ability of an ATB or HiATB blade. However, high durability is a great advantage in comparison to HiATB saw blades, since the configuration and the shape itself aren’t so pointed. This makes TCG blades long lasting, regardless of the frequent use for hard plastics, composite materials like melamine, laminate, MDF, non-ferrous metals like aluminum, copper, bronze and the other tough metals.
TCG blades use two different types of teeth, which they alternate. One type of tooth is a standard FTG tooth. These are alternated with a modified FTG tooth which has had its corners relieved or chamfered. This second type of tooth is sometimes referred to as a “trapeze” tooth. The concept behind this blade configuration is to have the trapeze tooth cut out the middle of the kerf, then be followed by the standard FTG tooth, which cleans out the corners; hence, creating three separate chips. Because of this alternating of cuts, the blade lasts longer, not becoming dull as fast as a FTG blade.
TGC blades are extremely well suited for cutting hardwoods, such as oak, maple and ironwood. The high durability of these blades means that even these materials will not cause the blades to dull rapidly. They are also an excellent choice for extremely high-resin content engineered panels, such as MDO (medium-density overlay) and especially HDO (high-density overlay) products. Teeth won’t tear out the processed board as the other blades would. However, TCG blades are not a good choice for softwoods, such as dimensional lumbers used in construction. The advantages gained in paying extra for the TCG blade are lost on softwoods, whose fibers are almost as likely to bend as they are to cut. As such, the trapeze tooth on the TGC blade does not cut these woods as effectively. The saw blade probably won’t splinter the material as you have planned. Hook angle usually has negative values (e.g. -5° hook), meaning the tooth is slanted against the cutting direction. This is useful for non-ferrous metals. When “Triple Chip Grind” tooth has positive hook angle, about 10 to 20 degrees, its original use is rip cutting. The pattern can be coated with carbide, titanium or cobalt to maximize hardness.
Nor are TCG blades good for crosscutting or use on sheet goods, as the square teeth will tend to chip and splinter the top of the board, ruining the finish quality of the surface. This is obviously more of a problem on some woods than on others, especially woods which splinter easily. Another factor is the number of teeth. In case it’s large enough, TCG blade can be used for making fine crosscuts, as well as cutting plywood with fair quality.
There is a sub-category of TGC blades, known as C-TCG. The teeth on these blades are only relieved or chamfered on one side. This is alternated from tooth to tooth, much as ATB blades have their teeth alternated. The purpose of this design is to increase the efficiency of ripping a wide variety of materials, especially hard materials.