To the point about hook angle

James OsmondArticle by:  James Osmond

I consider myself a simple guy.  I mean, I’m interested in the sum total, the bottom line, does it work or doesn’t it. I’m not so interested in all the fine points until I know the end result.  I find that I often skip over long drawn out explanations so I can get to the bottom line of what is being explained.  Of course if the bottom line interests me I’ll go back and get the details but for the most part I just want to know the sum total. 

Like when my wife comes home from shopping for clothes for our three children and says “Guess how much I saved on this pair of shoes for Michael?” My question back is “How much did you spend on all that stuff?”

So for this article we’ll try to go straight to the bottom line (don’t go skipping to the bottom). 

Up until the last few years the term ‘hook angle’ was not commonly used to reference a blade. But as the market has grown and manufacturers have looked for new ways to market and differentiate their blades from the rest, the term has become the latest catch phrase of the day.  

Instead of debating whether a 3/4” tooth spacing will cut as good as a 7/8” tooth spacing, the discussion has been steered more towards whether a 10 degree is better than a 7 or 8 degree.

And now with companies literally naming their blade by its hook angle one has to wonder what to make of it all.  

If this has become a subject that you find confusing or has you searching for more answers I will attempt to give you my ‘simple guy’ bottom line points based off of a relatively short 20yrs of experience in the blade business.

So here it is in a nutshell for the bottom line people out there:

  • The hardness of the wood determines the hook angle to use - lower for harder/higher for softer
  • The higher the hook angle number, the more aggressive the bite. 10 Degree being the standard hook angle shared by nearly every manufacturer of sawmill & resaw blades. Some offer other degrees but this is still the industry standard.
  • Lower hook angle numbers typically perform better in harder wood & especially in frozen wood - 8 deg.  There are a multitude of reasons for this that we won’t get into in this article
  • Higher hook angle numbers typically perform better in softer wood species - 10 deg
  • Lower number hook angles work better on misaligned machines (less aggressive bite).  It’s the reason why many people can use a 8, or 7 degree blade yet can’t run a 10 deg.
  • A 10 deg blade on a tuned machine will most often outperform a lower hook angle blade on the same machine. However, there are exceptions like with the 8 deg. Super Sharp™ since more than hook angle alone is making the difference. But lower than this (especially when you get into the 4 deg. range) and they become less of a penetrating tooth and more of a scraping tooth.

While there is so much more we could discuss about this subject, I hope this gives some of you a general guideline to follow as you continue to educate yourself on how to increase your sawing efficiency.

James Osmond