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oh i see. in that case, I would think it is caused by the tooth angle, gullet and hook more than the blade material... but I'm no expert. Probably doesn't matter much to your question that your using a radial arm saw either. Does your carbide blade have fewer teeth, angled cutters, wider gullets, deeper hook?
Thanks for a response, Eric. I have used a sacrifice piece which usually works well. I was just wondering why, all things being equal, a carbide blade shatters thin wood on ripping (radial arm ) while an old steel blade works OK.- at least on my saw. And that's why I was asking if anyone else experiences the same thing with their radial arm saw. I don't need the sacrifice piece of wood with a steel blade.
I don't do this anymore (got a better tablesaw, and find that a whole lot more convenient for ripping) but I used to all the time. Ripping with the radial saw involves turning the blade pivot 90deg to be parallel with the fence and allowing the wood to move through like an upside-down tablesaw. (I had older model B&D/Dewalt and found getting the 90 perfect was not easy)
With the tablesaw, using a zero clearance insert helps with tearout especially on thin stock and veneers but on the radial saw your zero clearance is at the wrong side of the blade. One thing I'd suggest is laying a sacrifice piece of material over the sheet you are ripping such as a beaten up length of MDF... this should keep the blade from splintering the rip as it exits the material.