This morning I cleaned one of my table saw blades, so I decided to write a little blog about it.
For any of you who don’t have a favorite blade cleaner – and for those who want to try something different, here’s a suggestion. The product I’ve used for years is “Lestoil Grease & Stain Remover” (a product of the Clorox Company). Some of you old-timers like me may remember their advertising jingle from years ago – “It’s so easy when you use Lestoil”. Incidentally, this is not my idea. I read about it years ago when one of the magazines (I think it was “Fine Woodworking”) evaluated a number of proprietary products made for blade cleaning, together with other common products used for that purpose. One of the most interesting things in the article was that some commonly used products aren’t all that good for blades and/or teeth.
Anyway, Lestoil doesn’t harm blades or teeth, is much milder than some of the products, can be flushed down the drain, and is inexpensive (on line, I’ve seen it listed for $4.99 for 28 ounces). I pay a bit more buy it from one of the local chain hardware stores. You may or may not be able to find it in your locale, but you can always order it online. Incidentally, speaking of inexpensive, if you’re really frugal you can even strain Lestoil and return it to the bottle for re-use.
I use a shallow, flat-bottomed, plastic pan I got at an automotive store, and a round, nylon-bristle brush with a handle. Several times I’ve immersed the blade in Lestoil, let it soak for a few minutes, then used the brush to get off the residue. More recently, though, I simply put the dry blade in the pan, pour a small amount of Lestoil on the top surface, spread it around with the brush, let it soak a minute or so, and then go to work with the brush. Lestoil that gets pushed off the top by the brush works on the bottom of the blade while I work on the top. I clean the top, flip the blade over, wash and dry it, and in a few minutes I’m finished. If there’s printing on the blade, some or all of it may come off during the cleaning process, but otherwise, the blade will look like new.
I don’t wear gloves when using Lestoil, but it is a concentrated cleaner and some of you may have more sensitive skin than me. If you try it, use your own judgment about that. If you do, let me know how it works for you.
-- Dave O.