Tool Care #2: Cleaning Saw Blades

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Blog entry by Mike Lingenfelter posted 05-21-2008 03:21 AM 3424 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Oil Applicator Part 2 of Tool Care series no next part

After ripping a bunch of somewhat “wet” Douglas Fir for my workbench, the blade on my table saw was pretty gummed up. It was time for a good cleaning. When I clean my saw blades I keep it simple and use Simple Green. It’s able to clean off most of what can get on a saw blade.


I saturate both sides of the blade with Simple Green and let set for about 15 minutes. I then use an old toothbrush to scrub the residue off. I also use a glove, because the teeth are sharp and we want to work safe. Sometime for the tough stuff I use a Scotch Brite pad to scrub a little harder. For the most part it comes clean with the toothbrush. I didn’t show it but I had planned to use some OptiCut-XL on the blade after cleaning it. I’m going to send this blade out to be sharpened, so I didn’t treat the blade this time.

Here are some before pictures.



After a little scrubbing the blade is good as new.



As part of the cleaning I noticed I had lost a tooth along the way. I have a second blade, so I’ll be sending this one out to be sharpened and have the tooth repaired.

9 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3796 days

#1 posted 05-21-2008 03:28 AM

thanks for the post. I’ve always used simple green but I’ve been using an acetone brush so i haven’t got them that clean yet. a toothbrush gets it much cleaner as you showed here because of the stiffer bristles so i think that i’ll use one next time my blade is in for a cleaning. thanks for the post.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4428 days

#2 posted 05-21-2008 03:33 AM

Thanks for the post. I’m going to give it a try. I usually let the sharpener clean my blades for me.

But I’ve got a carbide resaw band blade that I’d like to clean.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3849 days

#3 posted 05-21-2008 03:45 AM

Thanks for the post. I usually use oven cleaner. But this is much less caustic. I will give it a try.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View kem's profile


56 posts in 3746 days

#4 posted 05-21-2008 03:52 AM

Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve never done this before and it’s helpful seeing what I need to do. I’m going to have to do this soon, after milling the rest of my workbench base. I’m also using a Woodworker II. Isn’t it a great blade? It ripped my top boards like butter through a hot knife or is it the other way around?

-- Kevin

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4142 days

#5 posted 05-21-2008 04:18 AM

I was planning to use the blade a little more, it’s still pretty sharp. When I found the missing tooth I decide to send it out to be sharpend and repaired.

Yes the Forrest blade is like a hot knife through butter :).

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4016 days

#6 posted 05-21-2008 05:05 AM

I use the same thing, but I let the blade sit in it overnight and then just wipe it off.
Works great.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 3832 days

#7 posted 05-21-2008 07:32 AM

Your post creates greater awareness in protecting your valuable tools. I will regularly use this method to protect my new tools. Thanks

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4142 days

#8 posted 05-21-2008 03:42 PM

Not only is a sharp tool safer to use but so is a clean tool. I was noticing that my cuts weren’t as effortless as they were when the blade was new and clean. Even though I’m sending this blade out to be repaired and sharpened, it cut much better after it was cleaned. Also, doing regular cleaning also helps you find problems, like my missing tooth.

View Eric's profile


221 posts in 2539 days

#9 posted 07-25-2011 12:48 AM

Great info. Thanks.

-- Eric

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