All Replies on table saw blade changing/sharpening

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View shelly_b's profile

table saw blade changing/sharpening

by shelly_b
posted 10-21-2012 01:20 PM

32 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4986 posts in 2493 days

#1 posted 10-21-2012 01:37 PM

I send mine out to, not sure most hobbyists could sharpen carbide. I had read or picked up somewhere long ago the way to test for sharpness was to rub the nail of your thumb across the tooth, if you get clean cut curls of nail the blade is still sharp, if it drags then it’s time. I’ve always used that rule with no idea how good it is. That said, my blades go a fairly long time between sharpenings….these are all good quality carbide blades. It’s been a long time since I’ve used any that were HSS, but they didn’t last nearly as long (not even close).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View IsaacH's profile


128 posts in 2096 days

#2 posted 10-21-2012 01:44 PM

Pine is actually very easy on a saw blade provided you keep it clean. Letting resin build up can cause friction and heat that can warp a blade. Same with treated wood. You can get cleaners especially for desolving wood resins off of blades but goof off works pretty good. (unofficially kerosene works better)

If you are having to apply more than slight pressure to the wood to get it to feed into the blade and cut, or if you are regularly burning the wood while cutting(though some species will burn very easily), its probably time to replace the blade. Don’t bother sharpening blades unless your forking out top dollar for your blades. The trouble and expense aren’t really worth it otherwise.

-- Isaac- Decatur, GA - "Your woodworking....NOT machining parts for NASA!!!"

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4092 days

#3 posted 10-21-2012 01:48 PM

A few things you did not mention. What kind of blades are you using? I use to sharpen my solid steel blades, but most of what I have now are carbide tipped.

The frequency depends. You may want to first clean your blades to remove any pitch and resin buildup. Many products sold for this process, search Rockler or Amazon for pitch removers. You could even use an oven cleaner.

If I have a clean blade, and I’m pushing with more force than I’m used to or my cut line has burn marks, it’s time for sharpening.

For sharpening, I have been using and have not been disappointed. Forrest also sharpens blades, see and they have had good reviews from this site.

I’m mainly using Frued blades, and have a few of each type, rip, combo and cut-off. I’ve sent two off for sharpening this year. Clean blades last a long time.

-- Nicky

View jetson's profile


2 posts in 2044 days

#4 posted 10-21-2012 01:50 PM

Hi, If you are cutting a lot of Pine and Treated Lumber, they both have a lot of pitch and gum up your blades, making them seem Dull. Clean the blades with a Commercial Bit and Blade Cleaner, or Simple Green or many other products folks use. I put my blades in a round dish, spray with cleaner and brush with old tooth brush on both sides. Rinse off, dry and back on the saw. More often than not you feel like you have a new blade on the saw.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2272 days

#5 posted 10-21-2012 02:11 PM


Unless you have cut an extremely large amount of of lumber with those 4 or 5 blades in the last year, your problem is more likely a build up of Pine Tar and Pitch.

There have been several methods of cleaning discussed here on the LJs Site and you can review a few and try some of these home brew cleaners to see if that may put your blades back in service.

Chances are you have one or more of these cleaning products sitting on a shelf at home.
Give it a shot and just maybe they will respond to cleaning rather than resharpening them.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#6 posted 10-21-2012 03:02 PM

Edge life of a blade is a variable that depends on several factors including what you cut, how often you clean them, how much heat builds up during your cutting sessions, the quality of the carbide, the appropriateness of the blade for the task, the alignment of the saw, the power of the saw, how flat the material is, how moist the material is, feedrate, etc, etc.

4 to 5 blades in a year would be a pretty busy year for me. I clean my blades often, don’t cut that much, and have several blades that I swap out, so none of them really sees much use. Cleaning the blades often is a big factor that can help keep your blades performing like new for a lot longer….it really makes a big difference.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2188 days

#7 posted 10-22-2012 02:16 AM

Adding to knotscott’s thoughts, I have an older blade, sometimes one with a bad tooth or two, that I use on suspect boards (dirty, may contain a surprise nail . . . ) or when quality of cut is not important. I use only carbide – steel blades go dull way too fast and are simply not worth it. It’s worth noting that not all carbides are created equal. 5 blades in a year is a lot ! – a good quality carbide blade should be able to cut pine for a long time . . . For the most part, you get what you pay for. Cheap carbide blades use cheap carbide for teeth and are not going to stand up like a Freud, Forrest or other good quality blade, not to mention that often the cheap blades use less carbide and can’t be sharpened as many times. Sharpening your own blades is (as far as I can tell) a thing of the past, especially with carbide.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2117 days

#8 posted 10-24-2012 02:06 PM

I use either dewalt or irwin…$40-$60 price range, so probably not worth sharpening. And I have only cleaned one of them, kind of embarassing lol. I guess didn’t realized cleaning it would make that big of a difference. I have blade and bit cleaner already I use on my router bits. I don’t have any blades without carbide. And alot of the lumber I have been using is treated or construction lumber hear lately, so I feel like that has been pretty hard on them. I need to remember to swap out my nice new blade when I cut stuff like that. I know when I first get a blade I am amazed at how much easier it cuts, then it seems like it’s not long before I start noticing I am pushing pretty hard to get the wood through…hopefully cleaning them will do the job. I will have alot of “new” blades! lol

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#9 posted 10-24-2012 02:25 PM

Treated lumber is pretty rough on blades. Irwin and DeWalt both have cheap blades that aren’t worth sharpening, and some very good blades that are, so it really depends on which series the blades are from. The DW “Construction” blades and the Irwin “Marathon” series aren’t worth sharpening and will dull quickly….the money savings are short lived. The DW “Precision Trim” series, former “Series 40” and “Series 60”, and the Irwin “Marples” or Irwin “Woodworking” series are very good, have better carbide and overall quality, should last longer, and are worth resharpening IMO.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2117 days

#10 posted 10-24-2012 03:27 PM

The last irwin I got was the marples, and I never get the dewalt construction. I always get the precision series. I live in a small town, so the only place for me to get blades within an hr is lowes, and even they don’t have a good selection lol. How much does it cost to have a blade sharpened?

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2117 days

#11 posted 10-24-2012 03:29 PM

I got the marples about a month or 2 ago and this is the first time our lowes has carried them, so the other irwins were just regular, but not their cheapest. They did just get some lenox blades that are the most expensive. Does anyone have any experience with them?

View chrisstef's profile


17386 posts in 3006 days

#12 posted 10-24-2012 04:01 PM

Shelly i think i remember LJ Lumberjoe doing a review on the Lenox blade or maybe it was the Irwin …

FWIW check out knotscott’s blog on saw blades, IMO hes the local guru on all things tablesaw.

You could always mail order a blade as well.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#13 posted 10-24-2012 04:27 PM

This place comes highly recommended and should be reasonable on shipping since it’s not that far.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3481 days

#14 posted 10-24-2012 04:49 PM

For $40 to $60 you can get some decent Freud blades. The carbide in those is really good. As for changing, well I change mine depending on the type of cut (rip, cross cut, plywood, etc.) depending on the quality of the cut I need. I generally leave a rip cut or multi purpose blade in my saw and swap it with the cross cut if I want a nice clean cut with little tear out. Keeping them clean is a good habit, if the pitch is starting to build up it can make it feel dull when it’s not. If you’re having a hard time or getting scorch marks when the blade is clean then it’s time to replace/sharpen.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2117 days

#15 posted 10-25-2012 12:50 PM

knottscott-those are really good prices. I will have to give them a try. Have you ever ordered one of their blades?

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 2276 days

#16 posted 10-25-2012 01:08 PM

I’ve had my table saw blade on my table saw for about a year now and it still cuts perfectly. I have never sharpened or changed my table saw blade. But, I plan on getting a new blade soon.

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2935 days

#17 posted 10-25-2012 02:08 PM

I’m not very disciplined when it comes to TS blades. I keep a combination on and only swap it out for a dado. I usually use it until it becomes dangerous, use it a little more, and then toss it for a new one. I just bought the (new??) Irwin Marples 50T combo.

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#18 posted 10-25-2012 03:01 PM

shellyb – Never ordered their blades or used their sharpening service, but people tend to rave about their sharpening….it’d be worth a try the next time I have a need.

AJ – I suspect that your definition of ”cuts perfectly” will change once you’ve used a really nice blade on your saw._

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2361 days

#19 posted 10-25-2012 03:44 PM

After more than 30 years of using 10” blades on my TS, I’ve switched to an 8” Freud Fusion. The only time I go back to a 10” is when any 2” stock has to be ripped, otherwise the 8” takes care of everything just as well or better. I do have a 10” RAS and a 12” SCMS for cross cuts.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View HorizontalMike's profile


7757 posts in 2914 days

#20 posted 10-25-2012 03:56 PM

Once I discovered that I could clean my blades with DAWN DISH WASHING FLUID I put away all that caustic chemical stuff forever.

Warm water and soaking time are the key factors here. After soaking in the sink, bucket,etc. four a couple of hours, take an OLD toothbrush and carefully scrub the teeth on the blade. It comes right off, especially if you haven’t let the blade sit with the pitch forever.

And the very bet part is that you don’t have to use a soap with Fluoride..;-)

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Always keep the blades from making contact with your sink (steel, ceramic, etc) for obvious reasons. Putting a folded towel in the bottom makes a lot of sense.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View ETwoodworks's profile


92 posts in 2693 days

#21 posted 10-25-2012 04:38 PM

I have been cleaning my blades with a mineral spirits soaked rag. They come out shiny and clean in no time without makeing a mess everywhere.

-- Building quality in a throw away world.

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3618 days

#22 posted 10-25-2012 04:59 PM

Cleaning the blade is important. I got a 5 gallon bucket and cut the bottom off so I had a container 1” deep. This perfectly fits a 10” saw blade. Next, I got a gallon of Simple Green and poured it into the dish I created until it just covered the sawblde. Let it soak for a short while and wipe off the blade. Then I pour the Simple Green back into the bottle to be reused. I put the bottle with the Simple Green into the dish and store it under the stationary tub. Cheap and works well.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2117 days

#23 posted 10-25-2012 08:03 PM

thanks everyone, those are all good ideas. I will definately be keeping my blades clean from now on, too bad i can’t stick them in the dishwasher lol. If all of them start working like new again I shouldn’t need a new one for a couple years:)

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2690 days

#24 posted 10-26-2012 02:34 AM

Shelly, I did “stick one in the dishwasher” as an experiment. It worked pretty well but not as well as a 24 hour soak in Simple Green (purple formula). I need to try the dishwasher AFTER the Simple Green soak (bet that works great).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2675 days

#25 posted 10-26-2012 03:28 AM

I never cut used lumber with my good blades. The dirt is like rubbing them on sandpaper. Not as bad on the carbide as it was back in the HSS blade days but old habit are still with me. I still dulls them. Dirt is just that way. Keep them clean as they have told you, use the correct blade for the job and no used lumber.

Maybe you should just cut less wood. That would keep them sharp…..LOL These guys have told you about all there is to know about it. Heat is the enemy so keeping them clean keeps them cool.

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#26 posted 10-26-2012 11:13 AM

The dishwasher dries with heat at the end of the cycle, which can harden any gum that didn’t come off in the cleaning process….prolly not recommended for brazing either. Freud recommends a kerosene soak for blades that are badly gummed….it’s pH neutral and won’t hurt carbide or brazing. Once clean, almost any household spray cleaner (409, LA’s Totally Awesome, Fantastic, Greased Lightnin, Simple Green, citrus cleaners like Goo Gone, etc., all work well… I set the blade in the cover from a 5 gallon pail, spray both sides, brush, rinse, and hand dry… works really well.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2117 days

#27 posted 10-29-2012 11:33 AM

sounds good, thanks:)

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2804 days

#28 posted 10-29-2012 12:36 PM

I would look around your town, locally, because there may be someone who does some sharpening. I agree with the above about pitch and gum from pine, and treated woods. That will definitely take a tole on your blades. I see a few links above, so, good luck. Work/Play safe. Keep makin dust

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View americanwoodworker's profile


185 posts in 2373 days

#29 posted 10-29-2012 12:42 PM

I use disposable aluminum pie plates with hot water and baking soda to clean mine. After soaking for several hours and using a toothbrush with very little elbow grease the blades come out completely clean.

I once read where somebody said to NEVER use windex to clean your blades. Reason is if the commercials are correct you will see right through the blade and could cut your fingers off. Just ask the crow how he felt after hitting the window. ;D

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3395 days

#30 posted 10-29-2012 01:21 PM

Unless a carbide blade is damaged I believe it is wise and frugal to have it sharpened. If it was a good blade when new it will likely be about as good when freshly sharpened.
I have a variety of blades, and when one is beginning to dull I change it and when I have two blades dull I get them sharpened.
I’m fortunate that we have a reasonable but very professional industrial sharpening company only about 30 minutes away. Their work is good and they plastic coat the teeth after they finish their work.

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2117 days

#31 posted 10-29-2012 11:10 PM

I’m glad I didn’t throw any of them away then, I knew I would need them again lol. I will have to send some out and see which company I like best. My uncle owns a machine shop right around the corner from me so I will also check with them. I know a few also need straightened so I was glad to see some companies can do that. Thanks guys:) Nice to know I am sitting on a gold mine of blades lol

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2110 days

#32 posted 10-29-2012 11:28 PM

I really like CMT2000 orange based blade cleaner. I think I’ve tried ALL of the others recommended in magazines and on the ‘net.

Every time I take a blade or router bit off, I spritz it and sit in in a 5 gallon bucket lid. Once I decide to put it back on , or back in the blade till, I hit it with DriCote or other protectant. I’ve found the orange cleaners are so good at degreasing, blades can rust in my basement shop if I don’t coat them.

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