Is a saw blade only as good as the person who sharpens it?

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Forum topic by woodnoobie posted 12-10-2009 08:39 AM 1162 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 3054 days

12-10-2009 08:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw blade

Let’s say you have two similar types of saw blades, they could be rip, cross-cut, or combination. One is a decent $50 dollar blade and the other a nicer $100+ blade, this assumes that the price difference actually does give you a better blade. Both need to be sharpened, so I take them to my local sharpener.

Upon getting them back…

a) are they now somewhat equivalent blades because once sharpened they are now blades defined by the person who sharpened them or…
b) does the more expensive blade continue to shine through because it’s a better blade somehow?

What I’m really asking I suppose is is it worth it to spend more on a blade that I will have for years and will always perform better? Or will a decent blade give me years of good service in the hands of a good sharpener?

I suppose this could spawn a couple other questions…

How long does it take to wear out a saw blade? Would a casual hobbiest ever wear out a blade or should I expect to need to replace them every couple years?

Are there good sharpening people and not so good? Or are they all generally able to do a good job?

Thanks in advance, and if any of my reasoning seems a little off it may be, I am a noob to woodworking.

4 replies so far

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 12-10-2009 09:44 AM

I’m still a rookie when it comes to this, so here’s my two cents until the veterans come along and tell me to sit quietly in the corner LOL….

I read as many articles and reviews as I can get my hands on, from what I understand there are a couple differences between premium and budget blades – for one thing durability, a few reviews theyve had tests where cut quality was similar, but the premium blades last longer between sharpenings due to thicker ,better quality carbide. Also premium blades like Freud have their signature anti-friction coatings, and the anti-vibration slots cut in them, which budget blades often lack.

As I understand the issue of sharpening, most sharpening services actually use computer-controlled equipment, since the teeth need to be precision ground in a certain way, several articles warn that the important thing is to make sure the service you use can handle your particular blade type, or the blade can get damaged, so its not really a matter of individual skill (I’ve seen lots of recommendations for Forrest’s sharpening service)

As to how often you need to sharpen it, I think it depends on how often you use it, how often you clean it to remove pitch and buildup, as well as WHAT you use it on; if you cut lots of softwoods I’d imagine it would last longer than if you cut lots of denser hardwoods.

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3340 days

#2 posted 12-10-2009 12:32 PM

Top shelf blades have better bones right from the get go…that’s never a bad thing. They’ll have better steel, better tensioning, better expansion systems, better balance, better carbide, better brazing, better precision, better sharpening, Why spend $500 to $2500 on TS, then fret over the cost difference between a $50 and $100 blade? Spending more doesn’t guarantee getting more, but it sure improves your odds. Get the $100 blade on sale for $73 with free shipping! Then buy the $17 backup from Cripe Distribution to keep your premium blade fresher.

Keeping your blades clean will help them cut better and last longer. A hobbyist can easily get a couple of years service between sharpenings, but it depends on a lot of things. A good sharpener can coax better performance from a less expensive blade, but they can’t compensate for soft carbide, cheaper steel, etc.

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

View TheDane's profile


5399 posts in 3628 days

#3 posted 12-10-2009 05:32 PM

A cheap blade is always going to be a cheap blade, no matter who sharpens it. It may cut better when you first get it back, but the knotscott is right.

I have an Oldham 50-tooth combination blade that I bought on sale when Menards closed a nearby store a couple of years ago, and regard it as my ‘backup’ blade. The Oldham is labeled ‘Resharpenable’, but it would cost me more send it out for sharpening than I paid for it.

Be wary of the guys who sharpen lawnmower blades, scissors, and knives. Some of them claim they can sharpen woodworking blades, but I wouldn’t trust them with my Forrest WWII.

I deal with a local machine shop that has a sharpening service, They send them out to a well-equipped specialty shop on the other side of the state that has state-of-the-art equipment. It is a one week turn-around and may cost a bit more, but the result is well worth it.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3429 days

#4 posted 12-10-2009 06:32 PM

I have to agree, a well equiped professional sharpening service is worth the money.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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