How does one tell if a table saw blade needs sharpening?

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Forum topic by Holbs posted 07-21-2016 01:01 AM 2477 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1960 posts in 2178 days

07-21-2016 01:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening forrest woodworker ii dado king

Here is a Forrest Woodworker II and a Forrest Dado King I picked up in a $150 PM66 cabinet saw auction lot. They both look well “seasoned”. Both cut 3/4” plywood like butter, like my other Freud blades. I was thinking of sending both to get sharpened by Forrest, just because :) But then I gots to thinking… I’ve never had a table saw blade not cut “right”, as in thinking the blade needs sharpening. What are the symptoms to look for in a dull blade?

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

19 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4997 posts in 2500 days

#1 posted 07-21-2016 01:13 AM

For me, it is when I start to get more resistance in feeding the wood into the blade. It is kind of subtle, but that how I decide when to get it sharpened.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bamaboy's profile


30 posts in 3554 days

#2 posted 07-21-2016 01:32 AM

If it takes a effort to push wood through the cut …its time. Looking at dado blade picture it doesn’t appear to be used much.

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1051 days

#3 posted 07-21-2016 01:44 AM

just had to gloat about the deal again huh? lol. I would soak them in a blade cleaning solution just for good measure.

View waho6o9's profile


8434 posts in 2726 days

#4 posted 07-21-2016 01:45 AM

Fuzzes and chip out are an indication of a dull blade as well.

Here’s a cleaning and lubrication kit for blades and router bits, I find them a worthwhile

View JAAune's profile


1839 posts in 2466 days

#5 posted 07-21-2016 02:04 AM

Dull blades also heat up more, create more pitch and burn the wood more often.

-- See my work at and

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1602 days

#6 posted 07-21-2016 02:54 AM

With ATB blades you can see if the ‘ears’ are worn. Tip: if the ATB tips are flat, it’s time to sharpen.

If the flat tips of your rip blade won’t raise a strip of the face of your fingernail, its dull.

If it smokes on all but the lightest/slowest cuts, it’s not sharp.

If it seems dull, it is.


-- Madmark -

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1541 days

#7 posted 07-21-2016 10:47 AM

Yesterday I discovered a good way to tell…put on a new blade and be amazed at the difference.

I bought a relatively cheap Freud blade on amazon to replace the blade that came with my Saw Stop a couple years back (which has been badly abused).

My jaw dropped as I noticed that the new blade was cutting through walnut and maple as if they weren’t even there. I didn’t even notice a change in the sound coming from the saw as I moved the wood into the blade.

I will second what JAAune said above about burning. That was what led me to replacing my original SS blade.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View ScottM's profile (online now)


681 posts in 2295 days

#8 posted 07-21-2016 12:29 PM

Good info.

Two questions:

1. Who does your sharpening for you?
2. Is it really worth it in comparison to buying a new “good” blade (diablo or Irwin) from a retail establishment?

View rwe2156's profile


3094 posts in 1630 days

#9 posted 07-21-2016 12:41 PM

Depends on what kind of saw you have.

Saws with 2HP or less will tell you quickly. And realize the harder you push with a dull blade the higher the risk of an accident.

3 & 5HP—resistance will more subtle they will still cut with a dull blade. On my cabinet saw, I judge by looking/feeling the blade and if I’m getting any burning.

The quality of blades you have its definitely worth sharpening. I believe Forrest has a sharpening service.
Look for a local sharpening service or check with some local ww’ing shops.

I am happy with the quality of Freud blades, but I tend to go with the industrial (silver) blades because I think they have a bit more carbide.

I use an outfit that services the paper mills and lumber mills around me.
The aren’t cheap ($20 for a 60 tooth blade 50 cents an inch for planer blades) but do a good job.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View bondogaposis's profile


4997 posts in 2500 days

#10 posted 07-21-2016 12:55 PM

1. Who does your sharpening for you?
2. Is it really worth it in comparison to buying a new “good” blade (diablo or Irwin) from a retail establishment?

A local shop, Missoula Saws, they do an excellent job.
Yeah, it is really worth it, as they charge about $14 per blade and they are like new. The turn around is less than a week.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Nubsnstubs's profile (online now)


1408 posts in 1879 days

#11 posted 07-21-2016 03:06 PM

Juann covered most indicators, but another is to look at the cutting edge. If you can see light reflecting off the edge, it is dull. If you can’t see any light, you’re good to go whether it’s a router bit or saw.

If you have a 60 tooth blade that cost 18-20 dollars to sharpen, it doesn’t make sense to buy a new one when dull. you can sharpening carbide at least 10 times before it’s time to toss it.

Jeffp has the best method. This works every time…....... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View AandCstyle's profile


3165 posts in 2406 days

#12 posted 07-21-2016 09:54 PM

Holbs, the local sharpening guy told me that 90% of the blades brought in for sharpening really only need cleaning. So thy cleaning the blade and see if you are satisfied with the results, if not, have it sharpened. FWTW

-- Art

View ChefHDAN's profile


1133 posts in 2998 days

#13 posted 07-21-2016 10:00 PM

Wait a minute, did I read that right… A Forrest WWII, a Forrest Dado king AND A PM66 for $150.00

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View skatefriday's profile


424 posts in 1631 days

#14 posted 07-22-2016 12:08 AM

Burn == Dull

Recently took two blades, Freud Industrial melamine blade and CMT ripping blade
in to A & A Saws in Los Angeles and I’m pretty sure they came back sharper than new.
Something like $40 for both. Well worth the price.

View Holbs's profile


1960 posts in 2178 days

#15 posted 07-22-2016 02:19 AM

I have no reference of a brand new Forrest blade to compare the effort of pushing wood through during a cut to tell if dull or not.
This will be going into my dedicated dado blade 3HP Unisaw.
Yes Chef… $150. Not to mention the biesemeyer auxiliary fence and cut off fence. And here is why:

Power cord from switch to motor, but no power cord from switch to wall. I rolled the dice since could not test the motor. But I knew would be worth it given that it is a PM66 with the extra stuff in the auction lot.


I only ask about sharpening because these are highly rated Forrest saw blades (top of the line?). New ones are $130 WWII and $377 for the dado. Figured, got lucky so best to keep these in top shape by having Forrest re-sharpen them as new.
No mention at Forrest website about “cleaning” saw blades, just sharpening and repairing. Will have to look at how to clean.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

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