Is my Saw blade dull?

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Forum topic by ChrisCarr posted 01-16-2011 06:13 AM 1963 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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196 posts in 2895 days

01-16-2011 06:13 AM

I have a 50 tooth ridgid combination blade (alternative bevel). I have been using the blade for light-duty hobby work since May 2010. I mostly cut softwood, plywood, and some hardwood. Two or three times I cut UHMW plastic with the blade. After I cut the plastic the blade worked just as before.

Recently I have noticed that it takes harder pushing to cut wood with the blade. The cuts are also rough and splinter crazy on re-sawing spruce. When I cut plywood or hardwood the blade makes a loud screeching noise and it super hard to push wood through.

I am thinking the blade is dull but I have only been using it 7 months. I heard carbide blades often last 2 years or more. (I have only been woodworking 1.5 years.)

What are your thoughts? Is it Dull? (and yes the blade is clean)

Thank you

13 replies so far

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3719 days

#1 posted 01-16-2011 06:25 AM

From what you have written, it could be a number of things:

Blade might be dull, blade might have too pitch built up on it from all the softwood that you are cutting and just needs cleaned, or the fence/blade may be out of alignment. Is is burning the wood as you cut with it?

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2895 days

#2 posted 01-16-2011 06:51 AM

The fence and blade are aligned properly, already checked that and i recently aligned everything when i repaired my fence’s body.

The blade is clean, already tried that, just cleaned a few days ago.

The wood only burns a little on hardwood…like normal.

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2993 days

#3 posted 01-16-2011 07:02 AM

Dull or gummed up badly.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2839 days

#4 posted 01-16-2011 07:14 AM

Two years is a best case scenerio. From what I read in your post, the plastic and plywood could have been the nails that assembled the coffin for your blade. The plastic, I just can’t think that could be good on any blade. I have often cut plastic with my scroll saw and can certainly say that the blades don’t last half as long on plastic as even hardwood. The plywood, no a few pieces here and there aren’t going to dull a blade quickly enough to notice, but it is harder on a blade than even the hardest of woods. The reason for this is the glues in plywood.
Now, some blades can be sharpened. I have even been told the Rigid 50 tooth can be sharpened several times (I use the same blade on my 3650). However, for a forty dollar blade, I would simply buy another Rigid 50 tooth (great blade) and cut for at least another seven months. That is unless you can sharpen it yourself, which would make it well worth resharpening. If you do buy another though, may I suggest cutting your plastic and plywood on another tool? Or at least with another blade? It’ll give the Rigid a longer life expectancy.
Myself, I keep a couple of cheap blades around for cutting plywood. At the moment, for plywood, I’m using forty tooth combination blades I bought at Big Lots. They cost $10 for two blades. They are crap blades, but zip through plywood like butter. For hardwood, they are like trying to cut it with a butter knife. When they dull on the plywood though, I can chunk them and go spend another $10.
Before anyone jumps my case about the wastefulness of chunking these cheap blades, any metal from my shop, including blades such as these, gets saved for my scrap man buddy. So they are recycled. So please don’t send me nasty PMs about it.


View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3056 days

#5 posted 01-16-2011 08:50 AM

I would get a new one.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3538 days

#6 posted 01-16-2011 09:08 AM

I second what Bently says….get it sharpened. I have quite a few different blades that I’ve had sharpened over and over and they are like new when then come back. One is a ridgid 60 tooth that I’ve used on melamine and cab grade ply. Don’t throw it out, that would be a waste.

-- Childress Woodworks

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 2957 days

#7 posted 01-16-2011 10:02 AM

i wish they lasted 2 years lol, i would say on daily use the blades get noticably dull after maybe 2 weeks.
professional shops here have 2 sets of blades, each week one set goes in for sharpening.

i get mine done maybe every 2 months while it would be better every month, it’s just that i forget and it costs around 7-9 euros a blade, depending on the number of teeth.

View knotscott's profile


8012 posts in 3372 days

#8 posted 01-16-2011 12:15 PM

There are a lot of variables that effect how long it lasts. Time isn’t much of a factor though….it’ll stay sharp for decades if you don’t use it! ;-) Usage, heat, cleanliness, moisture, blade handling, storage, etc., are factors. Sounds to me like it’s dull.

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

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2895 days

#9 posted 01-16-2011 07:22 PM

See my problem is I don’t have any local sharpening services! I keep looking but can’t find any. I don’t want to pay to ship it for sharpening because for that price, I could get a new one.

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2895 days

#10 posted 01-17-2011 10:51 PM

Thanks for all the replies.

I ended up buying a new blade (same exact one).

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3192 days

#11 posted 01-17-2011 11:39 PM

Hold on to the old one. When the new one needs sharpening ship them both together. It will cost you the same to ship 2 blades as it does 1. This cuts the shipping costs per blade in half.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2895 days

#12 posted 01-18-2011 04:12 AM

Never thought of that, I might do that next time.

I never throw out old or dull blades, I do the same for wood…even spruce.

View David175's profile


101 posts in 2685 days

#13 posted 01-18-2011 04:56 AM

chriscarr, I have mine sharpened at southern saw and cutter and when I get them back, they are better that when they were new

-- Dave..Pensacola Fl.........In GOD we trust

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