table saw blade changing/sharpening

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 10-21-2012 01:20 PM 9453 views 2 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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850 posts in 2087 days

10-21-2012 01:20 PM

How often do you guys change or sharpen your table saw blade? And how do you sharpen it? I feel like I should be doing it more often than I am, but since I don’t know how to sharpen it, I just buy a new one. I have about 4-5 now, and that has been over about a 1 year span. I have been cutting alot of pine and treated wood lately so I am pretty sure that is harder on a blade.

32 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4955 posts in 2462 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 2066 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 4061 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 2014 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 2241 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


7984 posts in 3344 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 2157 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 2087 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


7984 posts in 3344 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 2087 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 2087 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


17311 posts in 2975 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


7984 posts in 3344 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 3450 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 2087 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?

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