Is Walnut suppose to be a bit smoky when cutting or is that my chop saw?

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Forum topic by Lumberdamsel posted 07-04-2014 04:01 PM 1296 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Lumberdamsel's profile


2 posts in 846 days

07-04-2014 04:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut miter saw

Its my first time working with walnut or any hardwood and i was a little shaken when I noticed, what I’m only going to assume, was smoke when using my chop saw to make a cut. I wasn’t 100% sure if it was smoke but it was a bit too thin to be saw dust. i didnt finish my cut since it wasnt too easy to cut through and the smoke started appearing. I’m certain it wasnt the motor since it wasnt at all warm. as well this same piece of walnut broke the blade on my bandsaw, which I’m assuming i messed up the tension and it was an all around crappy blade. if anyone has any knowledge from their experience with walnut i’d really appreciate it.

11 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 1910 days

#1 posted 07-04-2014 04:26 PM

Yep, your blade is probably gone. I have been doing a lot of walnut on my saws lately and never run into smoke.
Look for dark brown and black skid marks in the cut. A sharp blade won’t leave any.

Another note, my Ryobi BT3100 cuts through walnut about as fast as cutting through SYP or construction lumber.

Good Luck!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View ShaneA's profile


6424 posts in 2021 days

#2 posted 07-04-2014 04:32 PM

Quality blades will be needed for cutting hardwoods. If the chop saw has the blade thar came with it, chances are it is low quality. Same for the bandsaw. LJ Knotscott does a lot of info on blades. You may chech some of his blogs. There are quality blade options at reasonable prices. Good luck.

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3071 days

#3 posted 07-04-2014 04:46 PM

Oh, I burn it. My blades are high quality but I let them
go a while between sharpenings.

Walnut scorches easily. You learn to dance with it to
get the least scorching for the power you have in your

I can probably mostly crosscut 8×4 walnut using my 4hp
table saw but I think wider boards usually got scorched
when I used a miter saw.

One trick it to use a lower TPI blade, which takes deeper
cuts so the cut is a little rougher, and the gullets are
bigger. That walnut dust in the saw gullets gets toasted
easy and it stinks.

Final trimming you can dub off 1/16” with a fine blade on
the table saw. Most of the time in furniture making
we do try to minimize exposed end grain. That’s a
broad generalization and it’s to some extent dictated
by the mechanics of wood movement, but as a pragmatic
matter end grain takes more time to sand and polish to
take a nice finish. Under-sand walnut end grain and
it will have “cloudy” spots when you put a film finish
on it.

Lumber dealers steam walnut to even out the color,
pulling dark heartwood pigments into the sapwood,
which is structurally not as sound and there can be
interlocked grain and stuff like that in the transitions.
This may cause burning sometimes.

Also, pitch on blades from cutting pine and similar
woods can build up and when cutting something
harder, it heats, liquifies and scorches the cut.

Blades can be cleaned by soaking in something like
Simple Green and water for a bit, then scrubbing
with a nylon bristle brush.

View bigblockyeti's profile


3581 posts in 1143 days

#4 posted 07-04-2014 07:20 PM

I only get smoking if I have a really dull blade or am ripping something that’s less than true and starts to bind on the tablesaw. I’ve never had issues with my mitersaw, but then again, I don’t let the blades get too dull either.

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 1377 days

#5 posted 07-05-2014 04:49 AM

Loren, really good data in your observations. FYI, on some posts here or elsewhere on a good blade cleaner, I’ve seen cautions on using Simple Green for cleaning carbide tipped blades. Something about it potentially attacking the brazing between the teeth and the rest of the blade. I use Simple Green for lots of stuff. I buy it by the gallon, but I soak my blades (and sanding strips for my wide drum sander) in a water and baking soda solution. I do spot clean the strips directly on my drum sander with a shot of Simple Green when I’m too lazy to change the strip near the end of a run.

Your observation on the sawdust scorch and using a lower tooth blade on thicker stock is excellent and overlooked all too often. Thanks.

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3071 days

#6 posted 07-05-2014 04:59 AM

I actually don’t use Simple Green either though I suppose
I did before I figured out it was overkill. I’ve used dish
soap with good results. I just grab whatever is handy,
it doesn’t have to be a strong detergent.

View Paul's profile


719 posts in 988 days

#7 posted 07-05-2014 05:10 AM

I actually don t use Simple Green either though I suppose
I did before I figured out it was overkill. I ve used dish
soap with good results. I just grab whatever is handy,
it doesn t have to be a strong detergent.

- Loren

Not to hijack your post, I use only a hot water bath to clean my blades. Hot water for a 15 min soak and a brush to clean. I haven’t found a chemical formula that works equally or better.


View Lumberdamsel's profile


2 posts in 846 days

#8 posted 07-06-2014 11:37 AM

thanks so much for the help everyone! i had a feeling i needed a different blade for my hardwood but i didnt know for sure. im relatively new to woodworking. thanks again.

View bigblockyeti's profile


3581 posts in 1143 days

#9 posted 07-06-2014 06:03 PM

You didn’t mention if the blade on your saw was the original or not, or what make and model of saw it was. Though it shouldn’t matter too much, it could be telling of another problem, perhaps.

View knotscott's profile


7147 posts in 2798 days

#10 posted 07-06-2014 06:06 PM

Try cleaning your blade before looking to have it sharpened or replaced.

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

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 1910 days

#11 posted 07-06-2014 06:33 PM

As I am making a bunch of black walnut brackets for our office, I decided that I would try to see if I could burn the black walnut I am using with my Ryobi BT3100 TS using a Freud Diablo 1024X rip blade.
The wood is 1 1/2” thick and 3/4” wide.
The blade has been in use, off and on for about 3 years. It isn’t the sharpest, but it isn’t all that dull either.
I should mention that I have cut very little SPF with it, although I have cut a lot of Texas Red Cedar, aka Mountain Juniper, probably 750 to 1000 bd ft.
Now, on to my findings: Ripping across the 3/4” side, no problem at all ripping a single layer as fast as I could. 2 layers, still no problem. Three layers, (2 1/4”), the motor slowed down quite a bit, so did my feed rate, but, still no burning. Four layers stacked, (3”), noticeable burning if I tried to feed too fast, motor didn’t slow anymore than with three layers.

Cross Cutting: Single 1 1/2” vertical, no problem, up to eight pieces, (3/4” wide times eight), at the same time, no problem.
Then went to two vertical layers and directly to 6 pieces wide, (easier to hold and more stable), motor slowed down, no burn.
It looks like it all has to do with feed rate as I have never cleaned this blade. I considered it junk when I got it compared to my Onsrud blades, and haven’t changed my mind much, but it does seem to do a good job with not burning, It just isn’t and never has been all that smooth a cut.

I hope this made sense.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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