Tips For Using And Maintaining Woodworking Blades

Woodworkers have a lot to think about before diving into that first cut. Here’s a few tips for keeping your saw blades in their most optimal cutting form.

Craftsmen often wonder how many teeth to look for in a saw blade, they often deliberate over which tooth-count will deliver the smoothest, cleanest cuts. The answer comes simply once you understand how the saw-blade-tooth system works. As a general rule, the more teeth your saw blade has, the smoother the cut. It’s as simple as that. This rule applies to whichever saw you’re using, whether it be a table saw, jig saw, scroll saw, etc. Saw blades with fewer teeth tend to slide more aggressively and produce a rougher cut. Essentially: — The greater the tooth count – the smoother the cut.

Generally, it is recommended to have several blades available for each different saw. Having a variety of blades on hand makes different types of woodworking applications easier to perform. The easiest way to achieve the finest cuts is by staying true the specific application you’re performing. When cross-cutting, for example, always use a cross-cutting blade – when riping, a riping blade – when cutting metal, always use a metal cutting blade, and so forth. There are also saw blades with tooth patters specific for finishing applications; finishing and melamine blades are designed with a finer tooth pattern for the smoothest, most refined cuts. Remember to: — Use saw blades that stay true to your cutting applications.

It is important keep your blades free of pitch and sap. These are residues that collect on the blade with every cut. To avoid problematic pitch or sap slop, and residual build-up – simply keep your saw blades clean. Wipe them down after every use. It’s beneficial to also clean your saw blades more thoroughly after every several uses. Periodically (and carefully) clean your blades with a diluted household cleaning solution. This should keep your blades shining and smooth, and ready to slice. Remember to: — Keep your saw blades clean. It is also important to keep your saw blades sharp.

The sharpness of your blade determines (generally) the smoothness of your cut. When it becomes difficult to push your blade through your cutting materials, or if your blade is producing rough or choppy cuts – it’s about time to have it sharpened. It typically costs around $20 – $30 per blade for a professional sharpening. It’s also safer to keep your saw blades sharp; the less force exerted into the cutting process – the less likely a blade-related accident is to occur. Always: — Keep your blades sharp.

To deviate from saw blades for a moment, I’ll address the misconception that planer blades are not reversible. Most of them absolutely are! Get twice the action from your planer blades by simply turning them over. Most planer blades have two sharp cutting edges at either end (i.e. on the top and bottom) – this is a reversible planer blade. It is generally beneficial to also have a spare blade on hand, that way if one breaks or requires sharpening, your prepared with a spare. Like saw blades, it is important to keep your planer blades sharp. Depending on the blade’s length, it typically runs about $15 – $20 to sharpen a planer blade. Rejoice: — Most planer blades are reversible.

For the most effective cutting, keep your blades clean and sharp, and always use the appropriate blade for each application. If you follow these simple rules, your cuts should remain smooth and precise for the life of the blade. Remember, however, the most important tip when working with blades is to always be safe.


Mallory Kramer
About the Author:

As a student at the University of Utah, Mallory Kramer is currently earning an Englinsh degree. Three years ago she joined professional service to the tool industry with parts, sales, and service to professional level woodworking products, tools, and machinery.

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