We would guess that the blade on your table saw probably sees quite a bit of action. Over time, these blades can wear down or they can get really dirty. You know how it goes. Hard work leads to dirt and debris. It’s the same with a blade. The materials that you cut can cause the blade to get dirty over time.
Your saw blade needs to be cleaned on occasion. It’s just part of regular maintenance on the blade and makes it last longer overall.
The good news is that cleaning a table saw blade really isn’t too challenging. You can probably clean your blade in a matter of a few minutes. You just need a good cleaner for the task.
Why Clean a Saw Blade?
Saw blades really do get dirty over time. In fact, if your blade is acting like it might be starting to get dull, there is the possibility that it actually just needs to be cleaned. Now, with that being said, there are times the blade needs to be sharpened too. It’s a good idea to learn how to pinpoint whether the blade is dirty or dull.
When you use the table saw, the blade spins at a very high rate. The power behind the spinning blade is what cuts your materials. Here’s the thing we often forget about. The spinning blade coming up against the wood or other material creates heat and friction.
When the heat and the friction of the movement combine against the wood, deposits within the wood might actually melt against the blade. You won’t actually see this happening in most cases. Very rarely will you see burn spots on the wood, although it is possible.
However, you quite possibly will see the blade turning brown and discoloring over time. That color change might just be from the heat and the wood combining. It’s probably a sign of residue that has been baked onto the blade.
It’s not usually chunky or anything like that but it is residue and it affects the work of the blade over time. The reason for that is it’s just build up. The blade can’t remove any of that residue so it just adds up and isn’t immediately visible to pinpoint as being built up.
Next time you get frustrated at a seemingly dull blade that you just recently sharpened, stop and think about whether or not it could actually be residue on the blade. Do you see discoloration? Let’s try cleaning the blade first and see if that makes a difference.
Equipment for Cleaning Table Saw Blades
If you need to clean a table saw blade, it’s super easy. The hardest part is removing the blade and making sure you use the right cleaner for the task.
Carbide blades and some blade materials can be sensitive to certain cleaners so always make sure the cleaner you are using is suitable for the blade. A lot of woodworkers will use something like dish detergent for most of their blades. You might also see something like Simple Green which can work pretty well. Both of these are friendly for almost any blade material.
You can also buy blade cleaner if you prefer. If you do choose to use a blade cleaner just be careful to choose one that specifically states it is suitable for the material of the blades you will be cleaning.
Here’s what you need for the cleaning process.
- Bristled brush (brass or plastic work well)
- Suitable cleaner of your choice (dish soap works well)
- Warm water
- Dirty saw blades
- Drying cloth
No special tools are needed here. You just need something to scrub away the residue and then it is very important to dry off the blade when you finish, preventing rust from forming.
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The Process to Clean a Table Saw Blade
Alright, once you’ve gathered these little things, you can get to work. Some woodworkers will clean all of their blades at one time but it’s totally up to you. If you clean several at once, it just makes it easier to always be prepared with clean blades.
You will find that cleaning a single blade really only takes a couple of minutes. It’s almost like doing a sink load of dishes. Just wash them all at once and get it over with. Each dish (or saw blade) doesn’t take a ton of time in the end.
Now, if you’re ready, you can follow these simple steps to clean your blades.
- If the blade is still on the saw you need to remove it. Make sure the saw is powered off and unplugged before trying to remove the blade.
- Prepare warm water and cleaner. You can fill a sink with warm water or just have warm water nearby. Whatever works for you here.
- Apply the cleaner you’ve chosen to the blade. If you use dish soap, you can just put it in your water but you can also apply it directly to the blade if you prefer.
- To make it easier, you can let the blades soak in warm, soapy water for 10-20 minutes. This helps to loosen the residue from the blade surface. Just be sure you don’t let them soak any longer or forget about them.
- Now, use your bristled brush or steel wool to thoroughly clean the blade and remove all of the residues or build up. You will see the water get dirty and the blade color return to a more natural shade.
- Once you’ve cleaned the blade, go ahead and rinse it well.
- Dry each blade as soon as you finish washing it. Drying it right away will help to prevent problems with rust later on. Always dry blades thoroughly before putting them away.
You should notice a difference in the way that your blade looks immediately when you clean it. That residue and build up will soak away and return your blade to a somewhat normal color like it was when you got it.
If you’ve cleaned your blades and still feel like it’s not cutting well, this is an indicator that it might be time to go ahead and sharpen it.
Cleaning saw blades is really fairly easy. This should just be a routine maintenance task that you do in order to take care of the blades and the saw. Cleaning table saw blades will help them to last much longer overall.
Just be sure to follow all of these steps and tricks to clean them properly. Your blade will look and most likely work like it is brand new all over again!