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Is there a rule of thumb for how often a circular saw blade should be replaced? Is visually inspecting the blade condition enough?

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when it gets dull = when it starts binding/tearing/chipping/burning/just a pain to use. – DA01 May 20 '11 at 15:36
@DA01: Can you add that as an answer? – Doresoom May 20 '11 at 16:19
sure! Will make it an answer... – DA01 May 20 '11 at 17:14
If you are thinking about replacing the blade, it's probably time to replace the blade. At worst, it doesn't help and the blade you removed becomes your spare, or you swap back. That's assuming you aren't abusing the tool, of course. – keshlam Mar 24 '15 at 22:13
up vote 16 down vote accepted

You should replace your blade when its dull. Ways to tell its dull:

  • it starts binding
  • it tears/chips the substance more than usual
  • it burns the wood
  • just a pain to use = a sharp blade should let you push the saw forward with minimum effort. If you find yourself forcing the saw forward (not ideal from a safety perspective), change the blade.
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Looks for worn or chipped carbide teeth. If the teeth are merely coated in pitch, you can remove it with oven cleaner (or in a pinch windex), and old tooth brush, and some elbow grease.

Blades should be replaced when they get dull or after you hit a screw or a hard knot.Cleaning saw blades

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Obviously baking the blades would ruin the temper and edge, but is it safe to soak the blades in cold application oven cleaner? – Justin Dearing May 20 '11 at 17:56
That's all I normally use. You don't have to use much, just let it soak for about 5 min and scrub it with the toothbrush (wear safety goggles!) and rinse thoroughly with water. – electricsauce May 20 '11 at 20:15
Edited my post above. The article on newwoodworker.com says that oven cleaner can attack the binder that holds the carbide to the blade. The article recommends simple green or a store bought cleaning solution. I've cleaned my blades for years with oven cleaner with no negative effects, but I think I'm going to try simple green next time. – electricsauce May 20 '11 at 20:22
It's all fun and games until the carbide teeth on your saw blade start flying off, huh? – Craig Jan 19 '15 at 5:50

Sometimes you're using a sharp blade and it still cuts poorly. You might be ripping with a crosscutting blade or crosscutting with a ripping blade. Just like you do with your fish hooks, run the back of a finger nail over the saw teeth: if it scrapes, the teeth are sharp; if it slips over your nail without scraping, it's not sharp.

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