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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
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2 Answers

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
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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
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