The blade on my Craftsman circular saw will not tighten down and consequently slips on the spindle. I've tried packing the bolt with a washer and it didn't help. Can't find anything online so this may not be a typical problem. Could it be as simple as replacing the spring washer? Any feedback would be appreciated.

  • 3
    Here's an even more simplistic question: There should be some sort of blade stop on the saw that prevents it from turning when you tighten the bolt down. Are you engaging that? Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 16:15
  • I am having the same problem. My Craftman saw is about 22 years old. Never had this problem before. I am wondering if the newer saw blades are thinner than they use to be.
    – user44768
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 19:32
  • I used such a saw for 20 years. I liked it because I could use a pencil to lock the blade guard open for making (dangerous but super handy) plunge cuts. Could it be as simple as replacing the spring/lock washer? Yes, absolutely... I replaced mine a few times. But you might also be able to get a little more life out of the old lock washer by using a little sand paper to roughen it up and a couple pairs of pliers to pry it open slightly. The life expectancy of a "refurbished" lock washer isn't great, but it will get you though a project in a pinch. Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 19:14
  • Check if there is any debris such as wood chips in the whole where the bolt goes.
    – ajeh
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 18:47

8 Answers 8


Make a shim out of thin cardboard and place it between the inner blade washer and the blade. The blades they're making these days are thinner than the older blades and some of the older saws have to be shimmed in order to prevent blade slippage.


A very thin kerf blade might spin, if the inner and outer nuts connect before clamping the blade.

Some (most 7 1/4 inch) blades have a diamond knockout that allows it to be used with a larger shaft. If this were not in place, it would make it hard to align and tighten (would be dangerous).

  • I had exactly that problem with a thinner blade. It was in an older saw which obviously was not designed with that blade thickness in mind. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 2:09

I just recently had the same issue. As simple as it sounds, try using a tap on the bolt/nut. I had the slightest bit of debris or thread preventing the bolt from making it tighten all the way, which caused resistance and caused the spindle to run while trying to tighten.

Based on your description, I guarantee this is your issue.

  • 1
    Please don't post in all-caps. It looks weird and reduces the readability of the post. Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 11:53

Sorry if this is too simplistic, are all the pieces there?

  1. There is an inner drive washer with flats to engage the shaft and usually has a serrate waved surface.

  2. Next comes the blade.

  3. Then an outer drive washer

  4. And a bolt with a spring-plate permanently attached lock washer.

  5. There is a spindle lock button you use to hold the shaft when you tighten the bolt.

Under normal operation, the blade should be gripped with enough force to drive it except when you dog the blade down hard into material and jam it from turning. Works kind of like the shearable key on a lawnmower, give to prevent sudden stoppage.

  • I appreciate your response. As a matter of fact, I do have the exploded view in the manual for removing and reattaching the blade and all of the component parts are there. The inner flanged bushing or washer is shown as being removeable but the bushing on my saw appears to be locked in for some reason despite my efforts to remove it. Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 18:13
  • 2
    @RobertJolly - I would wonder if the spring washer has become damaged, and is no longer providing any help. This might have happened if it was overheated, perhaps by the blade slipping overly much.
    – user558
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 10:40

Something I did not see here: My SKIL 7-1/4" circular saw from about 1978 (still working) came with instructions to NOT overtighten the blade. Rather, brace the blade from turning; hand-tighten the bolt and washer; then wrench-tighten the bolt ONLY 1/8 turn further. This allows the blade to slip, deliberately, if it binds in the material. It's a safety feature. (Oddly, the Craftsman saw I bought this year only says to OIL the washers where they grip the blade, but does not explain about binding and allowance for blade slippage.)

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Thanks for the info; please keep contributing! Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 8:06

Easy fix for your slipping blade make sure saw is unpluged take the bolt and tension washer off and leave blade and top washer on .I used my cutoff tool to remove the proud part of the shaft . The amount I removed might have been 1/64 to 1/32 . Saw works great now. The saw is old so I didn’t mind experimenting on it .


Why again do you want to tighten down a circular saw blade??

Perhaps I am missing this as I only skimmed across the question, stealing time at work to research power tools.

One thing I learned when training to become a journeyman carpenter was that you do not want to tighten more than 1/4 turn as this is the safety. Better to have the blade spin to a stop than to tighten hard a blade and hit a knot and have the blade kick back off your work and hit yourself in the thigh.


maybe way to old but inner washer might be upside down

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