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

  • 4
    when it gets dull = when it starts binding/tearing/chipping/burning/just a pain to use.
    – DA01
    May 20, 2011 at 15:36
  • @DA01: Can you add that as an answer?
    – Doresoom
    May 20, 2011 at 16:19
  • sure! Will make it an answer...
    – DA01
    May 20, 2011 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, 2015 at 22:13

4 Answers 4


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.
  • How many carbide teeth can be missing on a 40T blade before you change it out? I typically find this to be the main reason the blades are not cutting well. Nov 26, 2020 at 8:54

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

  • 1
    Obviously baking the blades would ruin the temper and edge, but is it safe to soak the blades in cold application oven cleaner? May 20, 2011 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. May 20, 2011 at 20:15
  • 2
    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. May 20, 2011 at 20:22
  • 1
    It's all fun and games until the carbide teeth on your saw blade start flying off, huh? Jan 19, 2015 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.


There is a fantastic way to clean pitch off of saw blades. It is something that everyone has at home. Laundry detergent. Yeah, that's right simple laundry detergent! I put a heavily burnt/pitch covered blade in a 12"x12"x5" plastic tub with a gallon of hot water and quarter cup laundry detergent. Let it soak for three hours. Use a nylon brush/toothbrush, and be amazed. The pitch comes off like soot. Rinse off. Dry the blade thoroughly (I used a heat gun). Apply thin Coat of oil, or blade oil on carbide tips.

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