Saw Blade Sharpening

QThe cost of sharpening a table saw blade seems to be about half the cost of a new blade. Will the sharpened blade perform as well or should I just buy a new saw blade?

Bob Taylor Portales, New Mexico

A You can tell the saw blade is dull when it starts to take more effort to feed the workpiece into the blade, or you experience burning on a cut.

Deciding whether to sharpen the blade or purchase a new one depends on a number of factors.The first is the overall condition of the saw blade.

PITCH BUILD-UP. A dirty blade will exhibit many of the same signs as a dull blade, but it may not be dull at all. So to get a good lookatthecondition of the teeth, I'll first clean the blade thoroughly, using a commercial blade cleaner and a brass wire brush. This will remove most of the pitch and sawdust on the blade.

TOOTH CONDITION. With the blade clean, you can get a good look at the cutting edge of the teeth. If you find any chips in the carbide teeth, like those shown in the top photo at left, it's time to consider sending it off to a sharpening service.

After a little clean up, it's easy to spot a chipped tooth on a saw blade, like the one in the upper photo at left. The inset photo shows the same saw blade after sharpening. The edges are square and clean. And all of the carbide is intact.

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