How to clean saw blades and router bits
It doesn’t take long for saw blades and router bits to pick up pitch and resins from wood and begin to perform like they are old and dull.
That pitchy coating increases friction and therefore heat, requiring more force to push the blade or bit through the material.
Not only will that result in a messier cut, it can also increase the chance of binding or kickback, resulting in possible serious injury. The good news is, you can easily clean saw blades and router bits, and after a few minutes of scrubbing they will cut almost like new again.
Recommended products to clean saw blades and bits
Several solutions will work, but the main thing to remember is to avoid caustic cleaners, such as oven cleaner or other lye-based solutions. Blade manufacturers say your should never use these types of cleaners because they attack the binder in the carbide and deteriorate metal brazings and can cause individual teeth to detach during use.[tip id=”7805″]
There are products designed especially to clean saw blades abd router bits, but you can use a lot of things, I like a standard cleaning solution, such as Simple Green. It works on even old, hardened pitch and you don’t need heavy-duty gloves and a respirator to work around it.
Professionals tend to rely on their own cleaning choices for blades and bits, including boiling blades in water, using baking soda and water, or cleaning with kerosene.
Whatever you use to clean saw blades and bits, remember to read all safety instructions and protect your eyes, hands and lungs, when necessary.
Place your blades in a shallow container. I like to put spacers under the bottom blade and between any subsequent blades if I’m cleaning more than one at a time.
Washers or nuts as spacers keep the blades separated and ensure the cleaning solution contacts almost the entire surface of the blade and each individual tooth. Pour enough cleaning solution to completely cover the blade or bit. Let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes – never longer. You should see the resin begin to soften and peel away from the teeth.
Using an old toothbrush or other stiff nylon-bristled brush (avoid stainless steel or even bronze bristles, as they will scratch the blade coatings), scrub the pitch and resins away.
Once you’ve scrubbed all the debris away, rinse and dry the blade thoroughly. As a final step in the process of cleaning a saw blade, I like to spray a light coating of WD-40 on the blades and bits afterwards for added corrosion protection.
These photos show the same teeth of a blade before and after cleaning. This blade now cuts like new, and I’ve delayed having to purchase another one for a few months.