Keep Saw Blades and Router Bits Cutting Like New

Blade cleaning Burning wood Clean router bits Clean Saw blades Dull blade Keep blades clean Keep blades new Keep blades sharp Pitch remover Resin remover Router bit Saw blade Sharp blade Stop burning

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Keep Saw Blades and Router Bits Cutting Like New

Do your sawblades seem dull? And maybe not cut as good as they did when they were new? Maybe they aren't dull. Maybe they are dirty.

Pitch & resin build up adds a lot of friction to the blade passing through the wood. So it moves slower, and the increased friction causes increased heat, and therefore, more burning. Maybe your blades just SEEM dull. Maybe they just need cleaned!

The heating of wood from the friction of sawing makes the tar and pitch distill out of the wood and leave behind charcoal. The charcoal that we see is the burnt wood that is left behind. Basically the blackened stripes or circular patterns and streaks that we see on the maple or cherry that we cut. Whenever you see this, pitch and tar have definitely been deposited on your sawblade. It deposits slowly over time. And you can't see it until it has accumulated.

Your wood doesn't even have to burn for the pitch & resin to distill out, and deposit onto your blade.

Resins are naturally found in plants, and trees are full of resin ducts. trees use the resins as a defense against beetles, fungi, and other invaders. And resin content increases when a tree is under attack. They are known chemically as resin acids, and are therefore acidic. So a cleaner that is more alkali on the pH scale is what is needed.

If you don't clean this pitch and resin from your sawblades and router bits it will accumulate. This will lead to the same cycle of more friction, and more heating and more problems.

After cleaning your blades and bits, The best thing to do is to prevent this pitch and resin from accumulating so fast again. So you need to apply a coating to the blades, that will decrease friction and hopefully give them a nonstick surface, to inhibit the accumulation of pitch and resin all over again.

Use an approved cleaner! Don’t just grab a product off the shelf like an oven cleaner or other industrial detergent. Some of these chemicals could attack the brazing compound. The carbide teeth on the saw blade are held on by a brazing compound that forms a bond between the carbide tooth and the steel blade. If you weaken it, you could be in danger. Nobody wants a carbide tooth “bullet” flying into their head at 300 miles an hour.

Here are some products made specifically for cleaning and lubricating saw blades and router bits:

1. Rockler Pitch & Resin Remover
2. Simple Green Pro HD Cleaner (purple solution). 
4. Bostik Blade Cote 


A quality nylon brush is also essential. It’s best not to use a metal brush unless you have to. But if you do, get brass. I use these brushes:

1. Nylon brush 
2. Brass brushes


And here is the procedure I follow:

1. Get a container big enough to hold the blade or bit. (The Rockler kit above has a great blade holding container)
2. Put your blade in, and cover with cleaning solution. I always use full strength.
3. Let soak for 15-30 min.
4. Scrub the pitch, resin coated & burned areas well. Try using the nylon brush only. If that’s not good enough. Use the brass brush. Brass is much softer than steel or carbide, so it won’t damage your blades. But don’t scrub right on the sharpened surfaces. You don’t want to prematurely dull the blade or router bit.
5. You may need to repeat steps 3 & 4 a few times if your blade is very dirty. For this reason; clean them frequently.
6. When clean, dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
7. Clean off the detergent lightly with acetone.
8. Apply a blade lubricant to keep them clean longer, and resist heat build up better. (Follow directions on container) Usually you will spray on blade lubricant. Let dry. Then buff with a clean paper towel.

That’s it! 9 times out of 10, your blade or router bit will cut like new now! Of course, they will eventually need re-sharpened, but keeping them clean not only makes them perform much better, but it helps them to last longer.


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  • Philip Wylie on

    SIMPLE GREEN is a superb cleaning product available from most larger grocery chains.
    It is essentially not toxic and is also wonderful for cleaning your fire arms. I learned this from
    the former armoror of the Armalite Manfacturer in Illinois many years ago. Soaking with Simple Green
    scrubbing the barrel with a soaked patch and detailing with a copper or nylon brush does amazing things.
    I have also used Simple Green in an Ultra Sonic Cleaner which does an amazing job with the addition of some Dawn Dish Soap mixed in as well. For rifle or pistol parts, trigger springs etc the process is easy and does an excellent job. I just never thought about using it on my saw and other tool blades. When I clean my K & N filter charger from my truck, the blend of Simple Green and Dawn Dish soap cleans like the excellent surfactent they are. You can go wrong. Thanks for the tip for taking care of my shop tools in the same way.

  • Gary Neville on

    Hi,
    Myself Gary the owner of https://woodworkingtoolhub.com/. I just complete your article. That’s really helpful to me. But I’ve some confusion will you help me to eliminate those. Is it enough to soak 15-30 minutes? What can I use to dry the blade instead of a paper towel? What lubricant should I use in blade can you please suggest me any of them?

  • Ray Lavallee on

    I just bought your print on how to make your spline jig. Real nice print, easy to read and follow.I enjoy your videos. I fell in love with wood working when I was a kid, “a long time ago”. I worked construction since about 68. Wood working relaxes me, just me and my tools. Looking forward to more of your videos. Thanks. Ray Lavallee Wyocena Wisconsin 👍

  • Qtron on

    as above,
    ‘’BOB FLORA on November 10, 2018
    THOUGH RETIRED NOW, I USED SIMPLE GREEN, A 10" PIE TIN, AND OLD TOOTH BRUSHES TO CLEAN MY SAW BLADES FOR MANY YEARS…. ’’
    what is ‘’simple green’‘?
    thanks so much esp your excellent vid on the crosscut sled.
    my only comment on that is, with the 2 layers of baltic birch, you’ve lost quite a bit of exposed saw blade depth.. but maybe for most cuts thats not a prob.

  • BOB FLORA on

    THOUGH RETIRED NOW, I USED SIMPLE GREEN, A 10" PIE TIN, AND OLD TOOTH BRUSHES TO CLEAN MY SAW BLADES FOR MANY YEARS. WORKED BETTER THAN ANY COMMERCIAL CLEANER I EVER TRIED, AND WAS A LOT LESS EXPENSIVE.


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