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.