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Thread: saw blade build-up

  1. #1
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    saw blade build-up

    Does it much matter?

    I noticed that one of my general purpose TS blades had a bit of build-up along the teeth and on the trailing edges as well. Seemed like the blade wasn't cutting as well as it had been. So, I scraped the build-up off with a sharp knife blade and then brushed the rest off with a brass brush.

    I thought it cut easier after the cleaning, but perhaps it was simply the power of suggestion

    Any words of wisdom? Cleaning this way was time consuming. If it does in fact make a significant difference in cutting, is there a simpler way to clean the blades? Chemicals?


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Achey View Post
    Does it much matter?

    I noticed that one of my general purpose TS blades had a bit of build-up along the teeth and on the trailing edges as well. Seemed like the blade wasn't cutting as well as it had been. So, I scraped the build-up off with a sharp knife blade and then brushed the rest off with a brass brush.

    I thought it cut easier after the cleaning, but perhaps it was simply the power of suggestion

    Any words of wisdom? Cleaning this way was time consuming. If it does in fact make a significant difference in cutting, is there a simpler way to clean the blades? Chemicals?
    It's not your imagination. Build up on the blade adds drag and heat resulting in general performance degradation - much like a dull blade. There are a number of pitch removers available and plain old kerosene (if you don't mind the smell) works well too. Stay away from oven cleaners and other caustics - they can errode the carbide substrate binding and allow the blade to dull more quickly. I use a pitch remover and never anything harder than a plastic bristle brush.
    - Tom

  3. #3
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    I use the CMT which is cleaner biodegradable with an old tooth brush. I tried the simple green stuff and it was to strong for me. Needed a vapor mask to use it

  4. #4
    I dont know how much it matters, but as far as cleaning goes I use TSP (tri-sodium-phosphate). Pick some up at your local hardware store. Mix it up and wammo, watch the magic. I light brushing with an old toothbrush and its clean as new.

    Tom

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Achey View Post
    Does it much matter?

    I noticed that one of my general purpose TS blades had a bit of build-up along the teeth and on the trailing edges as well. Seemed like the blade wasn't cutting as well as it had been. So, I scraped the build-up off with a sharp knife blade and then brushed the rest off with a brass brush.

    I thought it cut easier after the cleaning, but perhaps it was simply the power of suggestion

    Any words of wisdom? Cleaning this way was time consuming. If it does in fact make a significant difference in cutting, is there a simpler way to clean the blades? Chemicals?

  5. #5
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    I have no idea what that guy who said simple green was too strong and had to wear a mask was using, but I doubt very much that it was simple green. Simple Green has very little smell, in fact, what little smell it has, I find pleasant, and does not even require gloves to work with. I use it to clean my blades regularly. I have a 5gal bucket lid I got a HD that has a raised ring in the lid where the blade can sit which keeps the teeth from touching anything. I then add enough Simple Green to cover the blade, wait about 20 minutes, and simply rinse off the blade. It comes out looking like new
    Larry J Browning
    There are 10 kinds of people in this world; Those who understand binary and those who don't.

  6. #6
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    That pitch sure does need to come off, preferably at the first sign of its appearance for me. Keeping your bits and blades clean will improve their cutting performance and increase the intervals between sharpening.


    I use T-9 bit and blade cleaner to remove pitch, generally a paper towel is all that is need to remove what oozes off, though Sometimes I use a soft nylon brush if things are particularly pitchy. I would not use harsh chemicals or mechanical abrasion as either seem likely to harm either you or the blade eventually and neither is truely necessary. There are a variety of non-toxic pitch removers that are effective, so why rely on something noxious or poisonous?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Browning View Post
    I have a 5gal bucket lid I got a HD that has a raised ring in the lid where the blade can sit which keeps the teeth from touching anything.
    I like that!

  8. #8
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    Blades are easier to keep clean if done frequently, in which case almost any degreaser spray will work well...409, Greased Lightning, Simple Green, Totally Awesome, as well as citrus cleaners like Goo Gone. Aftermarket blade cleaners work well too but tend to cost alot more for comparable performance. Oven cleaner works but is the messiest and is pretty harsh. Freud recommends a kerosene soak. I just spray with a 409 type cleaner and hit it with toothbrush, then rinse and wipe...5 minutes start to finish.
    Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

  9. #9
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    I have a gallon of degreaser called "Formula 88" I use to clean build-up off of car part and such. I have thought of using it to clean my blades and bits. But I am concerned how it will affect the carbide. Has anyone every used this stuff before?
    Dave
    aka The Putz

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Jolliffe View Post
    I use the CMT which is cleaner biodegradable with an old tooth brush.
    The CMT is my favorite too. Seems fairly mild, and I was somewhat cavalier about getting it on my skin ...until I watched it take the paint right off a Lenox hole saw.
    - Tom

  11. #11
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    What I use is a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. If you put a 10" blade in the bucket (with nothing in there) you'll see the blade fits in the bottom with only a little bit of room to spare. Get one of those refill bottles of a cleaner you like, 409, Simple Green, etc. and then pour it in the bucket. Now get some marbles or something else that doesn't float to keep your blade from sitting directly on the bottom. The marbles also make it easy to get the blade out of the bucket, by giving you some room to stick a finger through the arbor hole.

    Put the blade in the bucket of cleaner and let it soak awhile. Say 10-20 minutes. After it's done soaking, stick your finger in the arbor hole of the blade, and pull it out of the solution. Now clean the teeth with a tooth brush. The gunk should come off pretty easily. After this, I blow off any remaining cleaner/liquid with compressed air.

    When you're done, put the lid on the bucket and store it away. In this way you can keep reusing the solution. Throw the solution away when it doesn't seem to be working anymore, or there's too much gunk in the bucket. I've been using 409 with good results. You can also use this bucket of cleaner for router and drill bits as well.

    NOTE: If you happen to put a blade in the bucket, with 409, and forget about it, the lettering on the blade may come off when you clean it with a brush. I've forgotten about some things I'd left in there and have a few blades that have no lettering left. It doesn't seem to have hurt the blades any.

  12. #12
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    Cleaner is better. I change blades frequently for rips, x-cuts and gen'l cuts so I get to see the blades frequently too. I find a quick clean up once a small amount of build up is showing beats the soaking and scrubbing I used to do at longer intervals.
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
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  13. #13
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    Resin build up seriously effects saw performance.

    It makes the material harder to feed as you observed.

    It tends to pull the blade to one side or another. (Remember that the saw body is a tensioned steel spring.)

    If you do enough cutting it can shorten the life of the carbide and the steel.

    Heat is a real problem in that if softens the steel and helps release the tension.

    Heat also shortens carbide life. Carbide is actually carbide grains in a cobalt binder. If the binder gets hot it softens and it is easier to have grain pullout. If the binder is straight cobalt then it is subject to attack by acids in wood and man made materials. If the acid is heated it is more effective at removing cobalt. The rubbing of the tip and the steel blade can create an effect something like static electricity which makes the damage worse. Those factors listed above also combine to create a tribological effect.


    First, the obvious, there is resin in wood. How much comes out depends on how much heat you generate and how. The carbide moving through the cut generates heat. (Materials more advanced than carbide have a much lower lubricity so they slide through the cut and generate less heat.)

    Some saw blades are made with a very narrow side cleaner, the distance between the side of the tip and the saw plate. In industrial saw blades a big side clearance is good because you donít want the steel rubbing on the wood. In hobby blades a very small side clearance is good because it makes it easier to get a smooth cut.

    If you are using a hobby blade with a very narrow side clearance about the only way to avoid or reduce pitch build up is to try taking smaller cuts and letting the blade cool between cuts. This usually isnít practical so try one of the cleaners listed.

    In saw mills a smooth cut is achieved with precision manufacturing. In cabinet shops (finish carpenters, trim carpenters, etc.) they apply peel and stick sandpaper to the sides of the blades so that the grains of the sandpaper stick out further than the sides of the saw teeth. This gives a sanded smooth finish even with cheap saw blades. The grains stick out and allow air flow between the wood and the blade so they run much cooler.

    Tom
    I'm a Creeker, yes I m.
    I fries my bacon in a wooden pan.

  14. #14
    Baking soda and water in a cookie sheet works great!
    Adam

  15. #15
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    As always, thank you all for the many thoughtful responses. Everything from the technical to the practical. I will be keeping my blades (and other cutting tools) clean with a lot less effort!


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