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Thread: Table Saw Blade Sharpening

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    109

    Table Saw Blade Sharpening

    Guys,

    My table saw (basic Delta contractor saw, but has served me well) blade seems to be getting dull (again). It's a Freud, so not a terribly cheap or expensive model. I have been cutting a fair bit of plywood as I build some shop cabinets, and the saw is really beginning to struggle.

    Anyway I have few questions:
    - I'm assuming that the plywood (and some particle board and MDF) is especially hard on the blade - is this true?

    - Can I sharpen the blade myself (meaning just take a file and hack away at each tooth)?

    - Assuming not, does anyone know of a good sharpening service that doesn't end up costing as much as the blade itself (as well as making me wait 3 weeks to get it back)? I'm not made of money - I have a $50 blade and don't want to spend $40 getting it sharpened!

    - Finally, if I'm buying a new blade - are there any recommendations beyond the Forrest WWII? Again, even the $80 Amazon price is a bit out of my budget, especially given that I have one blade and am still cutting quite a bit of plywood (although hope to graduate to hardwood once I get the shop finished)...

    Thanks in advance for your advice...

  2. #2
    Sounds like you are a 'one blade' user. Purpose specific blades will do a better job and wear slower as they are not used for every cut but, as you say, we are not made of money. I would advise at least two blades so that one being out for sharpening does not stop you from working.

    As to a good service, ask your local cabinet shops where they go and how they like them. An 80T blade sharpening is about $28 where I am. Lower tooth blades are less. I am a poor example as I keep 2 rip, 2 general and 2 crosscut blades right by the saw plus some specialty blades.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    109
    Thanks,

    Yes, I am a 'one blader', but you've got me thinking....

    I have noticed some packaged offerings from Dewalt and Ridgid that contain both a rip and crosscut blade - any experience with those brands outside of the 'construction' industry?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    37,398
    Sharpening carbide tipped saw blades is not generally a "DIY" project as you not only want the tips keen, you also want them all identical so the blade remains balanced and has a clean cut. It only takes one tooth to have some variation to mess things up. A good local service or one you send in to is the right way, IMHO.
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

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  5. [quote=John Adam;1048883]

    Anyway I have few questions:
    - I'm assuming that the plywood (and some particle board and MDF) is especially hard on the blade - is this true?
    YES
    - Can I sharpen the blade myself (meaning just take a file and hack away at each tooth)?
    NOT REALLY


    - Assuming not, does anyone know of a good sharpening service that doesn't end up costing as much as the blade itself (as well as making me wait 3 weeks to get it back)? I'm not made of money - I have a $50 blade and don't want to spend $40 getting it sharpened!
    Ridge Carbide in NJ

    - Finally, if I'm buying a new blade - are there any recommendations beyond the Forrest WWII? Again, even the $80 Amazon price is a bit out of my budget, especially given that I have one blade and am still cutting quite a bit of plywood (although hope to graduate to hardwood once I get the shop finished)... Freud blades are good and a little cheaper

    quote]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Stanwood, WA
    Posts
    3,060
    John,
    PM sent!
    Dewey

    "Everything is better with Inlay or Marquetry!"


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    109
    Dewey,

    I think my corporate systems killed your message, it popped up briefly, then died....

    Can you resend, or post here?

    Jim and Paul - thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Stanwood, WA
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    3,060
    Ok John, I tried again.
    Dewey

    "Everything is better with Inlay or Marquetry!"


  9. #9
    If you spend $40 to sharpen a $50 blade, you now have a sharpe $40 blade. Quality blades can be sharpened several times. Main thing is to find someone who knows how to sharpen, removing the least amount of material. The more material removed, the less sharpening are available. I like places that have "automatic, CNC sharpening machines, though here locally is a service that uses a manual machine. He does a good job. Main thing to do is measure each tooth, and then sharpen based on most worn tooth. I like Dynamic Saw in Buffallo NY. Scott Whiting is also highly reccomended. Check out Dynamic's web site and see what they use to sharpen with.( dynamicsaw.com) Eventually you will be buying a second blade, so buy it now, and before it dulls, get you original sharpened. That way you will always have a fresh blade. Beware of any BORG blade that have yellow on them. They are for rough cutting in the construction industry. For a reasonably priced ( less than $50) general purpose blade try a Delta 7657. It comes with a 30 day satifaction warranty. Don't like it, return it. Freud blades carry a similar warranty.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Stanwood, WA
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    3,060
    How much are you guys paying for sharpening?
    Dewey

    "Everything is better with Inlay or Marquetry!"


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Atlanta , Ga.
    Posts
    3,970
    $7.50 for up to 24 T.. $14.00 for 40 T.. $22.00 I believe for my 72 T SCMS blade. Cheap enough for me to have one sharp waiting for one to dull and change when it does. At that point drop it by my local about 4 miles away and pick it up 2/3 days latter to sit and wait.

    Sarge..

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    6,372
    I have my blades sharpened at FS Tool in Toronto, who are a tooling manufacturer.

    I had an 80 tooth triple chip grind sharpened last month for $16, taxes included.

    Regards, Rod.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    760
    I have the name of a real good sharpener in the Phoenix area. Although I have not used him yet, he comes highly reccommended, and he will be getting some of my miter saw blades as soon as we finish the flooring. I do not know if I can just post his info (he belongs to a different ww forum) or if you are interested you can PM me. He is real helpful too, if you have any questions .
    Lori K

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    638
    There are many levels of saw blade sharpening. The simplest is just using a grinder to grind down the face of the tips. The other end of the sharpening spectrum starts with a computerize inspection on a $50,000 machine followed by expert inspection by a true saw filer, hammering, tensioning and then a trip through a million dollar CNC sharpening center with fully robotic handling and positioning.

    It may cost $5 to have a 10x40 carbide blade sharpened with a hand run machine by someone in a garage. The same blade may cost $30 to $40 in a top end shop.

    There is nothing wrong with manual machines. They are just less expensive than CNC machines. They can do a very good job with the right operator.

    At the simplest the operator cleans the blade, inspects the blade by eye, fixtures it in the grinder and grinds each tip until it is sharp.

    At the most sophisticated level inspection is done on a computerized machine that rotates the blade in front of cameras. The cameras display the front and side pictures of the saw blade on monitors with grids. As the blade rotates the teeth are supposed to stay within the grid as shown on the monitor. If they move to the edge of the grid or out of the grid it is obvious where the blade needs work. These machines can also record the results of the inspection.

    If needed chipped and broken tips are replaced. Not every tip with a very small chip needs to be replaced. Some will be ground out and some are so minor compared to the job required that they will do just fine.

    The next step is an inspection for flatness and tension. These are top end blades where the steel is carefully prepared to be very flat and to be run under tension so that they stay flat. As the blades run they can develop high or low spots on the sides and lose the tension they need to keep the overall blade flat. These problems are cured by very careful hammering and tensioning.

    It used to be common practice to build up shoulders that had been ripped off by welding and to drill the end of a crack so it doesn’t run any farther. The best shops will not do this because it simply cannot be done well enough to bring the blade back to its original condition. It is also a very dangerous practice. Finally OSHA prohibits it.

    The blade is now level and flat and ready to be ground. The first step is to grind down the face. This is the area design with the most material so that most of the material removal occurs here. Once the faces are ground the next step is a light grind on the sides of the tips. The distance between the edge of the carbide tip and the steel saw body is critical so it is best to remove as little as possible. The last step is to grind down the tops of the tips so that the blade is exactly round.

    The blade is then re-inspected, packaged and shipped.

    More info at:
    http://www.carbideprocessors.com/sawsharpening.htm
    I'm a Creeker, yes I m.
    I fries my bacon in a wooden pan.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    294
    Buy better blades and get them sharpened. Some don't do this thinking buying cheaper blades is better but I really disagree. Look at the difference between a dewalt/freud blade and a forest or a cstool blade and you will find the higher end blades have a much thicker carbide tip allowing for more sharpening before you can't sharpen it anymore. A good blade will get at least 3 sharpenings. A cheap home depot one will likely just get 1 maybe 2 if you're lucky. I pay about $12 for a 10" 50t and about $15 for a 12" 60t blade, perfect sharpening every time.

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