Sharpening Circular Saw Blades

Keep your circular saw working in top form with these step-by-step instructions for sharpening a circular saw blade right in your own workshop.

| March 7, 2011

The following is an excerpt from Fundamentals of Sharpening (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2010). You can prolong the life of your woodworking tools — and improve your efficiency and quality of carpentry — by keeping their blades well-sharpened. Fundamentals of Sharpening will guide you through honing the edges of a variety of hand tools and the blades and bits of several power tools with thorough instructions alongside detailed illustrations. This excerpt is from Chapter 3, “Sharpening Blades and Bits.” 

Changing Table Saw Blades

Removing a Blade. Working at the front of the table, unplug the machine, remove the insert, and wedge a piece of scrap wood under a blade tooth to prevent the blade from turning. Use the wrench supplied with the saw to loosen the arbor nut (see illustration in the Image Gallery). Most table saw arbors have reverse threads; the nut is loosened in a clockwise direction. Finish loosening the nut by hand, making sure it doesn’t fall into the machine. Carefully lift the blade and washer off of the arbor. A worn or damaged blade should be discarded and replaced.

Installing a Blade. Slide the blade onto the arbor with its teeth pointing in the direction of blade rotation (toward the front of the table). Insert the flange and nut and start tightening by hand. To finish tightening, grip the saw blade with a rag and use the wrench supplied with the saw (see illustration). Do not use a piece of wood as a wedge, as this could result in over-tightening the nut.

Changing Portable Circular Saw Blades

Removing a Portable Circular Saw Blade. Set the saw on its side on a work surface with the blade housing facing up. Retract the lower blade guard and, gripping the blade with a rag, loosen the arbor nut with the wrench supplied with the saw (see illustration). Remove the nut and the outer washer, then slide the blade from the arbor. As with table saw blades, carbide-tipped blades should be sent out for sharpening, but high-speed steel types can be sharpened in the shop. To install a blade, place it on the arbor with its teeth pointing in the direction of blade rotation. Install the washer and the nut, and tighten them by hand. Holding the blade with the rag, use the wrench to give the nut an additional quarter turn. Do not over-tighten.

Cleaning Those Saw Blades

Most saw blades these days consist of silicon carbide cutting teeth welded onto steel plates. Carbide is extremely hard and holds its edge for a very long time, which is a good thing because you really can’t resharpen them at home, you have to send them out to a professional saw service.

Before you do that, however, you can improve the performance of any blade by giving it a through cleaning. Take a close look – you’ll see baked-on deposits of pitch and crud on the faces and sides of the teeth.

11/6/2012 5:42:03 AM

I read with interest with what JohnRy said below. That if it doesn't have a arbor lock, that it's a cheap saw & to throw it away. While Johnry your full of houwie. I got circle saws that are many many moons old. That were very expensive when I bought them to use so long ago that didn't have arbor locks on them when they were made for the simple reason that this technology wasn't around yet. The saws that I have will out perform these so called new saws that you tout! Just because it's new doesn't mean that it's better. Back when these saws were made they built them to last, not the way that they are built today. To change a blade I unplug it & have to use 2 wrenches to take the blade off. Much safer than the arbor lock. Where you have to hold the button down with one hand & try to turn the wrench with one hand. Much harder then to just jamb one wrench against the housing & using both hands to turn the other wrench. Just what in the heck is so hard about that. The new generation don't like getting their hands dirty, I think. And, they all think that new is better.

3/31/2011 4:46:33 PM

Bad information, Mother dosen't even know how to remove a blade. To remove a table saw blade, remove the table incert to expose the arbor nut. Use the wrench supplied and place it on the arbor nut with your right hand. Use your left hand to rotate the blade and wrench until the wrench taps the edge of the table's blade opening. Tap wrench against table 2 or 3 times to loosen blade, remove nut..... Tap on other side of opening when tightening blade. Good tight blade especially when ripping hardwoods. NO WOOD BLOCK NEEDED. Hand saws are made with an arbor locking pin to stop rotation, depress pin and rotate blade until it locks, remove arbor nut..... If your saw dosen't have a pin to lock arbor, THROW IT AWAY it is not safe and too cheep to depend on close to YOUR fingers

Tom Roberts
3/15/2011 10:32:12 AM

I agree with Al and Jan. This article is basically worthless...Mother needs to trash it. Good way to ruin a carbide-tipped blade.

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