How To Know When Your Blade Is Dull

Article - February 12, 2008

This week’s question comes from Stu. He writes:

“Alright Marc, got a new one for you. What is a reliable way to tell if your table saw blade is dull? I know if its cutting slower it might be dirty or dull. I know with a chisel the blade should catch your nail or shave the hair off your arm or be able to split a hair form across the room, etc. Also I have a 40 tooth freud Diablo – so its not REAL fancy, I’m just poor, so I’d rather be able to clean it than have it resharpened or buy a new one.”

And here was my reply:

“Hey Stu. Its really something that takes a little time to get a feel for. At some point, you will realize you have to push much harder than you used to for something as simple as a ripping operation. You will also notice more burning on woods that didn’t burn before. In addition, you should notice more tearout on your cuts. If you don’t notice any of these changes, or they just arent that severe yet, then I would say the blade is still sharp. The first time I notice these things, I clean the blade. After 2-3 cleanings its time for a resharpening. Hope that helps.”


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