In the midst of your work, while you were cutting the angles for your new wooden chair. You realized that the blades of the saw table have lost their sharpness. They need bit of workout before you can proceed. So instead working on your new piece, you start planning for sharpening it. How? Just follow the lines below.
What is a table saw?
A table saw is a simple device. You can use it as a basic gear and tool of carpentry. It helps in doing the pivotal tasks of cutting, cross cutting, rip, carving angles and edges. The material can be wood, plastic etc.
Functions of the table saw blades
You can use them for the basic cutting of any material. They can cut everything from a simple wooden plank to a stylish joinery.
As a working rule the lesser number of teeth a blade has, better it is in speed. However, a better speed results in coarse edges. For a smoother cut we need to increase the number of teeth. Therefore, it depends on the nature of your work for which you want to have the blade.
What are the types of blades used in table saw?
The different types of blades used in table saw are divided on the basis of differences in their teeth. They are
- Flat top grind (FTG): They have teeth square to the saw plate. They cut in fast speed, are durable but edges are coarse. They rip the wood perpendicularly.
- Alternate top bevel (ATB): You can usually use them in bevel cutting but are multi-purpose. They do a cleaner and smoother job but they become dull quickly.
- Combination type. They combine the properties of the both above.
- Triple chip grind: You can use it for dense cutting. It includes cutting brass, aluminum, plastic laminate etc.
Signs of a dull blade
You can confidently say you have a dull blade table saw, when you feel the following. You just need to keep little things in mind. It is dull or blunt when it cuts coarser than normal. It has chips and splinters along the edges after cutting, upon close inspection. It requires extra pressure for feeding in the cutting wood. It means extra load on the motor. It is dull when it starts giving burns on the wood even when it is clean.
A dull blade produces more smoke than usual. A dull blade produces much more noise than the normal sharper blades. A final confirmation is made by comparing the old cuts with the new ones. If blunt they will be coarser.
Targets for a sharp blade
You want to keep your blades sharp for:
- Making the blades work longer
- The smoothness and sharpness of the cut is maintained.
- To maintain the desired angles.
- To improve the effectiveness of the motor.
- You will have a diamond saw blade.
- Unplug your table saw.
- Wear your safety gear. It includes dust mask, ear plugs, gloves and safety glasses.
- Remove the blade from the table saw. Don’t start sharpening it while still in the table. Though it may not move as fast as when its plugged but it can still cause some cuts or scratches. So, remove it. You can do it easily by pressing the blade release button or you can do it manually by loosening the nuts with a wrench.
Method to sharpen it
- After removing the blade from the table saw, you will put the diamond blade in its place. It will sharpen the blades.
- You will fix with the help of a button. In case you are fixing it manually, make sure that you don’t keep it lose lest it may not fall down. A too tight fitting can result in bending of the blade.
- The next step is keeping alignment of all the teeth. If all are aligned in one direction, you simply can manage the sharpening in one go. However, if you are using combination blades, you will sharpen each direction separately.
- Now you plug in the table saw switch. Its ready to go. Put the blunt teeth near their edges to the rotating diamond blade. You need to focus on the edges as they are the sites of maximum carbide layering. This layer is responsible for blunting. Once it is removed the sharpness can be restored.
You will keep moving to the next tooth unless all are done.
- When you have completed doing the procedure with all the teeth, it is time to remove the diamond blade with the newly sharpened blade. You may repeat the same procedure of pressing the button or unscrewing the nut.
- Now you will do a test run. Use it on some scrap wood or plastic pieces. It should cut without resistance, noise, burns or much smoke. Not only the procedure will be effortless, in fact the cut surface will be smooth, splinter free and regular.
Life expectancy of the blades
If you keep sharpening your blades as they become dull. You can continue using it for a couple of years or more. But there are other things that determine its life expectancy. They are the type of material they are used for i.e. If you use laminated wood you will wears down the blades earlier.
How to determine the quality of the material during the expected work? Mr. Itamar Ben-Dore shared some helpful practical woodworking experiences on his Handyman Guide website. Care and maintenance by the user also add to the time it will serve you.
The blunt blades of a saw are blunt when they start taking in more effort than normal. You can sharpen them by treating them with a diamond blade or manually. You can use them again after you have successfully sharpened them. Always try to keep it clean and free from carbide layering and rust to make them last longer.