Sooner, or later, as serious woodworkers, we need to know how clean saw blades.
Beginners often buy cheaper blades and run the heck out of them. Then they throw them away because they are dull.
In fact, they were probably dirty. Over time, pitch, sap, resin and “stuff” sticks to saw blades, router bits and drill bits, especially with pine and other soft woods. As it builds up, it starts to drag, and burn, baking the residue.
Keeping your tools clean will extend their life, and improve the quality of the cuts. Which leads to the question, how do I clean my saw blades, quickly, and safely?
Basic Kit For Cleaning Blades & Bits
I recommend keeping it simple, so here is the basic kit I suggest you get.
Container for Cleaning & Soaking
First, you need a soaking container, here are a few ideas:
- An oil drain pan
- A 5 gallon bucket
- A Tupperware bowl with a lid
- Small plastic jar for router bits, and drill blades
Cleaning & Scrubbing Tools
I also recommend the following for cleaning stubborn spots:
If you search the forums, or Pinterest, you will find a LOT of ideas for cleaning chemicals.
Don’t use heavy caustics, like oven cleaner, as they can corrode the bond with the carbide tip, and in some cases the tips can come loose. Almost any good household cleaner will work, if left to soak.
Again, keeping it simple, the following will work well:
You can also buy products designed for this purpose:
- Bora – pricy, but very will liked cleanser. – comes as a spray
- Pitch & Resin Remover – Rockler’s product for soaking parts
- Boeshield Blade & Bit – Spray bottle
If you would rather buy a complete kit, with cleaner, try Rockler’s Router Bit and Saw Blade Cleaning Kit. It has everything you need to get started, including a biodegradable cleaner. The price is not bad either!
The Process to Clean Saw Blades & Bits
- Place a small block, or wood scrap at the bottom of your soaking container (it will keep the blade from sticking to the bottom of the container).
- Place your blade in the container.
- Cover the blade with your cleaner
- Let the blade soak. Depending on how dirty, and the cleaner you picked, it can take 10 minutes, or an hour. Usually I just let it sit overnight.
- Pull the blade and wipe it clean. If anything needs scrubbed, use the Scotchbrite pad and brass brush to finish the cleaning.
- Rinse the blade off with water, and dry it.
- Spray the blade with Dricote, or WD40.
- Put back on the saw.
As you can see, this is not a difficult process. So, keeping your blades, router and drill bits clean should become a regular part of your shop routine.
Regular cleaning makes cleaning easier, too. It extends tool life, and improves the quality of your cuts.
What methods do you use for cleaning your saw blades, or bits? Let me know how this works for you.