When to Sharpen Saw Blades?

It can be hard to know when to sharpen a table saw blade. If you wait until teeth tips start rounding over and your work starts burning, you’ve waited too long. Your best reference is to compare a current cut against test cuts made when a blade is brand new or freshly sharpened. Whenever I get a new blade, I take a series of rips and crosscuts in both hard and soft wood, marking the pieces with the date and blade identification. I then stash them in a cabinet with extra test-cut stock. When a blade starts cutting questionably, I clean it with concentrated citrus cleaner, and then take a few cuts in my stashed test stock. Comparing these current cuts with my initial test cuts under a strong raking light shows how much the blade has dulled. Just as importantly, comparing the results of a freshly sharpened blade against your original test cuts indicates the quality of your sharpening service. 

—Paul Anthony, Riegelsville, Pennsylvania

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