Every circular saw owner reaches this point sooner or later.
After extended use, your circular saw blade is going to wear out and it’s going to need to be replaced.
Changing your circular saw’s blade can seem like a daunting task at first but it’s not as complicated as it seems.
In this post, we will discuss in detail the following:
- How to be safe when changing your circular saw blade
- The different types of saw blades
- How to tell when you’re circular saw blade needs changing
- How to change your circular saw blade with ease
So, let’s get into it.
Safety Tips and Warnings
Before we get into changing circular saw blades, let’s talk a bit about safety. It may be boring but it’s highly important.
Here are some tips and factors you should be aware of before you start any type of work with your circular saw:
- Make sure that you wear eye goggles or any other type of similar eye protection. This ensures your eyes don’t get harmed by sawdust or any splinters or pieces of wood that may go airborne during woodwork.
- Wear some type of protective gloves both when you’re working with a circular saw blade as well as when you’re changing the circular saw blade.
- If you happen to have long hair, be sure to tie it up before doing any woodwork.
- Make sure not to wear loose clothing during woodwork.
- Make sure that you operate in a well-ventilated area. You should not operate your saw in a closed space as it can lead to you breathing in sawdust and other minute debris.
- If you can invest in some type of external dust ventilation or vacuuming system, please do so.
- Avoid the use of damaged or blunt blades. As soon as you sense that a blade is past its due, replace it. We’ll discuss how you can tell when a blade is worn later in this post.
- Try to establish a regular routine after every woodworking session to clean your work surface. This ensures there’s no clutter in your workspace and increases the longevity of your equipment.
Types of Circular Saw Blades
Circular saw blades are designed to cut through a variety of different materials.
Circular saw blades are so versatile in what materials they can cut because there are different types of them.
There are mainly three different types of circular saw blades. These are:
Carbide-tipped circular saw blades are the most common and readily available type of circular saw blades that you can find.
They consist of a steel disc with carbide-tipped cutting teeth covering its outside edge.
Carbide-tipped blades are typically utilized for cutting wood as well as light-gauge metal such as sheet metal.
Since they are the most common, you can find carbide-tipped saw blades at a number of different price points. They can range from anywhere between $20 and $100.
Carbide-tipped saw blades typically last from anywhere between six months to two years depending on:
- Their quality
- Teeth count
- The materials they are used to cut on a regular basis
Steel-tipped saw blades have gone out of fashion in recent years but they can still be found at some hardware stores.
They were used to cut wood before carbide-tipped saw blades gained popularity.
If you’re on a budget and want to get a simple saw blade for a quick project with your circular saw, then a steel-tipped blade can be a cheap option.
You can get a circular saw blade for anywhere between $10 to $30. They are also much easier to sharpen than carbide-tipped circular saw blades.
That being said, they are a lot less durable than carbide-tipped blades.
A steel-tipped saw blade typically lasts one-tenth of the time that a carbide-tipped saw blade would if it were used for the same tasks.
You can get a diamond-edged saw blade if you intend on cutting through masonry materials such as brick, concrete, or tile.
Diamond-edged saw blades typically don’t have cutting teeth. They have a completely smooth and round exterior that is coated in diamonds.
You can get a diamond-edged saw blade for anywhere between $15 and $75.
Depending on their quality and the material they are used to cut, diamond-edged blades can last from anywhere between 12 to 120 hours of continuous use.
How to Tell When Your Circular Saw Blade is Damaged?
There are a number of reasons as to why you would want to change your circular saw blade.
These can include:
- Your circular saw blade becomes blunt and does not cut wood as precisely anymore.
- Your circular saw blade becomes damaged and it’s difficult to anticipate how it will cut the wood.
- Your circular saw blade has become rusty.
All of the above situations can cause your circular saw blade to cut in an irregular and unpredictable fashion.
If you’re cutting wood for anything at all, you know that you want to be able to tell what type of cut your circular saw blade will make.
If you can’t predict how your circular saw blade will cut the wood, this can cause you to waste a lot more wood than you normally would as the cuts may not occur in the way you expect.
So, how do you tell when your circular saw blade needs changing?
There are a number of tell-tale signs you can look towards but depending on what type of saw blade you have, these signs can differ.
If you have a carbide-tipped or steel-tipped saw blade, you can tell it’s worn out if:
- It’s taking a lot slower to cut through materials than usual.
- It’s completely binding mid-cut.
- It’s creating more tears or chipping in your material than usual.
- You need to apply a lot more pressure to achieve the same cut that normally didn’t require as much pressure.
- It’s producing burn marks on your wood.
- It’s smoking during cutting.
If you have a diamond-edged saw blade, you can tell it’s worn out if:
- The blade has glazed over. This is an indication that the metal band which holds the diamonds over the blade has melted over the diamonds.
- The blade looks highly smooth. This is an indication that the diamonds on the blade have worn away.
- The blade is cutting materials much slower than usual.
- You feel you have to apply a lot more pressure to get the same cut as before.
- The blade is binding mid-cut.
These are all signs that you should be wary of and if you encounter them, it’s important to change your saw blade as quickly as possible.
Ignoring these signs and continuing to work with a damaged circular saw blade can cause permanent damage to the motor of your circular saw.
Sharpening and Cleaning Your Circular Saw Blade
Before you decide to go out and buy a new one, sharpening and fixing your existing saw blade can also be an option worth considering.
This is something you should definitely try out before you decide to spend money on a replacement.
Oftentimes, when you run into the signs we described in the above section when it comes to carbide-tipped or steel-tipped blades, they just need to be cleaned.
You can clean them by simply removing them, soaking them in an all-purpose cleaner, and brushing them clean.
If the problem persists, you can consider sharpening them.
Steel-tipped blades can be easily sharpened using something like a hand file or a mechanical blade sharpener.
Carbide-tipped blades are relatively harder to sharpen.
This is because their individual teeth need to be ground at specific angles using a diamond wheel.
This is something you will have to get professionally done and it usually costs between 25 to 50 cents per tooth.
If you’re considering getting your carbide-tipped blade professionally sharpened, do compare the cost of purchasing a replacement with it. Oftentimes, you’ll find that just purchasing a replacement may be cheaper.
Diamond-edged blades can be easily sharpened and deglazed with a dressing stone. This is true for table-mounted miter saws and tile saws.
However, diamond-edged blades found in smaller, handheld circular saws are typically just replaced and not sharpened.
How to Change a Circular Saw Blade? (Step-by-Step Guide)
In order to change the blade on your circular saw blade, follow these steps:
Step 1: Remove your circular saw’s power cord from its power outlet.
If you have a cordless circular saw, then remove its battery.
Step 2: Press your circular saw’s arbor lock button and rotate the saw blade until the locking mechanism is engaged.
Step 3: Use a blade wrench to remove the arbor nut that is holding the saw blade in place.
To loosen the arbor nut, you need to turn the blade wrench in the same direction in which the saw blade cuts.
Step 4: Retract your circular saw’s upper blade guard and remove your old saw blade.
Step 5: Insert your new saw blade into your circular saw’s arbor. Ensure that the saw teeth are facing the direction of the rotation of the blade.
If you’re unsure of the direction, look at your circular saw’s blade guard. Most manufacturers print an arrow on the blade guard which tells you the direction of the rotation.
Step 6: Use your blade wrench to tighten the arbor nut until the blade is securely in place.
Make sure that you don’t over-tighten the nut as this can make it very difficult to loosen it the next you want to replace the saw blade.
Step 7: If your circular saw has a diamond-shaped arbor, you’ll need to straddle your blade over two woodblocks.
Once it’s straddled, use a hammer to tap out the diamond insert from the center of your saw’s blade.
Step 8: Once the blade is securely placed inside your saw blade, plug your circular saw into the power outlet and test it out.
In the case of a cordless saw, insert its battery and test it out.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Should I Get a Saw Blade with a Higher Teeth Count or a Lower Teeth Count?
In order to determine how many teeth you want in your saw blade, you have to think about what type of cuts you want in your material.
The more teeth you have, the smoother and more precise your cut will be.
Hence, if you’re looking for smooth cuts on your wood (or other material), then it can be a good idea to buy a saw blade with a higher tooth count.
On the other hand, blades that have fewer teeth tend to remove material faster.
2. What is the Kerf on a Saw Blade?
You can think of the kerf as the width of the material that will be removed due to the cutting.
This relates to the width of the saw blade’s teeth.
As you can probably imagine, different kerfs are suited for different projects and are used to accomplish a number of versatile tasks.
3. How Many Teeth Do I Need in My Saw Blade?
Typically, a 40-tooth blade is more than enough for most types of cuts if you’re working with plywood.
Blades with 60 – 80 teeth are typically utilized to cut veneered plywood and melamine.
If you’re working with MDF, then you may require even more teeth to get a smooth cut (90 to 120).
Wrapping Things Up…
With that, we’re at the end of our post on how you can easily replace a circular saw blade.
We hope you have a better understanding of saw blades now and will be able to change your circular saw’s blade now without being intimidated.
Before you go out and buy a replacement saw blade, be sure to inspect your current saw blade to check whether it just needs to be cleaned or sharpened.
If that indeed happens to be the case, it can save you a lot of money.