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If cleaning your saw blades and router bits sits near the bottom of your "to-do" list, you may be shortening the life of your carbide cutters.
The crud that inevitably builds up behind the carbide teeth and cutters on your saw blade and router bits is more than just an unwelcome nuisance. Bear these tips in mind for piloted bits: Blade and bit cleaners can rob router-bit bearings of their lubrication, which leads to premature bearing failure. After cleaning your blades and bits, inspect the cutting edges for cracks or chipping, and discard any cutter showing such damage. Products tested include: Boeshield Blade and Bit, CMT Formula 2050, Empire Blade Saver, Lenox Wood Pitch Cleaner, OxiSolv, Pitch RX, Sprayway Saw Cleaner, Woodcraft Resin Remover, carburetor cleaner, citrus-based cleaner, Formula 409, oven cleaner, and Simple Green. Pitch, tar, and resin build up quickly when cutting wood (especially soft woods, such as pine) and can gum up saw blades until they cut like dull ones, leaving behind burn marks and tearout. To remedy this, several manufacturers now make blades with ground, inline teeth, as shown chart, far right, that slice the wood like a surgical scalpel rather than bluntly tear at it. After cleaning the blades, you must re-lubricate them since cleaning strips them of build-up but also of good oils.
Here at Hometipsworld we look for interesting articles covering home improvement, cleaning and gardening tips from around the world. It affects the quality of your work by requiring more feed pressure to make the cut and burning the edges.
A few dollars worth of supplies--an oil-change pan or 5-gallon-bucket lid, a brush, and some blade cleaner (we like CMT Formula 2050, no. Blades with aggressive 6-tooth-per-inch (tpi) designs work great for sawing construction lumber, but cut too coarsely for woodworking project parts.
For decades, jigsaw-blade teeth were "set," alternately leaning left and right, as shown in chart left. Sometimes it may seem that your tools need sharpening, but frequently this is the result of them needing to be cleaned.
To clean router bits, he likes to soak them in concentrated cleaner for about five minutes, then he rinses them with water and dries them with a cloth.
To do this, use an aerosal dry lubricant like Bostik DriCote and buff it into the surface with a dry cloth.
Even if a product label doesn't specifically instruct you to do so, protect your hands and eyes. If it spins easily, remove it and set it aside; otherwise discard it and get a replacement. Finally, protect them with a coating of a rust-preventative product, such as those reviewed in WOOD magazine, issue 154. Instead, select a 10- to 12-tpi blade for larger, gradual curves, or a 20-tpi blade for tight curves (1" radius or less) in solid wood and all cuts in plywood or melamine-coated particleboard.
For this reason, in the WOOD® magazine shop we use Bosch Clean-For-Wood and Xtra-Clean-For-Wood blades. If a blade begins to burn the wood or tear out surface fibers where it didn't used to, or if it requires greater effort to push through a cut, chuck it and get a new one. A thorough cleaning often can rejuvenate a cutter's performance faster (and cheaper) than sending it to the sharpening shop. When the bit is clean, reinstall the bearing and treat it with a high-speed router-bearing lubricant. Just be aware that these blades can burn your wood if you set the jigsaw's speed too fast or feed the saw through the wood too slowly.
Our best advice: Practice on scrap of the same species to find the best combination of speed and feed rate. Left unchecked, resins and pitch from wood and adhesives from man-made products (such as plywood and MDF) can corrode the blade or router-bit body and deteriorate the carbide.
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