Miter Saw Blades

How to Tell if a Miter Saw Blade is Dull

Over time and usage, a miter saw blade may become dull and it will start to take longer to make cuts, and the cuts are not as clean and precise as they were when the blade was newer. Here are a few ways to tell if your miter saw blade is dull:

  1. Cutting takes effort. A sharp miter saw blade should make precise and clean cuts through wood or other materials with little effort. If you are feeling an unusual amount of resistance when you are cutting, this is the most likely sign people notice with dull miter saw blades.
  2. Less accurate cuts. Broken or damaged teeth can lead to jagged edges and the chipping of the wood when cuts are made, eventually leading to inaccurate cuts. Less accurate and jagged cutting is an especially frustrating result for someone doing trim work or other detailed wood work.
  3. Scorching. Dull miter saw blades result in slower cutting, increasing the heat/friction on the wood or other materials which can cause scorching. Once you start to see burn marks on your wood (or other material), it is time to replace or sharpen your miter saw blade.
  4. Broken, rounded or bent miter saw blade teeth. If you can visually see chips or rounding of the teeth, or even bent or broken teeth, the miter saw blade should be sharpened or replaced.
  5. The sound your saw makes. As you use your saw more and more, you start to recognize the sound your miter saw makes when it is making a clean, quick cut. If your miter saw’s engine sounds like it is working harder, this audible clue could also be a sign that your saw blade is dull and should be sharpened or replaced.
Dirty Miter Saw Blade - Is Your Miter Saw Blade Dull?

Can Cleaning the Miter Saw Blade Improve Cutting Performance?

Over time, your miter saw blade may have a build up of dirt, wood sap, grease, etc in and around the teeth that can degrade the blades performance. Cleaning the blade by soaking it in water with laundry detergent for 30 minutes, and then scrubbing the blade with a scrubbing brush. A video demonstrating this blade cleaning can be seen on the Woodworkers Journal’s YouTube channel. This is a cheap and easy way to keep your miter saw blades performing at their best.

Can Miter Saw Blades Be Sharpened?

If you have some higher value miter saw blades, there may be some value in sharpening the blade. This can be a DIY project (see this miter saw blade sharpending tutorial for some instructions on how to sharpen your miter saw blade on your own), or you can have an outside company with industrial tool equipment do the sharpening for you.

There is some good news when it comes to dull miter saw blades. Even high quality miter saw blades with carbide or tungsten tips can be found at reasonable prices online. Making sure you are making miter saw cuts with a clean and sharp blade will lead to better results with less waste.

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