A table saw is made to give you a clean, professional cut, right? So what should you do when you notice blade marks from your table saw? In this article, I will share some tips and tricks to avoid ugly marks from table saws.
Your table saw will create blade marks for several reasons. You could have a dull blade binding with the wood, or you could be feeding the wood too fast. Sometimes, your table saw blade is out of line, or you could be using the wrong kind of blade.
Regardless of the cause, this article is here to help you diagnose and treat the issue. When it comes to making a beautiful project, details matter. For this reason, don’t pass over this seemingly small issue of blade marks – it can lead to big problems.
Why is My Table Saw Leaving Blade Marks?
In this section, I’ll give you an overview of the problem. Then, as we move forward, I’ll discuss how you can address specific issues.
Table saw is a useful tool; however, blade marks can cause problems.
The most common causes are a dull blade or using the wrong type of blade. Of course, the blade could be misaligned, or perhaps it isn’t properly set.
It might not be the blade that’s giving you trouble. Instead, you may need to reassess your technique. Are you going too fast? It’s also possible to go too slow, leaving burns in your wake. Are you holding the wood firmly, preventing it from bouncing or jiggling?
Finally, you can use a few added tricks to clean up your edges, like making two cuts or cleaning up the edge with sandpaper.
We will cover all these techniques in more depth below.
First, let’s talk about why a clean edge is so important when cutting with a table saw.
Why Blade Marks From a Table Saw are Unwanted
We all have a different amount of blade marks and tear out we can tolerate. And, depending on the project, you may need a cleaner edge.
If you’re putting together a box for gardening, and intend to secure everything with nails or screws, then some blade marks aren’t the end of the world.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to construct a fine piece of indoor furniture, one that friends and family will view for years to come, then a clean edge is essential.
Not only will a clean edge make your project look really good, but this will also make for a good surface for the adherence of glue. Furthermore, a dirty edge is not as precise as a clean edge.
If your project is riddled with bad blade marks from your table saw, you’re more likely to make a mistake when measuring.
Alright, now let’s make a plan to combat the evil blade marks.
3 Reasons You’re Getting Blade Marks from Your Table Saw
In this section, we’ll detail the three reasons you could be getting blade marks from a table saw.
Here they are:
- Problems with the blade
- Irregularities in your technique
- Failure to match the blade to the material
Let’s go over these in more detail.
Blade Problems Causing Marks From Table Saw
Step one, is the saw clean? Many times, after heavy use, a bit of pitch can build up on the teeth of your blade. This pitch is rather sticky, and it prevents the blade from making a clean cut.
Take some time to use a bit of tool cleaner on your blade. Scrub it off with a rough toothbrush.
Step two, is the blade sharp? A dull blade is dangerous, as it has a greater chance of binding and throwing the material from the blade. Also, a dull blade can inhibit a clean-cut, causing your table saw to leave blade marks.
Step three, make sure your blade is spinning perfectly straight. Sometimes, a table saw blade can become misaligned. It may look like your blade is straight, but there may be some blade wobble you’re unable to detect. Take some time to correct this issue if found to be a problem.
Now, let’s address the proper technique.
How to Correct Table Saw Blade Marks with Proper Technique
There’s a right way and a wrong way to use a table saw. Table saws aren’t anything crazily complex; however, if you overlook the basics of table saw operation, you could have increased incidents of blade marks.
First, remember to prevent your material from wobbling when going through a table saw. You may need a jig, or a table saw feeder tool to help you correct poor behavior. Don’t freehand anything.
Second, make sure the speed you’re feeding your material through the saw is appropriate. You don’t want to go too fast, but you also shouldn’t go too slow. Don’t stop and start when pushing material through a table saw. Keep a nice even pace.
Finally, realize that you can sometimes be doing everything perfectly and you’ll still get some blade marks.
Match Your Table Saw Blade to the Material for a Clean Cut
There are three main types of table saw blades: All-purpose, ripping blades, and cross-cut blades – when it comes to cutting wood. If you don’t match the proper blade to your material, you may end up with blade marks.
First, let’s address all-purpose blades. A blade that can perform all tasks is attractive to any woodworker. However, being a jack of all trades also means that it is a master of none.
For this reason, especially if you have a cheap all-purpose blade, understand that you’re more likely to get blade marks when ripping (cutting with the grain) or cross-cutting (sawing across the grain).
Second, the ripping blade. This blade actually has fewer teeth than an all-purpose blade. Surprisingly, when it comes to ripping, fewer teeth results in a cleaner cut.
You see, for ripping, the more teeth you have on the blade, the more friction that builds up, and the less sawdust that can escape. Combine those two factors, and you get a cut with more blade marks and burns. So, if you’re going to do a lot of rip cuts, consider a rip-cut blade.
Finally, let’s review a cross-cut blade. This blade has a high tooth count and is designed to make clean cuts across the material’s grain. If you’re doing some cross-cutting for a premium project, invest in a nice cross-cut blade for your table saw.
Refrain from using a cross-cut saw for ripping or a rip-cut blade for cross-cutting. In both instances, you end up with more blade marks and blade burns.
Now, let’s cover some tips on removing table saw blade marks from your project.
How to Remove Blade Marks from Table Saw
If you’ve made sure you’re using the right blade for the job, if you’ve made sure your saw blade is plumb, and your technique is good – if you’ve done all this and still have marks from your table saw, then read below for some tips to remove them.
Here are three tips for cleaning up blade marks from the table saw:
- Sand the ends down
- Use a planer
- Make two cuts
Alright, let’s go over these in more depth.
Sand the Edges of the Board After using Table Saw
You can sand down the rough edge with sandpaper. There are many different types of sanders out there; it’s best to choose an option that gives you the most control.
If you are going for a straight, clean-cut edge, you’ll need to do everything you can to keep an even pressure. Otherwise, you’ll take the edge off.
Alternatively, if the project could take a decorative edge, you could use a router to clean things up.
Use a Planer to Remove Marks from Table Saw
Planers have a slight advantage over sandpaper because it’s easier to maintain a sharp edge. If you find yourself with marks on your project from a table saw blade, you can clean these marks up with a planer.
Be careful if you decide to use a hand planer for this job. Set the blade to a very shallow depth. You only want to remove the marks from the table saw blade.
Make a Second Cut to Remove Marks from Table Saw
I know – it seems counterintuitive. Won’t a second cut with the table saw just make more marks? Maybe, but maybe not. Let me explain.
When a table saw cuts, there is usually plenty of material on either side of the blade. This material causes pressure on the blade. The pressure causes the blade to bind with the wood and doesn’t allow the blade to clear sawdust easily, resulting in marks. Solution?
When you make your first cut, leave about a blade-width of extra material. Then, go back and cut that blade width off. The second pass is much easier on the blade, allowing the sawdust to clear easily off the blade to make a smooth cut.