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Over time, pitch and resins build up on the cutting edges of saw blades. This effectively coats the edges, making the blade act as though it is dull. Friction and heat increase, cutting is more difficult, and the resulting cut edges are not as clean as they could be. While it may seem counterintuitive, dull blades are more dangerous than sharp blades. Blades that cut at maximum efficiency reduce the strain on a saw's motor.
Even if you don’t use your saw equipment very often, it's still a good idea to give the blade a quick cleaning two or three times a year. Take the opportunity to closely examine the tip of each tooth on the blade. If a lot of the teeth are damaged or getting dull, consider retipping and sharpening or possibly even buying a new one. While plain steel saw blades can be sharpened (or at least touched up) with a triangular metal file, blades with carbide-tipped teeth must be professionally ground to specific angles and sharpened.
There are several different cleaners you can use on saw blades. Some woodworkers favor a citrus cleaner, in large part because they can clean just about everything else around the house with the same product—a big bonus. Others use oven cleaners, but if you're like many people, you probably don't like cleaning your oven with that toxic stuff, let alone your saw blades. Furthermore; Freud, a major blade manufacturer, claims that oven cleaners can harm carbide tips and the binder that holds them in place.
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