Should I Use a Blade with a Missing Tooth?

Should I Use a Blade with a Missing Tooth?

I have a 10-in. Delta table saw, and my question is: I lost a carbide tip on one tooth, I’m wondering if it’s OK for me to keep using this blade with a tip missing? I don’t know if it’s worth having it repaired. It’s got a few miles on it. – Frank Dohner 

Tim Inman: Please don’t be “penny-wise and pound-foolish.” Get a new blade. Although there is probably not much risk using a blade with a missing tooth, there are some. Why is one tooth missing? Is it poor construction (probably not) or did the saw run into something it shouldn’t have (highly probable)? There may be other teeth which have been compromised. The last thing you want to do is explain to the surgeon as he or she removes carbide chips from your face or eyes that you saved money by using a faulty blade in a table saw. They won’t think it is funny. Their bill will be plenty to have supplied you with many new blades. Plus, the blade will by definition be out of balance. It won’t cut nicely. Your work will not be as good. You won’t have as much fun doing it. Get a new blade; that’s what I’d do.

Chris Marshall: Tim has said it all here, and I couldn’t agree more. If your blade has “got a few miles on it” already, consider the missing tooth to be fair warning that other damaged teeth or brazings could cause you trouble next. One other option to buying a new one: if your blade is a reputable brand, you may be able to send it back to the manufacturer to have a new tooth installed and then the whole blade inspected for safety and sharpened. Might be worth the expense if it’s a really good blade. If the manufacturer doesn’t typically do this work, their tech support folks should be able to recommend a sharpening service they trust for their blade products.

David Venditto: In our shop we have about a half dozen blades in use at any one time. Upon close inspection, many of those blades do have some chipped or not perfect teeth. In use we don’t find that this affects performance in any noticeable way. If the blade’s  tooth is broken off or partially gone, it might make sense to send the blade off for a new tip.  You don’t really want to run a blade with a partially missing tooth since there could be bits of carbide remaining on the braze that may still separate during use. This could be a safety concern. In short, nicked teeth are pretty common on saw blades after some use but missing teeth should be replaced before using the blade again.

David Venditto is president of Infinity Cutting Tools.

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  • G L Brown

    great discussion, I always wondered about this, never have I run one with tooth missing. Now I know I wont.

  • Mark Young

    Must be a lot of wealthy woodworkers out there. I use only Forest Blades. If I loose a tooth, they inspect it and repair it when they sharpen it. The blades always come back like new. I strongly don’t believe that a missing tooth would cause a kickback that would cause the kind of catastrophy Michael Kaup describes. I have had kickbacks over the years and I dare say, they were ALL operator error. I’ve had some pretty serious ones too. My advise is send the blade to a reputable company, like Forest, and have them assess it. If it is not worth repairing, you will get the blade back completely distorted and damaged by them so as to render it not useable. If it can be repaired, they will and it will give you great service for a long time.

  • richflynn

    In all probability, the teeth before and after the missing tooth hit whatever caused the tooth to be lost. You could hit something as simple as a knot and lose another tooth. The question is: How do you want to catch this lost tooth? (Eye or face?) You can get a high quality blade for around $100. That is less than the co-pay at most Emergency Rooms.

  • Ian Bensemann

    I asked an old old joiner the same question once, he said to me “If I hit you in the mouth with a hammer and knocked one of your teeth out, would eat as well” that was his answer – guess you can work the rest out yourself !

  • Losing teeth most likely happens when something metalic is hit by accident. I usually have a new tooth brazed back on then all resharpened. My blades are 12 1/2″ so can be quite expensive.

  • Bill Self

    Hmmmmmm. Think I’ll go inspect my blades. All blades. Old and new. Think further that I will set up a regular inspection schedule.

  • Roger Clauer

    A few months ago my Freud Glue Line Rip blade lost two teeth. It was a few years old so I didn’t know if there was any warranty. I called Freud and they said send it in and they would look at it and if it was faulty construction, they would replace it. I figured that I only had the postage to loose so I sent it and they sent me a new blade. I was very pleased with Freud support.