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.

Posted in: