Saw Shop Tech: Sandblasting saw blades.


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

I just had a question come to me via a Google search about sandblasting a 2 man crosscut saw blade. This one was important enough that I thought it rated a full post of its own.

In short, DON’T DO IT!

Don’t EVER sandblast any hand saw, crosscut saw, or circular saw (cordwood saw or buzz saw) if you care anything about ever being able to safely use them again. It’s the quickest and surest way I know of to ruin a saw blade beyond repair.

It’s true that sandblasting will clean ANY built up crud off a saw blade and it’s no fun hand cleaning hardened pitch off a cordwood saw (buzz saw). It will also do a great job of taking the tension out of the blade.

Saw blades owe much of their stiffness to tensioning, a process that stresses the blade in particular ways to allow it to be stiff and thin at the same time. Lose that tensioning and your saw blade will be impossible to saw with. I buy old cordwood blades to refurbish but I always turn down ones that have been painted on. 99 times out of 100, these blades have been sandblasted and it would be like running wet cardboard instead of a steel saw blade. Highly dangerous to say the least, just asking for a structural failure.

In the worst cases, sandblasting can overheat sections of the saw plate, leading to warped blades. Add these two things together and it’s like juggling a live hand grenade with the pin half pulled.

If you have a junk blade you just want to paint on, by all means, sandblast away. If you want to use the blade, put the sandblast away. If you even suspect a blade has been sandblasted, turn it down (all my blades are cleaned by hand only). It’s not worth a catastrophe.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

Elm Plaza, Waterville, ME (Mondays)
Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesdays)
Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Fridays)
298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

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