Clean Your Blades and Bits!

One thing that I force myself to do is to inspect the various cutting edges in my shop regularly. Because they are constantly subject to wear, their cutting abilities are gradually diminished and eventually, the cut becomes labourious. With power tools, cutters dull as they cut, but another enemy is heat build-up. A fast feed rate goes a long way to keep the heat down, but perhaps more important is to keep your cutters clean.

I make it a regular habit to check for any accumulation of pitch, etc. and when I notice it, I take the time to clean it. I use a nylon brush to apply blade cleaner and let it sit for 15 minutes or so while I do other tasks. Then a light brushing is all that’s required to get the blade looking like new again.

I’ve had a router bit so covered with gunk from routing plywood that it was almost completely black and wasn’t even cutting – it was burning its way through the stock. I really thought that bit was a lost cause, but decided to drop it into a jar of blade cleaner to see what would happen. To my surprise, with a light brushing, all the build-up was removed and the bit looked like new again.


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