Replacing the blade of your drop saw, also known as a miter saw, is an easy job. You may need to change the blade because it is damaged or blunt, or you may need to replace it with another blade that is more suitable for the job ahead of you. Like any tool or cutting surface, wear and use will dull the blade requiring that a new blade be used. Blades can also be damaged if they hit screws or nails when cutting used timber.
Step 1 – Cut the Power
Always remove the plug from the power outlet first to avoid potential accidents. Next, you should remove the guard. The guard partially covers the bolt that holds the blade in place. You may need to remove the guard to allow you to access this bolt. If you are in doubt, the manufacturers instructions will show you how to move the guard out of the way. Usually you only have to loosen a screw which allows you to move the cover to the rear.
Step 2 – Lock the Blade in Place
You will need to press the spindle lock which locks the blade in place. Using the allen key, the bolt is then turned clockwise which is opposite to the usual direction. If the bolt is stiff, use a mallet to tap it and loosen it. Then, take off the outer blade washer and place it aside safely. You can then remove the blade. Leave the inner washer in place. Smear a drop or two of oil on the washers where they touch the blade.
Step 3 – Install the New Blade
Attach the new blade with the teeth pointing down. Make sure you do not have the teeth pointing up because this can cause serious injury. Place the outer washer back against the blade and turn the bolt counterclockwise until it is firm. Give the bolt another ¼ turn until it is tight.
Step 4 – Move the Guard Back into Place
Move the guard back into place and tighten the screw. You can buy replacement drop saw blades at any hardware store. There are many types of blade for different uses and materials. Make sure you use the right on for the job.
A ripping blade has a flat top grind which is best for fast cutting with the grain of the wood. A cross-cut blade has an alternating top bevel and produces a smooth cut across the grain. A good all-purpose blade is the triple chip grind which is also useful for cutting plastics and non-ferrous metals. Basically, the more teeth, the smoother the cut.
If you maintain the blade well, you will not have to replace it as often. Protect the brittle teeth by not bumping or dropping the blade or the whole saw. There is a lot of heat and stress produced during cutting and your blade will last longer if you periodically remove all debris from between the teeth and on the blade itself. Keep the blade sharp.