I remember the first time I had to change the blade on my table saw. It was scary! The blades on your table saw, like any sharp edges, can get dull over time.
Sure, regular maintenance can improve the lifespan of the blade. But expecting it to last a lifetime is unrealistic, to say the least.
If you own a table saw, and use it regularly, you have to be prepared for the inevitable. Even the blade of a top-tier table saw will get dull, and you will one day have to learn how to replace it yourself.
Unless you prefer to shell out good money to get it replaced or sharpened by professional services every time the need arises.
When the blade of your table saw gets dull, the first thing you need to do is get a new blade. After that, spending extra cash on replacing the blade when you can do it yourself seems a bit too much, at least to me.
So, regardless of how scary it was, I bit the bullet and got to work. And to my surprise, it was quite easy once I got used to it.
In this article, I will share my knowledge on how to change a table saw blade so that you can do it yourself, without wasting a dime.
How to Change a Table Saw Blade – 9 Simple Steps
Full disclaimer before you start, a table saw blade even when dull can cut through your skin easily. So, make sure you follow proper safety measures and wear the necessary equipment before you start the replacement steps.
The last thing you want is to cut yourself on a dull blade. Trust me, I’ve been there.
You need to put together a couple of items before you can start changing the saw blade. Don’t worry, everything here should already be present in your workshop. Here are what you need:
- Allen or Hex Wrench
- A small wooden block
- The replacement blade (Duh!)
Step 1: Unplug the Power
The first step is a freebie, just unplug the power saw. Whether you are changing the blade in a circular saw or a table saw, make sure the power is turned off before you start working.
If it is a cordless power tool, take out the battery. You do not want it to turn on suddenly when you are replacing the blade.
Step 2: Take Off the Blade Guard and Throat Plate
With the power disconnected, you need to take out the blade guard and the throat plate from the table saw. Unfortunately, this is a step you have to figure out for yourself since there is no one way to do it.
Different manufacturers take different approaches to how they design these two elements.
So, you need to consult the manual of your specific table saw. Typically, the steps are pretty easy to follow and should be listed clearly in the manual.
Step 3: Raise the Blade Height
Once the blade guard is removed, you should have access to the saw blade. However, you still cannot fully extract it.
At this step, you need to raise the height of the blade as high as it can get. Make sure you are careful not to cut yourself since you are in direct contact with the blade.
Step 4: Loosen the Arbor Nut
Remember how I said that you cannot fully extract the blade yet? The arbor nut is the culprit. This small nut ensures that the blade is held in place to prevent any accidents.
So, you need to loosen the nut before you can take it off and extract the blade. This is when you need to use the hex or Allen wrench that you got with your table saw.
Typically, you should have two wrenches to loosen the arbor nut. One of the wrench’s jobs is to hold the blade steady while you loosen the nut with the other one. Wondering which way do you turn to loosen a table saw blade? Your instruction manual should hold the answer.
Using the table saw wrench is the easiest way to do this step. However, if your saw did not come with the wrenches or you just lost it, I will show you how you can loosen it on a later portion of the article.
Step 5: Remove the Arbor Nut
Once the nut is loose, you should be able to unscrew it easily and pull it out. Again, you are working in very close proximity to the blade.
Make sure you are extra careful in this step. Wearing a set of leather gloves can protect your hands much better.
Depending on your table saw, there might be washers holding the nut in place. You might also need to unscrew them.
Step 6: Replace the Blade
With the nut loosened, your blade is completely exposed and ready to be pulled out. Tread with utmost caution in this step. Hold the sides of the blade as you pull it out.
When inserting the new blade, make sure the teeth of the blade are pointed towards you as it would minimize the risk of any severe accidents.
Step 7: Replace the Arbor Nut
With the new blade in position, you can start putting the saw back together. Reinsert the arbor nut and replace the washer on top of it.
Step 8: Tighten, Tighten, Tighten
Remember how you loosened the arbor nut in step 5? Do the same thing but in reverse.
Step 9: Replace the blade guard and throat plate
With the arbor nut installed, you only need to install the throat plate and the blade guard. My table saw gave an audible click after installing the throat plate. Make sure you install the elements properly and everything is attached perfectly to your table saw.
Voila! Your table saw should now be fully functional again with a new blade to go with it.
All that is left to do is reconnect the power and turn it on to see if everything is working as it should. During the test, if you feel like the blade is shaky, that means the arbor nut is not tight enough.
If that is the case, you need to disassemble the saw again and retighten the nut.
How to Change Table Saw Blade without Wrench
Typically, you need a specific wrench that comes with your table saw to disassemble the blade. But hey, I am a pretty reckless guy. There have been times when I could not find the Allen wrench when I needed it. But does that mean I put up my blade replacement for another day? Definitely Not.
In the following section, I will share with you a few nifty hacks to take apart the blade if you lost or misplaced the right wrench for the job.
1. Use your Plain Old Adjustable Wrench
An Adjustable wrench might be the most versatile tool present at every workshop and toolbox. If you cannot find the proper Allen or hex wrench, you can take a couple of adjustable wrenches and take apart the saw blade quite easily. The steps are exactly the same as using the right wrench.
2. Use an Open-Ended Wrench
Open-ended wrenches are fixed wrenches, and they can also work pretty much the same way to disassemble the saw blade.
3. Use a Block of Wood
Typically, if you are using regular wrenches to disassemble the blade, you need at least two of them. But if you only have one wrench, you can use a wooden block to hold the blade in place as you loosen the arbor nut and washer.
4. Use a Blade Lock
A blade lock is a pretty useful device if you have to change the saw blade quite frequently.
It goes over the blade of your table saw and holds it in place without having to use any wrenches to disassemble it. The blade lock also makes it much safer to replace the saw blade
5. Use the Arbor Lock
Throughout my career, I worked with several table saws of different sizes. On some models, especially the smaller ones, there was an arbor lock function.
It essentially works the same way as a blade lock and can make the task of replacing the blade almost effortless. You also do not need any extra tools if your saw comes with an arbor lock function.
How to Know When to Replace Table Saw Blade
The cutting efficiency and overall efficiency of a table saw largely depend on the quality and condition of the blade installed on it.
A top-of-the-line table saw with a cheap, knock-off blade will not give you the cutting performance and accuracy that you need to pull off accurate cuts.
And even if you have a high-quality blade but it is dulled out, the performance of the table saw will take a severe hit.
When I was a beginner and noticed that my table saw was not performing up to the standards, I freaked out. But the last thing on my mind was that the blade needed a replacement.
The table saw blades are quite durable to be fair. Some of the high-end table saws include high-quality carbide-tipped blades that will last you at least two to three years.
However, the blades require maintenance such as sharpening or oiling from time to time to maintain their peak operating performance. It applies more to table saws that cost less than $1000.
Inevitably though, even a top-notch blade will need to be replaced. The teeth might get bent, or they might just lose their edge.
But you need to know how to detect it so that you can take the right steps to get it replaced. Otherwise, you are just burning time and effort with any project you pick up with the table saw.
Here are a few standout effects that should tell you that your saw blade is dull and needs to be replaced:
Increased tear out and chipping:
If you notice a tear-out on the material as you cut, this means the blade is dull. You can also notice visible chipping. A good blade will slice through materials cleanly
You might also notice resistance from the blade when you are pushing the material.
Loud Motor Noise
To cut with a clean blade, the motor of your table saw needs to apply more power. You can notice this in the form of louder sounds and more vibrations coming out of the saw.
A dull blade on the table saw is also harmful to the motor. So, continuing to use a table saw with a dull blade is not recommended if you care about your saw.
Noticeable Burn Marks
If you see burn marks on the parts where the blade has cut through, this is a common indication that the blade is dulled out.
Since a dull blade needs to apply more force to cut through materials, this results in increased friction which ultimately leads to burn marks.
Keep an eye out for these few situations. If you notice any of them happening, disassemble the blade and inspect it thoroughly to see if it needs sharpening or a straight-out replacement.
With All Said and Done
I have used many power saws over the years of different brands and qualities. Whether I am using a cordless circular saw, or a powerful Table Saw by Jet, my top priority is to always keep the blade sharp.
And maintaining and replacing the saw blade is not all that difficult once you get used to it.
Sure, it takes a couple of tries and you might need to disassemble and reassemble the blade a few times before getting it properly installed. But once you are done, your saw will get a fresh breath of life in its performance.
Hopefully, my handy guideline and hacks when it comes to replacing the table saw blade could help you out. Remember to keep your workshop clean, and your blades sharp. Good Luck!