When using a circular saw, it’s only a matter of time before the blade gets dull. Obviously, depending on how often you use the saw, the blade can become dull in a matter of weeks, or even a year.
The logical solution when dealing with a blunt blade is to replace it. However, if you are a beginner who recently started using the circular saw, or similar power tools, then you might not be familiar with the replacement procedure.
Hence, to help you replace the old worn blade with a new sharp one, in this guide we’ll be talking about how to change a circular saw blade.
Moreover, while reading the guide, you’ll also learn about the importance of choosing the right blade for your saw. This will help you to equip the circular saw with the best blade available in order to effortlessly finish your cutting projects.
Because whether you’ll cut metal, plastic, thick or thin wood – the material, size, tooth count, and other features that play a role in deciding the blade’s quality shouldn’t be ignored. By equipping your circular saw with a blade designed to cut wood, but you need to cut metal, you won’t accomplish anything.
So, make sure you read the whole thing if you want to learn more than just the procedure of how to change a circular saw blade.
Before we dig into the blade replacement procedure, it’s only fair to give a little introduction to the power saw itself.
The circular saw is a power tool that uses a fast-spinning toothed blade, or an abrasive disc to cut through various materials like wood, metal, or plastic. The blade or disc is mounted on an arbor and always rotates in a clockwise direction (left to right).
These saws are best used for making cross-cuts, rip cuts, or a mixture of both on wood and other materials.
Circular Saw Types
When it comes to circular saw types, the first major distinction is based on whether the tool is hand-held or stationary. The stationary ones are the power tools like the table saw and miter saw, which use a circular blade to cut the workpiece. However, in this guide, we are only talking about hand-held circular saws.
Furthermore, we can make even more distinctions based on the saw’s power source. In this classification, the vast majority of circular saws are electrically powered. However, even though rare, you can find circular saws with a gasoline-powered, or hydraulic motor.
Those with electric motors can be grouped into two groups:
- Corded Circular Saws
- Cordless Circular Saws
As their names suggest, one of them uses a cord, while the other doesn’t.
Both of these types have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, the cordless saw uses rechargeable batteries. And these batteries allow great portability which translates to no-limitations of usage. While the corded saws can operate only as far as their cord allows them to.
But on the other hand, corded circular saws are more powerful, and relatively cheaper compared to battery-powered cordless saws.
How to Change a Circular Saw Blade
In general, the process of changing a circular saw blade is the same on most, if not all types. The differences in the blade changing process from one circular saw type to another are normally minimal.
While the main approach and steps stay the same, there can be small design changes that altered the location, or size of the bolt, so you may need another wrench. This can usually happen on saw models from different manufacturers such as DeWalt, Milwaukee, Craftsman, Skilsaw, Makita, and so on.
So, get the correct blade wrench, don’t rush, and make sure you are following the instructions correctly.
Step 1: Remove the Old Saw Blade
To add a new blade to your circular saw, you first need to remove the old blade.
Depending on your circular saw type, the removing procedure may start differently. Meaning, if it’s a cordless saw, you’ll need to remove the battery first. While if you have a corded saw, make sure you unplug it from the power outlet or extension cord and then continue to remove the old blade.
Now that you made sure that you disconnected the circular saw from every electrical power source possible, you can start removing the blade.
For this action, you’ll need the correct blade wrench to unscrew the nut/bolt that holds it, and to loosen the arbor.
- Locate the blade lock and push it. This will stop the blade from spinning and you can start to loosen the arbor nut
- Keep pushing the lock button and use an Allen wrench to loosen and remove the arbor nut that holds the blade. Turn the wrench in a clockwise direction to unscrew the bolt
- Pull back the blade guard, and successfully remove the dull blade
But before you add the new blade, it would be smart to first figure out the correct direction it should face. Also, you’d want to clean the blade guard from debris like sawdust that has piled up in it.
Step 2: Find the Right Direction of the Circular Saw Blade
Before you start mounting the newly acquired saw blade, it’s very important to know the right direction. Because if you accidentally mount it in the wrong direction, not only you won’t be able to cut anything and most likely will damage the tool, but you’ll also need to do the whole saw blade changing process all over again.
That’s why spare a minute to figure out the right direction of the blade before installing it on the circular saw.
When you buy a new blade, one of the first things you may notice is that there’s an arrow printed on it. Well, this arrow shows us the direction the blade needs to be mounted on the circular saw.
Although rare, it can happen for a modern new blade to not have an arrow printed on it. So, how can you tell the right way it should face in this case? Well, in this situation, you’ll orientate by the blade’s teeth.
Tips: the circular saw blade needs to rotate in a clockwise fashion so it can cut the workpiece. And since the blade spins upward, the teeth should look toward the front of the saw.
Now that you removed the old one, and figured out the right direction the new blade should face – it’s time to install it.
Step 3: Install the New Saw Blade
After removing the old blade and figuring out the right direction it should face, all you have to do now is to install the new circular saw blade.
Similar to the removing process – to accomplish this task you’ll need the correct blade wrench, but in this case to screw the bolt/nut.
- Place the saw blade on the arbor in the direction shown on the arrow, and make sure the teeth look toward the front of the circular saw
- Then locate the blade lock and push it to stop the blade from moving
- Keep pressing the blade lock and use the wrench to tighten the bolt. Turn the wrench in the opposite direction of the blade’s rotation (anti-clockwise)
- Make sure you don’t tighten the arbor nut too much so you can loosen it again next time
As we can see, to change circular saw blade isn’t a complicated task. It can be done in less than 10 minutes.
However, you can’t replace the blade by just going to a nearby tool shop and picking the one you fancy the most. No, to replace the blade, you need to know the size of the saw’s arbor, and what type of materials you’ll cut with it.
That’s why, to help you find the best saw blade for your needs, we added the following section:
How to find the Correct Circular Saw Blade
Now that you know how changing circular saw blade works, you also need to know how to find the best blade for your tool, and the materials you’ll cut.
Equipping the circular saw with an adequate blade for an upcoming cutting project is something you must do. Because whether you want to: cut wood or metal; make a deep or shallow-cut; have a rough or smooth finish; it all depends on the blade’s features.
The features you need to pay attention to:
- Dimensions & thickness
- Number of teeth & tooth type
- Bore – the hole at the center of the blade
- Revolutions per minute (RPM)
Types of Circular Saw Blades
Depending on what type of materials you plan to cut, we can differentiate a few circular saw blade types:
- Woodworking Blades
- Blades for Metal Cutting
- Masonry Blades
- Blades for Plastic Cutting
All of these saw blades have specific designs and differ from each other in size, material, tooth count, etc. Therefore, you need to know what type of blade to choose, to successfully complete the project you work on.
Size of the Circular Saw Blade
When it comes to handheld circular saws, their blades fall into the range from 4-1/2″ to 7-1/4-inches diameter. However, not every blade can fit on every saw. The size of your circular saw’s arbor will determine how big, or small blade’s it can fit.
To get a clearer picture on this matter:
- 1/4″ arbor hole can fit a 3″ blade
- 1/2″ arbor hole can fit a 6″ blade
- 5/8″ arbor hole can fit a 7-1/4″ blade
Additionally, a blade with a bigger diameter has a higher number of teeth.
The Material of a Circular Saw Blade
As we already mentioned in the previous segments, the material of the blade plays a big role in deciding its purpose. And because not every blade is made with a single goal in mind, we have different circular saw blades for cutting wood or metal.
The material of which the blade was made, tells us the workpieces it can cut the best. Because of that, we have blades made of:
- Tungsten Carbide (TC) – for cutting softwood, hardwood, and composites
- High Carbon Steel (HCS) – for cutting wood
- Chrome-Vanadium (CV) – for cutting MDF and melamine boards
- Carbide-Tipped (C) – for cutting plastic, non-ferrous metals, hardwood, etc.
Number of Teeth on Circular Saw Blades
One of the biggest factors when it comes to deciding the quality of the cut is the tooth count. Consequently, blades vary in the number of teeth they have. And depending on the type of cut you need to do, you must consider the number of teeth.
For example, those with a higher number of teeth are best used to make slow and small, but fine-finish cuts. While those with lower tooth count are ideal for making faster and larger rip cuts with a rougher finish.
Safety & Other Reasons to Change a Circular Saw Blade
Replacing a circular saw blade just because it won’t cut anymore is already a great reason to do so. However, the other big reason why you’d want to change your dull circular saw blade is safety.
A dull blade presents a bigger threat to the user than a sharp one. If you may wonder why – it’s because a dull blade is more prone to kickback. The blade isn’t sharp enough, so it cannot penetrate the material properly which results in a kickback.
Aside from not being able to cut and experiencing nasty kickbacks, dull blades are also bad for your tool overall. Since it can’t easily cut the workpiece, it puts a lot of strain on the motor. This can overheat and damage the engine.
To effortlessly make rip cuts or cross cuts in a workpiece, you need a sharp blade. And because saw blades dull fast, you need to frequently replace them.
This may sound challenging to beginners. But, as we can see from the steps above, changing a circular saw blade is a piece of cake. All you need to do is follow the instructions, have the correct wrench, know the right direction the blade should face, and you’ll be done in no time.
In this guide, we also talked about how to choose the correct replacement blade for your saw. This should help you to pick an adequate blade for the cutting projects you have in mind.
So hopefully, you learned something new, and now know how to change the blade.
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