Time to resharpen or buy a new blade?

The last few months, my Freud Premier/Fusion saw blade has been causing some minor frustrations. It’s the blade that’s in my saw 95% of the time. It’s an exceptional blade. As a matter of fact, I’m a fan of all Freud blades and bits. (Their thin-kerf glue-line rip blade is a winner, too.)

Freud® 10” x 40T Hi ATB Premier Fusion General Purpose Blade
Delivers a quieter, smoother cut with a superior finish and extended cutting life. Unique design and special polymer filler reduces vibration above and beyond any other blade for superior performance. Ideal for hard and soft wood, veneered plywood and melamine.
Freud® 10” x 40T Hi ATB Premier Fusion General Purpose Blade
Freud® 10

The problem I had with it had nothing to do with the quality of cut. By that, I mean the smoothness of the cut edge. It has always cut like a dream. But the problem was I was getting some burning. At first I thought my rip fence was out of alignment. But after checking, it seemed to be aligned just fine. Then I started noticing some burning when crosscutting, too. Today, I decided to take the blade off and give it a good cleaning. It had been a while since I gave it a thorough scrubbing.

But looking through all the chemicals I had on hand, I didn’t have any blade cleaner. I scrounged through our household chemicals and found a gallon jug of ZEP General Purpose Cleaner I had picked up at the Home Depot at some point in the last few years. You’re supposed to dilute this cleaner, but I used it full-strength. I placed my blade in the bottom of a 5-gallon plastic pail with a few ounces of the cleaner. I let it soak for 5-10 minutes then thoroughly rinsed it with water. It removed all the pitch and dirt without me touching it with a scrub brush.

After drying off the blade, I set about inspecting the teeth. I was shocked to discover that one tooth was half-gone. And three or four others had sizable chips out of them.

I was faced with a decision. Should I find a sharpening service that knew how to replace the teeth and grind the blade per Freud’s specifications? Wait…I had used this blade for almost three years. Forget it. I won’t bother with sharpening. I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it.

I needed a blade right away, so I decided to head off to the Woodsmith Store. My old Fusion was a standard 1/8″-kerf blade. But I have a 1-3/4HP saw, so I thought I’d try a thin-kerf blade. Wouldn’t you know, the thin-kerf Fusions were out of stock, so I put my name on the list to be notified when they come in.

But I needed a blade today. Right now. So I chose a Freud thin-kerf combination blade. It was considerably less expensive than the Fusion blade anyway. I have to say, I was very impressed. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t really tell the difference between that and the Freud Fusion. I’ll probably get the thin-kerf Fusion anyway. It’s always good to have at least two good combination blades. Eventually, one of them will need sharpened and you need a backup.

You can’t have too many blades, can you?