Table Saw Burn: Top 11 Reasons Your Table Saw is Burning Wood

Sniff sniff… is something burning? Burn marks on your wood can be early indicators of some serious issues down the road. Learn to correctly diagnose any burning your table saw blade makes and you will extend the life of your blades, table saw and appendages.

1) Dull Blade
A dull blade doesn’t move as quickly through the wood, thereby creating friction. Friction creates heat. You know the rest. Try sharpening your blade or buy a new one.

2) Blade Alignment with Miter Slot
If the blade is out of alignment with the miter slot you could have burning and other performance issues.
Squaring Your Miter Gauge the Right Way

3) Blade Parallel to Fence
If the blade’s not parallel to the fence you’ll get the burn, especially one side of the wood. Fixing this is fairly simple though.
Table Saw Alignment for $0.05?

4) Blade Bent or Warped
If your blade is bent or warped then it’s HIGHLY kickback prone. You should immediately replace it. Warping often happens when a saw blade is overheated, so if you’ve been having burn problems for awhile then you could be aggravating the problem
warped saw blade?

5) Blade Height
In one forum I read where a fellow kept getting burns on his cherry. The blade manufacturer suggested he raise the blade height and this worked in stopping the burn. Blade height affects the angle that the teeth hit the wood. Too low and you make your blade work too hard, causing friction.

6) Appropriate Blade for the Cut
Are you ripping with a cross cut blade? If you’re new to woodworking you might not even realize it’s happening… Make sure that your blade matches the kind of cut you’re making.

7) Dirty Blade
A dirty blade moves through your stock more slowly. This causes friction and burning. Clean your blades.
ToolCrib.com’s Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Saw Blades and Router Bits

8) Feed Rate Too Slow or Uneven
Those who are newer to woodworking may not realize that their table saws can usually accept a pretty high feed rate. If you’re stopping and starting to adjust your hold, or just moving the stock through very slowly you’re likely to get burn.

9) Warped Wood/Improperly Dried Lumber
Warped wood will bind, as will improperly dried lumber that releases as you cut it. Both instances can cause burn.

10) Splitter Misaligned or Missing
A splitter will help keep the wood from binding around the blade. This bind can cause friction and kickback.
When Kickback Calls… Six Favorite Table Saw Splitters

11) Arbor Flange Run Out
Arbor flange run out can be a bit of a larger project, but if you correct this issue you may see a big increase in performance.
How I Fixed my TS Arbor Flange Runout

Some Woods Prone to Table Saw Burn:
NOT that you should blame the wood, but it’s true, some woods are more prone to burning than others. Here are a few. Have you had experience with any others?

Cherry
Mahogany
Maple
Purple Heart

Highly recommended table saw tune up resource:
TLC for Your Table Saw This video from woodworker Craig Stevens gives you a great guide to tuning up your table saw, including corrections for blade burn. Sweet!

More Blade Burn Resources:
Wood Species and Table Saw Burn
How to Eliminate Saw Blade Burns
Bad burning on table saw cuts
What causes burn marks on the table saw
How I Fixed my TS Arbor Flange Runout
Table saw blade burning wood
Freud Fusion vs. Forrest WWII Blades: Which High End Blade is the Best?
Best Table Saw Miter Gauge: Incra vs. Osborne vs. Kreg

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5 Responses to Table Saw Burn: Top 11 Reasons Your Table Saw is Burning Wood

  1. Jude says:

    So where can you get a blade sharpened? I’m forever burning lumber and think my setup is pretty squeare.

  2. toolcrib says:

    Hi Jude – I will ask around about blade sharpening services. I know there’s at least one guy at WoodNet who has a blade sharpening business. He’s well respected at that forum which is a good sign that he’s reputable. I’ll get his name for you…

    -G

  3. Aaron says:

    The Craig Stevens link reminded me of another terrific resource for table saw owners: a book called “Table Saw Tips & Tricks”.
    (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1558706232)
    Mine has a permanent place next to my saw and is spectacularly filthy and tattered from years of constant use.

  4. toolcrib says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll put this in our newsletter along with a link to your blog (looks like a great resource by the way!).

    G

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